If you’re under 18, forget it: if you try to read this it will self-destruct. Ditto if you’re in a location where reading these kinds of stories is against the law.
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I’d be pleased if someone would comment on the way I chose to end this story. It had multiple endings before I settled on this one. E-mails welcome, though I may not have time to respond: firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Magellan had awakened the woman in me and, when it was time for me to leave his estate, I knew that I would take a man to be both lover and critic. It was difficult to say goodbye to the magician and his thrall. Beatrice and I had shared ourselves with him and with each other. While I had been witness to the assembly and disassembly of her character countless times, there was still a kernel of Beatrice-ness which I loved and cherished. But I would miss Magellan most.
There were times of terror, I’ll admit. Moments when my emotion and will gained the upper hand and my body suffered for it. Being whipped by Beatrice is distressing when one realizes that one’s cries and pleadings will be utterly in vain. And there were moments when, hypnotized, I could feel and understand every sensation and be unable to respond as I would have wished. But my greatest fear – of being shared by Magellan with another man – never came to pass and, in time, the keys to hypnotism were firmly in my grasp and the magician and I agreed that it was time for me to leave.
I returned to New York excited and prepared to set into motion my first and only conquest. Magellan, as Mr. Ambrose, wrote a letter of recommendation for me and I sent it, along with my own letter of inquiry, to Juliard. I was confident the school would offer a position and that it would put me in the proximity of the great composer, Edward Miller.
Arriving at my parents’ home, I was filled with relief. I hadn’t seen them in the four and a half years I’d been gone. Every month I had sent them a letter, and every month they had responded. But even with the correspondence my separation from them had been one of the more difficult aspects of my service to Magellan. We dined out the first night, then contented ourselves with home-cooked meals and intimate discourse thereafter.
Eventually my vacation from sexual intimacy and hypnotism neared an end. I received a letter from Juliard and its contents were as I expected. Summer was rapidly approaching. I would have two months to practice harder than ever for the required performance and then I would be an instructor in their employ. Using self-hypnosis, it was easy to learn the piece and I felt my performance at home was nearly flawless. Near the end of July my mother burst into the practice room with the oddest look on her face.
“Darling, that’s the best I’ve ever heard anyone play,” she said, looking, quite frankly, aghast.
“Thank you, Ma,” I said quietly. I nearly had said “Master.”
“You have outdone yourself. I hope you can perform like that for your interview. Forgive me for doubting, but I had thought teaching European children in New Orleans would have dulled your abilities.”
“I worried about that as well, Ma. But evidently we were both wrong.” Magellan had kept on me like a slave driver. Which, I suppose, he was. Every day, rain or shine, in the midst of passion, even, he would throw me out of the bed and order me to practice. Every other month I was expected to entertain guests with a new piece after his dinner parties and I worked hard to give them the best concert I was capable of.
There was a slight pause in our conversation as mother gathered the words for whatever it was she wished to say. Finally she found the right tone and said, “You are an adult, of course, and you can do as you like. But it seemed to me – it seemed as though, when you graduated from Juliard, that you were frustrated with the school and harbored little good will toward it. I’m confused as to why you’d want to work there now. Why don’t you pursue your concert playing? Especially with the talent I just now heard.”
“There’s a little more I wish to learn. In New Orleans I found that I learned so much as I taught and I’d like to see what Juliard has to offer their teachers. I don’t plan to stay for long.”
“Well, then. I’m certainly not trying to tell you what to do. I just wanted to hear your reasons.”
“Of course, Ma, of course.”
She walked over to hug me and kissed the top of my head before leaving the room.
My first day at Juliard I was introduced to Mr. Miller. We had met briefly before, of course, but this time we met as fellow professionals and instructors. I smiled as warmly as I dared and he pressed my hand briefly before letting me go. From what I understood of him I would have to dampen my usual forthright nature and let him pursue me, a reticent and delicate young pianist. I also understood that he was likely to pursue young musicians and I was confident that waiting would bring him to me. While I still lacked the natural bounty given to a few lucky female musicians I had learned quite a bit about how one’s body expresses itself. Even the most beautiful woman can send visual clues that induce men to leave them be. I sent visual signals of the opposite type.
