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002 the Illusionist

002 the Illusionist

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Published by Lauren Coffey

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Published by: Lauren Coffey on Sep 27, 2011
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The  Illusionist     Later  that  night,  everyone  was  lounging  around  the  TV  room.

 Fin  and  Mark  were   still  not  speaking  to  each  other.  In  fact,  Fin  wasn’t  speaking  much  at  all  which  was  a   quiet  and  peaceful  change  from  normal  nights.     Not  even  popping  in  the  old  DVD  of  BBC’s  Sherlock  brought  Fin  out  of  his  depressive   state,  which  was  saying  something.  If  there  was  one  late  night  event  Fin  loved,  it  was   comparing  his  own  Sherlock  Holmes  to  the  one  played  by  Benedict  Cumberbatch  on   screen.       It  was  starting  to  become  a  little  bit  too  quiet,  but  luckily  it  was  interrupted  when   there  was  a  ringing  at  the  door.       The  Company  building  was  a  large  edifice  with  rooms  that  even  the  kdis  hadn’t  had   time  to  discover  quite  yet.  Fin  had  sworn  there  was  a  hidden  swimming  pool,  but  no   one  had  found  it.  There  were  ten  different  training  areas  where  they  played   paintball  –  each  a  different  environment  including  snowy,  rocky,  sandy,  jungle  –  you   name  it.  There  was  intercom  system  hooked  up  in  almost  every  room  sort  of  like   what  they  had  had  in  high  school.       When  the  bell  rang,  which  it  never  had  before,  it  also  came  through  the  intercom.   And  the  TV  room  was  on  the  fourth  floor.  No  one  wanted  to  leave  to  answer  the   door.  But  Fin,  who  would  have  normally  started  a  game  of  “no  nose  goes”   immediately  stood,  muttering  something  about  no  one  caring  if  he  were  in  the  room   anyway.     He  went  into  the  hallway  and  took  the  elevator  on  the  left  to  the  first  floor.  It   suddenly  occurred  to  him  that  the  doorbell  had  never  been  rung  before.  In  fact,  up   until  this  point,  he  hadn’t  been  aware  that  they  had  a  doorbell.  But  he  felt  too   depressed  to  care  too  much.     The  elevator  doors  opened  and  Fin  stepped  out  into  the  deserted  lobby.  There  was  a   secretary’s  desk  to  his  left,  though  no  secretary  had  worked  there  in  over  twenty   years.  He  looked  ahead  through  the  glass  front  doors  and  noticed  a  tall  figure  with   his  back  to  Fin,  waiting  outside.       Fin  went  to  a  panel  to  the  left  of  the  glass  doors,  tapped  in  the  four  number  code  and   heard  a  click  as  the  doors  unlocked.  He  opened  one  and  said,  “Yeah?  What  do  you   want?”     The  boy  –  or  should  I  say  man,  Fin  thought  –  turned  and  faced  Fin.  He  was  handsome,   to  say  the  least.  He  was  olive-­‐skinned  with  dark  hair  and  high  cheekbones.  His  v-­‐ neck  shirt  was  tight  fitting  in  all  the  right  places  and  his  washed  out  blue  jeans  made   him  look  like  a  Hollister  model.    

“Perfect,”  Fin  found  himself  whispering.  He  cleared  his  throat.  “I  mean.  Hey.”  He  did   a  little  sup  nod  that  he  hoped  made  him  come  off  as  cool  and  distant.     “Um,  hi,”  the  boy  said.  He  looked  nervously  around.  “Is  this…  is  this  The  Company?”     “Sure  is.  How  can  we  help  you?”     “I,  um…  I  was  told  you  could  help  me.  You  see,  I  have…  well,  I  sort  of  have…  these   special  abilities.”       “No  way!”  Fin  exclaimed  with  a  huge  smile.  “What  can  you  do?”     “I  can…  talk  to  animals.”     Fin  smile  turned  into  some  strange  expression  he  must  have  thought  looked  like   elation.  He  took  the  boy  by  his  arm  and  dragged  him  inside  the  lobby,  not  even   bothering  to  lock  the  doors  again.  But  he  didn’t  stop  there.  Fin  dragged  him  into  the   elevator  and  back  up  to  the  fourth  floor.  When  they  reached  the  TV  room,  Fin  left   the  boy  at  the  door,  stormed  over  to  the  TV,  and  shut  it  off.     Amid  the  groans  of  decent,  Fin  yelled,  “I  have  an  announcement!”     “This  better  be  good,”  Dare  snapped.  “Sherlock  was  about  to  ask  Watson  if  he  was   involved  with  anyone…”     Fin  ignored  her.  “We  have  a  guest!”     “A  guest?”  Gabriel  turned  around  in  the  couch  and  saw  the  boy  at  the  door.  “Who  the   hell  are  you?”  he  called.     Fin  stomped  back  over  to  the  boy  and  cradled  his  shoulders  maternally.  “Don’t  yell   at  him!  He’s  just  been  on  the  street,  all  alone,  for  months!”     “I  actually  -­‐  ,”  the  boy  started  to  say,  but  Fin  cut  him  off:  “He  hasn’t  had  food  for  days   and  he’s  had  to  drink  out  of  the  gutters  of  Manhattan.  So  if  you  would  kindly  stop   being  such  a  prick,  Gabriel,  I  think…  um…”  Fin  turned  around,  his  back  to  the  rest  of   his  group  and  whispered  to  the  boy,  “What’s  your  name?”     “Um,  Logan,”  he  replied.     Fin  whipped  back  around.  “I  think  Logan  here  would  like  to  explain  how  grateful  he   is  to  be  here  and  how  awesome  it  would  be  if  he  were  allowed  to  stay  with  us.”     “Fin,  we  can’t  just  take  any  guy  you  think  is  cute  off  of  the  street,”  Opal  said.       “Besides  –  and  no  offense,  Logan  –  but  he  looks  perfectly  healthy!”  Dare  pointed  out.  

