PROLOGUE Massachusetts, Governor Sir William Phips had a secret. He didn’t know how, he just knew.

He knew that witches were not real. And he also knew that the good people of Salem had no clue. They were innocent. They had been put on trial for witchcraft. They were tried and were about to be burned at the stake. As Governor he knew he was the only one that could stop it. And so here he was, on his way to Salem, to stop the confused citizens of Massachusetts. Mr. Phips was a powerful man, and maybe he could use that power to save the innocent people about to be murdered that day.

But he was not powerful in the way people thought him to be. He had a power.. The power few possessed that was for the good of mankind. But it also had to be hidden from those he protected. It’s the burden that Mr. Phips knew only too well. He had kept his secret hidden his whole life and would die keeping it if necessary. CHAPTER ONE “Umph!” Haus landed on top of me, all 200 pounds of him. A loud boom shook the room. The storm outside was now raging now at full force. An illuminating flash let me see the outline of my massive dog’s face only inches from my own. “Haus, get off me!” I moaned tiredly. His quivering form only seemed to move closer. For such big dog, he really was a wimp when it came to storms. Seeing he hadn’t obeyed, I pushed back the huge dog till his back paws hit the wooded floor. Although his front paws remained on me, I could now fully breathe. I patted his huge head. His thoughts were panic stricken and filled with fear. Yes that’s right, I said thoughts. I don’t know why, but I can read people’s minds. And apparently animals, although all that I can hear is just emotions. Haus is a good dog, except for the occasional thunder storm crazes. He is also my only friend. I raised him since he was only a few weeks old. Our old neighbors in Kentucky gave him to us for free. The mother was our neighbor’s rottweiler, Duchess, and the father is to this day a mystery. Mr. Jinks, our neighbor, said he saw a huge black dog leaving the pen where he kept Duchess. He had at first mistook the massive black dog for a bear. “Biggest dog I’ve ever laid my own two eyes on!” he’d said when he had handed him to me. It took me a while to find a name for him, since he was so unique. He looks like a rottweiler, except for his sheer size and full black coat. But he got his name soon enough when my mother spilled a whole gallon of milk on the floor.. She had gone to grab a mop to clean up the milky mess, only to find that the puppy had beaten her to it. “My Haus.” she’d said. When I had questioned her about the word ‘Haus’, she told me that it meant hero in Hungarian. And so from that day on, he was Haus. Now, sitting on my bed with his gargantuan paws in my lap, the ‘hero’ was cowering. “Come on, Haus,” I said, “lets go get you to your room.” We didn’t really intend to let Haus have his own room, but we have so many extra rooms since the move. Haus plopped his front paws on the wooded floor and waited for me to join him. I hopped out of bed, pulled on my slippers, and walked to door. I still get lost every time I walk around in the new house, with all its new hallways and doors. Even my

dad, who has just the about the sharpest memory in my family, walks in my room from time to time with his newspaper thinking it’s the bathroom. Another loud boom got Haus running down the hall towards his room, with me walking slowly behind him. After a good minute of searching, I found the door labeled ‘Haus’, and stepped inside. Haus’s mind was no calmer than it had been before. He went and laid down on his huge cushion and started shivering in fear. A flash of lightning lighted the room. The room was originally used as a sitting room, or maybe a reading room. It wasn’t quite as large as some of the bedrooms, but it was not closet sized. It was bare apart from Haus’s cushion and small table in the corner. On the table was a blanket. I had put it there for nights such as these, when Haus needed some company. I grabbed the blanket and eased myself down next to Haus on the cushion. He put his head in my lap, and I ran my hand over his smooth fur. Gradually, his mind started to calm down, and soon enough, the 200 pound dog was snoring. Boom! The house shook and creaked. Haus twitched in his sleep. The house continued creaking even after the thunder had died down. Well of course it would creak! The house was built in 1691 after all. That was probably the only reason we moved into it. You see, my father got a job at Harvard as a history professor. That’s why we moved from Kentucky. My mom, who is always traveling anyway because she is a best-selling travel book author, was ecstatic about moving. It took a while to find a place to move to, since my dad was looking for something with a little bit of history to it, but then we found what he labeled, “the perfect house”. Actually, the house was really named “My Island” by the Governor who built all those years ago. Anyway, when my dad found this house, he was thrilled. He quickly offered to buy the house, only to find that someone else had beat him to it. The real-estate lady was real nice about it and apologized several times, promising that if things didn’t go well with the other people, that we’d be the first she called. But that was unlikely. But then the unlikely happened. She called. A week later, the real-estate lady called. And just like that, we moved into 219 Brimmer Street. Through all of this, my parents didn’t ask for my opinion much. I’m not a talker, and I prefer to be alone, and my parents respect that. I hadn’t been devastated by the move, not at all. In fact Hauss’s thoughts had more anxiety about leaving than I did. I just simply went along, did my part. Adapted. But if my parents had asked me my opinion, I would

have told them I wanted to stay in Kentucky. I was not attached to any people there, but I loved the country-styled fields and open blue skies. Now, here in Salem, I am going to be attending a school for the first time, since I have been home schooled in my previous years. I already went this afternoon, since school starts tomorrow, to meet my teachers, get my schedule, and find my locker. Everything sounded great except for the ‘meeting the teachers’ part. I just don’t like talking to people. The teachers were very teacher-like, with their straight backs, beady eyes, and in some cases, balding hair. My locker number was 202, and it was on the end of the row of lockers, which means less people to be near. My schedule was very simple: math; English; science; P.E.; lunch; history. They said there was a free period in there somewhere, but it failed to show on the paper. I didn’t see many people, just a few stuck-up richies, a couple of nerds, and some jocks. I was about to leave, and that’s when I saw them. A girl, about five foot in height with dark brown hair and olive skin, and a boy, about six foot in height with shaggy, blonde hair, tan skin, and broad shoulders. The boy was towering over the frail-figured girl, taunting her, teasing her. The girl’s thoughts were racing a mile a minute; she was very scared. I hadn’t been able to make out the words he used, but the tone was clearly not pleasant. And neither were his thoughts. That was all I needed to hear. I had needed to stop it. Now, see, on any other day I would have just ignored the two, no matter how uneven the odds are. I’d have just stayed where I was, remain invisible, and move on. But today was different; it was just something that had to be stopped. I had walked right up to the boy and girl, who both looked like they were about my age, despite the varying heights. I grabbed the boy’s shoulder. He started to turn his head towards me, and says harshly “What do you…!” he never did finished. I stared at him right in the face, into his deep, blue, eyes. And he just stared right back. We both just stared. His face had contorted then into a playing field of mixed emotions, all unreadable. His mind was going far too fast for me to even hope to read. The girl’s mind was filled with relief, but also a whole new fear. She feared for me. That was a first. The boy was not in his emotional stupor long. What now played on his face was shock and confusion. “Who are you?” he’d asked. I had answered him without skipping a beat, “The name’s Dani Beth Phips.” I had then put my arm around the small girls shoulder, turned my head, sending my braid swinging around, and led the confused girl

