Something Yellow, Something Red

By Anima Sahu


MERCURY studio/ Shutterstock


It was a most usual place. A gray building of the boring variety. I was expecting something different, what exactly, I wasn’t sure. It was my first time there and I hoped I would never need to visit it again. The reception was neat with the lonely ficus in the corner and the blossoming orchid adorning the front desk. The receptionist was a kindly old lady with thick rim glasses, who nodded a lot while she asked me to sit on the waiting couch. That was of the same boring color too. I sighed internally because my high hopes for today were getting crushed one step at a time.

Usually after toast and orange juice for breakfast, I would take the newspaper and my tea kettle to settle on the settee on the porch until noon. But today I had dressed myself in my smartest suit, pocketed my ebony wand and took the subway to arrive at The Society of Lost Mages.

I had been looking forward to this day since, two weeks ago, when I received the invite. The enchantment flew in with its characteristic radiance, which only a trained mage eye could see, and stuck to the tea kettle. The kettle giggled excitedly and then announced. 

Dear Mage Danbar (formerly of the great council),
You are cordially invited to The Society of Lost Mages on the full moon day of the upcoming fortnight. Please bring in your wand for verification.

Yours sincerely,

The Society of Lost Mages

The invite took me aback, pleasantly, of course. Finally, I would have my magic back.I had been yearning for it for the last eleven years, ever since, I got degraded from the great mage council. I didn’t regret it, I still didn’t. It was just dirty politics which I despise to the core. But,I missed being part of the great council, with my fellow mages, doing magic and some spirited soul saving. Without my magic, I felt lost.

At the Society of Lost Mages, I sat on the gray couch, the tingle of excitement dying down. I had expected the society of lost mages to be a bustling place, people with wands and magic saucers everywhere, enchanted everyday items squeaking and chittering, a few fairies busy with their scrolls, a couple of phoenixes lazing around, you know, just the usual office day. But, I was sadly disappointed. The receptionist came up to me and handed me an envelope. Here’s everything you would need was scrawled on it. She nodded more times than needed, smiled widely, and walked away. 

When I opened the envelope, happiness flooded in me. It was as if meeting an old friend. The enchantment flew right into my chest and I knew exactly what I needed to do. I stood up with the tingling excitement back with a vengeance causing currents to pass through each nerve in my body. I took a deep breath and walked straight into the gray wall behind the ficus.

Next, I was standing in a long hallway with a single lamp hanging from the center of the ceiling. The hair on the back of my neck stood up hearing some distant growling and crowing, and there was the magical radiance bleeding in from every nook and cranny. 

A goblin appeared. Green, slim, with large eyes and ears, and that characteristic mysterious smile. I hated that. He bowed slightly. 

“Good Morning, I am Nemar, the evaluator at the Society of Lost Mages.” The goblin’s voice slithered through the air causing an uneasy feeling somewhere deep in my chest.“I believe you are…” He looked at an ancient looking leather folder. “uh… Mage Danbar?”

“Right. Morning. Nemar, I was expecting to restore my magic today,” I said, producing my wand.

The goblin chuckled, lifting his eyebrows, “It will happen when it happens, hem, or may not happen.”

I swallowed and stood silent. This wasn’t going to be an easy process as I had imagined. The goblin kept looking through his leather folder, screwing up his face at times, while I was trembling with impatience.

“Mage Dunbar, let’s go through the usual procedure. How long has it been ..?”

“Eleven years, three months and six days.”

Nemar noted it down, with that mysterious smile again. Ugh.

“Please place your wand in this.” It was an ornate wooden box with felt lining. I slid my wand into it, and it slammed shut. The goblin caressed the ornate box with one long slender finger, with his eyes closed. Suddenly, he looked at me. Strangely. Suspiciously.

“What have you been doing, since becoming a lost mage?”

“Nothing, really. I have done some.” I stopped. I wasn’t sure if I should tell exactly what I had been doing. Lost mages are not allowed to participate in any magic or reveal their true identity. A lost mage was supposed to lead his or her life in absolute penance and feel remorse for his doings that led to becoming a lost mage. Of course, I haven’t done any magic since it was deactivated. 

I had, sort of, become a therapist, physical and emotional. I started this therapy service just because I wanted something to do. After all, there was only so much remorse I could feel. It was a way to pass the time, a hobby, if you would like to label it, and it was pretty lucrative too. Every afternoon, I would talk with people who needed help, mostly to destress themselves, physically or emotionally, and I used pure mage yoga for that, which provided me with a great understanding of the chakras and the energy points of the human body. I excelled at it during mage school, which focused on how to heal and protect and defend, and the fundamental concepts of the human body and mind were just the same. So, technically I didn’t do any magic. But, people I helped always seemed so mystified.

“Social service, like helping people.” I replied.

“And, you never revealed your real identity to anyone?”