The next week, while classes had yet to start and instructors were preparing their lessons in their offices, Mr. Miller knocked on my door and entered, removing his hat, before I could say anything. I was pleased to see that he shut the door behind him and casually let himself sit at one of my guest chairs. They were leather but not at all as well-constructed or comfortable as the chair over which I lost my virginity. Still, I had specifically searched out chairs that were as close to it as possible.
“Ms Maldives, good day to you,” he said cheerfully.
“And to you as well, Mr. Miller. How can I help you today?”
“I wondered if you had a chance to look at the score I left in your box.”
“I had. I think it will be a fine piece for my class to practice.”
His face grew a little less cheerful and he cleared his throat, shifting in his seat.
“I had meant it more for your personal review than for your students,” he said. I let the silence between us grow uncomfortable and pretended to be ignorant of his meaning. He had written a short piece titled “Summer Love” and it was quite obviously the composer’s version of a love poem. Finally he couldn’t stand it and said, “I had meant it for you alone. Did you test it on your piano?”
“Why Mr. Miller –“
“Please, call me Edward.”
“Edward, I hadn’t realized that it was meant only for myself. Of course I won’t share it with my students,” I lowered my lashes slightly and bit my lower lip. This caused Edward to smile again and lean forward in his chair.
“Mary – may I call you Mary? – I have been trying for some time now to get you to notice me. Please don’t tell me you’re already spoken for.”
I had indeed seen everything he had done to get my attention: the score, the flowers, and the little box of tea he’d left at my door when I hadn’t been in. I also was aware of the scores, the flowers, and the teas he had given to other, prettier, teachers. I pretended to be shocked and flattered.
“Mr. Mi – I mean, Edward. I hadn’t noticed. I can’t say that it would occur to me that such a handsome man, such a great composer, would have any interest in me whatsoever. And no, I’m not spoken for.”
“Surely you weren’t imagining yourself married to your piano.”
I looked at my desktop, feigning embarrassment, and said nothing.
“Oh, I’m so sorry if I’ve made you self-conscious, Mary. It’s just that you’re quite breathtaking, you know.”
I rose from my chair and moved to stand before him.
“Forgive me, but no one’s said anything like that in quite a while. Perhaps you could tell me what it is you find breathtaking.”
“Are – is this some sort of joke?” he asked nervously.
“No, Edward. I’m quite serious. I know it’s rather forward of me. I spend so much time at the piano that I quite lack social graces. While I embarrass myself to no end most of the time, it does allow me a certain liberty.”
“Well, then,” he said, letting his eyes travel over my body, “I don’t quite know where to start… You’re a slim woman for your height. And your hands look long and tapered rather than overly large. I do admire your hands, true pianist’s hands, they are. And, well, your neck is stately, your skin flawless, your lips…” he stood and looked intently at my lips, “ your lips are quite lovely and distracting. And your eyes. Why, I believe a man could get lost in them.” He leaned forward to kiss me and I turned my head such that his lips met my cheek. He stepped back, nearly tripping over the chair he in which he had been sitting.
“I’m sorry, Mary. I should have known that would be overstepping my limits.”
“All is forgiven and forgotten, Edward. It was too bold of me to ask you to look at me like that. But please, do go on about my eyes. Look into them again. Do you think it’s really true that a man could get lost in them?”
“A-absolutely,” he managed to say. I kept eye contact and started to speak in a low, soft voice.
“Of course, there’s nothing to fear about losing one’s self in them, for they’re beautiful eyes. You should sit in that comfortable chair, without breaking our gaze, and continue looking into my eyes. There’s a good man, Edward. It pleases me when you do as I say. You are doing so well at gazing into my eyes, searching their depths. You feel yourself being pulled into those depths. Go ahead, lose yourself in them. I’m here to keep you safe.”