away. I did not need to look back to sense that the boy- no the bully- was staring at me as I made my retreat. His mind was still in turmoil, so I hadn’t been able to read it then. Well, that had suited me just fine. I didn’t want to read his mind anyway. And now, on the floor, dwelling on my horrible day with my Haus’s heavy head bellowing in my lap, I realize I have to face the girl and the boy in two days. Great, Dani, just great. I have made enemies before the school year even started. I sighed, lifted Haus’s head off my lap, draped the blanket over him, and made my way back to my room slowly. Wandering through the creaking halls, I examined what was now my home. It didn’t feel like home. Kentucky didn’t feel like home either. Where is home? Well, Dorothy was right about one thing. There’s no place like home. Because there is no such place. I found my room after a couple of turns, and crawled into bed, too tired to care that my slippers were still on my feet. This was only one of the many sleepless nights I’ve had since we moved here. But if I hurried up and fell asleep quickly, I could get about four hours of rest. I nearly slid into oblivion the second my head hit the pillow. Dream-like thoughts and conversations filled my head. But one voice, among the other dreamy voices, stood out to me, even though it was whispering: “You have been chosen…” CHAPTER 2 I woke to what sounded like a dying animal. BEEP BEEP SHREIK! BEEP BEEP SHREIK! No its just my dang alarm clock. A great start to the last day of summer. Just peachy. I checked to see what time it was. 12:34. Well, I slept half the day away. Apparently my alarm clock isn’t working properly. I slipped out of bed and went to get ready for the day. My mom and dad were up. I know this because my dad’s thoughts were on where he last put his car keys while my mom was wondering if she should have a tuna or ham sandwich. I threw on my favorite gray shirt with an old pair of jeans and headed down the halls toward the kitchen. When I entered the kitchen, I found Haus staring very intently at my mom’s ham sandwich. “Hey honey. How’d you sleep?” she said. Mom has been asking me that every morning since the move. Her mom-instincts have been telling her I haven’t been sleeping well. Either the mom instincts or the black

circles under my eyes. “Fine. Is there ham left?” I replied as I sat down at the table. “No, but there is just a bit of tuna left to make a tuna sandwich.” she answered. Did I mention how much I hate tuna? I scowled at the little can with the overly happy fish on it. My dad walked into the kitchen. “Has anyone here seen my car keys? I have to get to Harvard before one.” Dad’s thoughts were trying to retrace his steps from the time he walked into the door last night. He knew he had his keys when he walked in, but after he saw dinner for him in the microwave, he lost track of where he put them. “Try looking in your pant’s pocket. You know, the pants you wore yesterday?” I suggested. Remembrance dawned on his face. “Thank you Dani!” he turned to my mom, “Do you know where my pants are?” My mom took a minute to answer. “Oh! There in the washing machine.” Dad ran in the direction where he thought the laundry room was. By the time he returned, my mom had a finished tuna sandwich on a plate for me. He held up the remains of what was his car keys. “Do you think it will still work?” he asked. I tried to stifle a laugh. “The key will.” my mom answered. “At least its clean now.” I said. He frowned and headed out the door to his car. “Now I have to walk all the way up to the car to unlock it.” he thought. I couldn’t help it. I burst out laughing. My mom joined in and we laughed for a good bit. Men are just so lazy sometimes. “Well that was an interesting lunch break.” Mom said after a bit. That confused me a bit. “Wait, you’re on your lunch break?” I asked. She walked over to the sink and started to wash off her dirty dish from lunch. “Yes, I had the morning shift at the store today. I get an hour break and then I have to go back. Becky is sick, and I have to cover her afternoon shift.” She said. Apart from writing travel books, my mom works at Go Global Traveling Agency as her day job. She hadn’t been working there long, only about a week, so I’m surprised she is on a first name basis with some of the employees. My mom looked at me sadly. “I hate leaving you here like this.” She chided. And she really meant that. The only reason she let me keep Haus was so that I wouldn’t be completely alone all the time. “Mom, I’m sixteen. I’ll be fine.” I said. She started to gather her purse and her car keys. “No wild house parties while I’m gone.” She joked. As if I knew any people that would willingly talk to me, let alone party. I smiled and played along, “Guess I’ll have to

call all those people to tell them my mom is on to us.” She laughed and headed for the door. “I’ll be home around nine. Bye.” “And that tuna sandwich better be finished by the time I get back.” she thought. “Don’t worry, it will be gone.” I said, eyeing Haus. Wait a second. Oops. My mom looked at me real funny for a second. Her hand was on the doorknob. So close, all she had to do was walk out the door. “What?” she asked. What to do! I decided to do what I do best. Frame Haus. “Um, Haus still looked spooked from that thunder storm last night. I was simply telling him it would be gone. Why do you ask?” Mom looked doubtful at first, but then thought, “She does talk to that dog a lot…” “No reason. I’ll see you later, sweetie.” she finally said. She turned the doorknob and she walked out the door. Whew! She bought it. There are reasons why I don’t like to talk much, and its because my big mouth can get me in big trouble. I turned to Haus. “Looks like it’s just you and me, boy.” I got up from the table and was about to leave the kitchen, until I saw what caused the close call this morning. The tuna sandwich. I walked over to it and rattled the plate. Haus’s eyes never left the sandwich. I set it on the corner closest to him and turned away. Haus is smart; he won’t eat anything off the table unless no one is watching. I heard his big claws click against the kitchen tile, then stop. I heard a shift of weight and paws thud on the table. And finally I heard a chewing sound and satisfied thoughts. I turned back around, and sure enough, the plate was empty of both sandwich and crumbs. I took the plate and put it in the dishwasher. Now what? My parents are gone and it’s the last day of summer. I walked out of the kitchen until I was in our living room. The TV had been left on, and it was talking about the upcoming 2012 presidential inauguration. Not one for politics, I switched it off. I glanced around the room. This is were we have all the other boxes we haven’t unpacked yet. My mom, being such a neat-freak, had labeled ever single box. There were three small boxes labeled “attic” that were pushed in a corner. Well, there is nothing else to do, and I can carry boxes.. So I put two and two together and went over to inspect them. They were small boxes, so I could carry them all at once. I grabbed the boxes and started to walk towards the stairs. The downside about carrying boxes is that if you stack them up to carry them and you can’t see well. So I made the trip up the stairs, tripping over every third step I took. By the time I reached the top of the stairs, I could have sworn that the boxes were full of

