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The Highmore Chronicles: The Lost Kingpin

By AJDay

Adventure / Fantasy

Prologue

A pale creature lay in a small bed of white sheets. It was in a light blue gown, one that you would see in a hospital. Its hair was nearly the same color as its pale skin, wavy and knotted as though it had never been taken care of. The creature infolded in the sheets was in fact a girl, but no ordinary girl.  In the darkness, Eva lay in her bed tossing and turning in her sleep. A sudden jerk made her spring from her bed. Her head was covered in sweat, her bones shaking inside her. Clawing through her bedclothes she ran to her small desk pulling out a piece of dirty paper. Smacking her hands against the table she found the item in which she was searching for. She ran to the barred window and began to scratch on the piece of paper with a charcoal stick. An image began to form. The only thing lighting the paper for her to see was the moonlight shining through the bars. Within minutes, she dropped the charcoal piece and looked deep into the paper.

  The image on the page was exactly like the vision in her head. Slowly she moved through the darkness and found some more of the special tack that Doctor Augusta let her have for being a good girl. She stuck some on the back of the paper and pushed it against the wall, next to hundreds of other charcoal drawings. They were all various sized parchments, with scribbles of beasts and humans. None of them seemed normal to the Doctor, which had brought up several questions to Eva. She had never been able to answer them, at least with what they wanted to hear. The dreams that she would have, would leave her in a frightened state, but every image that appeared she had drawn down.

  Eva back onto her bed was filled with a sense of relief. Her stiff nightgown crinkled as she folded herself onto the thin mattress, not taking her eyes away from the picture. A smile grew on her face and tears began to well in her eyes. It was beautiful, was the only thing she could think about. But soon her eyes had drifted over to the parchment next to it. There was a gruesome figure, one that always struck horror in the girl’s soul. All the way up into the high ceiling were pictures of this person. Hair; dark, long and tangled hiding demonic eyes and a smile of disgusting teeth. The nightmares at which the character would appear, was seared into her mind. It made her anxious within her bed, as she draped the sheets around her. Her eyes drifted back to her latest creation and she sighed with a smile laying her head on the flat pillow and falling into a dreamless sleep. 


                                  Michael William Highmore

Michael Highmore shifted in his bed, as usual, through the night. Rolling over he read the clock, it was only 2 am and he still had several hours before he would have to be at work. It had been the same thing for the past few months. At the end of the day he would come home exhausted, climb into bed, and lay there awake. Perhaps on some nights he would get a few hours of good sleep, but the rest would be spent tossing and turning. He wished he was back where he had been for the past year, but nothing was going to change the fact that he had to change. Soon realizing that it was pointless to just lay there, Michael pulled himself out of bed and made his way down the stairs. His kitchen was probably his least favorite place in his refurbished home. He had spent several months fixing it up before he left on his year long trip. The small vacation had been quite therapeutic at the time, but as soon as it was done Michael was back where he started. He had no sense of direction in the kitchen just like it seemed he was in everyday life. He had never been able to cook as well as his mother tried to teach him.

  Opening the refrigerator, Michael pulled out the glass bottle of milk. He opened up cabinets not being able to find the pot that he needed. Finally, he managed to find a small pan, and placed it on the stove burner. With pure instinct his body took him to the desk and he grabbed a long wooden stick from one of the drawers. Walking sleepily back to the burner and he held up the stick. It was carved down to a beautiful creation with a dark mahogany handle and rosewood shaft. On the handle was engraved MH in ornate letters. Michael pointed the stick at the pan and instantly a fire began to burn underneath it. In fact that was no ordinary stick, it was a wand. Michael was a wizard, a pure-blood, meaning that everyone else blood related to him were wizards and witches also.

  Michael learned everything he needed to know about magic from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. When Michael turned 11, he was accepted by a letter delivered by his owl that he had had since he was born named Gatsby. It was his fathers, who had a thing for the muggle writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, who wrote The Great Gatsby.  

  Both of Michael’s parents were passionate about traveling. They actually met while in Egypt, both very interested in magical artifacts. After they were married, they joined a group of tradesmen who made their living finding and sell magical artifacts. The money never seemed good enough, but soon a new opportunity had arisen. There was a company that claimed to look for “lost artifacts” when in fact they were in the magical drug business. Things like dragon lung, remora tail, alihotsy leaves, all items that do very well on the drug market among witches and wizards. Being young, the two thought that it would be fine to make some money and get their life started. While in India capturing the remora fish, Michael was born. His mother kept him close but continued her work. The family never seemed to stay in one place for too long, always traveling. Michael had been to nearly every continent before the age of three. The backpacking, tent pitching lifestyle was all that Michael understood, and that became evident as he grew up. It wasn’t until he turned ten years old that his parents began to take less jobs, and found a comfortable home in Florence.