Edward looked bemused and he nearly started to speak, but I interrupted him.
“Edward, forgive me for being so bold, but please indulge me. It has been so long since I’ve been with a man and I want to give you everything you desire. If only you’d indulge me in this one silly little thing. Simply keep your eyes on mine and listen to me for a little while. Listen to my soothing voice. You don’t even have to understand what I’m saying, just listen, for my voice is a tether as you sink further and further into my eyes. There you go, I can see your face relaxing a little. It is nice, isn’t it, to relax into our shared gaze. There’s nothing to fear from meeting the eyes of a little shy innocent pianist like myself. Nothing to fear and everything to gain. You’re becoming a little sleepy, aren’t you, Edward. That’s alright, you let yourself relax in that comfortable chair. You have no worries and all the time in the world to relax with me. Listen to my breathing, isn’t it relaxed? You should match your breathing to mine and you will relax even further and sink even more into the depths hidden in my eyes. Oh, good boy, Edward, I’m so proud of you. You’re so relaxed and so compliant. It’s so easy to do as I say.”
His eyelids were starting to droop but he never lost eye contact with me. He leaned back in the chair and, little by little, his arms and legs and face fell slack.
“Can you still hear me, Edward?”
There was a long pause then, “Yesss.”
“Good boy, Edward. Are you tired?”
“You can close your eyes when I count to three. With every count you’ll fall a deeper into a trance. When you close them you’ll still see my eyes and hear my voice. I will sound very powerful and you will feel the need to obey me. One… deeper into your trance, Edward… two… even deeper… three… now you are in a deep trance. You must hear and obey my voice. Tell me what you must do, Edward.”
“I must hear and obey your voice.”
“Because you must hear and obey my voice, I must be your Mistress. What am I, Edward?”
“And if I am your Mistress, then you are my slave. What are you, Edward?”
“Very good. I am so proud of you, slave. You feel so good when you’re a good slave. Your whole body tingles and your penis becomes very hard. You like being my slave. You enjoy being hypnotized by me and being instructed in your actions. When you are hypnotized you can do nothing unless I order it.”
I shan’t bore you with the rest of our first hypnotic session. Suffice to say that by the end of it he was completely mine and completely ready for sexual intimacy. Before bringing him out of hypnosis I had him strip and present himself to me. As Magellan taught me I taught him to kneel when possible and stand at attention when not. His cock – in my five years with the magician the vulgar words for sex organs were imbedded in my head - was not as large as Magellan’s, which disappointed me, but that was not my primary concern anyway. I had him masturbate, catch his ejaculation in his handkerchief, and refold and replace his handkerchief in his breast pocket. I told him to forget it was there but that the smell of his own seed would further bind him to me as he went about the rest of his day.
I gave him several post-hypnotic suggestions: that he break off any relationships with other women, that he would write a particularly difficult piano piece for me to practice, and that he would be honest with everyone about everything. This last order was to have two results: his honestly would most likely alienate him from his peers at Juliard and he would be unable to tell me anything but truth once I had played his composition for him. Finally I told him he would find himself at a small, quaint and - as Magellan would have said - decadent hotel at six, that he would ask for the key to Mr. and Mrs. Edward’s room, and that when he heard the phrase “Mary’s slave” he would be my slave in body but not spirit.
When I brought him out of his trance he believed we had done nothing but flirt. He gasped upon glancing at his watch and stood hastily, muttering something about being late for an appointment as he backed out of the room.
Sitting at the window of my hotel room I saw his lank figure walk slowly up to the hotel. The gas lights by the entrance revealed his expression of confusion which heightened my mounting sense of excitement. I was not naïve enough to believe that an unmarried man his age could be a virgin, but this would be his first time engaging in sex while under a woman’s complete control. The thought made my cunt wet and, since I had been thinking about it all day, I was near to losing control of myself.