rocks. I walked around the halls, looking for anything that looked like it would lead to the attic. Haus loped up the stairs and found me, and then took his usual place at my heals. The boxes were now getting heavier with every step. I looked at Haus (hard to do with boxes in you arms) and said, “You could help you know.” He just wagged his tail and pretended to know what I just said. His dark eyes seemed to laugh. I turned the corner and saw a rope hanging from the ceiling.. The attic. I set the boxes down and hopped up and down until I caught the tip of the rope. I pulled down, and with a loud creak, a set of ladder/steps greeted me. Now I see why these boxes had been left for someone else to put up. How do you carry a box full of unknown crap up a ladder? Very carefully, that’s how. I grabbed the first box and ascended up the ladder. It was dark, and I couldn’t see a thing. I felt my way to the wall, and set down the box. I walked around, slowly so I wouldn’t trip over anything that might be up here. Something cold and string-like brushed my forehead.. I reached out and blindly found it. Curious, I gave it a tug, and a naked light bulb illuminated the attic. The whole interior was made of wood. It was like being on the inside of a ship or a small abandoned cabin. There was a very old chair in the corner. At closer inspection, the chair looked like it might have been bright red, but let’s just say the years haven’t been very kind to it. Next to the old chair was a small reading table. If the lighting was any better, this would be an ideal place for me to read! There were ancient boxes everywhere. Even with the small light, I couldn’t see everything about the room. And the smell! It smelled as old as the place looked, with about a pound of dust coating everything. I walked around, looking in some of the aging boxes. Some boxes had books in them, some had old cloths, while others were just empty. A large box caught my eye. It was in the corner, and it was barely visible. I worked my way around the room, focused on that one box. A stupid idea when there is stuff everywhere just waiting to trip you. My foot got caught on what looked like the oldest box in there. I fell head first onto the hard floor. THUD! When my head hit the floor, I saw black and red stars dance everywhere. Haus, hearing my clumsiness, was barking as loudly as he could. I tried to call out to him, but between the dust coating my mouth and the breath getting knocked out of me, I remained silent. I sat on the floor for a minute and then stood up. I continued on toward the big box.

Extra carefully this time though. When I got to it, I blew the dust of the top. I place my hand on it and lifted the lid…only to find that all that was in there was a dead mouse. Great, I trip and hit my head for a dead rodent? Happy last day of summer to me! Disappointed, I walked over to see what I had tripped over. The contents of the box were flung around it. There were lots of papers, all elegantly written by hand, and journals. Well this is a cool find! Making sure there was nothing under me, I sat down next to the box. I picked up an old journal and flipped through the pages. Most of the ink was faded, but I was able to make out a few sentences: “…an evil that must be stopped at all costs…” “”The citizens of Massachusetts are confused…” “…the mission is far more….may God help me” Wow, this guy had an interesting life! I wonder who’s this is? I flipped through the journal, looking for the owner’s name.. I found a promising signature on the last page: Sir William Phips. Phips. He has the same last name as me! Are we distantly related? I flipped through the journals to see if there was anything that could give me a clue. I couldn’t find anything, so I set the journal down. As I did, a small white envelope caught my eye. “What have we here?” I murmured to myself. The envelope hadn’t been open before, since the red circular seal was still intact. I picked it up and looked at it. It was very old; so old that I felt that if I dropped it, the envelope would shatter into many small pieces. I carefully turned it over. It was completely blank. Should I open it? Or should I not? For all I know, it could be report on how crops were doing back in the day. Or worse, a love letter. But that’s just the thing. I don’t know. Curiosity killed the cat, I guess. I fumbled with the seal, trying to get it open without shredding the paper. But despite my caution, I tore right through to the letter. Oops. Even more carefully than before, I unfolded the fragile letter. And nearly dropped it. “That’s not possible!” I whispered. It was addressed to me. CHAPTER 3 “My dearest Dani,…” I read the line over and over again. It felt like time had stopped. There was a strange silence, creepy and maddening at the same time. Even Haus had stopped barking and the house seemed to put off the creaking

for now. It had to be some kind of coincidence. It couldn’t possibly be to me. I mean, it was written in the late 1600s! It’s not possible! But it felt possible. If I can read minds, I think it could be possible. Ok, let’s just think for a second here. The only way I could ever find out if it is addressed to me is to simply read it. So I forced my widened eyes to leave the first line, and read, “My dearest Dani, You have questions that have been unanswered. There are differences from you and others. You have a gift, Dani. A powerful gift. I hope that you will receive this letter as the answers you have been searching for. Dani, you are a Magician. You are called to help mankind in some way. That is your mission. Your mission will be apparent. It will be a passion that you feel you must complete. And you must. I do not know exactly what you will accomplish. I only know of you. When the world is about to go through some of its darkest times, we are born. Always to our family and always on February 2nd. It is a Magician’s job to bring light to the darkness. It is not a simple task, I know from my own past experience. I do not know who is in control of the hardships to come, but I know that without your help, things will go very wrong. It is my understanding that what I did was to save freedom. I guess that happened after I was gone. I know what I did was impossible without my gift. Let you instincts guide you, and trust them blindly. You will not be alone through all of this. You will be meeting someone new. This person is to be you Guardian. Their mission is very clear. To keep you safe so that you can finish your mission. You must trust them with your life, for they will gladly give up theirs. Dani, you will be finding new abilities. They will come quickly and naturally. Forget all that you know about magicians. You will never see a real magician on a stage. A real magician lives by a code and for a cause much bigger than themselves. It is never about them, but about the mission.. It is there purpose in life. By tomorrow, you will know who your Guardian is. Things will not feel right at first, but you will grow accustomed to them. Remember to trust your Guardian. This person will have the passion, strength, and skills to take up the task of protecting you. Let this person into your life. Dani, this is a secret that you must keep. Don’t give it away to anyone whose intentions are wicked. For to know this secret without being endowed with the gift and passions it takes to protect them, could cause

the whole world to parish.” Signed through love, Sir William Phips 219 Brimmer Street Boston, M.A. October 14th, 1692” I was dizzy. I felt like I was about to pass out. Breathe, Dani, remember to breathe. It could be another Dani, right? I folded the letter, even more carefully than before and slid it into the envelope. Not a simple task when your hands are shaking. He couldn’t have been talking to me. It’s not possible. I’m just not ‘Magician’ material. But part of me hoped he was talking to me. Because either I’m a Magician, or I’m just slowly going in sane. I looked down at the envelope in my shaking hands. The seal was now broken, its secrets now revealed. I flipped it over to the back. It was still blank. Don’t get you hopes up. You’ve read way to many fantasy books. It’s finally getting to your head. He wasn’t talking to me. But then the impossible happened. The blank envelope was no longer blank. On it, in big fancy letters, words were being written. I watched in awe as it wrote my full name. Dani Beth Phips That’s when I had what you would call a ‘wow moment’. I think I stared at the no-longer-blank-envelope a full ten minutes. Haus, who had been patiently waiting for me, woke me from my ‘wow’ stupor with a loud bark. I jumped as the loud bark echoed in the attic. It seems that Haus’s patience had worn off. I stood up slowly, my bones making little snapping noises from sitting in one position for so long, still clutching the envelope. I walked over to the square hole in the floor and looked down. Haus seemed to be attempting to find a way up the ladder/steps. When he saw me he literally started jumping up and down, trying to get up in the attic. I smiled down at him. “Look who’s laughing now!” I said. Revenge was so sweet. After hearing my voice, he decided to try a new tactic. He went all ‘puppy-eyed’ on me. He sat still long enough to look at me and whimper pathetically like a newborn puppy. Smart dog. He knew I could never resist the puppy face. I climbed down the ladder even more carefully than I had with the boxes, clutching the envelope to my chest. He wagged his tail triumphantly as my feet hit the hard floor. This time I glared at him.

