I stared at the empty tub of ice cream that sat between us on the table. I wished we had more, but that was the last of our emergency supply. I took the tub between my two hands and l concentrated.
"Hmmmm ... I wonder ... ?"
I scraped my right forefinger around the inside rim, to glean what little ice cream was left. Black Cherry, my favourite. I concentrated on the taste, the texture, the coldness of it on my tongue. I closed my eyes and imagined we had more. A startled gasp from Mary made me open my eyes. A glob of ice cream floated above the tub - unformed, lacking any real substance, just a glob. I poked a finger at it, and it disappeared. A quickly stifled snort of laughter sounded from the kitchen doorway. I looked in that direction.
"Come out, come out, wherever you are," I sang. "You don't have to hide, Mary knows everything now."
Albert popped into view in the doorway. Moya appeared over by the fridge.
“We know, but we thought you'd be more relaxed if you didn't know we were here. Until the one week window expires, and you're safely in the magical world with protection, you're too valuable to leave alone. Those two showing up proved that,” Moya said.
I frowned. “Am I to have no privacy at all, then?”
“Of course, but now that you're showing signs of magical abilities, you'll be like a beacon to anyone in the city who might be looking for you. Maybe Moya and I can teach you how to protect yourself. Maybe it's time that we established just exactly what you can do. How did you make that ice cream appear?” Albert asked.
“I don't know, I guess I just imagined it, how it looked, smelt, tasted. I didn't do a very good job, though. It had no substance. I couldn't eat it.”
“You didn't say a spell, or chant anything?”
“Elves and faeries use spells, so do witches for that matter. You don't have wings, unless they're subcutaneous.”
“Sub ... what?”
“Subcutaneous. Under the skin, hidden. Do you have hidden wings, Annabelle?”
“How would I know, if they're hidden? I don't look at my back a lot,” I said, annoyed.
Mary giggled. So did Moya. Albert sighed. This line of questioning was going nowhere. He decided to try another direction.
“Have you ever moved anything with your mind, like telekinesis?”
“Telekinesis isn't magic. It's psychic energy.”
“Psychic energy is magic.”
“No it's not.”
“Regardless. Have you ever moved anything with your mind?”
“I have no idea. Things fall down around me a lot, or I fall over them. It's probably just because I'm clumsy, though.”
Albert gritted his teeth. He was losing patience. Moya and Mary were all but rolling on the floor with laughter. I was beginning to see the humour in the situation myself. I grinned.
“Why don't you show me how to do some magic, and if there's any ability of that sort in me, maybe I can copy what you do.”
“What a good idea,” Moya piped up. “At the very least we might find out what she can't do.”
Albert's brow furrowed. “I suppose that could work.”
He disappeared. “Can you do this, Annabelle?” Albert's disembodied voice asked just behind my left ear.
“Aaaaah!” I screamed and jumped. “A little warning might be nice.”
“Anyone trying to abduct you magically isn't likely to give you any warning. I'm going to move around the room. Try to figure out where I am.”
“By any means you can – follow my aura, tie into my emotions, sense my energy, anything. So far all you can do is produce a glob of ice cream wannabe,” Albert grumped.
I scrunched my shoulders and put my head down, to hide the flush on my cheeks, and the burning red of my ears. This was my usual way of dealing with feelings of inadequacy. I was close to tears. Moya came over and gave me a quick comforting hug.
“I think that's a bit too advanced for someone who only recently found out she's magical,” Moya said gently, trying to soothe her husband's rising temper. Albert reappeared. He must have sensed my upset, because his tone softened.
“Yes, I suppose you're right, Moya. I'm a watcher, not a teacher. Perhaps You'd have better luck.”
“I'll give it a shot, anyway,” Moya said. She sat down beside me and took my two hands in hers.
“You produced that ice cream by visualizing. Perhaps that's how your magic works. First, you have to relax. Take some deep breaths. In through your nose, out through your mouth, slowly. Inhale ... exhale ... inhale ... exhale.”
I followed her instructions until I began to feel a little dizzy, then Moya continued her instructions.
“Close your eyes and concentrate. See the tub full of ice cream in your mind's eye. Physically will the tub full. Really want that ice cream to be there. Now open your eyes, and expect it to happen,” she said earnestly.
I did exactly as she said, and opened my eyes.