The Academy of Magic sat on rue Saint Paul in Paris; it was a well known place around the world for its vast arrays of cards, tricks, educative books on mentalism, hypnotism and any other type of magic you might be interested in. Or biographies of well known magicians like Houdini or Chung Ling Soo. Anybody who was somebody in the magical world knew of this place and would visit once in a while.

But Elena stood in front of the place with a letter in hand and hesitated. Once she passed the threshold, there was no coming back. She couldn’t help but think of her mothers parting words ‘those who practice magic or consort with magicians are abominations.’ Never once in her house had there been any magic tricks, even the simplest play of cards. She remembered numerous birthdays at friends’ where a magician was involved. These classmates were no longer welcome in her apartment afterwards. It was a tiny place, which wouldn’t have allowed more than 2 or 3 kids at a time but still. Her mother’s attitude left her rather alone.

It was also uncanny her mother said these exact words; could she have known where Elena was going? How? She looked down at the letter; an invitation really. Into another world. She knew why she’d researched the place online, why she’d purchased the flight ticket. She was tired of her mother’s restrictions. She understood her father’s death left her mother lonely and afraid. She knew the circumstances of his demise were suspicious even though the police never found the culprit. But she was 20 and she would live her life. It was enough she’d abandoned the idea of university and studies to work and support the two of them. She needed to fly out of the nest.

So here she was; standing in front of a place where she would never have considered coming if it weren’t for the curious wording of the letter. She was invited to a conference somehow but she could only attend if she found the entrance. As she looked at the shop, the door was clearly visible; and not just to her. It wasn’t like in those books where only true magicians could see the place. Every Parisian and tourist seemed completely aware of the Academy. Maybe the access to the conference was inside. But if she stepped in, what would she find?


In response to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s prompt Tale Weaver #188 “Into the Unknown”.


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