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Prompt: ” At the age of 13 children are able to summon their familiars for the first time. Your family has always been ridiculed for weak and useless familiars until the day of your 13th birthday when you summon your familiar for the first time.”
I sat on the side of the pool with my feet submerged in the water. I was feeling down on myself because tomorrow was my 13th birthday. Normally this would be an amazing day. First of all, it’s my birthday. It’s supposed to be a celebration of me and another year of my life. Also I would be officially a teenager. Parents always made a big deal about that. Secondly, tomorrow was my 13th birthday and that meant that I’d finally be able to tap into my magical potential and summon a familiar.
A familiar is a magical being. Witches used to summon little demons and animal companions to help with magical spells and amplify their magical abilities. Of course, in the 21st century, these familiars were not demons. They were animal companions that helped you boost your magical abilities as well as your natural abilities.
The only problem with that is that the type of familiar you have determines how powerful your magic can become or how good you are at certain things. For example my Father’s familiar is a Sparrow. Not very impressive. My Mother’s familiar is a Butterfly. Again, not great. Having these weak familiars has really hindered my progress in middle school. Plus I was one of the youngest of my class and had to wait months after other kids to find out what my familiar would be. Kids in my class bullied me for my parents and their familiars. They laughed at me and called me “worm” predicting my familiar will be an earthworm or a inchworm.
“Hello? Nathan? Hello?”
Suddenly I was hit with a splash of pool water.
I shook my head. There was my friend Caspian.
“Nathan, I was talking to you. Did you hear anything I said?” Caspian asked.
“No, sorry Caspian. I was spacing out, I guess,” I said.
“Worried about tomorrow?” Caspian asked.
“Don’t worry, dude. You’re going to be fine,” Caspian said.
“You don’t know that,” I said. “What if my familiar is a worm?”
Caspian rolled his eyes.
“Come on. It’s not going to be a worm. It’s going to be like an eagle or a gorilla or something,” Caspian said.
“That’s easy for you to say. Your familiar is a hammerhead shark!”
“And maybe your familiar will be a great white,” Caspian said. “Then we’ll be swim team buddies.”
“Caspian, I barely got on the swim team this year and you’re a captain. There’s no way mine will be a shark.”
“Just don’t sweat it, ok? You can’t change what your familiar is going to be. I had no ideas mine was going to be a shark. You just have to take it easy. Try to enjoy tomorrow,” Caspian said.
“Yeah I guess I’ll try,” I said.
I got up out of the pool.
“Are you staying for open pool?” Caspian asked.
“No. I think I’m just going to head home,” I said.
“Fine, but you’re going to miss out on seeing Rachel in a two piece,” Caspian said with a large grin on his face.
“Dude, her familiar is a seahorse. Literally the aquatic version of a horse girl,” I said.
“Whatever, Nathan. Still better than a worm,” He said.
I rolled my eyes.
“I’ll text you later,” I said.
“Ok see you, Nathan!” Caspian said.
He gave a wave and then swam over towards the group of swimmers hanging out on the other edge of the pool.
I walked into the locker room and changed out of my swim suit and into my regular clothes. I put my wet stuff in my swim team bag and began to leave.
Just as I was walking out of the locker room, three boys walked in.
“Well, well, well. Look it’s worm. Hey worm!” The middle one said.
“Leave me alone, Brandon,” I said trying to get past the large boys.
“Not so fast, worm,” The one on the left said. “I heard tomorrow is the special day.”
“Yeah you finally get to summon an army of worms,” The boy on the right laughed.
These three were the school bullies and major jocks of the school. Brandon was the middle boy. His familiar was a grizzly bear. Strong and fierce. The second boy’s name was Tyler. His familiar was a viper. A venomous predator that was quick to strike. The third boy’s name was Richie. His familiar was an elephant. Large and loud.
“Leave me alone,” I said.
“Why don’t you make us, worm?” Brandon asked pushing me.
“Yeah, use your worm powers and make us move,” Richie said.
“Oh no, he’s…he’s using his worm powers! He’s turning me to dirt,” Tyler said feigning an injury.
“Shut up!” I yelled.
I tried to shove Brandon back but he was much stronger than me.
“Poor little worm can’t fight back,” Brandon laughed.
Tyler waved his one hand and small purple runes appeared in the air before him. They vanished into purple mist which swirled around his arm. The purple visit then congealed in a large, green viper twisting around Tyler’s arm.
“Hey! Hey! That’s not funny,” I backed up into the locker room. “You’re not supposed to summon familiars without a teacher’s permission.”
“Doesn’t look like anyone is here to stop me,” Tyler smirked.
The viper on his arm hissed flicking out its fork tongue.
I took another step back putting a little difference between me and the snake. Tyler took another step forward.