  Fin  bit  his  lip.  “But  he’s  like  us!  He  has  powers!  Don’t  you,  Logan?”     Logan  nodded.  “Yeah,  I  can  talk  to  animals.”     “Really?”  Jasper  asked,  sounding  skeptical.  He  stepped  out  of  the  shadows.  “How  do   we  know  you’re  not  just  some  phony  The  Business  sent  over  to  infiltrate  us,  huh?”     “Jasper!”  Fin  cried  out.  “How  dare  you!  This  boy  came  to  us  for  help  and  we’re   treating  him  like  a  common  criminal!”     “Fin,  Jasper’s  right.  We  can’t  just  assume  he’s  a  good  guy,”  Dare  said.  “With  the  boss   gone,  Gabriel’s  in  charge,  so  I  say  we  let  him  decide.”  Dare  turned  to  Gabriel.  “Well?”   she  asked.     “There’s  no  way  we  can  know  for  sure  if  he’s  lying,  but  you  can  at  least  prove  you’ve   got  powers,  right?”  Gabriel  asked,  getting  up  from  the  couch.  He  walked  over  to   Logan.  “And  then  once  you’ve  done  that,  you  don’t  mind  if  we  ask  you  a  few   questions  –  just  to  get  to  know  you  better.”       Logan  nodded,  though  he  seemed  ready  to  run  for  the  door  at  a  moment’s  notice.  “I   need…  I  need  an  animal,”  he  said.     “Mark’s  over  here,”  Connor  said.  He  picked  the  turtle  up  off  of  the  table  and  brought   it  over  to  Logan.       Logan  took  it,  looking  a  little  bit  sickened  at  what  was  in  his  hand.  Fin  slapped  him   hard  on  the  back  and  said,  “Well,  let’s  have  it!  What’s  old  Mark  saying  about  me?”     “Um…  He  says…  he  says  that  he  likes  it  here.  And  that  he’s  hungry.  He  wants…  to  go   outside?”  Logan  paused  and  looked  up  at  the  group.  Everyone  was  looking  at  Fin  for   confirmation,  but  Fin  seemed  lost.     “But  that’s…  that’s  not  what  the  turtle  said,”  Fin  muttered.  “Maybe  you’re  just   confused?”  he  suggested.  “Sometimes  Mark  can  be  a  bit  confusing.”     “No,  it’s  not  that,”  Logan  said  with  a  sigh.  “I  can’t  talk  to  animals.  I’m  sorry.  I  just…   My  ability’s  difficult  to  understand.”     “Well  maybe  if  you  talk  real  slow  we  can  understand  you,”  Gabriel  said.     Logan  pursed  his  lips.  “I  can  make  people  see  things  that  aren’t  there,”  he  said.       “Like  a  mirage?”  Opal  asked.     “Yeah.  Like  a  mirage.  But  it’s  more  complicated  than  that.”  

