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Samantha’s Journey into real magic – Part 1

By Honeysuckle Pear

Copyright © 2010, 2017 Honeysuckle Pear

Smashwords Edition

ISBN: 9781370904518

***

Author's notes:

All characters depicted in this work of fiction are at least 18 years of age.

This novel is an Urban Fantasy and a Rocky Romance.

Rated (18+). If you are not of legal age, or are easily offended, then do not read this novel.

***

CHAPTER 1

Mon 4th Jan 2010.

Samantha’s blue-green eyes danced as she checked her appearance in the hallway mirror. Her pale face was framed by long blond hair hanging loose to her shoulder blades. She reached inside the neck of her blouse and pulled out a medallion that was on a thin gold chain around her neck. She kissed the front of the medallion which showed a man carrying another across a river; the bearer was rumoured to be St Christopher. Samantha turned the medallion over and kissed the reverse; this was her ritual before all her journeys. The reverse of the medallion contained an owl and a helmet; these were the symbols of the Greek goddess Athena. The medallion was given to Samantha by her priest when she was confirmed into the Roman Catholic faith. Someday, Samantha would seek out her priest to talk about the medallion; but Samantha feared the confessional.

Samantha had thought many times about her ritual with the medallion. She had an affection for Athena and a healthy respect for Saint Christopher, the patron saint of Travelers; she hoped they would protect her, but, was it faith or just a reminder to be careful? Samantha had done some searches on Wikipedia. Athena was the goddess of wisdom, courage and justice; - all attributes that Samantha aspired to. Samantha felt it was perfectly reasonable to treat Athena as one of her guardian angels.

Samantha stepped back from the mirror. She was 36 years old and considered herself tall at 5’10”. She almost had a model figure; a strong foundation garment compressed her ample breasts. She was dressed in a white blouse with a grey business skirt and jacket. A pair of dark tights covered her long slender legs. She was wearing black shoes with a short heal.

Samantha opened the door of her home in Littleton at 5am. She closed it behind her trying not to wake her sister Jo; the front door, of the large rambling detached Victorian house, tended to squeak despite regular oiling. Samantha and Jo had the place to themselves after their parents left to live in Spain. Samantha felt the cold on her face and followed the wisps of her breath in the sharp winter morning. She walked towards her car in the driveway.

Samantha took the country roads to the M6 and settled into a steady drive to the M40. She played the ‘Best of Elton John’ to relieve the tedium of the journey.

It was unusual to see an Owl on her journey and she saw two more at almost hourly intervals. She got a creepy feeling that she was being followed, and then dismissed the idea as lunacy. She arrived at K3 without further incident. Unnoticed by Samantha, an Owl landed in a nearby tree a few moments later.

K3 was a products distribution company based on an industrial estate to the north of the town of Milton. The company was in a modern warehouse with a block of offices at one end. At 8.30, Samantha walked into reception.

“My name is Samantha Smith. I am a contractor starting today.” She announced.

“Yes, Miss Smith. Please sign in. I will let Jay know that you are here.” The plump smiling receptionist turned away to answer a telephone call.

Samantha had arrived 25 minutes early. She decided to risk a vending machine coffee and settled back to wait for Jay.

Samantha’s life was serendipity ‘a lucky accident’. She had a history of failures with a few notable exceptions. Her Primary: school put too much emphasis on the Roman Catholic religion; she had a good knowledge of the bible, but no faith. She had a bad attitude at Secondary school “Won’t waste time on useless studies – Latin, History, art, domestic science” and she still chose the wrong subjects for her Ordinary Level exams. She had no ambitions for the future because of her attitude “no need to choose until I finish college”. She had no appreciation of real life and no concept of working for a living, except, she knew it was hard after tossing burgers for a few years in a part-time job.

Her bad attitudes continued at college; she felt that ‘statistics’ was a political language – anything can be bent to achieve a purpose. She acquired her first real Job dependent on her expected diploma. However, she failed to get the diploma. By the time her failure became known, she had already proved she was a very good programmer and was kept on. In truth, no one else wanted the job. She was truly at the bottom of the pile.

She changed jobs twice to further her career. After losing a job through no fault of her own, redundancy is a bitch ‘last in first out’, she took what ever came first – permanent or contract. What was a permanent job worth? ‘Four weeks’ notice’! Initial bitterness was overcome by the initial glamour of contracting; she had joined the jet set.

With the New Year of 2010 behind her, she was looking forward to a new project. It was her first day of a three-month contract. It was one of the few she had obtained without an interview. The agency phoned her on Christmas Eve saying ‘the contract was hers if she wanted it’. This made Samantha nervous as she hadn’t met anybody to discuss the project. She felt interviews were a two-way process. If she didn’t get the chance to grill the panel, then she wouldn’t take the job.

***

Jay

“Samantha Smith? I am Jay.”

Samantha smiled, stood up and shook hands with Jay.

Jay was the same height as Samantha. Jay had long black hair; her dark skin gave her the appearance of an American-Indian; she looked a bit like the American pop-singer Cher. It was her light blue eyes that were her main attraction.

“Samantha, my real name is ‘Jasmine Travis’ and I am a permanent employee. I prefer to be called ‘Jay’. I am the development team leader. You will attend all team leader meetings as you will be expected to take command in my absence. OK so far?”

“Are you expecting to be away?” Samantha followed Jay as they walked out of reception.

“No Samantha. You just need to know my expectations. You will be responsible for all coding, testing and change issues. In many respects, we are equals. You are here to help smooth out a peak in my workload. You will be working closely with me every day. This is the office.”

The main office was ‘open-plan’ and was brightly lit from Atrium windows half way down its length. With windows at each end, it seemed to be a pleasant place to work. Small partitions split the office into team areas. Each of the office bays, affectionately known as pig-pens, held 6 people.

Jay led Samantha into the first bay on the left and down to desk 3 on the left.

“This is your desk. We are still waiting for your computer accounts. Let me introduce you to Audrey. If you have any queries you should ask Audrey first.” Jay left Samantha with the company and project manuals to read.