“No.” Although, I came very close once. A beautiful lady showed up for a therapy session, and I thought she was a mage too. She had that radiance to her. We talked and I was on the verge of opening my sock drawer and showing her my wand, but, then she said, “I can do a magic trick, you know.” My eyes widened. “I can tie this cherry stem into a knot with just… my… tongue.” We ended up having sex. It was magical though.

“Hmm, very well,” said Nemar, finally. He waved his hand and the leather folder vanished. I felt another sharp current throughout my body and I sucked my stomach in.

“Your magic has been restored.. for now. Let me explain your task.”


“You didn’t expect to be getting your magic back without a task, did you?”

“But, I was on the great council.”

“Sure,” shrugged Nemar. “But, now, you are a lost mage and rules are rules. We need to make sure you are worthy of this second chance.”He was enjoying it way too much.

“Fine. What’s this task?”

The goblin was silent for a few seconds. “As you say, you are a great mage from the great council…” Mockery dripped through his slimy words. “The task might be too easy for you.” He chuckled. “So, instead, I will just let you deal with it. Surely, not a big deal for you.”  

Heat was rising inside me. I knew there was no point talking with the goblin.

“Fine. Give me my wand.”

“Oh. This wand?” He patted at the wooden case. “You don’t get this for the task. But, don’t worry. I will keep it safe. If you are successful, which I am no doubt you will be,it will be returned to you. Until then…” He snapped his fingers and the wooden case vanished, along with the goblin.

Although I wanted to scream, I breathed in deeply saving my energy, I might need it. I looked around the hallway. The ceiling light started to flicker. I figured that was my cue to start the task, whatever it was supposed to be. Before jumping into it, I wanted to test my magic though. Without my wand, I could still do some magic, like levitating things, moving objects, small distance teleport. So, I extended my hands, palms down and levitated myself. Magic. That feeling was inexplicable. I was reminded of what I had been missing.

I had no choice but to succeed in this bloody task. I jumped onto the ground and walked towards the other end of the hallway, resolve flowing through my muscles. I kept walking into the darkness. After a while, my eyes adjusted, and I saw spurious magic energy. I tried to use my other senses too. Vision might not always be effective, especially when there was magic around. It was eerily silent, but I knew the task was at hand. There was something yellow, something red, something dung, and something dead.

The red fire erupted without warning. Only, I was quicker to move away. I clearly saw the shining yellow dragon eyes and I stopped breathing for a second. I didn’t know what was going to happen next, but one thing was certain, I was going to die. Dealing with a dragon with a wand was as easy as removing a blood stain from a crisp white shirt, but without a wand, my imagination didn’t want to go that far. The dragon’s growls were closer now, and my receding footsteps were not making much difference. I needed to think something fast, only my brain was working in terms of high magic like confounding or transforming the dragon, which of course needed the wand.

The dragon spat red fire again. I ducked, closing my eyes. Something nearby caught fire. A carcass maybe. I was still crouching at the dragon’s feet. I opened my eyes just a little to make sure I was still alive. Everything went quiet and I heard the low growls and sighs inside the dragon’s stomach. The dragon caused a few more flares, red fires emanating now and then. I stayed still. The wheels in my brain spinning so fast, and then they stopped.
Why was the dragon fire red? And it wasn’t even very hot. 

I had had the occasional bad luck of encountering a dragon in the past, the fires they created were breathtaking, devastating of course, but brilliantly so. I closed my eyes and listened carefully. The growl in the dragon’s stomach sounded, like a distant cry.

Oh my god, the dragon was lonely. Even its fire was depressed.

My inner therapist lunged forward and placed a delicate hand on the dragon’s heart. I concentrated my positive energy so much so that I could connect with the dragon’s heart chakra and I did. The dragon lowered itself and we saw eye to eye. I could see the sadness in those drooping yellow eyes. I started patting its neck, ever so gently. 

“You are not alone, my friend,” I whispered.

The magical radiance started growing around us and a thrumming filled my ears. And then I heard dragonspeak. 

Let’s get out of here.

I jumped onto the dragon’s back and it spewed yellow-blue fire melting away the wall. Sunlight bathed the half-melted stony cell, still on fire and we flew away into the clear skies towards freedom. I screamed with joy, spewing magical radiance everywhere. I felt into my suit pocket and my wand was there, like it had been there since this morning. I took it out and swirled around creating a whirlwind and then crashing it. 


Finally, I was not a lost mage anymore. I was Dunbar, the Great Mage, Creator of the winds. But, the therapist in me won the day.


About the author: Anima is a writer and an engineer. Born and brought up in India, she loves chai and samosa. She writes funny stories with a lot of heart and is currently working on her full-length fiction manuscript. She can be reached via twitter @author_anima.



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My name is Jack L. Bryson and I'm the editor of Teleport. I studied literature at University of Montana. I live in Mountain View Ca, and my email is coffeeant1@gmail.com

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