The Magician: Chapter 4 (An Andromache Jones Mystery Short Story)

About The Magician: An Andromache Jones Mystery

“I am about to set you a challenge, Miss Jones, one that has very real life and death consequences.”

Andromache Jones has somehow managed to capture the attention of The Magician and finds herself caught up in The Game, his challenge that has very real life and death consequences, and not only for her. Can she complete the test he has set in the allotted time and live to see another day, or will failure, and The Magician triumph?

Read Chapter 1 Here or find the Index to All Chapters Here

Chapter 4

The Riddle

The Magician walked over to the door and picked up his bag. He crossed the threshold into the corridor and began to pull the door to.

‘It is time. I wish you good luck, Miss Jones. Let The Game begin!’ He shut the door firmly behind him, and Mac was left with the sound of a key turning in a lock which echoed around the room.

For a few minutes she was too stunned to move; her mind was completely devoid of anything. Then all at once, she was up at the table looking at the resources she had in front of her.

There was the mobile phone The Magician had spoken about. She put that straight into her pocket. Then she noticed the small handbag she had been carrying – when was it? – whenever The Magician must have kidnapped her. It had been emptied and all the contents placed on the table, that was except for her personal mobile phone. That was missing, presumed confiscated.

She returned the brown lipstick to her bag, along with an emery board, her purse (which she checked was still full of her money and cards, not to mention a photo of her family and boyfriend Crab), a pen and notebook, as well as a few other miscellaneous items.

The one item that stood out to her was her pendulum; she took it out of its protective pouch and held it close to her. It was fashioned out of lapis-lazuli, cone-like in shape and attached to a sterling silver chain, at the end of which was a small amethyst sphere. At least I have you, she whispered to it, though at the same time she cursed herself for not packing one of her tarot decks in her bag before she left the house. It was not like her, and today, the one day that she needed them, she didn’t have them to hand. She slipped it back into its pouch and placed it in her handbag.

Next she picked up her car keys which were also lying on the table. She placed them in her other pocket but wondered whether she would actually need a car, and if she did, could she use it. She didn’t know if she was expected to leave the room, let alone drive to a different location, and the car itself wasn’t actually on the table.

The only things left were an envelope that had “Miss Jones” scrawled across the front in an archaic, spidery script, and a folded up map. Mac opened the envelope and pulled out a few folded sheets of expensive notepaper. The first sheet was a letter signed by The Magician, that Mac proceeded to read:

Ma Cherie. The Game has begun, and the clock is ticking. Enclosed with this letter you will find a riddle that you must solve. If you fail in this task, someone dear to you will die, as will you. As you progress along the challenge, not only will you find clues to help you save this soul from the arms of death, you will find clues as to the identity of the one who shall perish should you not complete The Game in the allotted time. I am watching you. Good luck.

The Magician

As Mac read the words left to her by her kidnapper, tears began to form in her eyes. She willed herself not to cry for there wasn’t the time, but it was too much. Why was this happening to her? What right did this madman have to make her play such a sick game? She banged her hand on the table in front of her out of sheer frustration, but it seemed to clear her head of any emotions that would cloud her judgement. She looked at the second sheet of paper, and found on it the riddle that The Magician had mentioned:

The ground is my roof now

I live in a house of wood

The Earth Spirits embrace me

I’ll soon be gone for good.

As she looked at the words written in the spidery hand, she knew at once the meaning of The Game: to find the loved one whom The Magician had buried alive somewhere. The room spun as images she did not wish to see swam before her eyes. She held on to the table for support, took a deep breath and felt herself steady.

She looked once more at the riddle, looking for the clues that The Magician had alluded to, but if they were there she couldn’t see them. Instead of panicking, she moved on.

I have been given the map for a reason. She picked it up and opened it out. It showed an area, ten miles square, depicting nothing more than countryside, forests and small villages. Somewhere in here is someone I love, waiting for me to come and save them.

The detail on the map wasn’t that great, but she was thankful for her pendulum. It would definitely come in useful for the task that was ahead of her. She folded the map into quarters, pressing heavily along each fold, before opening it up again and spreading it out on the table. Then she reached into her handbag and retrieved her pendulum.

The first thing she did was test her “yes” and “no” responses. She held out her left hand and asked to see the response for “yes”. When she was satisfied, she swapped hands. Suspending the pendulum over her right hand, she asked to see the response for “no”. All other movements of the pendulum did not matter; they implied that there was no definite answer to the question.

She took in a deep breath to calm herself and then held the pendulum over each quarter of the map in turn. She asked one question: is the one which I seek, the one that the riddle speaks of, hidden within this quadrant? She checked each quarter of the map, receiving one “yes” response and three “no’s” from the pendulum, which was a good clear sign.

Mac then gathered up everything that was left on the table, the map, the letter and riddle included, and stuffed them in her handbag. She had narrowed down the search area by three quarters, and hadn’t even left the room yet. Surely that had to be considered a good start?

Chapter 5 coming next weekor you can read the whole short story right now, for FREE, over on Wattpad


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