Brandon and Richie both stood there and laughed at what was transpiring.
“Tyler, stop it,” I said taking another step back.
Eventually I would hit lockers and I would be trapped.
The snake wrapped around Tyler’s arm kept getting closer and closer. It hissed and exposed two large fangs.
“Get him, Tyler,” Richie yelled.
Both Richie and Brandon took a couple steps closer to get a better view.
“Tyler, I’m warning you,” I raised my hands.
Red runes appeared in front of me. They were shaky but they hovered in the air.
“Oh what are you going to do worm?” Tyler mocked me.
“This!” I pointed up into the air.
All three boys looked up into the air and this was my chance. The red runes disappeared and red mist wrapped around my legs and feet.
I ran forward with unnatural speed. I zipped right past Tyler, Richie, and Brandon and made it the door leaving nothing but a small whirlwind behind me.
The red mist disappeared and I was back to my normal speed.
“Hey! Get him!”
I heard yelling as I opened the Boy’s locker room door and ran out into the hallway.
I knew that all three of them were going to be right behind me so I kept on running. I ran down the hallway towards the front of the school.
I rounded the corner and slammed right into a person walking the other way. I toppled backwards and fell on my butt.
“I’m so sorry,” I said sitting on the ground.
I looked up and it was my Math Teacher, Mr. Green.
I scrambled to help Mr. Green with his papers.
“I’m so sorry, Mr. Green,” I said.
“Nathan, what were you doing running through the halls like that?” Mr. Green asked.
I handed him a stack of papers which were disorganized and bent.
I looked around the corner and saw Tyler, Brandon, and Richie coming out of the boy’s locker room.
Mr. Green rounded the corner and saw the three boys.
“I see,” He said.
Mr. Green looked back at me.
“Go home, Nathan. Just remember. No running in the halls.”
“Yes, sir. Thanks, sir,” I said and then started walking quickly towards the front door.
“Gentleman. How nice to see you all here. I want you to talk to you three about the most recent Math test,” Mr. Green began to say.
I walked out of the front door and left Mr. Green and that conversation behind me.
It was just a short walk from the school to my house. The whole way I kept my head low and scanned the area around me. I wanted to make sure I didn’t run into any more trouble before getting home.
I walked in the front door and was greeted by both my parents.
“Welcome home, honey!” My mother hugged me.
“How was school?” My father asked.
“Hi,” I mustered. “It was fine. Just school I guess. We had a math test today.”
“Well how do you think you did?” My mother asked.
“Fine I guess,” I said.
“I’m sure you aced it,” My father said.
“So you excited for tomorrow?” My mother asked.
“Ummm….I guess,” I said looking down at my shoes.
“Don’t sweat it,” My father said. “You’re going to do great.”
“Yeah it’s not a big deal,” My mother said.
This was coming from the people who had a bird and a bug as familiars. Mine was going to be an earthworm for sure.
My father placed a hand on my shoulder.
“I know people at school can be mean. They tease. But don’t worry about them.”
My mother continued.
“No matter what your familiar is, we’ll still love you.”
“Thanks,” I said flatly.
My parents exchanged glances.
“Do…you want something special for dinner?” My mother asked me.
“I’m not really hungry,” I said. “I think I’m just going to go upstairs and go to bed.”
“Are you sure?” My father asked me.
“Yeah I’m not feeling well,” I said.
I walked past my parents and to my room. I put down my stuff and flopped onto my unmade bed.
I told my parents a partial truth. I wasn’t feeling great and I wasn’t really hungry. I just wanted today and tomorrow to be over. Unfortunately, after that, my life wouldn’t be much better. I would get some kind of worm as my familiar tomorrow and then my whole life would revolve around being mad at magic and having a terrible familiar.
I could do basic magic like the trick I pulled in the locker room, but without a powerful familiar, my abilities would be limited. All I had to look forward to was a lifetime of mediocrity with a crummy familiar.
I rolled over and starred up at the ceiling.
Maybe Caspian was right. Maybe my familiar would be a shark. Or at least a piranha.
There was a soft knock on my door. I rolled over and threw a blanket over me. I quickly closed my eyes as a small beam of light entered the room. Then the door closed and the light disappeared.
I laid there for a few moments weighing my options. I thought about all the different creatures my familiar could be. A wolf or a chihuahua. A shark or a sardine. A cobra or an earthworm.
Eventually I drifted off to sleep.
The next morning I was awoken by the sound of knocking on my door. The door opened and my parents were standing in the hallway.
“Good morning, sunshine,” My mother said.
“Happy Birthday,” My father chimed in.
I sat up in my bed and rubbed my eyes. I had a dreamless sleep which made the night fly by. I couldn’t believe it was already my 13th birthday. A day I had been dreading.