  Michael was soon of age to attend a magical school, and so he left his mother and father who continued to do side work. On holidays he would ask to join them, but they would tell him to return home. He would always find something new and interesting to look at. His parents would bring fascinating artifacts back, which filled their Florence house making it look like a bazaar from a third world country. It wasn’t until Michael had turn 14 that he found what his parent’s real job was. They kept a trunk at the foot of their bed, of items that needed to be sold. After researching a few items, there was no doubt that his parents were in the drug trade. All this time he believed them to be archeologists, searching for missing artifacts. Who knows what made him do it, but he took several of the materials with him. Within weeks he had managed to figure out how to get the full effect of each drug and was hooked. When his parents were home to visit him, they noticed his withdrawal from the world. His darkened eyes and fingers became more evident and tremors were apparent. It wasn’t until his father caught Michael smuggling some out of their room during his final year at Hogwarts, during the Christmas holiday that they realized it.

  The shock of finding this young eighteen year old with these illicit materials would have made anyone uneasy. They let him finish off his school year without help from the drugs. It was a terrible few months for Michael, and he nearly didn’t pass his exams. As soon as his seventh and final year was over his parents sent him to a wizarding rehabilitation center. Somehow he managed to get worse, for magic doesn’t solve all problems. With much consideration they decided to send Michael to a muggle institute.

  It was quite difficult to get him in with all the questions being asked about his drug use. Sniffing the dried remains of an Egyptian scarab was unheard of in the non-magic world. After much difficulty they were able to place him in the hospital. His five years there were quite difficult. They taught him ways of overcoming his addictions, the old fashion way with no magic. It made him appreciate his skill of being a wizard. He stayed in his room most the time, room 314. It was solitary, with a single bed, desk, and barred window. His life as a wizard was never spoken of, even during his parent’s visits. As far as anyone knew, he was a normal boy with a normal addiction. His doctor, Lucia Augusta, treated him with the utmost respect always telling him he was her favorite patient. The woman did notice many strange things about Michael, especially some of the odd events that happened around him; such as when his door was unlocked, with no key. The only way he could explain it, was that the night guard had left it unlocked. Or if another patient picked a fight, somehow the opponent would end up on the roof, when seconds earlier he had been in the playground area. By the time Michael was 22, he had been, how they say it, “completely cured”.

  Of course being completely cured inside an institute is much different than being cured to the outside world. Returning home, Michael found that his parents had removed many of the items from the travels. They no longer worked for their company, but found odd jobs to do while searching for better careers, or so they told him. Getting back into normal wizard life was much more challenging than staying at the institute. His mother helped him into the job market, but not many people were interested in hiring an ex-drug addict. Fortunately, he was given a job at the Ministry of Magic (or the MOM) as a filer with room to grow into something more.

  Michael was simply placed in The Department of Magical Law Enforcement, doing paperwork. It was enough to get him by in life. Several years later he found a home that was completely decrepit, he used his time refurbishing his new home and working at the MOM.

  Work was where Michael would be heading in the next five hours and he hoped to get to sleep. Though while sitting with his mug of warm milk, he was shocked to hear his muggle telephone ringing. Witches and wizards used owls to send messages, and a phone was very foreign to Michael. The only reason he had a phone in the first place was to speak with his sister. Unlike his mother and father, she did not possess any magical powers. This of course was due to the fact that she was adopted.

  Michael was 19 at the time, while he was in the institute. His mother, who was unable to have any children after Michael, was longing for another. It so happened that a wizarding family from the states had a child with no magical skills. A person with two wizarding parents and no magical power is known as a squib. It was very rare and mostly unheard of. Squibs knew about the magical world, which made it difficult for them to lead a normal life with magic around them. When the Highmores’ discovered this child being put up for adoption, in the wizarding network, they felt compelled to take her in. She was twelve at the time, but never seemed to let anything bother her. When Michael returned home, he was quite displeased to be around her, but soon found that she was very comforting at times. They became quite close and Michael always wished to talk to her, even with him living miles away.

For a moment he didn’t realize that it was the phone making the displeasing sound. None the less, he stood up walking to the small device. He picked up the receiver and held it to his ear trying to remember what to do. “Hello,” he said in a groggy voice. The caller on the other end seemed quite awake for this hour. She had a very sweet voice, with an accent that seemed very familiar.

"Hello, Michael Highmore? This is Susan Wilkins calling from the Rehabilitation Clinical Institution of Laois.” Michael instantly knew who it was, and gulped silently. Why would they be calling this early in the morning.

“Yes, how can I help you?” he stuttered.

“I am sorry to wake you this early, but Dr. Lucia Augusta wishes to speak with you. She says that it is urgent,” the woman seemed very professional, and in quite a bit of a rush.

“I don’t know why she would need to talk to me – “

“Sorry sir, I am unaware of the reasoning, but it is an emergency. She will schedule a flight for you for the morning, are you currently still living in Florence,” she said rather quickly.

Michael was very confused by the questioning, but eventually cleared his throat, thinking he could hear her tapping her nails on the desk. “Actually, I live a lot closer to Ireland now. I can probably drive up there, but I have to work – “

“Dr. Augusta insists unfortunately. She has an appointment scheduled for you at 9 am today,” the woman continued.

“Of course, I will be there at 9.”

With a hurried thank you the woman hung up and left Michael in a whirl of confusion. He set down the phone, now completely awake. Last he had spoken to the Doctor was on his last day at the institution. As far as he knew she probably had forgotten about him. Clearly this wasn’t the case. He poured the rest of his milk down the drain and made his way up stairs. He figured he could get ready in enough time to sit around and wait nervously before he needed to leave.


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