Audrey

Audrey was sat at desk 4 which was behind Samantha’s. They would have to turn sideways to talk to each other. Audrey had brown hair cropped at the neck. She wore a lot of makeup to highlight her blue-green eyes. She was 5’6” in height and looked skinny, some would say anorexic.

The morning went slowly as Samantha absorbed the background of the project. It soon became obvious just how much was not written down. ‘It’s all on the computer’ Audrey said. Samantha was not impressed; she had heard that comment so many times before. That statement was worse than “The cheque’s in the post”. Still, it was not unexpected. No need to get upset.

***

At lunchtime, Samantha was left to find her own way to the cafeteria which was deemed ‘too expensive’ by Jay and Audrey. Samantha selected ‘Prawns with Marie-Rose’ sandwiches and paid at the till. Despite the claimed unpopularity, there were few spare seats at the dining tables.

Teddy

“Hi. My name is Teddy. Is this your first day?” Teddy took the chair directly opposite Samantha.

“Yes Ted. My name is Samantha.”

“Please call me Teddy. I find it helps me get closer to people. My full name is Theodore Green and I am American. I am a web-site designer.”

Teddy’s nickname was appropriate as he was short, 5’4”, and a little on the heavy side. He said he had lost a lot of weight since leaving the states; it raised a smile from Samantha. Teddy had blue eyes and brown hair; he was clean shaven. Teddy ploughed into his ‘all-day’ breakfast as they quickly exchanged background information. They discovered they had chosen the same overnight accommodation and agreed to meet up later that evening.

***

‘The Barn’ was a small bed and breakfast on the North-East side of the Town. It was an old Tithe-Barn that had been converted to 8 guest bedrooms and the host’s private apartment. The accommodation was split into two wings for the guests; each of the guest rooms had an en-suite with a bath or a shower. The middle of the barn held the TV lounge, dining room, kitchen and the host’s apartment was on the top floor. For the next 3 months, Samantha would occupy room 7, from Monday to Friday. Most Bed and Breakfast houses don’t do an evening meal, but, the Barn does if you have the same as everybody else.

After a long journey, a full day’s work and a large evening meal, Samantha was not very wide awake. She was in the lounge, watching TV, when Teddy came in carrying a mug of coffee.

“Hi Teddy. Come and join me. Tell me your life story.” Samantha turned the volume down on the TV. Teddy sat on the other end of the sofa facing Samantha. He found Samantha attractive and her confident voice was encouraging.

“Sure. I was born in Clearwater, Florida, USA. I am 34 years old. My parents are in Real Estate; they are old money wealthy. They own several large properties in Clearwater.” Teddy paused to sip his coffee.

“So, not short of money then?”

“True, but I was fiercely independent. I slipped away, whenever I could, to work on a lobster boat; I would go out on the evening tide twice a week. If my parents knew they never said anything. I lived in an annex at the back of the house so I could come and go as I pleased. I grew up quickly from the physical work. When I was 13 years old, I looked 18. I bought a motorbike and road it illegally for several years. No one made the connection between Ted the fisherman and Teddy the school student.”

“That doesn’t seem right! Child labour?”

“Hardly. Old Joe paid me generously. He taught me navigation and how to run his business. I took his boat out when he was ill, which was a couple of times a year; he was tough but still caught flu occasionally. I learnt a lot from Old Joe; he was a Seminole Indian.”

“So, when did you quit?”

“When I went to Tampa Uni. Joe sold the boat and retired. He said he had only kept it going because of me.”

“Symbiosis?”

“Yes. Joe is a marina manager now.”

“So, what happened next?”

“In 1993, I started a business degree at the University of Tampa. I was in halls for the first year. In the second year, I bought a small property in Tampa and rented out spare rooms to other students. I did a parachute jump for charity in my third year. I graduated with a Master’s degree in 1999. I took a 4-year bursary to study web site construction. I started to freelance as a web site designer. I moved to the UK, two years ago, to take a contract with British Aerospace. I bought a 2-bedroom apartment in Weston.”

***

Merlin

There was a knock on the door and a gentleman entered the room. He was dressed in a black business suit. He was the proverbial ‘tall, dark and handsome’ type with a gentle face that showed a disarming smile. He had deep blue eyes that seemed to draw you in. His face was highlighted by black eyebrows and short black hair. Ha had suntanned white skin and looked like the American grand illusionist ‘David Copperfield’.

“Hi. My name is Merlin. Would you like a ticket for my show this evening? It will be at the Star nightclub at 11 pm. The ticket doubles as your membership for the night.”

“Hey. That could be fun.” Teddy enthused.

Samantha stared at Merlin for a few seconds. She felt a quiver in her stomach as he touched her hand. She sensed the heat in her cheeks as she blushed. Now why did she do that? Something had piqued her interest.

“I don’t know if I can. I am half asleep as it is.” Samantha replied. She knew she shouldn’t accept the ticket. It would be at least 2am before she would get to bed.

“It’s fine, Samantha, go and have a quick nap. I will wake you at half-nine.”

Teddy’s encouragement got the better of Samantha.

“OK. What can I look forward to?” Samantha looked directly into Merlin’s eyes. Her initial embarrassment was replaced by a radiant smile that was almost as hot. Samantha’s eyelids fluttered as she peered into the deep blue pools of invitation. Samantha was lost in the deep oblivion that was open communication between herself and Merlin – body language, pheromones and animal magnetism; it was all there.

“Grand illusion is listed on the ticket; I like to think that I have an influence on everyone who comes to the show. I will need a volunteer – please step forward. I am sure you will find it a sensual experience.” Merlin’s voice was soft, confident and persuasive.

Merlin handed Samantha a ticket and a second ticket to Teddy. Samantha was suddenly aware of her thoughts, questioning, ‘where had she been for the last few seconds?’ She retired to her room.

***

Teddy woke Samantha at the appointed hour by a knock on her door.

“Samantha, are you ready?”

“I will be right out.” Samantha shouted.

Samantha jumped up from the bed where she had fallen asleep on top of the covers. ‘What to wear?’ The Star nightclub was only a couple of miles away. They could walk to it in half an hour. Her work suit would do. After a quick freshen up, Samantha adjusted her blouse, picked up her jacket from the bottom of the bed and put it on. She was ready.

