A Familiar Situation
1189 words long
The investor is no angel, but his assistant is no demon.
Notes from the author:
With this piece of story, I wanted to investigate all possible meanings of the word familiar. Recognizable, common, something you're used to seeing all the time. A family member or family concern. A magical animal companion, usually small, who fetches and carries for you if you're of the magical persuasion yourself.
Here is a version of our world where familiars are everywhere, familiar to everyone, adopted into families on mutually beneficial terms--well, that's the theory, anyway. Here they might play a vital role in commerce, education, and entertainment. And of course the familiars of the rich and powerful (and magically persuaded) overshadow those of ordinary people. In some cases, literally.
Amelie couldnít keep her eyes off the sorcererís familiar. Like the familiars of most magic-wielders, it was no ordinary animal. Not that any familiar was precisely ordinary; Amelieís own familiar had the power of speech and the form of a chipmunk with a checkerboard pattern on its belly. It stood at definite variance from your run-of-the-mill chipmunk in the wild. But the sorcererís familiar appeared to belong to an entirely different world. She wondered what powers it had.
It had the shape of a serpent longer than a man is tall, and the sorcerer was a very tall man indeed. Amelie put him at around six foot ten. His familiar perched upon his shoulder with a hump of its body near its cobra-hooded head, and its tail tangled idly in the fringes of the sorcererís night-black cape.
But its length was not the most salient feature of the sorcererís familiar. That, rather, was the pair of wings with which nature, or magic (if they were not one and the same) had endowed it. They sprang from its serpent body about a handspan behind the head, and they seemed made entirely of shadow. The familiar was constantly moving them, stretching and folding them, and when they reached out to their full span, they dipped into the wood-paneled walls to either side as though into water.
ďMs. Johnson? I am Roger Umbartden.Ē The sorcerer shook hands with her, then elegantly gestured for her to sit down. ďI see you are quite taken with Melior. My great-great-great-grandfather adopted him, and our family has since become quite used to him. Iím sure you will do the same in time.Ē
This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for October 9, 2015. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1189 words) from Patreon in PDF or MP3 format depending on their pledge tier.
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