  “Can  you  show  us?”  Dare  asked.     “Show  you?”     “Yeah,  show  us,”  Jasper  agreed.  “Make  us  see  something  that  isn’t  there.”     “I  really  shouldn’t…”  Logan  trailed  off,  looking  nervous.     “I’m  beginning  to  think  this  freak  doesn’t  even  have  an  ability…”  Gabriel  sized  him   up.  “You  work  for  The  Business,  don’t  you?”     “No!  I  don’t!  Please,  just  listen.  When  I  make  people  see  these…  illusions…  well,  I   can’t  control  what  they  do.  I  can  only  control  what  they  see.  And  sometimes...  bad   things  happen.  Things  I  can’t  control.”     “Like  what?”  Fin  asked.     “Like…”  Logan  hesitated.  “People  have  jumped  in  front  of  cars  or  off  of  buildings.   Because  when  I  create  a  new  illusion,  I  have  to  recreate  everything  they  see.  If  I   misjudge  just  one  thing  –  one  car,  one  person,  one  ledge  –  it  could  end  badly.  And  it   has  before.  So  as  a  general  rule,  I  don’t  use  my  power,  and  I  definitely  don’t  use  it  for   parlor  tricks.”     “This  isn’t  a  parlor  trick,”  Gabriel  assured  him,  adopting  a  less  uppity  voice.  “Listen,   we  know  what  you’re  going  to  show  us  isn’t  real,  so  it’s  less  likely  we’re  going  to   start  picking  up  knives  and  stabbing  each  other,  right?  So,  just  do  something   simple.”     Logan  frowned.  “Fine,”  he  said.  “I’m  sorry.”  He  took  a  deep  breath.  Nothing  seemed   to  happen  until  two  men  dressed  in  fine,  white  robes  phased  through  the  wall  and   started  singing  some  ancient  Latin  hymn.  In  an  instant  they  were  gone.     “Where’d  they  go?”  Connor  asked,  looking  wildly  around.       “It’s  over,”  Logan  said.  “I  didn’t  want  to  do  it  too  long…  it  gets  harder  to  maintain  the   longer  it  lasts.”     “That  was  weird,”  Dare  said.       “There’s  something  else  about  the  illusions  I  create,”  Logan  admitted.  “When  I   manipulate  people,  they’re  inclined  to  believe  what  I  show  them,  no  matter  how  far   fetched  it  is.”     “So  if  you  could  do  this,  why  didn’t  you  just  manipulate  us  into  thinking  you  could   talk  to  animals?”  Opal  asked.  

  “Like  I  said,  I  don’t  take  this  power  lightly.  I  don’t  use  it  unless  it’s  absolutely   necessary.  And  lately…  Well,  lately,  that’s  been  a  lot.  There  are  these  people  who   keep  showing  up  no  matter  where  I  go.  I  had  to  run  away  from  home.  I  used  to  live   in  West  Virginia,  and  –  “     “Whoa,  whoa,  whoa.”  Fin  held  up  his  hand.  “Stop  right  there.  You  lived  in  West   Virginia,  too?”     “Too?”  Logan  repeated.  “You’re  from  there?”     “We  all  are,”  Connor  answered.  “Hedgesville.”     “I’m  from  Martinsburg!”  Logan  exclaimed  happily.  “This  is  too  weird!  Wait…  do  you   think  that’s  why  they’re  after  me?”     “It’s  possible  that  if  they  knew  you  had  powers  and  lived  in  the  same  region  as  us,   they  could  think  you  were  part  of  The  Company,”  Gabriel  agreed.  “How  did  you  find   us,  anyway?”     “I  came  to  New  York  City  after  I  ran  away.  I  figured  –  lots  of  weird  people  doing   weird  things,  I’m  bound  to  blend  in!  But  they  found  me  anyway.  Then,  just  by   chance,  I  overheard  these  people  talking  about  a  strange  building  they’d  come   across  behind  a  toxic  waste  factory  or  something.  They  kept  talking  about  how   people  there  could  do  incredible  things.  I  knew  I  had  to  check  it  out,  so…  here  I  am!”     “You  look  a  little  too  well-­‐dressed  to  have  been  living  on  the  streets  of  NYC,”  Connor   pointed  out.     “Yeah,  well,  I’m  not  going  to  lie  and  say  I’ve  used  my  powers  for  only  good.  I  can   convince  people  I’m  anyone.  I  show  up  at  a  doorstep  and  all  of  a  sudden  I’m  their   cousin  Howard  from  Wichita.”     “That’s  sort  of  incredible,”  Fin  said  with  a  look  of  pure  adoration.  “You  must  have   been  so  miserable.  But  we  promise  to  keep  you  nice  and  safe  here.  We’re  a  little   cramped  for  room,  so  you  can  share  my  bed…”     “Fin!”  Dare  warned.  “Jesus,  he’s  been  for  ten  minutes!”  She  turned  to  Logan.  “There’s   plenty  of  room  here.  You  can  have  your  own  room.  And  bed.”  Fin  scowled  at  her.     “Hold  on  a  second!”  Gabriel  interrupted,  sounding  indignant.  “I’m  the  leader  here   and  I  haven’t  decided  yes  or  no  yet!”     “Gabe,  you  can’t  seriously  be  considering  putting  him  back  out  on  the  street,”  Opal   said.      

Gabriel  hesitated.  “No,”  he  said  finally.  “But  I  do  want  to  have  a  meeting  now  in  the   conference  room.  Sorry,  Logan.”       Logan  shrugged.  “I’ll  be  here,”  he  said.     “I’m  sorry  about  this,”  Fin  apologized  graciously.  “Gabriel’s  normally…  well,  actually,   he’s  always  been  like  this.”     Logan  smiled  weakly  and  the  group  filed  out  of  the  room,  down  the  hall,  and  into  the   conference  room.  

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