Teddy and Samantha stepped into a dry crisp evening. Samantha shivered as she wasn’t really dressed for the cold conditions. They had been told to follow the riverside until they hit the club. They walked at a brisk pace to keep warm. Samantha made a mental note to do this walk again during the day and in warmer clothes. She would be lucky if she didn’t catch a chill. They arrived at the club just after 10.30.

“Sir, Madam. Please go straight to the bar. Your first drink is complimentary,” A lovely young Japanese lady in a lemon-yellow dress guided them through open double doors into a large open space.

The building had been a professional theatre at some time; the seating area had been ripped out to make space for the night club. There was a stage at one end; it was closed by a fire curtain. They had entered half way along the wall of the auditorium, stage-left also known as house-right. The centre of the room was highlighted by four vertical spotlights shining down from a small gantry in the middle of a very high ceiling. A dozen large oval tables surrounded the spotlight beams; with eight chairs around each table. The tables were occupied by groups of students. Samantha felt alarmingly over-dressed.

There were several bars around the edge of the room. Samantha found herself drifting towards the centre bar on the opposite side. Teddy ordered drinks and they held positions at the bar. Samantha’s first half of cider disappeared, in a less than ladylike fashion, and Teddy ordered another. The second cider was too sweet, but Samantha drank it just to be polite, and promptly ordered another ‘dry’ cider.

At 11 pm, Merlin stepped into the centre spotlight.

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I am Merlin. I would like to show you one of my grand illusions. First, I need a lady volunteer. Don’t rush! You should consider what I am going to do before you step forward. I am going to take a lady on a journey through pregnancy.”

Merlin paused to allow the audience to consider the suggestion.

“I will take a dove and transform it into a baby in the volunteer’s womb. I will then advance the pregnancy slowly by stages. The pregnancy will be verified by a scanner used by a qualified professional and checked visually by another volunteer from the audience. Finally, I will reverse the process and release the dove.” Merlin paused to assess the reactions.

Whispers could be heard ‘How bizarre?’, ‘Who wants to do that?’, ‘You have got to be kidding’, ‘entertainment for one?’, ‘no way!’.

“Who wishes to face this adventure?” Merlin asked.

Teddy looked at Samantha with raised eyebrows.

“I have seen something similar on TV.” Samantha responded. “’Barry and Stuart’ did it.”

“Are you up for it?” Teddy’s expression showed clearly his concern.

Samantha was apprehensive. She couldn’t believe she was even considering it. It was such a strange idea. Could a magician make you appear to be pregnant? Could he make you feel pregnant? How would she feel?

Merlin left the spotlight. There was a lot of shuffling in the largely silent room. The whispers were gaining volume and could be heard out of the gloom.

“Go on Mary. Don’t be a wuss.”

“Cut out the bullying.” Merlin’s voice boomed through the room. There was a long silence.

Angel

And then, there she was. A tall white woman, in a dazzling blue maxi dress, appeared in the spotlight. Splits in the side of the dress revealed the long legs of a Follies dancer. She was quite simply stunning.

“Stooge” was a shout from the audience. The regular rumble of conversations resumed.

“My lady, can I call you Angel?” Merlin’s voice was calm again.

“Yes. Merlin.” A wand mike, held by Merlin, caught Angel’s sultry mellow voice. Samantha guessed that the lady was American.

“Angel. Please choose your volunteer. I will pass a spotlight across several that I have vetted. You should say next, previous or accept.”

A spotlight began to move around the room. The light would rest on each person for ten seconds or so.

“Next, next, next.” The spotlight was on Samantha and she swallowed hard.

“Next”. The spotlight was now on Teddy. He seemed to be far more comfortable. He smiled.

“Next, previous, previous, accept.” Samantha shivered as she was chosen.

“Well done, Eve. Please come and join Angel.” Samantha responded to the anonymous name. Teddy was grinning like the Cheshire Cat from ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

“And now, ladies and gentlemen, we have our guests.” Merlin coaxed them into the spotlight. Angel and Samantha were both fitted with collar mikes by the Japanese lady.

“Angel has volunteered to be our pregnant woman and Eve will monitor her physical changes on your behalf.” Merlin continued.

Merlin waved to a security guard. A spotlight was focused on an entrance at the back of the room. A set of double doors opened and a medical scanner was pushed across the floor to a central position beneath the spotlights. A nurse walked beside the scanner. Merlin continued his introduction.

“The nurse is Miss Jones who is a consultant for the University Hospital. Miss Jones will operate the scanning equipment. Miss Jones, please prepare the scanner.”

Miss Jones

Miss Jones was wearing a dark blue nurse’s uniform and looked every bit of the medical professional. She had long black hair and was 5’6” in height; she had a model figure edging on well endowed. She sat down in front of the scanner with her back to the audience. A hospital bed was pushed in behind the scanner and was parked on the right side of the scanner.

Merlin continued, “Angel. In a minute, I am going to ask you to get comfortable on the bed, but first, we must change your dress into something more appropriate for scanning.”

A spinning hoop appeared above Angel’s head. The hoop was the size of a hula-hoop and shone like a neon light. The spinning hoop held everyone entranced. A curtain dropped causing the hoop to bounce as it took on the extra weight. Spotlights hit the curtain to show Angel in silhouette. She held her arms in the air as her image shimmered. Just seconds later, the hoop dropped to the floor and the curtain vanished. Angel’s was now wearing a skirt and top; her midriff was totally exposed.

“Angel. In case you haven’t realised, you are not wearing any panties. At set points in the illusion, you will be asked to provide a urine sample here on the bed. You will be provided with a towel to give you some privacy. If you are not comfortable with this then we should stop right now.”

Angel smiled. “I am fine, thank you Merlin. I am used to modelling for students.”

There was a raucous applause from the audience.

“Eve. Take this tape and measure Angel.”

“Angel. Please allow Eve to take your vital statistics.” Merlin stepped to one side.

Samantha had never done any acting at school; she felt she was a bit mechanical and should measure Angel with a little more flourish.