“Enjoy it now, Haus. One day I will find a way to ignore that face of yours.” I said. That just made him wag his tail all the more. He shoved his nose into my hand, wanting me to pet his head. You just can’t stay mad at a dog forever can you? I patted his head all the way to my room. When I got there, I started to look around to see where I could put a 320 year old letter. I examined possible hiding places. My room was always neat. My bed with the missmatched colored comforter with an old tattered blanket was made army style, with all the sheets and blankets tucked into the mattress. The dresser was un-cluttered and had a small stack of books to read on top.. The small outdated tv that refused to work no matter what I did sat next to it, My reading table was barely fitting a small fan, a lamp, a clock, and a book. But it looked neat the way it was set. The messiest part of my room was the desk. It had a computer, a large can of pencils, paper scattered on top, and little speakers for music. There were drawers full of useless crap. This was probably the best place to hide the envelope. I walked over to the desk and pulled a drawer completely out of the desk. In the spot where the desk drawer had been was a flat surface where the drawer sat when it was unopened. I placed the envelope there, and put the drawer back in its place. No one ever takes out a drawer, so the letter should be safe. Now that the letter was safely hidden, I could actually think about what it said. Apparently, something big was about to happen. Something very big. And I had to stop it. You can call me crazy all you want, but after reading that letter and seeing my name written on the back of the envelope, as if by an invisible hand, I’m gonna believe every word that it said. So what was a Magician? What powers are there? When am I gonna get these powers? Will they help me get an A in math this year? That would be a miracle in itself! At least I don’t have to do this on my own. I have a Guardian. Now I just need to figure out who this Guardian is. The letter said I’d know by tomorrow. Well that’s good for me, because I prefer quick results. There is too many questions that are unanswered. I sighed and sat down at my computer desk. I clicked and found myself of an internet search page, where I typed in the word ‘magician’. A bunch of websites came on the screen, and I randomly clicked on the first one I saw. It had a picture of a tall scrawny dude on stage pulling a rabbit out of a hat. I didn’t even bother to read anything on the page. I went back and clicked on another website. This one had stars shooting out of wand. It didn’t look promising. I decided it was worthless to try

to just look on other people’s websites. I went to an online dictionary web page and typed in the word ‘magician’ as I had before. There were two definitions. The first one said: an entertainer who is skilled in producing illusion by sleight of hand, deceptive devices, etc.; conjurer. The next one wasn’t any better: a person who is skilled in magic; sorcerer; witch or wizard. Well, I’m sure not a witch, that much is sure! The sound of protesting springs reached my ears. I turned around in my chair to see that Haus had made himself very comfortable on my bed. “Haus, how many times do I have to tell you…” I stopped there because when I turned around, I had gotten a good glance outside my window. It was already dark. Dang it.. I don’t wear a watch because I hate numbers, so I checked the time at the bottom of the screen. 8:35. Mom would be home any minute now. How long was I in that attic? It couldn’t have been that long, could it? I guess I was starring at the letter a bit more than I thought. Oh, well. A high pitched whining caught my ears. I turned around for the second time. My TV was making the noise. Haus’s ears went back. He clearly didn’t like the high pitched noise as much as I did. I turned away from Haus and looked at the TV. It was just a fuzzy haze of black and white specks. I got out of my chair to go investigate. The closer I got, the better the picture was on the TV. And I know it had nothing to do with my vision. The whining had now turned into audible words. It was the news channel, talking about the 2012 presidential election. The screen was no longer fuzzy, but had the perfect picture. I was now close enough to push the off button, but I hadn’t seen who had actually won the election. A sharply dressed man that looked to be in his late fifties came up to a podium. The bottom of the screen said that the man’s name was Charles Vallend. He adjusted the microphone and let his gaze go around him, posing for cameras and paparazzi. He smiled one more time and spoke up in the microphone, saying, “I speak to you for the first time today, as your next president.” So this was the new guy in charge. I knew he was important because of the not-so-inconspicuous body guards hovering in the background. But now that he said it on screen, you can tell he played the part well. Behind Charles, a group of political-looking people were crowded into seats. The only sign that showed they were still breathing was when they nodded. Or in other’s cases, shook their head.

Suddenly, a handsome man who looked to be in his late twenties came up to the podium and whispered into Charles’s ear. Bit young for politics isn’t he? Apparently no one else thought so, because Charles turned to the man and nodded. He continued on with his speech. But the camera was no longer focused on Charles, but on the handsome guy. I got a good glance at him before the camera switched back over. He had a full head of black hair, slicked back. A hard look to pull off without looking greasy, but with that face, he looked fine. Dark eyes seemed to match his dark hair. He wore a perfectly tailored suit that looked like it cost more than my house. He wasn’t scrawny, but he wasn’t well built either. At the bottom of the screen, the name Edric van Raphen was being displayed. You could tell this man was powerful. Just at the first glance. He just radiated power. I think it was the way he carried himself, with grace and confidence. Edric was now on his way back to his seat, and the camera adjusted back to Charles. The speech was still going strong, and my curiosity over the new leaders had worn out. I reached out and pressed the ‘off’ button on the TV. But it wouldn’t turn off. The button had done absolutely nothing to the picture on the screen. I pressed it a second time. Nothing. A third time. Zip. I was now getting frustrated. Well, if your TV wasn’t responding to you, you’d be frustrated, too.I’d had enough of the I’m-broken-now-I’m-not TV. I walked around my dresser until I could see the wires and pulled the plug. The screen went black. Thank God. I heard a rustling on the bed behind me. Haus was sitting up with his head cocked to the side, listening to something I couldn’t hear. Then he jumped off the bed, shaking everything on that wasn’t more than his 200 pound bulk, and ran out the door. Mom was home. I knew this because of Haus’s behavior and also from my mother’s tired thoughts. “Dani! I’m home!” she called up the stairway. I got up, glanced warily at my TV and headed downstairs. When I got to the bottom of the stairs, the hallway split into two directions. I stupidly took the left and ended up in the living room. Well, I took the long way, but I can get to the kitchen if I go through the door on the other side of the room. I took a step to cross over to the other side. And the living room TV came on with a high pitched whining.

