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14 year old Magnus has two things keeping him from being the greatest witch of all time, he can't cast a single spell, and he's a boy. He tries to awaken his magical abilities and escape his cold mother by going to his aunt's house for the summer. Things take a turn and he will have to rely on family and find his own strength in order to save himself, and everyone he loves.

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Chapter 1

My little sister found her magic this morning. Traitor. We were a team, even if she was just nine years old and sometimes picked her nose. We were the last ones in our family to have no great gift. And now she’s gone and ruined it all.

We were eating breakfast in the sunroom, my older sister Rosalyn giggled at some joke that her wolf had made. It was a tall black-furred monstrosity that always stared at me as if it was debating how crunchy my bones were. I was clutching my spoon with a white-knuckled hand and thinking of an excuse to eat in my room, when little Paisley fell over into her plate of eggs. She slumped as if her entire life was extinguished from her all at once, a candle blown out. She fell to the floor with a clatter and her plate spun on the floor. Rosealyn and I ran to her and turned her onto her back.

“Stay back Magnus, it could be a spell!” my sister said, waving me away with one hand and placing another onto Paisley’s forehead.

“I’ll get mom” I got up and ran, for once not minding the dismissive and arrogant tone that only my family can speak in.

When mom and I came running back into the sunroom, Paisley and Rosalyn were giggling together and speaking in quiet rushed tones. Rosalyn’s wolf was eating the remains of breakfast that had fallen to the floor.

Paisley’s chubby little face looked more serious than it had just a moment ago. Her black hair caught the morning light like the iridescent wings of a dragonfly. Her eyes also seemed ever so slightly lighter.

“She’s awoken” Rosalyn said excitedly, beckoning our mother closer.

Our mother, a tall and serious woman who seemed to save her smiles like rare coins to spend only in times of great need, was grinning from ear to ear. She went down on a knee and moved the hair from Paisley’s face.

“What did you see, my love?” she said with more kindness than I’d ever heard from her.

“So many things!” my sister’s voice was high and her words ran together.

“I fell asleep but I was awake at the same time and I was at the base of a big mountain and the rocks and the trees and bugs all had voices and they knew who I was!” Her pale hands waved in the air as she spoke.

“And grandma was there, and great aunt Helen and a bunch of women I didn’t know and they said I was a bridge and that all the souls in the world can come and ask me for help.”

I stood there at the doorway, my mother and sisters in a tight little circle and nodding and asking questions as Paisley went on. I wanted to join, but the light of a new witch was dangerous to mortals, and that’s what I still was. I turned and left, I don’t think they noticed.

I walked down the amber colored hallways with tears stinging my eyes. I was happy for her, I was. It just hurt too. I was the only male witch in one hundred generations, and utterly powerless. Gods it was so embarrassing, in all my reading I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a witch taking this long to get their gift, maybe I was just a human after all.

I threw off the dozen or so scattered books and pages on my bed and laid down, facing the wall. I tried to go away inside. If I could just leave myself behind, maybe when I came back I’d be special. I’d have an army of wolves take my counsel like Rosalyn, or I’d speak the language of trees like my mom.

I had a few dozen of my paintings on the walls. I liked to be surrounded by color. Most of them were from my family. I painted Rosalyn with her wolves, or aunt Kass with her white raven familiar. Maybe if I didn’t get magical gifts, I could run away and set myself up in the subway, painting people for crumpled dollar bills. It was better than… better than being just Magnus.

A few hours later there was a gentle knock at my door. I said nothing. I heard the door open and little footsteps plodded up to my bed and Paisley laid her head on my back like it was a pillow. The witchlight had mostly faded from her, but there was the gentlest glow on my bedroom wall.

“Whatcha doin?” she asked.

“I’m sulking,” I said.

“That’s what mom said you’d be doing” she chirped

“Did you know that everything has a voice?” she whispered with amazement.

“Yes. And you know I can’t hear it yet.” I said to the wall. A little red spider crawled down into my view.

“I made you something!” Paisley said in a small voice, I heard a flutter of paper behind me and then she got up and plodded out of the room. The glow left and I was left alone in the dark.

After a few minutes of watching the spider walk in lazy circles, I rolled over. She’d drawn a picture for me. It was her, Rosalyn, and our mother all holding hands, and she’d drawn me high in the sky, riding a dragon with butterfly wings. Everyone else was looking up in amazement and smiling. My face turned red. Even on her day, she wanted to make me feel better. Tears fell onto the page and the picture blurred.

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