“36-24-36” Samantha shouted in her eagerness; the cider had eased her embarrassment.

“Angel. Please get on the bed.” Merlin held out his hand. Angel stepped out of the hoop and climbed onto the bed with the grace of a ballet dancer.

“Miss Jones, I assume that you have brought the testing kits I asked for.”

“Yes Merlin. I have everything here.”

“Please verify that Angel is not pregnant. Angel. Please provide the first sample.”

Miss Jones gave Angel a pregnancy testing kit and a large bath towel. Miss Jones turned on the scanner. Several screens came to life around the room. Several minutes passed and the audience became restless. A pregnancy test strip was placed at the bottom of the bed.

“Miss Jones. Are you satisfied that Angel is not pregnant?”

“Yes Merlin. The scanner is clear and I have a clear pregnancy test stick. Angel is not pregnant.”

“Angel. Are you ready?”

“Yes Merlin.”

Merlin took a gold sheet and covered Angel’s abdomen. He produced a dove from a silk hankie. It is now such an old trick that it passed in total silence. He then placed the dove under the gold sheet.

“And now, ladies and gentlemen, watch that little bump very carefully. This is where the magic begins.”

Samantha watched the bump as it appeared to merge with Angel. Merlin pulled back the gold sheet; there was no sign of the dove. A small applause followed the reveal.

“Eve. Would you please take Angel’s measurements?”

The cider was beginning to effect Samantha and she fumbled with the tape. She didn’t believe what she was seeing and had to re-measure several times.

“37-28-36” Samantha stated. ‘What? How can that be?’ Samantha’s thoughts screamed out. ‘Angel has an extra inch on her bust and four on her waist.’

Samantha was stunned. Was this real? She was so close to the action that it was a case of laugh or scream. She began to shake with a touch of fear.

“Eve. Will you please verify that Angel is all she appears to be? Check that she is not wearing any prosthetics or anything extra in any way.”

“Angel. Please forgive Eve for any groping. Tell me Angel. How do you feel?”

There was a long silence. Samantha was frozen as she waited for Angel’s reply.

“Pregnant.” Angel’s voice was positive. “My breasts feel tingly and swollen.”

“Eve. You must measure Angel again.”

Samantha was running on autopilot. “37-28-36” she announced monotonically. Samantha didn’t believe it and rechecked the measurements. ‘How could that be? Merlin couldn’t mess about with the tape measure as it was in my hands all the time.’

“Miss Jones. Please verify that Angel is now pregnant.” Merlin continued.

Miss Jones handed another towel and pregnancy kit to Angel. After a couple of minutes of fumbling under the towel, another test strip was placed at the bottom of the bed. Miss Jones switched on the scanner, the screens around the room burst into life.

“Miss Jones. Please tell me your observations and professional conclusions.”

“Merlin. The sonogram is showing a small foetus. The test kit is showing positive but will be another 5 minutes before it shows the term. From current evidence, I would have to say that Angel is 16 weeks pregnant.”

There was a loud applause from around the room. Merlin moved towards the side of the bed.

“Angel. Are you willing to go further?”

“Yes Merlin.” Angel sounded bemused and excited.

Once again, Angel was covered with the golden sheet.

“Watch that bump very carefully.” Merlin’s voice was warm and melodic. “Angel. Please count forward from 16 and stop when you feel that you have gone as far as you want to.”

“16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26…”

The gold sheet rose steadily into the air. The audience watched with a bemused fascination.

“Oh, I do feel strange.” Angel whispered.

“Miss Jones. Please do your verifications.”

“Eve. Please measure Angel.”

Samantha’s attention was riveted on Angel’s belly button.

“38-32-38” Samantha announced. How could this be? She could clearly see the pregnancy. She had measured it. Another pregnancy test was dropped at the end of the bed. Miss Jones switched off the scanner and helped Angel to clean up.

“OK. We will stop there. Angel. Feel free to get up and walk around. Tell us how you feel.”

“I feel fine.” Angel said as she sat up on the bed. She swung her legs to the side of the bed and accepted Samantha’s offer of support as she stood up. Angel grabbed Samantha’s left hand and placed it on her bump. Samantha shivered; she could feel the heat in her face, chest and arms.

“How did you manage to pee when you were asked to?” Samantha’s first thought escaped.

“Keep off that subject. I am carrying a lot of extra pressure here.” Angel responded.

Samantha walked Angel to the bar where they both drank orange juice. Teddy had disappeared.

“Angel. Are you really pregnant?” The voice came from just behind Samantha who turned to see a woman in her forties. “May I touch you?”

“Yes, and Yes.” Angel responded with a big smile. She repeated these assignations with several more admiring ladies.

Samantha suddenly felt bad. If any of those ladies was trying for a baby then this could generate hope that Merlin could help them, or a very bad taste in the mouth.

***

“Ladies and Gentlemen. Angel. Are you ready?”

It didn’t seem like half an hour had gone. Samantha and Angel walked back to the spotlights. Merlin’s hoop appeared above Angel’s head, a curtain dropped from the hoop and a few seconds later, the hoop and curtain dropped to the floor. There was Angel back in her long evening dress and most definitely not pregnant. She was holding the white dove.

There were tears in Angel’s eyes.

“My god, that was wonderful.” She announced. “The rush of new feelings is just overwhelming. Merlin, you are a bastard! You said you would reverse it slowly. This sudden loss is too much!”

“Eve. Please verify that this lady is Angel.” Angel stepped out of the hoop and Merlin picked it up. Angel pulled Samantha close and drew her into a kiss. Samantha shivered to the base of her spine, she felt the warmth of Angel’s welcome.

“Yes. This is Angel.” Samantha shouted. ‘How on earth would I know? I have only just met her.’ Samantha thought.

There was a thunderous applause. Samantha looked around the audience to see the type of person applauding. When she turned back to look at the spotlight area, Angel and Merlin had gone.

“Are you OK?” Teddy appeared on Samantha’s left.