I looked at the TV. Charles was finally finishing up his speech, and an old lady in a stiff blue suit stepped up to take the mike. But none of this concerned me. I just want to know how the TV came on. The remote was lying on the living room’s coffee table. Glancing around to make sure that my mom wasn’t coming in, I walked over and picked up the remote. After a minute of looking for the “off” among the many buttons, I slowly pressed “off”. It didn’t turn off. Again. Even after I pressed the button multiple times, it would switch off. “Dani, where are you?” my mom yelled from the kitchen. Crap. “I’ll be there in a minute!” I yelled back. I didn’t want to unplug the living room TV like I did with the one in my room. This was the TV that my dad used to watch

PROLOGUE Massachusetts, Governor Sir William Phips had a secret. He didn’t know how, he just knew. He knew that witches were not real. And he also knew that the good people of Salem had no clue. They were innocent. They had been put on trial for witchcraft. They were tried and were about to be burned at the stake. As Governor he knew he was the only one that could stop it. And so here he was, on his way to Salem, to stop the confused citizens of Massachusetts. Mr. Phips was a powerful man, and maybe he could use that power to save the innocent people about to be murdered that day. But he was not powerful in the way people thought him to be. He had a power.. The power few possessed that was for the good of mankind. But it also had to be hidden from those he protected. It’s the burden that Mr. Phips knew only too well. He had kept his secret hidden his whole life and would die keeping it if necessary. CHAPTER ONE

“Umph!” Haus landed on top of me, all 200 pounds of him. A loud boom shook the room. The storm outside was now raging now at full force. An illuminating flash let me see the outline of my massive dog’s face only inches from my own. “Haus, get off me!” I moaned tiredly. His quivering form only seemed to move closer. For such big dog, he really was a wimp when it came to storms. Seeing he hadn’t obeyed, I pushed back the huge dog till his back paws hit the wooded floor. Although his front paws remained on me, I could now fully breathe. I patted his huge head. His thoughts were panic stricken and filled with fear. Yes that’s right, I said thoughts. I don’t know why, but I can read people’s minds. And apparently animals, although all that I can hear is just emotions. Haus is a good dog, except for the occasional thunder storm crazes. He is also my only friend. I raised him since he was only a few weeks old. Our old neighbors in Kentucky gave him to us for free. The mother was our neighbor’s rottweiler, Duchess, and the father is to this day a mystery. Mr. Jinks, our neighbor, said he saw a huge black dog leaving the pen where he kept Duchess. He had at first mistook the massive black dog for a bear. “Biggest dog I’ve ever laid my own two eyes on!” he’d said when he had handed him to me. It took me a while to find a name for him, since he was so unique. He looks like a rottweiler, except for his sheer size and full black coat. But he got his name soon enough when my mother spilled a whole gallon of milk on the floor.. She had gone to grab a mop to clean up the milky mess, only to find that the puppy had beaten her to it. “My Haus.” she’d said. When I had questioned her about the word ‘Haus’, she told me that it meant hero in Hungarian. And so from that day on, he was Haus. Now, sitting on my bed with his gargantuan paws in my lap, the ‘hero’ was cowering. “Come on, Haus,” I said, “lets go get you to your room.” We didn’t really intend to let Haus have his own room, but we have so many extra rooms since the move. Haus plopped his front paws on the wooded floor and waited for me to join him. I hopped out of bed, pulled on my slippers, and walked to door. I still get lost every time I walk around in the new house, with all its new hallways and doors. Even my dad, who has just the about the sharpest memory in my family, walks in my room from time to time with his newspaper thinking it’s the bathroom. Another loud boom got Haus running down the hall towards his room, with me walking slowly behind him. After a good minute of searching, I found the door labeled ‘Haus’, and stepped inside. Haus’s mind was no

calmer than it had been before. He went and laid down on his huge cushion and started shivering in fear. A flash of lightning lighted the room. The room was originally used as a sitting room, or maybe a reading room. It wasn’t quite as large as some of the bedrooms, but it was not closet sized. It was bare apart from Haus’s cushion and small table in the corner. On the table was a blanket. I had put it there for nights such as these, when Haus needed some company. I grabbed the blanket and eased myself down next to Haus on the cushion. He put his head in my lap, and I ran my hand over his smooth fur. Gradually, his mind started to calm down, and soon enough, the 200 pound dog was snoring. Boom! The house shook and creaked. Haus twitched in his sleep. The house continued creaking even after the thunder had died down. Well of course it would creak! The house was built in 1691 after all. That was probably the only reason we moved into it. You see, my father got a job at Harvard as a history professor. That’s why we moved from Kentucky. My mom, who is always traveling anyway because she is a best-selling travel book author, was ecstatic about moving. It took a while to find a place to move to, since my dad was looking for something with a little bit of history to it, but then we found what he labeled, “the perfect house”. Actually, the house was really named “My Island” by the Governor who built all those years ago. Anyway, when my dad found this house, he was thrilled. He quickly offered to buy the house, only to find that someone else had beat him to it. The real-estate lady was real nice about it and apologized several times, promising that if things didn’t go well with the other people, that we’d be the first she called. But that was unlikely. But then the unlikely happened. She called. A week later, the real-estate lady called. And just like that, we moved into 219 Brimmer Street. Through all of this, my parents didn’t ask for my opinion much. I’m not a talker, and I prefer to be alone, and my parents respect that. I hadn’t been devastated by the move, not at all. In fact Hauss’s thoughts had more anxiety about leaving than I did. I just simply went along, did my part. Adapted. But if my parents had asked me my opinion, I would have told them I wanted to stay in Kentucky. I was not attached to any people there, but I loved the country-styled fields and open blue skies. Now, here in Salem, I am going to be attending a school for the first time, since I have been home schooled in my previous years. I already went this afternoon, since school starts tomorrow, to meet my teachers, get my schedule, and find my locker. Everything sounded great except

for the ‘meeting the teachers’ part. I just don’t like talking to people. The teachers were very teacher-like, with their straight backs, beady eyes, and in some cases, balding hair. My locker number was 202, and it was on the end of the row of lockers, which means less people to be near. My schedule was very simple: math; English; science; P.E.; lunch; history. They said there was a free period in there somewhere, but it failed to show on the paper. I didn’t see many people, just a few stuck-up richies, a couple of nerds, and some jocks. I was about to leave, and that’s when I saw them. A girl, about five foot in height with dark brown hair and olive skin, and a boy, about six foot in height with shaggy, blonde hair, tan skin, and broad shoulders. The boy was towering over the frail-figured girl, taunting her, teasing her. The girl’s thoughts were racing a mile a minute; she was very scared. I hadn’t been able to make out the words he used, but the tone was clearly not pleasant. And neither were his thoughts. That was all I needed to hear. I had needed to stop it. Now, see, on any other day I would have just ignored the two, no matter how uneven the odds are. I’d have just stayed where I was, remain invisible, and move on. But today was different; it was just something that had to be stopped. I had walked right up to the boy and girl, who both looked like they were about my age, despite the varying heights. I grabbed the boy’s shoulder. He started to turn his head towards me, and says harshly “What do you…!” he never did finished. I stared at him right in the face, into his deep, blue, eyes. And he just stared right back. We both just stared. His face had contorted then into a playing field of mixed emotions, all unreadable. His mind was going far too fast for me to even hope to read. The girl’s mind was filled with relief, but also a whole new fear. She feared for me. That was a first. The boy was not in his emotional stupor long. What now played on his face was shock and confusion. “Who are you?” he’d asked. I had answered him without skipping a beat, “The name’s Dani Beth Phips.” I had then put my arm around the small girls shoulder, turned my head, sending my braid swinging around, and led the confused girl away. I did not need to look back to sense that the boy- no the bully- was staring at me as I made my retreat. His mind was still in turmoil, so I hadn’t been able to read it then. Well, that had suited me just fine. I didn’t want to read his mind anyway. And now, on the floor, dwelling on my horrible day with my Haus’s

