Chapter 16:


The Wizard's Virginity

I had walked away without letting Dan say another word.

Afterwards I wondered if that had been dangerous. After all, I had just found out that my apparent friend had been lying to me this entire time, about their identity, magic, and even their gender. How was I to know that now her cover was blown, she wouldn’t just kill me the second I turned my back on her? That thought didn’t cross my mind at the time, as I was too full of rage to think. And, luckily for me, Dan didn’t kill me. She just stood and watched me go.

I had been intending to stay at school and ask Aoife my questions, but after the revelations about Dan, I knew I just needed to be alone. Or rather, it didn’t even feel like a conscious decision. It was like my mind had snapped and my body went on autopilot, trying to get me back home to the safety of my bedroom, where everything made sense.

Form time had finished and first period was starting by the time I left the old building’s basement. I just walked out the gates and headed to the public bus stop.

As I waited for a bus to arrive that would head in the direction of my home, I tried to make sense of what had happened. Weirdly, it was less the fact that Dan could use magic, or had allegedly been ‘protecting’ me from people taking my powers, than I felt betrayed by the secret of his gender. Her gender. There were a couple of reasons for that.

Firstly was that it was feasible, if unlikely, that Dan’s involvement in magic could have been a recent development. Something she had only been dragged into in the last few months. If so, that meant that the basis of our friendship that began when we were in Year 7 could still be real. It would be a matter of a few months of betrayal rather than five years.

That possibility was eradicated when I thought about the secret of her being a girl. That was something that she had lied to me about from our very first day at school, which meant that everything that followed that, every conversation, every shared joke or memory, was built on a lie. It was all ruined.

The second point that I kept getting stuck on was the fact that I had been close to a girl this entire time, and I hadn’t even realised it. I felt like a complete idiot.

Now that I knew the truth, the pieces all came together. Despite Dan’s apparent love of violent sports in her free time, she had never done P.E. at school, always being injured or having some other excuse. I came to just take it for granted that Dan didn’t do P.E., but in retrospect, it made sense why she would avoid changing rooms and contact sports where her identity could have been revealed. I now realised that Dan’s involvement in lacrosse, rock climbing, and so on was probably just a cover up for the injuries she sustained in magical fights, like the one she had against Reiko. I also now knew why she was able to recover so quickly from said injuries.

Dan had slept over at my house a few times, but never got changed in front of me. I assumed that Dan was shy, whereas I was always flopping my dick about all over the place and finding it very funny, particularly in my pre-teen years. I had done this in front of Dan, trying to imitate a windmill, and we had laughed together… But the whole time, she’d not had a penis of her own. Strangely, I felt more violated by that than when Reiko nearly forced me to have sex with her.

The bus arrived and I got on it, my mind still whirling. The worst part was that whenever I encountered a difficult situation, my first instinct was to talk to Dan about it. This time that wasn’t an option.

Eventually I arrived home. I ignored Mum asking me whether I’d forgotten something, and walked straight up the stairs, went into my room, and collapsed face first on the bed. I felt my phone buzzing in my pocket, but I wasn’t prepared to deal with anyone right then. Especially not if it was Dan. Without even checking it, I threw the phone across the room where it cracked into the wall and then landed on the floor with a soft thud. It continued to vibrate for another minute, and then stopped.

I must have dozed off, as the next thing I was aware of was Mum gently shaking my shoulder.

“James, wake up, please.”

She sounded concerned. I thought at first that she was just worried about me, since I’d told her that morning that I’d been having a hard time at school, and then had come home and gone back to bed just over an hour after leaving the house.

“Mum, I’m fine, my lessons were cancelled. Leave me alone.”

Not the most convincing excuse, but I was still half asleep.

“No, James. It’s your sister. Hayley’s school called and said that she never arrived.”

I sat bolt upright. “Did she get on her bus?”

Mum shook her head. “The school asked some of the other girls, and they said she wasn’t at the bus stop.”

“But, how’s that possible? The bus stop is only two minutes away.”

Mum shook her head again. “I don’t know, but I’m worried. I tried ringing her but her phone is off. I was about to call the police, but just wanted to check if you’d heard anything?”

I reached in my pocket for my phone, before remembering that I had thrown it. I got up from the bed and retrieved it. I noticed that the screen had cracked, but I didn’t care about that right now. I checked my notifications, and as I had feared, the missed call wasn’t from Dan. It was from Hayley. There was also a message.

“I have your sister. Come to this location alone or I will kill her.”

There was a pin, showing a location less than a ten minute walk away. It was terrifying to think that Hayley could be held captive so close by. More terrifying, however, was the photo that was also accompanying the message.

In the background was Hayley, slumped unconscious in a chair, her mouth gagged. I zoomed in, but I couldn’t see any signs of injury. In the foreground was Reiko. She was smiling, and had middle and index finger held out in a V sign. Just looking at Reiko, this could have been a teenage girl’s cutesy Insta photo. But the contrast between this wholesome smile and my unconscious little sister made the whole thing horrific. I must have shown it on my face.

