Flash Fiction Month 2017, Day 23
“You’re a wizard, Henry?”
“You’re a wizard, Henry,” repeated the large, hairy man with the umbrella. “And a darn good’un!”
“Stop!” shouted a smaller hairy man with a laser sword as he leapt over the already-knocked-down door. “That man is an impostor! You’re actually a space wizard. He was going to try and trap you in some kind of fake wizard school here on Earth!”
“Stop!” shouted an even smaller scaly…person, also with a laser sword as he squeezed past the second guy. “This man is an impostor! You’re actually a space lizard. He was going to try and trap you on some dank swamp planet where you’d never discover your true reptilian nature!”
“Stop!” shouted a larger scaly person with a very long scarf. “This iguanaman is an impostor! You’re actually a time lizard. He was going to…”
“Henry?” A woman stepped through the door. “Henry, is everything alright? Who are you talking to?”
“There’s…” Henry stared around the room. “There’s…don’t you see them? There’s a wizard, a space wizard, a space lizard, a…”
“Henry, do you remember me? Please, think back. Think carefully. I want you to remember.”
Henry stared at this new arrival. She did look familiar, somehow. She was wearing a suit.
The woman knelt down. “Henry, I’m your psychiatrist. Now, these…these people who you’ve been talking to, are they in the room with us?”
“Yeah!” It was really quite crowded.
“Obviously!” hissed the space lizard.
The woman in the suit placed a hand on Henry’s shoulder. “What are they telling you?”
“You’ve got to come with me to wizard school!”
“No! You must complete your space wizard training!”
“That’s a lie! Join me on the hot rock planet of Ksssssthsssss Sssssix!”
“No! Your destiny lies in the Komodo Vortex, whence all tongues flick and all crickets converge.”
Henry took a deep breath. “The wizard wants me to go to wizard school, but the space wizard says he’s lying and the space lizard says he’s lying and the—”
“Henry! Henry, shhh…” She gave him a sad smile. “Those people…they’re not real. They’re just in your head, and I can prove it.”
The space wizard scoffed. “Your psychiatric mind tricks won’t work on the Chosen One!”
“Henry, why does the space lizard think the wizard is here?”
“What?” asked Henry.
“The space lizard. He says the space wizard is trying to trick you. Why does the space lizard think the regular, non-space wizard is here?”
Henry looked at the space lizard.
The space lizard looked at the regular wizard.
“Actually,” said the time lizard, turning to the space wizard, “she raises a good point. Why are you here?”
“See? It must seem so real, but I promise it isn’t. You can see for yourself it doesn’t make sense. Not even the people in your head know why half of them are here!” The psychiatrist leaned forward and wrapped her arms around Henry. “I promise, nobody is coming to take you away. Not really.”
Henry hugged her back. “What’s wrong with me?”
“Shh. Nothing. You’re just a little confused, that’s all.”
“We’re not real,” said the space lizard. “We’re not real! By the twin suns of Sssssfffss Ssssseven, we’re not real!!!”
“The years I spent growing this luxuriant, untameable beard were all a lie!!!” screamed the regular wizard, tearing his facial hair out by the fistful.
“RevealthatI’mactuallyafigmentofasmallchild’simaginationandI’llbecomemorepowerfulthanyoucouldeverimagiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine!!!” yelled the space wizard as he ran out of the room very fast.
The other three soon followed.
“Are they gone?” whispered Henry’s psychiatrist, after a pause.
“Yes.” A tear rolled down Henry’s cheek as he stared out through the empty doorway. “Thank you, doctor.”
“Good.” She stood up. “Our ruse worked perfectly! Only the true Chosen One could resist such temptation.”
“Wait, what?” Henry stood up too. “But then…wait…what?”
“All sorts of people will come to you, drawn to your power, each with a worthier quest than the last. But nothing, nothing, must distract you from your true calling, your true task!”
“You’re a pastry chef, Henry. And a darn good’un!”
“Quickly!” she grabbed his arm. “To the croquembouchemobile! Only you can defeat Profiteroledemort!”
If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from previous Flash Fiction Months collected in these books:
Click any cover to find that book in your choice of format.
You might also be interested in my sci-fi murder mystery novella, Ten Little Astronauts, which is currently crowdfunding at Unbound. Most pledge levels include all the books shown above, and all will include your name in the back of Ten Little Astronauts itself as a patron of my work.