Okay, so I'm back from CTYI (nerd camp, basically) and I had to write a piece of writing for the end of the course. So this is that writing! Please tell me what you think; I know that it's fairly short and really bad (the writing), but I'd appreciate your contribution nonetheless.
“So what made you decide to become a Spell Tester?”. It’s the first question they ask you, and the only one that matters. “Nothing- It chose me.” I answer, a smirk reaching my face- that‘s really the only response you can give. I don’t even need to elaborate. The woman sitting in front of me has black hair that’s clearly dyed- her eyebrows are red, for god’s sakes- and green eyes that don’t seem to blink. She’s wearing a trouser suit and a pearl necklace that seems to glow.
She signs my contract, and leads me through to the first room in the tour. “Well done, you’re hired. And over here on your left is the office, don’t go in there. Over here is the bathroom,” She quickly swivelled backwards and pointed towards a door that wasn’t there before. “That’s where you’ll go through each day to get to work- Mr. Quigley will show you how to get there later. That’s the Warehouse, go there first please,” she says in a bored tone, turning around yet again and pointing directly ahead, towards some double doors painted a dull shade of brown. “I trust that you can find your own way from here on out, welcome to Spells Unlimited. If you need anything, you can always ask me- but please don’t disturb me while I’m working, reading, sleeping or eating,” she continues, taking out a cigarette and leaving me to my own devices.
My name is Robert Buckley. I’m 14 years old, Irish, an avid computer nerd; I’m basically everything your average wizard isn’t. Most other wizards are old, bumbling men with large bushy beards and a lack of even the most basic technological skills. I come from a family of non-wizards; magic tends to skip a few generations. I’ve been studying magic since I was two, able to cast basic spells since I was seven and making money off of it since five minutes ago. As for my job, that’s a little bit more complicated. Not many people know this, but there is an entire underground magic circle running throughout the whole world. My current employment is with the Dublin branch of Spells Unlimited, the single largest magic spell book provider that anyone can care to name.
They have branches literally in every major location worldwide, and they definitely have the money to prove it. They’re based in a secret location somewhere in London, and the Dublin branch is the largest one on Earth except for the one in America- but judging by what I’ve heard of plans from deep within the branch, that will all soon change.
I’m what they call a Spell Tester- the one who they try out all of the potentially dangerous spells on before printing them for the whole world to use. Sure, it can be painful at times, but it’s 99.9% impossible to actually die in here. No, they save that for the old ones, the ones who nobody would notice kicking the bucket. Still, there’s always that .1%...
You may be thinking that I’m insane to risk my wellbeing for money, but they never care to test spells that they know could kill on us- the only death possible is an unintentional one. And that hasn’t happened in the history of the company… yet.
If you were wondering quite where I was right now, I’m currently in the Warehouse- the storage centre for this branch. Rather boring, I must say. It’s just rows and rows of endless books and tomes that are printed and charmed to look like they’re yellowing from years hidden away in some dark abandoned cave. ‘Pre-aging’ they call it. Everyone else just calls it ‘bullmollotts’. I never really did enjoy books; I suppose that in retrospect it mightn’t have been the best idea to sign up for three months of almost torture. Still, if I can make money out of this kind of stuff, I’m pleased. Working two hours a day leaves me with a fair amount of money and free time to hone my magical skills. Or sit around playing video games. Whichever.
My classmate, work colleague and damn near twin considering how much time we spend together is here too. Niamh O’Farrell is her name- she has blonde curly hair and deep blue eyes that seem to be stuck in a kind of perpetual smile. She’s looking at the extremely ancient books. The ones they have to keep in glass cases and behind lasers. The ones that people would literally kill to get- believe me, it’s happened. Without realising it, she’s making this one of them glow, she’s staring so intently at it. She sighs and looks dreamily up towards the heavens. She’s just been the subject of a test of Love Spells- problem is, they make her fall in love with virtually anything except people. Fortunately, the effects should wear off soon enough.
As she begins serenading and hugging a doorknob, I continue on my trek past more and more books. She’s been working for the company for much longer than I have. She’s nearing a year now, and neither of us are going to leave until they pry our paycheques from our cold, dead hands. They have the books arranged in order of age- I’m getting to the ‘Make Fido Blue!’ series, aimed at three to four year olds, and I can see some basic hand movement instruction books up ahead. More boredom. After that, they keep their Definitive Collection stockpile- it contains every spell that they’ve ever printed, and it’s only available to buy if you have retired from the company after fifty or more years of working there.
The temptation to just take something and leave the entire place behind is growing, but I force it down. It would be a futile exercise, anyway- security is so tight in here that even the CEO was looked at via camera on his last visit. As for us, not only do we have GPS tags, we also have microphones attached to our clothes and sniffer dogs trained to follow our scent. They really do take robbery seriously here.
It would appear that Niamh is chatting up a light bulb. It’ll be tough to get her out of here. “Niamh!” I shout, not expecting her to come rushing back. Surprisingly, she walks up to me with her head hung low. “H-he said no to me…” she whimpers, a tear rolling down her cheek. Fulch. The effects of the spell still haven’t worn off yet- it’s a definite failure.
“Finitio.” I mutter, pointing my right index finger at her as I trace an ‘x’ in the air. I’ve seen more advanced magicians do this spell before, and I can only hope it will work. A startled expression appears on her face, and she begins anxiously looking over her limbs to check if they’re still attached. When she’s content that nothing is terribly wrong, she looks strangely at the bulb in her hand and drops it to the ground. It doesn’t shatter- I guess whoever put it there didn’t want it breaking.
She smiles at me, and brushes her hair out of her eyes. “Well, let’s go then.” She says, gesturing towards the large double doors at the end of the room leading out into a long, grey corridor. As we go towards the exit, we smile at each other as we ready ourselves for our work day’s beginning.
We are laughing for no particular reason when my pager goes off. “Now that’s surprising- I’ve been working here a year and I’ve never needed to bring that thing. You haven’t done half an hour and the boss is calling you in.” she laughs, shoving me playfully. “I just can’t help if I’m talented- I’ll put in a good word for you, okay?” I reply in an equally joking tone, and I turn off the volume. “Is there any chance you could come with me?” I ask, unsure of quite where I was supposed to go.
Niamh fake-sighs, and grabs my arm, dragging me out of the room. We pass the reception desk on the way out, and the same woman who interviewed me is sitting there. “Um, the boss rang my pager. Where should I go?” I mutter, avoiding eye contact as much as I can. She looks up at me and glares silently. “Up the stairs and to the right.” She sneers in a patronising tone, as though she didn’t approve me less than an hour ago.