There was the sound of a key in its lock and the door slowly opened. Edward entered, still confused, and, when he saw me, blurted out his honest thought, “Mary, what’s happening to me?”
“Mary’s slave,” I replied. He sank to his knees without bothering to close the door.
“What’s wrong with you, slave? Don’t you know enough to close the door and remove your clothing? A slave should never be clothed unless his Mistress tells him otherwise.”
“What?” he asked, looking shocked. He rose to shut the door and, without further ado, removed his clothing, tossed them into a jumbled heap beside himself, and knelt again.
“Slave, you are still performing terribly. How could you wrinkle your clothes like that? Fold them nicely and set them in the chair.”
“What’s wrong with me?” he nearly shouted. His eyes started to tear as he folded his clothes, rose, and set them in the chair that I wasn’t occupying.
“Your clothes are better than you are, slave. You cannot sit in chairs, but your clothes can. You can only kneel at your Mistress’ feet and hope that you won’t commit any more errors while in her presence.”
He knelt at my feet and I said, “There’s a good boy. You want to be a good boy for me, don’t you?”
His cock sprang to attention at the praise and he nodded his head vigorously even as he said , “No!” I felt rather sorry for him. I was treating him poorer than Magellan had ever treated me. But it seemed to me that Edward was a strong man and unlikely to simply accept being a woman’s chattel. Whereas I surrendered willingly and with purpose, Edward was caught unawares and without choice.
“It’s a good thing you have a Mistress to tell you what to do and how to behave, since you can’t do a simple thing like kneel without making a dozen mistakes.” His penis began to shrink at my words and I changed my tone. “But I, being your Mistress, am confident that you will make a good slave. What a good boy you are, kneeling at my feet and listening intently to every word.”
He turned his eyes to mine with a soulful look and said, “What did you do to me?” his voice breaking.
“I did nothing. You came here of your own will, didn’t you?”
“I don’t know. I don’t think so. I’m not sure how I came to be here.”
“Do you want to be my slave?”
“No!” he said, looking confused.
“But look at how happy you are when I tell you you’re a good slave.” Indeed, with the last bit of praise his erection had returned. He looked down at it with surprise and a small tear fell from his eye.
“I don’t want to be your slave,” he whispered.
“Something deep inside you wants to be my slave, wants to have a Mistress and, no matter how sad or scared you are, you cannot break free from that desire. Better to submit to it now, and to me, as well. The sooner you submit your will the sooner you will be a good slave. The sooner you will hear my praise and feel the pleasure you receive from that praise.”
“I – I can’t,” he whispered.
“Of course you can. Let your Mistress help you. She is so much stronger than you and knows exactly what you need. Repeat after me: ‘I want Mistress to help me.’”
Edward was silent and he was truly crying now. I placed a hand on his head and stroked his hair gently.
“Come now, slave, it’s not so difficult. Simply say: ‘I want Mistress to help me.’”
“I – I want… M-mistress… to help me,” he managed to say through his tears.
“Good boy. Well done.” He gave a small shudder of pleasure. “Now say, ‘I am confused but Mistress knows the truth.”
“I – I am con-confused and… but … M-mistress knows… knows the truth.”
“Oh, what a good boy! I’m so proud of you. See how easy it is to repeat after me. Now say: ‘I want to know the truth because I want to tell the truth.”
“I want to know the truth because I want to tell the truth.”
“You said that with no hesitation, slave. You are so wonderful!” Of course, he had an easier time with that sentence since I had hypnotized him into believing this. When he heard he was wonderful his cock bobbed up and down and he stopped crying.
“Do you feel better now?”
“Good boy,” His cock bobbed again and he moaned a little. “Now repeat: ‘Mistress knows the truth and she will share it with me.”
“M-mistress knows the – the truth and… and she will share it with me.”