“What is it?” Mum asked.

I tried to speak naturally, but could feel the shake in my voice. “It looks like Hayley tried to ring me. She messaged me.” I took a second to think of what to say. “She… She said she was sad about me not looking at her painting. She wants to talk to me.”

Mum did not look convinced. “She skipped school without telling anyone because she wanted to talk to you about her painting?”

“Erm, yeah. I mean, I don’t know. But she told me where she is, so I better go and find out.” I slipped my phone into my pocket and grabbed my jacket.

“Wait a minute, let me drive you.”

“No, it’s fine. She wanted me to come alone. It’s not far.”

I quickly ran out the room, down the stairs and out of the house. I had no idea what I was doing. I had left just to avoid any further questions, but now that I was outside, I wondered if I should tell Mum. But, how the hell could I explain it? ‘A crazy Japanese witch has kidnapped your daughter because she wants me to have sex with her’. There was no way she would buy that, and even if she did, Reiko had said in very clear terms to come alone.

“...or I will kill her.”

Those words repeated in my mind, over and over.

It seemed there was no choice. It was clear what I needed to do. I had to go and save Hayley.

I had been so focussed on my own drama, my own confusion, that I had completely ignored her. And now my little sister was getting dragged into this mess because all I’d done was sit around asking myself questions. But the time for questions was over. I needed to take action.

I wanted to be like my dad. I wanted to be a wizard. That’s where all this started. I had gotten so focussed on the virginity and magic stuff that I had forgotten the most important part of being like Dad. I had to protect my family.

I headed for the location pinned on my phone. It led me to a small block of flats not far from my house. The building, like most of the buildings in the area, had clearly seen better days. I stood by the front door, unsure of what to do next, when my phone buzzed. A new message.

“Room 302”.

I heard a whirring from the door as the magnetic lock disengaged, so I opened it and stepped inside. The building’s interior wasn’t any better than its exterior. A child’s bike with a twisted frame and only one wheel lay in the hallway, and I stepped over it to head up the stairs. The walls had various unpleasant words written on them, either sprayed in red paint or just written in black marker pen, as well as some crude depictions of penises and big-titted women. Not too different from a lot of the textbooks at school, but still, it was jarring to see these on the walls of a place where people lived. I could tell from the varying shades of yellow on the wall that efforts had been made in the past to paint over these, but clearly it had been a losing battle against the persistence of the local graffiti ‘artists’.

I reached the second floor and turned left down the corridor, finding the number 302 emblazoned on the door directly in front of me. I paused, again unsure what to do. It kind of goes without saying, but I had never tried to rescue anyone from a kidnapper before. Did I throw open the door and try to take Reiko by surprise? That seemed like a stupid idea, given that she clearly expected me, and that I couldn’t hope to match her in a fight. Did I just knock then? That felt a little too polite for this kind of situation. ‘Excuse me, Miss, I have come to enquire about the safe return of my little sister, if you would be so kind?’

The decision was taken out of my hands when the door opened. Reiko stood in the doorway, still wearing her Japanese school uniform. It was worse for wear, with cuts and bloodstains from her fight with Dan, and it looked as though she hadn’t changed in several days. She was smiling at me, as though she was just a normal girl greeting a friend. Although when I looked closer, I noticed that her smile was off. Not just because it was so at odds with the situation, but because it was a little too wide, and her eyes were strangely glazed. I had been referring to Reiko in my head as ‘crazy’, but I had thought she was at least logical in trying to get my powers. Now, face-to-face with her unhinged grin, I wasn’t so sure.

“Hello, Jamesu-san. It is nice to see you.”

“I thought you had gone back to Japan,” I said. I tried to take a casual tone, keeping both the fear and anger I was feeling out of my voice.

“No no, I would not go home without saying goodbye. Or without getting what I came here for.”

As she spoke, I could start to smell the orange scent, which I now had come to associate with her aphrodisiac powers. However, perhaps because I was expecting it, or perhaps because it was only a small exposure, it didn’t seem to have any effect. Or maybe it was that the seriousness of the situation meant that even faced with a magical aphrodisiac, it wasn’t possible for me to get horny.

“Come inside,” she said, stepping to one side to allow me to pass.

I did so, giving up any idea of physically resisting her. Seeing her in person had reminded me vividly of the events of Friday, and made me even surer that trying to fight her would be foolish. That said, I had come up with a plan. Maybe not a very good plan, but at least a way to try and resist Reiko without fighting her.

Reiko pushed the door shut behind me, and I looked around. The flat’s state was in keeping with the grottiness of the rest of the building, to the point where it looked uninhabitable for anyone but the most desperate of homeless druggies. It seemed though that Reiko had been staying here, as I noticed a clean sleeping bag and pillow laid out in the next room, both of which were clearly out of keeping with the rest of the flat.

