The Problem With Black Magic

Free The Problem With Black Magic by Karen Mead

Book: The Problem With Black Magic by Karen Mead Read Free Book Online
Authors: Karen Mead
affirmation spell” could affect one’s confidence and thus generate results, but she’d seen a man freeze time; she wasn’t interested in the kind of magic that could largely be explained as a placebo effect.
    She did find some accounts of powerful magic, but in general, the more spectacular the magic, the more disreputable the source. She tried to keep an open mind, but after the fifteenth blog post somewhere along the lines of “I turned my cat Snuffles into a person and now he’s my friend! We go to school together, but he still likes catnip!” she had pretty much given up on finding anything of value.
    Just when she was about to give up on the internet and retur n to the entertaining world of SAT vocab and Spanish irregular verbs, she found a forum that appeared to be devoted to demon familiars. At first, she thought it was more of the same, but she noticed something curious: for all the ridiculous posts, there were several she deemed credible, followed by a message from a moderator for the poster to check their private messages, or their e-mail.
    Cassie clicked on a thread entitled “What to do When You’ve Become a Familiar?” with a frowny-face icon:
    Hi guys, I know this is going to sound crazy but I’m hoping someone can help me. This guy I know, I think he must be a demon (he has these eyes!) did this thing to me- - can’t explain it-- and I’ve been feeling weird. Like, it’s hard to explain but my body feels different now. Now, he says I’m his familiar, and I should be happy because I’m poor and he can help me. I am 11, no one believes me and I don’t know what to do! How do I stop being a familiar!-Ethan.
    A few of the responses were mocking, telling Ethan that he should be happy that a demon had Chosen him; others explained elaborate “cleansing” rituals that Cassie was quite sure weren’t safe or hygienic. The last message was from a moderator “Demon’s Bane,” who told Ethan to check the email account he had used to sign up for the forum.
    Cassie sat back from her laptop and exhaled; assuming her situation wasn’t unique, some of what was on this forum was probably real, like poor Ethan. Even if a solid 95 percent of it was all made up nonsense, this “Demon’s Bane” person apparently used the forum to sniff out real familiars and contact them. But for what purpose?
    Whoever he or she was, she hoped they could be trusted for poor Ethan’s sake. Assuming his story was even legitimate, she had no way to help him, but she hoped someone could.
    Cassie shut her laptop closed. She was tempted to keep poking around the forum, looking for more information about the whole familiar situation that Sam had yet to share with her, but how could she tell what was real? For every post that was obviously trolling or just plain made up, there were several that her recent experience wouldn’t allow her to completely dismiss. Trying to separate the wheat from the chaff would drive her crazy.
    She finished another toaster pastry, deciding not to worry about undoing her short-lived weight loss when she had this much homework to do. She would finish the practice test, finish all her homework, then read some of Annette’s stupid mystery novels for the rest of the weekend. By all means, she would not go on the internet again until she knew what to look for.
    ***
     
    By eleven p.m. that night, she was in the middle of her third pulpy mystery novel, frustrated that she probably wasn’t going to guess who the murderer was yet again. Cassie wasn’t sure if the fact that she could never guess the bad guy before the reveal was due to some deficiency on her part, or if mystery novels just worked on their own twisted logic.
    She looked at her laptop, tempting in its deep purple case, then quickly looked back to her book. No, she would not invite insanity by searching the internet for demons again, and it was pointless to try to go online if she wasn’t going to allow herself to do that.
    At least I have

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