“I made you your favorite breakfast,” My mother said. “Blueberry pancakes.”
“With extra syrup,” My father said.
“Thanks,” I said waking up from my sleep.
“Unless you want to do the familiar ceremony first,” My father said.
“Come on, breakfast first,” My mother said. “We can’t be summoning familiars on an empty stomach.”
“You’re right, dear,” My father said giving her a kiss on her cheek.
“Breakfast sounds good,” I said.
My parents gave me a moment to get ready. I took a quick shower and changed into some clean clothes before wandering my way to the dining room. There my mother had laid out an assortment of breakfast foods. There were plates of blueberry pancakes, sausages, bacon, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and milk.
“Looks delicious,” I said with a small smile.
I sat down at the table and started filling up my plate with breakfast food. My parents did the same.
We ate breakfast together as a family. The food was really good and it did raise my spirits a bit, but I didn’t say a lot. I’m pretty sure my parents picked up on the tension in the room.
After breakfast, my parents brought me into the dining room.
There sitting in front of the televion was a stack of birthday presents.
“Happy Birthday,” My father said.
“I hope you enjoy them,” My mother said.
I opened up the presents half-heartedly.
I got a few different books. One of which was a basic spell book. Another was a book titled, Your Familiar And You: A Guide to Understanding Your Familiar Volume III, and another was a book about petcare.
I’m not sure if the last book really applied to familiars, but I guess it was the thought that counted.
I then opened another present which was a gift card to the local magic shop.
“We thought we’d buy you some kind of object of your familiar,” My father said.
“Yeah it helps channel your connection with your familiar,” My mother said grasping the butterfly necklace that hung around her neck.
“Thank you,” I said with a small smile. “I really appreciate it.”
“So are you ready?” My parents asked me.
It took a moment for my parents to pull out a large rug and spread it on our dining room floor. To summon a familiar for your first time, you had to set up a summoning circle. It used to be that they would draw these circles in coal, or chalk, or even blood. Now in our modern society, we have rugs with the summoning circle on it.
They laid down the summoning circle rug and I stood in the middle of it. My parents handed me the book to the first page.
Chapter I: Summoning your familiar.
My parents stood together like they were watching their child graduate. Which I guess this kind of counted as a graduation.
I took a deep breath and started reading the incantation. Usually smaller spells, like the “Quicken” spell I used yesterday, didn’t require an incantation. But more powerful spells like summoning your familiar for the first time did. After a while, spells became easier and easier to cast as people mastered them.
As I read the incantation the symbols around the circle began to light up and glow a soft, blue color. First the symbols on the outer edge lit up, and as I continued to read the words, the symbols came closer and closer. By the end of the incantation, the entire circle was lit up in blue light that completely covered me. The symbols flashed gold and then when dark.
I stood there for a second looking at my parents and then looked down at myself. Nothing seemed different. I didn’t see any small, fluffy animals or small birds flying around. There weren’t any earthworms crawling around my feet.
“What happened?” I asked my parents.
“I…I’m not sure,” My father said looking around the room.
My mother tried to keep a smile on her face.
“Maybe it’s just taking a little while,” She said.
“Maybe it’s a micro-organism,” I said.
I was about to take a step forward towards my parents when the rug erupted in black smoke. This was the same mist I had seen when others summoned their familiars, but this was as black as night. There was so much of it and it was so dark that it consumed the entire room. I couldn’t see my hand in front of me.
“DAD! MOM!” I called out but I couldn’t see them.
Then there was a large cracking sound behind me.
I tried my best to see what happened, but the swirling darkness prevented me from seeing anything.
I stumbled forward towards the sound and bumped into a large object. It seemed to be made out of some kind of smooth, but hard substance. Almost like seashell.
The darkness subsided as fast as it started. There around me was large, lizard like tail covered in what I thought was seashells. The tail wrapped around me and covered almost the entirety of the living room.
“Hello master,” I heard a voice enter my mind. It seemed to originate from all around me.
“Nathan! Nathan!” I heard my parents yell for me but could not see then.
Blocking my view was a large scaly beast.
I managed to climb over one of its large, reptilian feet and the rubble of the wall. Once I was outside, I was able to take in the size of this creature.
It was a 40 foot tall, dragon covered in scales from head to toe. It’s body was black as midnight, but it glistened in the morning sun.
It extended large, bat-like wings and then looked down at me.
“You have summoned me,” It said without moving it’s gigantic, toothy mouth.
I thought I was going to summon a worm, but instead I summoned a Wyrm.
Header Photo Credit to Kate Burmak
Writing Prompt submitted to r/WritingPrompts by u/HelloBaron
You can definitely see your enthusiasm within the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. At all times follow your heart.