I heard a moan from that room, and stepped forward into it. There, still in the chair as in the photo I had received earlier, was Hayley. Her mouth was gagged, but her eyes were open. She seemed out of it, rolling her head around slowly and moaning, and I assumed that Reiko had used the same magic to knock her out as she had on me. I turned to face Reiko, to find her staring at me, still wearing that big grin.

I took a deep breath, and began. “Sorry Reiko, but I’ve already lost my virginity. I gave my magic potential to Aoife. I mean, to Miss Byrne, the Biology teacher.”

Reiko’s smile froze, as though someone had pointed a remote control at her face and pressed the pause button. I shrunk back, scared that her shock would turn into fury. Fury that she would take out on me. Then her smile widened, and she laughed.

“Jamesu-san, you scared me! But I can see that you still are a virgin. Any witch can sense the potential in a young wizard. Magic is like a smell. You stink of it.”

With a sudden movement, almost too fast to see, she was directly in front of me. She grabbed my tie and pulled me close to her face with a jerk, and I thought that she was about to kiss me and knock me out again. Either that, or snap my neck there and then. Instead, she whispered to me.

“Do not lie to me again.” She let go of my tie and stepped back.

“Why are you doing this?” I asked, failing to keep my voice steady. “Why do you want my magic potential so badly?”

“Mmm…” Reiko made a noise as if thinking, and tilted her head to one side. I realised then what was so jarring. On Friday, she had acted completely differently. No wasted movements, no unnecessary expressions, no emotion in her voice. Almost machine-like. Now, however, she was acting like the same cute girl that I had spent the last week with. But while acting like that same cute Reiko, she was holding my sister captive. It was as though she had made a mistake, and chosen the wrong personality for the situation. It made it all somehow much more disturbing.

“I think,” Reiko said, her voice cheery, “that I want your powers, Jamesu-san, so that I can hurt people.”

I gulped. That did not seem like the answer of someone open to reasonable negotiation, but I pressed on regardless.

“Can’t you hurt people already? Why do you need me?”

“Oh, but Jamesu-san, I cannot hurt them enough! You saw on Friday, right? I need the power to hurt anybody. Everybody. Everybody who wants to hurt me.”

“People don’t want to hurt you, Reiko. At school everyone loved you! They were so sad that you left.” I didn’t mention how they then took that sadness out on me. I was trying to go for a ‘there is good in the world, please be less evil’ angle. Although admittedly, given my recent experiences, I probably wasn't the best person to make a convincing case.

Reiko laughed. Not the short, scary bark I had heard on Friday, but her cutesy school girl giggle. “Oh Jamesu-san, you are silly! They do not love me! Nobody loves me! They say it, but it is not true. Just like my family…”

Reiko trailed off, and after a few seconds, I tentatively prompted her to continue.

“What about your family, Reiko?”

“I killed them,” she answered simply. “They said they loved me, my mama and papa, but they hurt me. They shouted at me, they hit me and kicked me. Then the next day they would cry. They would say, ‘We love you, we are sorry’. Then they would drink again, and hurt me again. One day, when they were asleep, I took a knife from the kitchen.”

Still smiling, she held her hand out, palm downwards, and drew it across her neck.

I realised I was shaking. I could not speak, and even if I could, I didn’t know what I should say.

“We lived in a place like this,” Reiko continued, motioning at the flat around us. “I left them in their bed. I liked them then. I would go and speak to them, and they would not shout or hit me. They would just listen. Sometimes I slept in bed with them. We felt like a real family.” For the first time, Reiko’s smile faltered. “Then the apartment manager came. A neighbour had complained about the smell. They found me, and Mama, and Papa, and called the police. I was taken away.”

“What happened?” Without realising it, I had asked the question.

“A woman came. Fusae-sama. She hurt the police. It was so easy for her. She took me from them, and brought me to ‘Sekkaku’. Her coven. Fusae-sama saw potential in me. She hurt me, like Mama and Papa, but she also taught me how to hurt other people. Using only my breath. But, it is still not enough. I need more.”

I began to sense that negotiation was not a feasible option.

“Fusae-sama sent me here to retrieve you. I was told to capture you and bring you back to Japan. But then I realised that I could have you myself. I could take your potential and grow stronger. Stronger even than Fusae-sama. But she found out about what happened on Friday, and now, Fusae-sama is coming. She will be here soon. So I have to do it now.”

I glanced over my shoulder back at Hayley, who was now still, apparently fully unconscious again.

“I understand, Reiko. I’ll do it. I’ll have sex with you, and give you my magic potential. All I care about is my sister. I’ll give you my powers, and then you’ll let her go.”

Reiko laughed. A small giggle at first, which then grew louder, and louder, until it was a maniacal scream.

“No, Jamesu-san! You will not give me your power. I will take your power. Then I will kill your sister. Then I will kill you.”