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I think we all wish for magic now and then. What it would be to bend reality to your will, to make problems vanish, to create the opportunities you will never have... But would it be so simple? Can you ever really get something for nothing? And what of those unfortunate souls whose desires differ from your own?

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Early in my youth, I grew a head taller than my friends. By the time I was a teenager, I was as large as any man I have ever met. They described me with words like strapping and strong and many anticipated a career in football for me.

But I had no interest or talent for sports, and more, I had no time.

On our family's little plot of ground, I became the beast of burden. My father filled my head with a sense of guilty duty, complaining that it cost too much to feed me. Though I worked long, hard hours under a burning sun, he said I was lazy and whipped me like a dog.

He was the only man I ever feared.

I found him one evening, slumped in his chair. His hateful black heart had finally failed him.

Secretly, I rejoiced in a wicked way. I wept as they lowered him into the Earth, but these were tears of joy rather than grief.

This, I believe, was what damned me.

My poor mother, who was far more mistreated than I, was finally free. To my dismay, she passed shortly after. I very much resented those who said she had gone eagerly to join him in the hereafter.

Now alone in this world, my nightmare had only begun.

The bank foreclosed on our farm. My father had mortgaged it to worthlessness. I had lost not only family, but home as well.

For those troubles, which seem as nothing now, I damned myself more by wishing for my own end. But as I have said, my soul was already forfeit.

I advise you to be ever cautious in the thoughts you dwell on and in what feelings you let fester in your heart. Though I have never trusted preachers, they are indeed correct in their notion of dark forces about in this world.

Ever such things listen for stray spirits like my own.

I found work where I could, as a laborer. I found a growing contempt for the only life I had ever known. But surely I may be understood as to why, for the road I walked was a hard and twisted one.

With each beat, my heart filled with anger and despair. Each day of life was more burden than blessing and again and again I pleaded for the end.

Those things that listen stirred to life. How cruelly they granted me a false reprieve.

My talent for growing things from the soil won a permanent position in the estate of Denault.

That family was known across the county in the wicked gossip whispered across fences and at church picnics when the sun began to set.

Though most involved the grand-sire Elmer, his descendants were known to wallow decadently in the fortune he left behind.

Among them, the round and repulsive Alvin found an interest in what he called my “simple mind.”

Like his grandfather, Elmer, he held interest and talent in the black arts.

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Alvin offered me, from his own funds, more than my salary to participate in experiments.

He made me vow to keep such secret. I had no objection, at least not at first. Now, I think, what I say does not matter. For in truth, I cannot remember all the details, nor do I believe anyone could recreate the effects he achieved.

They were strange sessions. Sometimes I was made to sit before objects or images while he read or chanted. Sometimes this was done in simple English, sometimes in a tongue I did not recognize.

Long hours I spent sitting in colored lights which shifted hues. Yet sometimes the time passed so rapidly that they were over in what seemed only moments.

I was made to hold items, to repeat words I did not understand. I was given odd jewelry to wear. All of it seemed silly and many times I found my employer to end our time in a state of frustration.

He was, however, kind to me and never blamed me for what he must have felt was failure. While I had no idea of his true aim, I admired his persistence and marveled at his vast, albeit seemingly useless, knowledge of strange things.

This continued for several months. I feared with all certainty he would grow weary of the effort and I would be abandoned. Yet, he persevered.

Though I tried to focus or relax as he requested, I often slipped into a state not unlike a daydream. At times, these were heavenly, still others were visions so horrid that I will not recount them here.

I had a sense of travel to some distant place far beyond this world.

When I woke from these experiences it was to my own voice speaking, yet fading as I returned to this Earth.

I asked only once for what had happened. Alvin only replied that we had made progress. By his expression I was left with no doubt of this. While I was relieved to see him pleased, I was also disturbed by what felt a growing ignorance of his designs.

And I was troubled by nightmares which began to haunt my sleep.

Some shadowy and unseen monster pursued me across a blackened and blasted realm which alone brought dread as I had never known. What this assailing force or being intended of me was a terror to which that horrid land paled.

My only source of comfort, indeed my only hope was the voice of Alvin calling to me through the atmosphere of that hellish domain. In the sense of refuge it provided, he became something of a savior to me.

In those dark times, he was more than just a man to me. He was a keeper of great wisdom, a wielder of incredible powers. He was my guardian and protector.

He became the embodiment of words like 'Lord' and 'Master'. I humbly, eagerly obeyed his every command.

For he had brought a purpose to my being.

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