“Wonderful! What a good little slave you are.” He shifted slightly and precum started to leak from the head of his cock. “Now here’s the truth, and you can repeat it after me if you like. If you do you are a very good boy indeed and you will get a reward. Are you ready?” He nodded. “The truth is that it feels very, very good to do as I say and if it makes you feel so good then you must want to do as I say. And since you want to do as I say then you must want to be my slave.”
He was silent for a little while. I held my breath in anticipation. The struggle within was plain on his face and, as much as it shames me to say it, I enjoyed watching him fight the mental bonds I had created. Finally he bowed his head and I knew it was over even before he breathed in and said, “The truth is that it feels very, very good to do as you say and if it makes me feel so good then I must want to do as you say. And since I want to do as you say then I must want to be your slave.”
“Oh! Good boy! Good boy! What an excellent slave I have! You may kiss my feet, you wonderful little slave.”
He hesitated, then bent to kiss my feet as I stroked his hair. He was mine now and he thought it was of his own free will, which would make the bond that much stronger.
“That’s enough feet kissing, now, slave. Are you ready for your next task?” Edward nodded his head. “Kiss your way up the inside of my thighs and worship my cunt. If you do that I will let you cum.”
“I’ve never… um…” he was too ashamed or frightened to finish his sentence.
“Then listen carefully, slave. The first two rules are simple: go slow and be gentle. The slower you are the more your Mistress can feel. The gentler you are the more responsive she will be. The third rule is that you use both your hands and your mouth, even your nose, if you’re feeling adventurous. The simplest and most straightforward way to worship me is to use your lips and tongue to caress my clit and your fingers to caress and slip into my cunt. You can use two fingers. By spreading them apart you also spread me apart and that makes me feel quite good. When I orgasm I’ll hold onto your hair and press your face against me. Do not resist. When I let go of your hair you are allowed to lick me clean and move to my side until I’ve recovered enough to give you another order. Is that clear?”
If I had been excited by the idea of controlling this man, the excitement was doubled by the reality. I nearly came before his lips even touched my clit. When I did come the orgasm was powerful and I did as I said I would, holding his head against me as wave after wave of pure pleasure rolled over me. Finally I released him. He carefully licked every inch of skin between my legs then moved away from me as I caught my breath. When I was ready I retrieved a washcloth from the bathroom and handed it to Edward.
“You have been such a good boy, Edward. I’m so glad you’re my slave. Your lips and fingers are talented and I look forward to helping you practice worshipping my cunt again and again. Are you ready for your reward?” He nodded eagerly and his cock jumped again. “You may cum into the washcloth now.”
He groaned and spilled his seed into the cloth in his hand, his eyes closed in ecstasy and embarrassment. When he was done I told him he was a good slave, he groaned again and did not lose his erection.
“When you’re the perfect slave I might allow you to orgasm in me. For now, though, you will always orgasm into a handkerchief or washcloth when I allow you to cum. You may not cum without my permission, is that clear?” He nodded his head weakly.
I took him into a trance and worked on his subconscious for the rest of the evening until he had little room in his head for anything but working on his masterpiece, pleasing me and, above all else, being honest. I also had him tell me about his financial and social situation. I found that, should Juliard fire him, he’d have enough money to live on while he composed his most challenging piano piece. He was halfway to being fired already - forced as he was to tell the truth, he had managed to offend nearly everyone he had seen that day.
Upon leaving the school in the early afternoon, he had gone straight to his mistress’ home and told her he would no longer see her or support her. He had escaped a vase flung in his direction but could not escape her screams as he fled her apartment. Edward was well on his way toward depending on me utterly, all in the space of a day.
Toward the end of the week Juliard had let Edward go. He was too absorbed with his new composition to be distressed. For the next few months I checked in on him daily to make sure he was eating and to reinforce my dominance over him. He learned to expect my arrival and await me, naked and kneeling, in his entrance hallway and to serve me hand and foot while he talked as long as I’d let him about his work. He was devoted more to the composition than to me, and that was how I’d planned it. It was imperative that he feel the score in his bones and have no doubts as to how it should be played.