heavy head bellowing in my lap, I realize I have to face the girl and the boy in two days. Great, Dani, just great. I have made enemies before the school year even started. I sighed, lifted Haus’s head off my lap, draped the blanket over him, and made my way back to my room slowly. Wandering through the creaking halls, I examined what was now my home. It didn’t feel like home. Kentucky didn’t feel like home either. Where is home? Well, Dorothy was right about one thing. There’s no place like home. Because there is no such place. I found my room after a couple of turns, and crawled into bed, too tired to care that my slippers were still on my feet. This was only one of the many sleepless nights I’ve had since we moved here. But if I hurried up and fell asleep quickly, I could get about four hours of rest. I nearly slid into oblivion the second my head hit the pillow. Dream-like thoughts and conversations filled my head. But one voice, among the other dreamy voices, stood out to me, even though it was whispering: “You have been chosen…” CHAPTER 2 I woke to what sounded like a dying animal. BEEP BEEP SHREIK! BEEP BEEP SHREIK! No its just my dang alarm clock. A great start to the last day of summer. Just peachy. I checked to see what time it was. 12:34. Well, I slept half the day away. Apparently my alarm clock isn’t working properly. I slipped out of bed and went to get ready for the day. My mom and dad were up. I know this because my dad’s thoughts were on where he last put his car keys while my mom was wondering if she should have a tuna or ham sandwich. I threw on my favorite gray shirt with an old pair of jeans and headed down the halls toward the kitchen. When I entered the kitchen, I found Haus staring very intently at my mom’s ham sandwich. “Hey honey. How’d you sleep?” she said. Mom has been asking me that every morning since the move. Her mom-instincts have been telling her I haven’t been sleeping well. Either the mom instincts or the black circles under my eyes. “Fine. Is there ham left?” I replied as I sat down at the table. “No, but there is just a bit of tuna left to make a tuna sandwich.” she answered. Did I mention how much I hate tuna? I scowled at the little can with the overly happy fish on it. My dad walked into the kitchen. “Has anyone here seen my car keys? I have to get to Harvard before one.” Dad’s

thoughts were trying to retrace his steps from the time he walked into the door last night. He knew he had his keys when he walked in, but after he saw dinner for him in the microwave, he lost track of where he put them. “Try looking in your pant’s pocket. You know, the pants you wore yesterday?” I suggested. Remembrance dawned on his face. “Thank you Dani!” he turned to my mom, “Do you know where my pants are?” My mom took a minute to answer. “Oh! There in the washing machine.” Dad ran in the direction where he thought the laundry room was. By the time he returned, my mom had a finished tuna sandwich on a plate for me. He held up the remains of what was his car keys. “Do you think it will still work?” he asked. I tried to stifle a laugh. “The key will.” my mom answered. “At least its clean now.” I said. He frowned and headed out the door to his car. “Now I have to walk all the way up to the car to unlock it.” he thought. I couldn’t help it. I burst out laughing. My mom joined in and we laughed for a good bit. Men are just so lazy sometimes. “Well that was an interesting lunch break.” Mom said after a bit. That confused me a bit. “Wait, you’re on your lunch break?” I asked. She walked over to the sink and started to wash off her dirty dish from lunch. “Yes, I had the morning shift at the store today. I get an hour break and then I have to go back. Becky is sick, and I have to cover her afternoon shift.” She said. Apart from writing travel books, my mom works at Go Global Traveling Agency as her day job. She hadn’t been working there long, only about a week, so I’m surprised she is on a first name basis with some of the employees. My mom looked at me sadly. “I hate leaving you here like this.” She chided. And she really meant that. The only reason she let me keep Haus was so that I wouldn’t be completely alone all the time. “Mom, I’m sixteen. I’ll be fine.” I said. She started to gather her purse and her car keys. “No wild house parties while I’m gone.” She joked. As if I knew any people that would willingly talk to me, let alone party. I smiled and played along, “Guess I’ll have to call all those people to tell them my mom is on to us.” She laughed and headed for the door. “I’ll be home around nine. Bye.” “And that tuna sandwich better be finished by the time I get back.” she thought. “Don’t worry, it will be gone.” I said, eyeing Haus. Wait a second. Oops. My mom looked at me real funny for a second. Her hand was on the

doorknob. So close, all she had to do was walk out the door. “What?” she asked. What to do! I decided to do what I do best. Frame Haus. “Um, Haus still looked spooked from that thunder storm last night. I was simply telling him it would be gone. Why do you ask?” Mom looked doubtful at first, but then thought, “She does talk to that dog a lot…” “No reason. I’ll see you later, sweetie.” she finally said. She turned the doorknob and she walked out the door. Whew! She bought it. There are reasons why I don’t like to talk much, and its because my big mouth can get me in big trouble. I turned to Haus. “Looks like it’s just you and me, boy.” I got up from the table and was about to leave the kitchen, until I saw what caused the close call this morning. The tuna sandwich. I walked over to it and rattled the plate. Haus’s eyes never left the sandwich. I set it on the corner closest to him and turned away. Haus is smart; he won’t eat anything off the table unless no one is watching. I heard his big claws click against the kitchen tile, then stop. I heard a shift of weight and paws thud on the table. And finally I heard a chewing sound and satisfied thoughts. I turned back around, and sure enough, the plate was empty of both sandwich and crumbs. I took the plate and put it in the dishwasher. Now what? My parents are gone and it’s the last day of summer. I walked out of the kitchen until I was in our living room. The TV had been left on, and it was talking about the upcoming 2012 presidential inauguration. Not one for politics, I switched it off. I glanced around the room. This is were we have all the other boxes we haven’t unpacked yet. My mom, being such a neat-freak, had labeled ever single box. There were three small boxes labeled “attic” that were pushed in a corner. Well, there is nothing else to do, and I can carry boxes.. So I put two and two together and went over to inspect them. They were small boxes, so I could carry them all at once. I grabbed the boxes and started to walk towards the stairs. The downside about carrying boxes is that if you stack them up to carry them and you can’t see well. So I made the trip up the stairs, tripping over every third step I took. By the time I reached the top of the stairs, I could have sworn that the boxes were full of rocks. I walked around the halls, looking for anything that looked like it would lead to the attic. Haus loped up the stairs and found me, and then took his usual place at my heals. The boxes were now getting heavier with every step. I looked at Haus (hard to do with boxes in you arms) and said, “You could help you know.” He just wagged his tail and pretended