“Yeah. That was amazing. I could literally feel her pregnancy. How can that be? Everyone will assume it was an illusion, or that they had been deceived by hypnosis; but, I touched her. I would swear I felt the baby kicking. The pregnancy seemed real. The pregnancy tests confirmed each stage of the pregnancy.”

“Oh. Come on. Angel just left with Merlin in a Taxi. She was most certainly not pregnant.”

“Didn’t you see her at the bar?”

“Only from a distance. I was trying to get to know some of the locals.”

“That’s just bloody typical. Now, how are we going to discuss it?”

“Look if this is bugging you, then, I think you have to take the Sherlock Holmes approach: when you have eliminated the impossible then whatever is left, however improbable, must be the truth. If you truly believe that the pregnancy was real, then you would have to concede that only real magic could have created it.”

***

CHAPTER 2

Tue 5th Jan 2010.

Samantha found it hard to keep her mind on work at K3. She saw Teddy in the cafeteria at lunchtime.

“How’s it going Samantha? You look a bit pale.”

“Thanks Teddy. I am fine. I don’t get out enough.”

“Not a hangover, surely? You only had a few ciders.”

“Too much sugar I guess. I don’t like sweet cider. This cultivated stuff isn’t a patch on the old farmhouse Scrumpy.”

“Have you had any more thoughts on last night? How was it done? Some form of prosthetics, a bodysuit perhaps? A body swap seems unlikely as we had our eyes on Angel all the time.”

“No, you didn’t. You were trying to chat up the locals. I saw and felt it all and still, I have no idea. I’ve spent all morning trying to work out how it was done. I would have thought some form of prosthetic, but her pregnancy felt so real and the pregnancy tests are difficult to fake. I felt her abdomen as I took the measurements. It was firm and warm and very sensual. I must get my mind off it, or I won’t get any work done.”

“Try self-hypnosis. It works for me.”

“Yes, and for me. Self-hypnosis is very useful.”

“Can we talk tomorrow?” Teddy continued. “I have been invited to join the lads for a few beers. I would invite you to join us, but, it’s a private club where guest numbers are restricted. Another time perhaps?”

“Sure. Last night was more than enough for me for a few days. See you tomorrow.”

Samantha went to the toilets, locked herself in a cubicle, and used a trigger word to put herself into a deep trance. She instructed her mind to hold back all memories of last night until she was back at ‘The Barn’ and in the shower.

Samantha usually worked a couple of extra hours on a Tuesday so she could leave early on Friday, but she found it almost impossible to control her drifting thoughts; those memories of Angel were just too strong. She left work at 5pm and hastened back to ‘The Barn’.

***

Samantha went straight to her room, undressed and stepped into the shower. As her mind played back the scenes from last night, she became aware of strong arousal and pushed herself to relief. As her legs began to buckle she slammed the shower temperature control to ‘Cold’. The stark shock was enough for her to slow her racing thoughts. She eased the temperature control back to ‘Warm’ and washed away the problem, convincing herself it was all an illusion. She dressed casually in a blouse and a skirt and went down to the dining room.

***

Samantha was the last to sit down to dinner. The Lancashire hotpot was excellent; she declined the pudding and retired to the lounge.

“Come in Eve.” It was Angel. Samantha stood in the doorway, paranoid with suspicion.

“Oh, come on Eve. Did you think you were the only person that Merlin invited?”

“No. I just hadn’t expected to see you here. It’s good to see you. My name is Samantha Smith.” Samantha sat next to Angel on the sofa. “Is Angel your real name?”

“Yes Samantha. There were no volunteers last night. I was the fall-back plan.”

“I had no idea.”

“I am not surprised. If you ever get a chance to plan such a production, don’t forget the fall-back plan.”

“Lesson noted. When did you become my teacher?”

“When I saw your attack of nerves last night; your blushing was beautiful.”

Samantha felt her face flush. “How did you feel last night?”

“Pregnant of course. I don’t know how Merlin did it. I just know that I was really pregnant.”

“How is that possible?” Samantha’s disbelief was clear. She had seen it with her own eyes but still did not believe it.

“I was pregnant! Believe it! Deal with it!” Angel put an arm around Samantha and pulled her closer. “Samantha. There is more to life than you know. Real magic exists.”

“No! I don’t believe it.” Samantha had already dismissed that possibility.

“Samantha. Science cannot prove everything. Real Magic is yours for the taking.”

Angel watched closely as Samantha subconsciously played with the medallion on her necklace. Angel noted the symbols on each side of the medallion. For a few moments, Angel was distracted in thought ‘where have I seen those symbols before?’ And then she refocused.

“Merlin asked me to give you this ticket. He would like you to volunteer again. Last night was the last of my contract as his assistant. He will be appointing a new one tonight.”

“Well it won’t be me. I am already committed. What will I have to do tonight?”

“I don’t know, but, lighten up. Real magic exists. It is a lot of fun.”

***

Angel leaned forward and kissed Samantha on the cheek. Without another word, she stood up and left the room. As Angel left the Barn, she pulled out her mobile phone.

“Merlin, Eve’s real name is Samantha Smith. She has the medallion of Athena. You must test her. She has the aura of a magic user.”

***

Samantha arrived at the Star at 10.30 and met Merlin in the Foyer.

“Good evening Samantha. I am so glad you could come.”

“Good evening Merlin.”

“I have set the stage for the illusion. The show will be recorded for my benefit and will be shown on the big screens. Will you help me again?”

“Ok. I will try to ignore the cameras; it shouldn’t be too difficult.”

Samantha was a bag of nerves. What had she let herself in for? She headed for the bar. After two halves of dry cider, Samantha felt a little better.

At 11pm, the show began.

“Ladies and gentlemen. I am Merlin. I am a master of illusion. I will deceive you in any way I can – hypnosis, mind-reading, sleight of hand or the bending of light, to list just a few of the possibilities. I would like 2 volunteers for my next illusion.”

Samantha stepped forward and a male student stood up. Samantha looked around with some trepidation. She wanted to do this but she might step aside if anyone else stood up. There was a long, hushed pause.

“Eve was here last night looking after Angel. Does anyone object to her helping me again?”

Merlin waited for a few moments and then turned towards the male student.

