Charmed ~ Duo Story

Chapter 1

Sleight Change - Ed

I am an illusionist. I make you see things that aren't real, feel things that aren't there, and experience things that you've never thought existed. Cue wink and charming smile.

The mirror shows my reflection of a face with sharp edges and dark circles. The amount of nightmares I experience every night is enough to make any human crazy. Fortunately I'm not entirely human. I knew what I was getting into meddling with the Darks and their magic, but power is tempting. Power can make a man do foolish things and if the reward is greater than the consequence...why not.

I maneuver the playing card between my fingers, slipping it up my sleeve and replacing it with the decoy in there.

I told myself that the power isn't worth it, the black crack on white stone that rest on my chest throbs day and night as a constant remember of my sins. That was strike one. Strike three could result in my death.

I flex my fingers and roll my neck. Being a street magician is a living, if a mediocre one. I'm just waiting for the right person give me a shot in New York, my own magic show. I deserve it. I deserve fame and fortune and everything I want in this world.

"I'm sensing arrogance and pride from you. It reeks like tuna salad." My eyes flick to Carol in annoyance who is applying her eyeliner again for the seventh time.

Carol is my friend and fellow Charmed, gifted with the ability to sense other people thoughts and auras. Her dark eyes find mine and she smirks at my frown. I have her hear to get a good feel of the crowd and the best places to set up my show where the most generous and naive people lay.

"At least I don't have OCD."

"OCD is not a joke." Her hands seem to tremble as she wipes off her eyeliner once again and attempts to reapply it. "This is taking too long, I should have been finished two minutes ago. This is running into my lipstick time."

I sigh, fluffing my dark hair into a more messy style, casually messy. "Do you want me to put on your eyeliner?"

Carol stares at me for a good ten seconds before laughing. "Ed please."

I shrug, "Well we need to get moving and soon. A McDonald's bathroom is only so private."

"Buy us some breakfast while you're waiting." She says.

"I am broke Carol."

Carol's smile is mischievous as she says, "Just make the cashier believe you're giving her cash. Simple."

My lips twitch. "You are a beautiful genius."

"I'm sensing admiration and a growing stiffness in your pants."

"Hilarious." I mutter leaving the bathroom and slipping out an old deck of cards from my back pocket. I pull out two cards, a Joker and Five of Hearts, and put the deck back in my pocket.

The cashier looks at me through dull eyes and monotonously says, "What can I get for you?"

"Pancakes, sausage, and two large cups of coffee." I say, focusing on the cards in my hand.

"That'll be six fifty-four."

I hand him the playing cards, weaving my illusion over them to make them look and feel like paper money. He accepts the cards without hesitation and gives me my change back. I smile and head to a table to wait on my food.

"Impressive." A voice mutters very close behind me. Too close. I spin around in my chair and see no one. "Here." The whispers in left ear and I turn again coming face to face with a red-haired woman who is literally shimmering. "You're a man who looks over his dominant shoulder first. How...predictable."

"Who the hell are you?"

"I can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Something tells me you'll choose the former." Her eyes seem to stare into my soul, large and almost entrancing.

"Are you one of those sociopaths from that mental hospital uptown?" I size her up. She's a bit too nicely dressed for that, she looks pretty put together, but also strange at the same time. The way she puts her face so close to mine makes me think she has no sense of personal space, perhaps doesn't deal with others often. "Actually, does the title Charmed mean anything to you?"

The redheaded woman smiles at me like she knows something that I don't know, irking me. "Edgar Thompson," I blink, "something bad is coming and you are in the middle of it."

"Okay lady, how do you - wait. You're that rich clairvoyant girl who keeps to herself all the time like a weirdo." She regards me coldly but doesn't deny it. "What do you want from me?"

She lifts her shoulders. "I want you and your girlfriend's assistance."

I frown in confusion. Girlfriend? Maybe she means Carol. "Sorry lady, I have a job today and every other time you may ask me to help you. And Carol's not my girl."

"How much money do you receive doing your street performances?"

"I don't know. Fifty bucks a show."

"I will give you three hundred for an hour of your time."

My eyes widen. "Seriously?" She nods. "I mean, yeah. An hour, that's nothing."

"Good. Retrieve your friend and let us get a move on."

She gets up and leaves the building. I stare after her with slight suspicion. Something's up. Charmed people don't usually interact with one another, excluding small partnerships like Carol and I's. This is either important or some sort of trap. Money is money though and I'm willing to bet a lot on a little. If the reward is greater than the consequence...

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