I mumbled a spell as the aged woman spun the wheel. Most avoided the wheel at the carnival, but I could use magic to make the wheel stop where I wanted. I had learned much from an old wizard before he retired.
I had my eye on a prize: a magic wand. Other slots on the old wooden wheel contained curses, like becoming a goat or pig, some as horrible as a wart on someone’s face.
But I ignored those. I had control. I could make the wheel stop where I wanted.
The wheel slowed to reveal its chipped paint. Some pictures I could barely make out. But the clicking of the wooden poles against the flap became more distinct, and the wand moved ever closer. It slowed to a crawl. The flap bent upon the pole separating the wand from my hand and paused on the tip. Then it slipped back to the previous slot.
I gasped. Someone had another spell on it. I gazed at the picture covered in peeling paint. Though weathered, I could make out an image of a fly.
I watched the lady. Her gray hair and pointy hat gave her the stereotypical appearance of a witch. Now I wondered if it was more than a costume at a carnival.
“I’m not really going to become a fly, am I?”
“Josh, wasn’t it?”
She shook her head. “No, these are prizes.” She reached back and pulled out a jar with a fly in it. “Here, come try again!”
I put the jar up to the sun and saw a fly buzzing around. “Great, I get a fly.” I briefly thought about trying again, but if I couldn’t control the wheel it would be too risky. Better to count myself lucky and leave while I could.
I strolled onto the fairway, thinking about the fly. Might as well release it; it’s no use to me. So I uncovered the top and let the fly buzz out.
It landed on my arm. I stared at it and it looked back at me.
“I wonder what it’s like to be a fly?”
Do you really want to know?
I blinked and shook my head. “Did you say that, fly?”
Yes. Thank you for freeing me. We have such short lives as it is.
Now, let’s switch.
The world blurred into a swirl of colors. My view changed into a fuzzier image, but clearly a head filled my sight. I swiveled my eyes around and received a clearer picture. My face stared at me.
Smells and wind pressure flowed down antenna and from my feet, six of them. I could see movement all around, though only certain areas focused clearly. And the colors appeared weird. Reds had disappeared, leaving blue and green tainted pictures whirling across my view.
“Wow, you can see pretty well with these eyes,” the fly using my face said.
You mean, my eyes.
“Yes, your eyes.” A smile grew on his face. “Then again, maybe they should be my eyes.”
I felt the air pressure around me grow, and I instinctively beat my wings and flew away, escaping just as the hand slapped the arm.
I zipped through the air. The fly in my body chased after me. I found a spot to land. All the sensations, odd images, I couldn’t make sense of them all. Then I saw my body approach. Two fingers protruded in front of me. I tried to move, but the fly body didn’t respond. The fingers drew near, then one shot out to hit me. My world went black.
I awoke on the ground, still in a fly body. I saw my body looking for me, scanning the dirt and grass. I tried to recall any spell that might free me. No fly spells arose in my erratic thoughts.
Then his eyes caught sight of me as I lay in a swath of grass. I couldn’t move. I lay in a shadow, and the cold air sapped all the strength I had. I could barely crawl.
I felt air pressure coming from two different places, but could do nothing to save myself. I would have opened my compound eyes wider if I could have. Just reverse the spell!
One spell too far, one spell too many, one spell undone, one spell no longer.
I heard my hands slamming together. I pulled them up to see the guts of a fly staining my palm. I breathed a sigh and rubbed the evidence of murder onto the grass.
I wondered if magic really gave me more control, or simply controlled me? I wouldn’t make that assumption again.
R. L. Copple is a father to three children, a husband since 1982, and lives in the Texas Hill Country. He has written for religious purposes but currently is editing three novels. He has been published at A Thousand Faces, The Sword Review, Ray Gun Revival, Haruah, Fear and Trembling, Every Day Fiction, Residential Aliens, and Dragons, Knights, and Angels. His five chapter fantasy novella Infinite Realities is for sale and is being serialized at The Sword Review September through December 2007.