“Well young man, did you volunteer? I will punish anyone who is bullying you.” There was a notable rumble of murmuring in the audience.

“Yes Merlin. I volunteered.”

The youth stood proud. He was a blond, skinny academic dressed in T-shirt and jeans. A typical ‘Shaggy’ from ‘Scooby Do’.

“I hope you thought carefully about that. As you know, a magician’s assistant is traditionally an attractive woman. I will ask you again. Would you like to be my assistant?”

“Yes Merlin. I would love to be your assistant.” There was a hint of excitement in the reply.

Merlin’s hoop appeared above the student’s head. A translucent curtain dropped around the student. A backlight showed the student as a silhouette. Samantha was standing very close to the hoop and could see more than most.

The man’s clothes disappeared to reveal a lightweight male. He obviously didn’t do any weight training. His cock shrank rapidly to nothing and was replaced by a vagina. Samantha’s eyes noted the expanding hips and shrinking waist before her eyes drifted, slowly to the man’s chest. Samantha stared, as the nipples puffed up and the areola spread. The surrounding flesh was notably distended.

‘How is this possible?’ Samantha’s thoughts were flowing through treacle. Samantha stared at the breasts that were still swelling and covered by a bra and a white blouse. A loose black mini-skirt and large mesh stockings covered a magnificent pair of legs. A few seconds later, the hoop dropped to the floor.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Fey.”

Fey

Fey was in high heels. Her long blond hair flowed down her back. Her breasts stretched her blouse to its limits.

“Eve. I wish you to run your hands over Fey as if you were frisking her for drugs. For the benefit of the audience, I want you to verify that Fey is all female.”

“It’s alright honey I won’t bight.” Fey’s voice was sultry and sexy. “Keep going honey and don’t forget inside my knickers.” Fey was taunting Samantha.

Samantha ran her palms down Fey’s sides and with great reluctance into Fey’s knickers.

“Ooh. Very nice.” Fey cooed.

“Thank you, Eve!” Merlin’s voice pierced Samantha’s brain. “Tell me what you think. Is Fey all female?”

“Yes Merlin. Fey is all woman. She has a pussy and is aroused.”

“OK Eve. That’s too much information. Thank you for your help. Ladies and gentlemen, a round of applause for Eve.”

Merlin indicated that Samantha could go to the bar. After another half of cider, Samantha felt a little better, but, she was fighting to maintain sanity. It just wasn’t possible to change a man into a woman. Was it? She ordered another half of dry cider and drank it quickly. She was failing to believe what she had just seen. It didn’t matter to the audience; all they had seen was a silhouette and would believe it was a manipulated image. They would believe it was a substitution illusion. But Samantha had seen the change in continuous detail. It could only be Real Magic.

Samantha needed to apologise to Fey for feeling her up. Yes. Where is Fey? Oh, there she is, helping Merlin move some boxes.

“Now Eve, will you please join us for the next act?”

‘Oh dear. What is he up to now?’ Samantha thought.

Samantha stepped into the spotlight. Merlin’s hoop hovered above her and a curtain dropped around her. Suddenly, she was nervous. Samantha felt a warm tingle flow from the top of her head to the tip of her toes. She sensed she was ‘being scanned’. The hoop dropped to the floor. Samantha was now dressed in a yellow, skin-tight, latex cat-suit. With her mind preoccupied with the thought of ‘being scanned’, she hadn’t noticed the change of dress.

Merlin guided Samantha to a body shaped box; it had separate sections for arms and legs and was held in position by a vertical frame. The frame was tilted back slightly so that Samantha rested against the floor of each section; her hands and feet were sticking out for all to see. Merlin strapped Samantha in; her arms and legs were completely immobilised.

“Ladies and gentlemen. I have here several sharp blades which I will now use to slice Eve into pieces.”

Merlin cut Samantha’s legs off and laid them carefully on a table just to one side of the frame. Samantha’s arms were soon beside them. Merlin removed Samantha’s head and placed it gently on the table in a vertical position. Samantha glanced sideways to see the frame. All that was left was her torso wrapped in the glistening yellow latex.

“God, my tits look huge.” Indeed, they were now a double-G.

Samantha was getting a little hyper under the increased alcohol. Despite her diced body, her nipples felt pumped. She could still feel the touch of the latex. She had never worn latex before and It was giving her a deep loving caress. No wonder everyone was going mad. For a fleeting moment, she wondered if this illusion was for the audience, or for her. Samantha was starting to panic.

“Eve. How are you feeling?”

“What’s the joke? I am in pieces.” There was a huge round of applause.

“Tell me Eve, can you still feel all the parts of your body?”

“Yes. Merlin. I feel as though I am still in one piece. I can see my torso over there. If I breathe out and hold my tummy in, the torso does the same. Can I believe this?” Samantha murmured.

Merlin waved a hand and produced a wand that glowed purple. He ran the wand across Samantha’s stomach. Samantha’s torso began to squirm. Samantha’s head began to moan.

“Don’t be so mean to her.” There was a single shout from the audience. At least someone was convinced that was her real torso.

Merlin reattached Samantha’s stranded limbs and head. He pulled Samantha out of the box and wrapped her in a gold cape. He spun her around and with a flourish removed the cape.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Eve.”

Samantha was dressed in a long black evening dress and glided to the bar. The spotlight followed Samantha and then faded out. Samantha was quickly surrounded by randy males and offered free drinks. She accepted another half of dry cider.

Samantha continued with uncertainty. How was any of that possible? Does Real Magic exist?

“Are you ready to go?” Merlin had appeared behind Samantha.

“Yes, very ready.”

“Your room or mine?” Merlin asked with a poker face.

“Mine.” Samantha replied feeling lightheaded.

Merlin took Samantha back to her room at ‘The Barn’; he took the easy chair and Samantha sat on her bed.

“Did you have fun?” Merlin asked.

“Umm, Yes.” Samantha said with some hesitation.

“Did you like the latex?”

“Yes.” Samantha purred in an alcoholic euphoria. “I saw its potential for illusions.”

“Did you find it sexy?”