to know what I just said. His dark eyes seemed to laugh. I turned the corner and saw a rope hanging from the ceiling.. The attic. I set the boxes down and hopped up and down until I caught the tip of the rope. I pulled down, and with a loud creak, a set of ladder/steps greeted me. Now I see why these boxes had been left for someone else to put up. How do you carry a box full of unknown crap up a ladder? Very carefully, that’s how. I grabbed the first box and ascended up the ladder. It was dark, and I couldn’t see a thing. I felt my way to the wall, and set down the box. I walked around, slowly so I wouldn’t trip over anything that might be up here. Something cold and string-like brushed my forehead.. I reached out and blindly found it. Curious, I gave it a tug, and a naked light bulb illuminated the attic. The whole interior was made of wood. It was like being on the inside of a ship or a small abandoned cabin. There was a very old chair in the corner. At closer inspection, the chair looked like it might have been bright red, but let’s just say the years haven’t been very kind to it. Next to the old chair was a small reading table. If the lighting was any better, this would be an ideal place for me to read! There were ancient boxes everywhere. Even with the small light, I couldn’t see everything about the room. And the smell! It smelled as old as the place looked, with about a pound of dust coating everything. I walked around, looking in some of the aging boxes. Some boxes had books in them, some had old cloths, while others were just empty. A large box caught my eye. It was in the corner, and it was barely visible. I worked my way around the room, focused on that one box. A stupid idea when there is stuff everywhere just waiting to trip you. My foot got caught on what looked like the oldest box in there. I fell head first onto the hard floor. THUD! When my head hit the floor, I saw black and red stars dance everywhere. Haus, hearing my clumsiness, was barking as loudly as he could. I tried to call out to him, but between the dust coating my mouth and the breath getting knocked out of me, I remained silent. I sat on the floor for a minute and then stood up. I continued on toward the big box. Extra carefully this time though. When I got to it, I blew the dust of the top. I place my hand on it and lifted the lid…only to find that all that was in there was a dead mouse. Great, I trip and hit my head for a dead rodent? Happy last day of summer to me! Disappointed, I walked over to see what I had tripped over. The

contents of the box were flung around it. There were lots of papers, all elegantly written by hand, and journals. Well this is a cool find! Making sure there was nothing under me, I sat down next to the box. I picked up an old journal and flipped through the pages. Most of the ink was faded, but I was able to make out a few sentences: “…an evil that must be stopped at all costs…” “”The citizens of Massachusetts are confused…” “…the mission is far more….may God help me” Wow, this guy had an interesting life! I wonder who’s this is? I flipped through the journal, looking for the owner’s name.. I found a promising signature on the last page: Sir William Phips. Phips. He has the same last name as me! Are we distantly related? I flipped through the journals to see if there was anything that could give me a clue. I couldn’t find anything, so I set the journal down. As I did, a small white envelope caught my eye. “What have we here?” I murmured to myself. The envelope hadn’t been open before, since the red circular seal was still intact. I picked it up and looked at it. It was very old; so old that I felt that if I dropped it, the envelope would shatter into many small pieces. I carefully turned it over. It was completely blank. Should I open it? Or should I not? For all I know, it could be report on how crops were doing back in the day. Or worse, a love letter. But that’s just the thing. I don’t know. Curiosity killed the cat, I guess. I fumbled with the seal, trying to get it open without shredding the paper. But despite my caution, I tore right through to the letter. Oops. Even more carefully than before, I unfolded the fragile letter. And nearly dropped it. “That’s not possible!” I whispered. It was addressed to me. CHAPTER 3 “My dearest Dani,…” I read the line over and over again. It felt like time had stopped. There was a strange silence, creepy and maddening at the same time. Even Haus had stopped barking and the house seemed to put off the creaking for now. It had to be some kind of coincidence. It couldn’t possibly be to me. I mean, it was written in the late 1600s! It’s not possible! But it felt possible. If I can read minds, I think it could be possible. Ok, let’s just think for a second here. The only way I could ever find out if it is addressed to me is to simply read it. So I forced my widened eyes to leave the first line, and read,

“My dearest Dani, You have questions that have been unanswered. There are differences from you and others. You have a gift, Dani. A powerful gift. I hope that you will receive this letter as the answers you have been searching for. Dani, you are a Magician. You are called to help mankind in some way. That is your mission. Your mission will be apparent. It will be a passion that you feel you must complete. And you must. I do not know exactly what you will accomplish. I only know of you. When the world is about to go through some of its darkest times, we are born. Always to our family and always on February 2nd. It is a Magician’s job to bring light to the darkness. It is not a simple task, I know from my own past experience. I do not know who is in control of the hardships to come, but I know that without your help, things will go very wrong. It is my understanding that what I did was to save freedom. I guess that happened after I was gone. I know what I did was impossible without my gift. Let you instincts guide you, and trust them blindly. You will not be alone through all of this. You will be meeting someone new. This person is to be you Guardian. Their mission is very clear. To keep you safe so that you can finish your mission. You must trust them with your life, for they will gladly give up theirs. Dani, you will be finding new abilities. They will come quickly and naturally. Forget all that you know about magicians. You will never see a real magician on a stage. A real magician lives by a code and for a cause much bigger than themselves. It is never about them, but about the mission.. It is there purpose in life. By tomorrow, you will know who your Guardian is. Things will not feel right at first, but you will grow accustomed to them. Remember to trust your Guardian. This person will have the passion, strength, and skills to take up the task of protecting you. Let this person into your life. Dani, this is a secret that you must keep. Don’t give it away to anyone whose intentions are wicked. For to know this secret without being endowed with the gift and passions it takes to protect them, could cause the whole world to parish.” Signed through love, Sir William Phips 219 Brimmer Street Boston, M.A. October 14th, 1692”

I was dizzy. I felt like I was about to pass out. Breathe, Dani, remember to breathe. It could be another Dani, right? I folded the letter, even more carefully than before and slid it into the envelope. Not a simple task when your hands are shaking. He couldn’t have been talking to me. It’s not possible. I’m just not ‘Magician’ material. But part of me hoped he was talking to me. Because either I’m a Magician, or I’m just slowly going in sane. I looked down at the envelope in my shaking hands. The seal was now broken, its secrets now revealed. I flipped it over to the back. It was still blank. Don’t get you hopes up. You’ve read way to many fantasy books. It’s finally getting to your head. He wasn’t talking to me. But then the impossible happened. The blank envelope was no longer blank. On it, in big fancy letters, words were being written. I watched in awe as it wrote my full name. Dani Beth Phips That’s when I had what you would call a ‘wow moment’. I think I stared at the no-longer-blank-envelope a full ten minutes. Haus, who had been patiently waiting for me, woke me from my ‘wow’ stupor with a loud bark. I jumped as the loud bark echoed in the attic. It seems that Haus’s patience had worn off. I stood up slowly, my bones making little snapping noises from sitting in one position for so long, still clutching the envelope. I walked over to the square hole in the floor and looked down. Haus seemed to be attempting to find a way up the ladder/steps. When he saw me he literally started jumping up and down, trying to get up in the attic. I smiled down at him. “Look who’s laughing now!” I said. Revenge was so sweet. After hearing my voice, he decided to try a new tactic. He went all ‘puppy-eyed’ on me. He sat still long enough to look at me and whimper pathetically like a newborn puppy. Smart dog. He knew I could never resist the puppy face. I climbed down the ladder even more carefully than I had with the boxes, clutching the envelope to my chest. He wagged his tail triumphantly as my feet hit the hard floor. This time I glared at him. “Enjoy it now, Haus. One day I will find a way to ignore that face of yours.” I said. That just made him wag his tail all the more. He shoved his nose into my hand, wanting me to pet his head. You just can’t stay mad at a dog forever can you? I patted his head all the way to my room. When I got there, I started to look around to see where I could put a 320 year old letter. I examined

