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Huddled in the corner, Joshua Sweet burst out with a wild string of expletives.
“Don’t touch it,” he said between gasps. “I saw things.”
Simon Thunder shook his head. Joshua didn’t scare easy. In their three months together and the one month previous, he had never seen Joshua lose control, not even when they were alone together in the bedroom.
The kettle, old, dented, rusted, lay across the room. Simon felt an urge to pick it up each time he looked at it. He forced himself to check the wrapping instead. Purposely ignoring Joshua and the kettle, he read the labels on the brown paper that had covered the box the kettle came in.
Joshua’s name. That’s why he opened it. But Simon’s address and the post mark for the town of Sea Shore Side. Simon’s hometown, the place he was born, the place he had spent his first thirteen years. The place he hadn’t been to in more than fifteen years. No return address, though. He shook out the paper. He tipped over the box. Nothing. No notes or cards or any clues as to who had sent the package or why.
He’d consider it some stupid and pointless practical joke if it weren’t for Joshua still trembling on the floor. Simon noted that he only felt compelled to pick up the kettle when he looked at it. When he forced his gaze away from the pot, the craving to possess it faded and left him. He grabbed his dark sunglasses. They were UV 400 rated with a special coating that minimized color distortion and helped pick up on magical signatures.
“Danger, Will Robinson!” Simon laughed. The Robot from Lost In Space flashed through his mind. While the warning was comical, it was also deadly serious. The kettle’s aura pulsed in sharp, spiky reds. Not good. No wonder Joshua continued to hyperventilate. Simon pulled on his leather gloves that were lined with a para-aramid synthetic fiber. He hoped they’d be enough to protect him from whatever magic had infected Joshua.
He felt a tug as he bent to pick up the kettle. He wanted to pull off his glasses and gloves. He was just able to resist the urge long enough to put the pot back in its box and close it up. As soon as it was contained in the cardboard, the magically induced longing to physically possess it disappeared. Simon suspected some sort of Earth-based magic since the natural material of the box dampened the magic more than the synthetic materials of his sunglasses and gloves.
Now that the magic was contained, Joshua was calming down. His breathing was more regular and he was able to stand, with the help of the wall behind him.
“I saw my own death.” Joshua gulped. “It wasn’t pretty.”
I put my arms around him. We sat on the couch in silence until the sun’s rays hit the balcony’s windows. Evening was upon them. Joshua’s stomach grumbled. He put his hand on his belly.
“I’ll be dead within the month.”