“Yes.” Samantha said a little louder. “I am normally shy and retiring and now I am a complete exhibitionist. It seems my ‘shy’ setting has been reset to ‘bold and brassy’. What am I saying? I think I have had a couple too many. It was kind of you to bring me back here. How did you do those tricks?”

“I thought you would have understood by now. It was Real Magic! You saw Angel earlier this evening. Didn’t you notice she had larger breasts?”

“Oh Merlin. I was being polite when we talked; I was looking at her face not her tits!”

Samantha’s befuddled brain was still trying to cope. On balance, she liked Merlin. What balance? They had barely talked a dozen sentences. And yet, Samantha felt that their bodies had already had deep discussions. Merlin’s last illusion seemed like a seduction; the latex seemed to be more important than the illusion. The illusion seemed to be just for her, as a sensory experience; the audience would have assumed it to be just an illusion.

“Angel said you did not believe she was pregnant.”

“Yeah. It seemed impossible. Despite the evidence of my own senses during the show, I still found it hard to believe that Angel was pregnant. I just don’t know what to say. I thought it must have been a prosthetic, but I felt her abdomen and it felt warm and sensual. I considered hypnosis; I even considered that Angel had a pregnant twin. I have been trying to come up with an explanation all day.”

“And how do you explain being cut up into so many pieces? How can I make you believe it was Real Magic?”

“Merlin. I am sensing that I have had too much to drink. I am very grateful for you bringing me back to my bed. I feel that you are a gentleman and will not take advantage of me right now.” Samantha paused to fight the alcohol.

“It seems likely that I will not remember much of this in the morning. Can you make it so that I will wake in the morning and know that I was not hypnotised?”

“Yes.”

“Can you do a trick for me so I cannot fail to believe that it’s real magic?”

“Yes, ‘for you’ or ‘to you’?”

“I guess that it would have to be ‘to me’, otherwise I still won’t believe it.

The alcohol got the better of her and Samantha fell asleep.

***

On the way to his room, Merlin pulled his phone from his pocket and called Angel.

“Angel. Hi. It’s Merlin.”

“Hi Merlin. Did you test Samantha?” Angel couldn’t contain her excitement.

“Yes. You were right. The ring confirms your readings. Samantha has a latent skill as a magic user. The ring has activated her abilities to control magical essence. She has also been given the ability to control magical powers. I haven’t seen that one before. I can only guess what that means.”

“What do you mean – magical powers?”

“Like I said. I haven’t a clue. I have reactivated her medallion to protect her.”

***

CHAPTER 3

Wed 6th Jan 2010.

Samantha awoke at 6 am. It was several minutes before her addled brain decided that something wasn’t right. She swung her legs over the side of the bed.

‘Oh, that felt weird’.

It seemed very possible that she was still drunk or dreaming. She seemed to have a lot more in front of her than she was used to. She stood up, pulled her nightdress over her head, and let it drop to the floor.

“What the fuck? My tits look huge.” Samantha walked to the wardrobe and opened the door containing a full-length mirror. She turned sideways to see her profile. A strangled scream escaped her throat as she saw the tail rising from her sternum.

‘What did I say to Merlin last night? Something about do a trick for me … to me?’

Samantha had no idea how long she had just stood and stared at that tail. It ran up her back to her neckline; it was the same colour as her hair.

‘Can I still be under hypnosis? This all looks very real. Could hypnosis create such an illusion?’ It was at that moment that she realised that she was wide awake.

‘Could she control it?’ Samantha tried to think sad, the funeral of a cousin, and the tail fell to the back of her knees. She wondered as to its purpose. Was it a mood monitor or a tool of seduction? Some base instinct made her feel she should display her tail in all its glory. She swayed her body from side to side as she watched the seductive twitch she had seen so often in cat’s tails. She tried to emulate various moods but she was not a good actress. Eventually, common sense prevailed as she considered ways to hide it.

***

Samantha arrived at K3 at 8.30am. She had pushed her tail between her legs and hid it in her knickers; she had expected to find it uncomfortable to sit on her tail, but it had slid into her body shape as if it was part of the design. She was wearing a heavy pair of slacks to hide everything. It had been almost twenty minutes before Samantha discovered that Merlin had modified her bra, blouse and business jacket. Samantha hoped that no one will notice her larger bosom.

***

At midday, Samantha headed to the cafeteria with some trepidation.

“Hey! Samantha! How did it go last night?” Teddy sat down beside Samantha.

“I cannot tell you here. It’s too public How about after dinner tonight?”

Samantha returned to the office. Her project account logins had arrived. She became very busy getting familiar with the project. She managed to keep her mind on the job and left promptly at 5pm.

***

Teddy was watching the TV when Samantha entered the lounge at the Barn.

“Ok. What’s so embarrassing that you couldn’t tell me at lunch?”

“Angel met me here; she had been waiting for me. She claimed she really was pregnant on Monday night. She said that it was Real Magic.”

“No!” Teddy interrupted.

“Yes. And that was just the beginning. She gave me a ticket for last night and urged me to volunteer again. She said Monday night was her last night as Merlin’s assistant and he was about to appoint a new assistant. Merlin’s first act was to change a male student into a woman.”

“That’s impossible, unless you believe Angel’s claim?”

“Yes. I agree, but I was so close, I saw everything. I saw the student’s waist narrow and hips expand. His breasts grew out like Honeydews. His new clothes flowed over him, sorry I meant her. I saw her change in every detail. The audience saw it in silhouette.”

“You’re kidding me!”

“No! Merlin introduced the new woman as ‘Fey’”

“So, what happened to Fey?”

“Merlin asked me to verify that she was all woman. I had to frisk her as if I was a customs officer. I got my face buried between her huge breasts. I was deeply embarrassed. I wouldn’t do that in public and certainly not in front of the cameras.”

“Ooh. Did he give you the DVD?”

“No, he did not!” Samantha feigned indignance.

“So, what happened next?”

“Merlin used his hoop on me and changed my dress into a yellow, skin-tight, latex cat-suit.”

“Oh wow. I must ask him for the DVD.” Teddy was ogling a perceived image.

