Manamancers

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Chapter 4

On the Street in front of

143 W 800 S, Orem, Utah

June 2005

After driving three blocks north and a block and a half east of Matt’s home, through the most monotonous suburb imaginable, Andersen pulled his black Caddy over and stopped in front of a small, red brick house. “Do you know how to drive?”

Matt was taken aback; they’d gone that distance with out speaking. “Uh, yeah, I do.” He paused and looked around. They were on 800 South, a street he’d driven several times, but it looked so strange from the beige interior of a car owned by a --real-- Destroying Angel. “I’ve had Driver’s Ed and I have a permit,” he managed to say.

“Let me see it.”

Matt gasped a bit. “Oh no!” he shoved his hands into one pocked after another. “I think I left it in my room.”

“It’s OK,” the cowboy said as he made a fist with his left hand out the window. It glowed with the now familiar, golden light. A spike went down to the ground. With his right hand, he tapped the seat beside him and said “I’posh, moher poMatt, ez.” He then tapped the seat again. When he lifted his finger, a golden light flashed.

When the light faded, Matt saw his permit, sitting there as if it had been there the whole time. He reached down and picked it up. “That is so cool.”

Andersen got out of the car and walked around the front to the sidewalk. He passed the gate in the chain link fence, guarding the house they were parked in front of, and opened the side door of his car. “Drive us to the mall.” Matt got out and slid behind the wheel of the ten year old, former luxury car, while Andersen got in on the passenger side.

“How do you engage the gears?” asked he asked not finding a nob or a lever that he recognized. The console between the front seats was a smooth wooden surface from the dashboard to the arm rest. “Oh, these must be cup holders!” he said pointing to the depressions he found.

“I have this car configured to a paddle system that race cars can use. ”

“It’s a stick!” cried Matt. “I’ve never driven a stick before.”

“It’s okay,” he smiled. “There’s no clutch, so, it’s mostly like driving an automatic, but you do the changing of the gears.” He paused. “I could always reconfigure it to automatic if you want. It’s not too difficult to do. I mean if you prefer it.”

“No, I want to learn how to drive standard. The best cars have the stick.”

Andersen pointed at two levers on the wheel, one on either side. “There is no clutch, like I said. Pull back on the one on the right and you can shift up. Pull back on the one on the left and you shift down. Pull back on both and you can go into first park and then reverse. ”

“Wow,” said Matt. “That’s pretty nice.”

“You can set any car you drive to be like this.”

“Won’t my mom notice when I drive her car?”

“I don’t think you’ll be driving your mom’s car anymore. Remember I said you can use a car from the camp’s fleet?”

“You were serious about that?”

“Oh yes.” He smiled. “And if you stay with the company, we’ll help you get a car of your own.”

Matt was grinning as he started the car and pushed his foot on the break. He pulled back on the paddle and felt the car shift into gear, “What about gas?”

“Just push on the other pedal,” he pointed.

Matt laughed. “No, I mean gassing up.”

“Look, this car acts and sounds like it burns gas, but it doesn’t. We set up the cars of the fleet to recharge their mana reservoirs when we park.”

“It gets sweeter and sweeter by the minute!” He said as he checked his mirrors then drove off. He drove well, for a teenager. He still hesitated at the lights and had difficulty deciding when he had right of way. But, since he kept the speed down, he was fine. He turned right on State Street and then pulled into the mall parking lot at 1100 south. He parked the car at an indicated stall.

“Nice,” said Andersen pivoting in his seat until he was leaning his back against the passenger door and looking straight at Matt. His left arm was behind him, out the window, and his fist was glowing. “Could I see the permit again?” Matt handed it over.

Andersen unfolded it and placed it on the side of his left knee which was propped up against the console between the seats. His right foot was pushed up against the gear relay. He tapped each corner of the permit three times and spoke in that strange language that wasn’t English or French. He then tapped each corner again, three times and the 8 ½ x 11” paper began to shrivel up.

“Hey!” said Matt. “That’s mine!”