possible hiding places. My room was always neat. My bed with the missmatched colored comforter with an old tattered blanket was made army style, with all the sheets and blankets tucked into the mattress. The dresser was un-cluttered and had a small stack of books to read on top.. The small outdated tv that refused to work no matter what I did sat next to it, My reading table was barely fitting a small fan, a lamp, a clock, and a book. But it looked neat the way it was set. The messiest part of my room was the desk. It had a computer, a large can of pencils, paper scattered on top, and little speakers for music. There were drawers full of useless crap. This was probably the best place to hide the envelope. I walked over to the desk and pulled a drawer completely out of the desk. In the spot where the desk drawer had been was a flat surface where the drawer sat when it was unopened. I placed the envelope there, and put the drawer back in its place. No one ever takes out a drawer, so the letter should be safe. Now that the letter was safely hidden, I could actually think about what it said. Apparently, something big was about to happen. Something very big. And I had to stop it. You can call me crazy all you want, but after reading that letter and seeing my name written on the back of the envelope, as if by an invisible hand, I’m gonna believe every word that it said. So what was a Magician? What powers are there? When am I gonna get these powers? Will they help me get an A in math this year? That would be a miracle in itself! At least I don’t have to do this on my own. I have a Guardian. Now I just need to figure out who this Guardian is. The letter said I’d know by tomorrow. Well that’s good for me, because I prefer quick results. There is too many questions that are unanswered. I sighed and sat down at my computer desk. I clicked and found myself of an internet search page, where I typed in the word ‘magician’. A bunch of websites came on the screen, and I randomly clicked on the first one I saw. It had a picture of a tall scrawny dude on stage pulling a rabbit out of a hat. I didn’t even bother to read anything on the page. I went back and clicked on another website. This one had stars shooting out of wand. It didn’t look promising. I decided it was worthless to try to just look on other people’s websites. I went to an online dictionary web page and typed in the word ‘magician’ as I had before. There were two definitions. The first one said: an entertainer who is skilled in producing illusion by sleight of hand, deceptive devices, etc.; conjurer. The next one wasn’t any better: a person who is skilled in magic;

sorcerer; witch or wizard. Well, I’m sure not a witch, that much is sure! The sound of protesting springs reached my ears. I turned around in my chair to see that Haus had made himself very comfortable on my bed. “Haus, how many times do I have to tell you…” I stopped there because when I turned around, I had gotten a good glance outside my window. It was already dark. Dang it.. I don’t wear a watch because I hate numbers, so I checked the time at the bottom of the screen. 8:35. Mom would be home any minute now. How long was I in that attic? It couldn’t have been that long, could it? I guess I was starring at the letter a bit more than I thought. Oh, well. A high pitched whining caught my ears. I turned around for the second time. My TV was making the noise. Haus’s ears went back. He clearly didn’t like the high pitched noise as much as I did. I turned away from Haus and looked at the TV. It was just a fuzzy haze of black and white specks. I got out of my chair to go investigate. The closer I got, the better the picture was on the TV. And I know it had nothing to do with my vision. The whining had now turned into audible words. It was the news channel, talking about the 2012 presidential election. The screen was no longer fuzzy, but had the perfect picture. I was now close enough to push the off button, but I hadn’t seen who had actually won the election. A sharply dressed man that looked to be in his late fifties came up to a podium. The bottom of the screen said that the man’s name was Charles Vallend. He adjusted the microphone and let his gaze go around him, posing for cameras and paparazzi. He smiled one more time and spoke up in the microphone, saying, “I speak to you for the first time today, as your next president.” So this was the new guy in charge. I knew he was important because of the not-so-inconspicuous body guards hovering in the background. But now that he said it on screen, you can tell he played the part well. Behind Charles, a group of political-looking people were crowded into seats. The only sign that showed they were still breathing was when they nodded. Or in other’s cases, shook their head. Suddenly, a handsome man who looked to be in his late twenties came up to the podium and whispered into Charles’s ear. Bit young for politics isn’t he? Apparently no one else thought so, because Charles turned to the man and nodded. He continued on with his speech. But the camera was no longer focused on Charles, but on the handsome guy. I got a good glance at him before the camera switched back over.

He had a full head of black hair, slicked back. A hard look to pull off without looking greasy, but with that face, he looked fine. Dark eyes seemed to match his dark hair. He wore a perfectly tailored suit that looked like it cost more than my house. He wasn’t scrawny, but he wasn’t well built either. At the bottom of the screen, the name Edric van Raphen was being displayed. You could tell this man was powerful. Just at the first glance. He just radiated power. I think it was the way he carried himself, with grace and confidence. Edric was now on his way back to his seat, and the camera adjusted back to Charles. The speech was still going strong, and my curiosity over the new leaders had worn out. I reached out and pressed the ‘off’ button on the TV. But it wouldn’t turn off. The button had done absolutely nothing to the picture on the screen. I pressed it a second time. Nothing. A third time. Zip. I was now getting frustrated. Well, if your TV wasn’t responding to you, you’d be frustrated, too.I’d had enough of the I’m-broken-now-I’m-not TV. I walked around my dresser until I could see the wires and pulled the plug. The screen went black. Thank God. I heard a rustling on the bed behind me. Haus was sitting up with his head cocked to the side, listening to something I couldn’t hear. Then he jumped off the bed, shaking everything on that wasn’t more than his 200 pound bulk, and ran out the door. Mom was home. I knew this because of Haus’s behavior and also from my mother’s tired thoughts. “Dani! I’m home!” she called up the stairway. I got up, glanced warily at my TV and headed downstairs. When I got to the bottom of the stairs, the hallway split into two directions. I stupidly took the left and ended up in the living room. Well, I took the long way, but I can get to the kitchen if I go through the door on the other side of the room. I took a step to cross over to the other side. And the living room TV came on with a high pitched whining. I looked at the TV. Charles was finally finishing up his speech, and an old lady in a stiff blue suit stepped up to take the mike. But none of this concerned me. I just want to know how the TV came on. The remote was lying on the living room’s coffee table. Glancing around to make sure that my mom wasn’t coming in, I walked over and picked up the remote. After a minute of looking for the “off” among the many buttons,

I slowly pressed “off”. It didn’t turn off. Again. Even after I pressed the button multiple times, it would switch off. “Dani, where are you?” my mom yelled from the kitchen. Crap. “I’ll be there in a minute!” I yelled back. I didn’t want to unplug the living room TV like I did with the one in my room. This was the TV that my dad used to watch

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