“Fey became Merlin’s assistant and began dragging a large box from the back of the stage. I was placed in the box and securely strapped in. Merlin cut off my arms and legs and put them on a side table. He cut my head off and placed it on the table. I could see my torso. My breasts looked huge in that shiny latex.”

“Oh! I wonder what I could offer Merlin for the DVD?”

“He put me back together and changed me back to my original dress. The show was over. I had drunk too much cider by the time Merlin was ready to go. He brought me back here and helped me up to my room.”

Samantha was considering a risky notion; should she expose herself to Teddy? There seemed to be no other way of proving she wasn’t hypnotised.

“I asked Merlin how he did the tricks. He said it was real magic. I said I didn’t believe him. I stupidly asked him to do a trick for me, no ‘to me’ so that I couldn’t fail to believe him.”

“So, that is why your breasts are bigger and you are leaking?”

Now Samantha knew, for sure, that she wasn’t hypnotised. Teddy could see her changes. And, what was that about her leaking? Samantha stood up and looked at herself in the Cheval mirror in the far corner of the room.

“Oh shit. Sorry Teddy. I must go and see Merlin.”

Samantha gave Merlin a call. “Can we meet as soon as possible?”

***

Samantha went to her room. She removed her slacks and knickers. Her tail seemed pleased to be free; it was twitching in a frenzy. There was a knock at the door. Samantha opened it and peered around the edge to see who it was. It was Merlin. She let him in without a thought about her half naked body.

“How are you feeling?” Merlin asked as he sat in the easy chair.

“Confused. I don’t know why it took me so long to accept Real Magic exists. I don’t know if I am happy or afraid.” Her tail was twitching nervously.

“Why would you be afraid?”

“I am defenceless. You can do whatever you like with me.”

“Is that an invitation? We could have a lot of fun.” Merlin was staring at Samantha with a wide smile. There was something in those deep blue eyes that floated Samantha’s mind. She had thrown down the gauntlet and received a challenging response. Here she was, telling Merlin how she felt, without any thought to the consequences. Samantha had hesitated for far too long. It was obvious that she was seriously considering his question. She looked deep into Merlin’s eyes looking for any sign of deception.

“Please do something about my tail and my breasts.”

Merlin waived his hands in the air and produced a breast pump that he handed to Samantha. Samantha squirmed at the thought.

“Have fun. The breast pump will give you lots of pleasure. Don’t worry about the batteries. They won’t run out. Your tail will disappear over the next few hours.”

Merlin turned and let himself out.

***

Meanwhile, at 8pm, in a Dressing Room of the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas….

David Bald-Eagle and Josie Whitetail were relaxing after rehearsals. They were discussing the act for the upcoming charity fund raiser. It was one of many approaching Siegfried and Roy’s retirement in April of this year. Bald-Eagle’s signature act was changing Josie into a black panther.

“Josie. It’s too risky.”

“But it is our trademark act.”

“Yes, on a big stage or in a circus ring. Here, we will be too close to the audience. You would have to be in a cage and I have never liked cages.”

“Why the cage?”

“Because this hotel is the home of Siegfried and Roy. They are still very sensitive about the incident with Montecore.”

“So. Montecore was a white tiger. I will be a black panther; there is a difference! Besides, that incident was seven years ago.”

“And it seems like yesterday.”

David Bald-Eagle was tall at 6’2; he had short black hair and grey eyes. He had a leathery suntanned skin. He was clean shaven and looked after his trim slender build. He was wearing a black shirt, and navy trousers. He would have to change both as they were stained from the rehearsal. He had spent the last 10 of his 40 years committed to entertainment. He was born in Las Vegas in 1970. He was a native American Indian; one of the last surviving members of the Paiute Tribe. David had been raised in the local schools. As a Southern Paiute, he spoke the Colorado River Numic language, native American and Spanish. He was well educated and fought his way through a mire of college prejudices to graduate. Most of his brothers had left the area to become sky-scraper monkeys. The few who remained were in the police force.

David, by lineage, was the tribe’s medicine man. David mourned the loss of the Indian culture and their lands, but that was history that he could do nothing about. Many old beliefs had been replaced by modern science. Their knowledge of herbs and spices had been passed to the medical services for the benefit of mankind. The role of the medicine man had been reduced to taking care of tribal religion, mental health, history and education. The choice of medicine man would skip generations. The choice depended on the mental capabilities of the candidate; inherited genetics was not enough. The medicine Man was expected to be an Adept on the Astral Plane; spirit travelling was a necessity. You needed to observe the mental health of your friends. In the old days, you would be monitoring your enemies; not so much now.

Just before he died, the Medicine Man gave David a magic ring. The ring was about four feet in diameter and looked like a hula-hoop. The ring had been captured from the Spanish and kept by the tribe. The ring contained the secrets of Real Magic. David had learned how to use the ring by laying it on the floor and meditating within its space.

David decided to study stage magic as a matter of personal safety. If he was ever observed to be doing Real Magic, then he could explain it away as an illusion. He was mentored by Doug Hennings until Doug died from cancer in the year 2000.

David had never married. He was fond of Josie but had never mentioned his feelings to her. He teased her mercilessly both sensually and physically. Somehow, it had always been considered as banter. Josie had been so badly damaged by her marriage to ZED that David felt Josie needed space and time. David would not make the first move.

***

“David, we have to do the act. Perhaps a Cheetah would be less threatening.”

“Yes. I guess we could start by stretching your long legs just a little bit more. You could dance on two legs and then on four. We could add some Henna tattoos. With the appropriate lighting, we could show your legs changing during the dance. If we choose a blue-screen dress, then we can project a cheetah pattern. You could then pose head-on to the audience. I would put a collar around your neck and attach a leash; that will get all the bondage fans going. I will walk you around the room on two legs. As you walk away towards the rear of the stage you will lose your dress and shake your delightful derriere. You will drop to all fours. As you walk across the back of the stage you will stretch your limbs seductively to emulate the grace of the cheetah. Your breasts will become firmer and covered in fur. You will pause, for effect, several times to allow the audience and the cameras to capture your form. You will then pass through a wisp of smoke to emerge fully converted to your cheetah form.”


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