Andersen then snapped his fingers, touched Matt’s nose and then a blank spot on the paper. Then he flicked his fingers at Matt’s face. The paper now looked like a credit card with a picture on it. He handed it to Matt and just smiled.

“This is a Driver’s license,” he said.

He nodded. “It’s yours.”

“It’s a nice forgery, but what will happen if I get pulled over and have to show it to a policeman?”

“Is everyone in your family this paranoid?”

“Only when creepy people show up before the sun!” laughed Matt.

“This is what will happen if a policeman looks at your license.” Andersen slid around facing the front of the Caddy and scooted his rear back into his seat. He made the sign of a gun with each hand, and then put his right hand over his left wrist. He pulled his hands apart and a glowing field of light appeared with the two “guns” looking like corners. It looked like a paper-thin television screen of light in the air where his fingers were. He tapped his index fingers to his thumbs and the field seemed anchored there.

Down the left side and across the bottom were about thirty small images, each different. Most looked like logos of something or other. One had a police badge in it. Andersen poked his finger through it and it expanded to fill the field of light. Now across the top of the screen, it said Utah State Highway Patrol. On the right-hand side, there was a small white rectangle that said Driver’s Licenses.

Andersen poked his finger through the rectangle and it expanded. Andersen wrote Matt’s full name in the rectangle at the top in golden light with his finger.

Matt’s record filled the field. It contained all the information that a police would need if he’d pulled Matt over. Among the data was the same number that was on the front of Matt’s new license.

“This is the official record from the Utah Department of Transportation.”

“You hacked the system and added my name?”

“Yes, And there’s no way they can tell it wasn’t added by themselves. I can tap into anything from any source I need: your FBI record, your California birth certificate, your elementary school records, junior high and last year’s GPA. That time you visited Florida, and left record of your stay in a hotel. You broke a lamp?” He gave Matt a mock reproving look. He flipped, poked and slid spots of light, each of the places Anderson had mention flickered in the field until Matt saw C’s in French, a B in Geometry, an A in English. “You’re a smart kid, but I think you can go faster. We’ll take your junior and senior years altogether in eight months. We’ll finish your Eagle in scouting and do a lot more hard training besides.”

Andersen’s left fist glowed again and he reached out suddenly tapping Matt’s left ear, his left temple, and his lip, while saying the words “Mah, Nah, Nok.” Matt’s head filled with light again.

“What language are we talking in now?” he asked in very strange syllables.

“It’s called ‘Mananok’ and it’s the language we use in the camp, um, school.”

“Look, Mr. Larsen...”

“Andersen.”

“What?”

“My name is Lars Andersen. Call me Andersen. So what did you want to ask me?”

“What is this all about? Are we going to go hunt vampires, unicorns, or...”

Andersen roared with laughter. He turned to Matt and started laughing all the harder. Tears were actually rolling down his face. He wiped them off and then started a third time on a laughing jag so embarrassing for Matt that he almost got out of the car.

“I’m serious Andersen!” shouted Matt over the laughter. “What the Hell is this all about?”

The adult calmed down and looked sheepishly at his young charge. He held up a ball of golden light in his left hand. “This is not magic. It’s a natural energy as real as gravity. A very small percentage of humanity can perceive and manipulate it. You, my friend, have the potential of being one of the strong ones.” He paused then said: “There’s a chapel seven blocks north of here. Drive straight to the street on the other side of the mall, then up.”

Matt didn’t move for several moments. He just sat and stared at the steering wheel in his hands, then quietly he asked: “800 East?”

“Yes, and about 500 South.”

When they got there Matt was directed to pull into a certain stall. Andersen tapped the crystal on his cuff link and then pointed forward. A slight mist contracted into a fog around the Caddy. He then tapped his crystal again. Only, this time, he twisted his hand over it like he was trying to open a large-mouthed bottle. The fog before them evaporated and a large cavern opened up where there was only air before. “Drive through and park.” Matt complied. The portal to the cavern closed behind them. Andersen picked up his hat and stepped from the car.

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