Finally Edward was satisfied and his excitement nearly ruined me. He took the score in hand and literally ran across New York to my home. He pounded on the door and then knelt on the stoop until my father answered his knock. They looked at each other in shock.
“May I help you?” My father asked.
“Is Mary in?” Edward asked breathlessly.
“I’m not…” my father began, but Edward interrupted, “Tell her I’m here. I’m done. It’s here…” he started to babble incoherently and my father started to shut the door on him until he felt my hand on his arm.
“Papa, let Edward in. Edward, come in and behave yourself.”
Edward shuffled in on his knees and started to remove his clothing.
“Stop!” I commanded. He froze and looked at me in confusion.
“Edward. Stand. Up.” When he was standing I said, “Stay there and do not move. Papa, may I speak with you in the drawing room?”
Father looked from Edward to me and back a few times before he nodded silently and we moved to the drawing room.
“Mary, is that Edward Miller?”
“Yes, Papa. He has developed a crush on me at Juliard and continues to profess his love despite my efforts to ward him off. It appears he’s gone quite mad with love.”
“I’ll say. Why did you have me let him in? I’ll get rid of him right now.” He moved to the door but I again held his arm.
“No, let me speak to him. I’m sure he’ll listen to me.” My father paused as he considered the likely-hood of his daughter being abducted by a famed and crazed composer and steeled himself to say no to me, which he rarely could bring himself to do.
“I’d rather you let me handle this, sweetheart. I know you want to be kind, as the gentler sex is wont to be, but as your father I ought to shield you from undesirable suitors.”
“Papa, you are the best father ever, really. But I’m a woman now and I should learn how to deal with suitors on my own.” I stepped ahead of him and turned into the hall. Edward’s eyes lit up when he saw me and he started to kneel again.
“Edward, please stand. Thank you, that’s good.” He shivered a little at my approval. “You should go home now and wait to hear from me.” His face fell and he half-heartedly held the manuscript toward me.
“Mistress, it’s finished,” he whispered. I hoped my father couldn’t hear him.
“Go home and wait to hear from me, Edward. Don’t disappoint me.” I took my sternest tone, not too difficult considering how harshly I’d been treating him during the last few months. In despair he turned toward the door. I walked up behind him and opened the door for him. I dared not touch him, as my father could be watching, but I did whisper, “Good boy, Edward. I’ll see you soon.” He smiled weakly at me and started to trudge back to his own home.
The next day being a respite from teaching, I rushed to Edward’s home, excited by the idea that I would have a piece worthy of my time and a critic who could honestly tell me what I could do to improve my performance of it. Once I had a chance to review it I fell in love with it and cherished the composition; in itself it was nearly worth the past five years..
“Did I please you, Mistress?” Edward asked anxiously as I cried a little in my happiness.
“Oh, slave, you did please me. I am so delighted with your composition,” I said, “This makes it final, you are now the perfect slave. Follow me.” We took to his bed for the rest of the day.
Finally I was ready for my performance. I had reserved a hall at Juliard and invited everyone I knew. While I had practiced I had pretended that Edward and I were dating so that we’d have time to be together. Father was worried that Edward was too hot-headed for his daughter but I convinced him that Edward had convinced me of his love by the quality of his composition. Edward comported himself admirably the many times we had him over for dinner and it was good practice for the social nature of the performance.
The hall was crowded. Everyone at Juliard wanted to hear the insane composer’s composition. Edward sat in front and center, flanked by my parents, who had grown to see him as an eccentric artist who doted on me. The last few days I had lessened his hypnotic-based love and devotion to me and transferred that to his composition. I wanted no doubts when I heard his criticism.
The lights lowered and I took my seat at the piano to a polite round of applause. Then there was nothing but the piano as I played with every ounce of skill and passion in my body.
Once I had Edward alone in a carriage on the way to a celebratory dinner I hypnotized him and told him to critique my performance.
“It was flawless,” he replied. I felt faint and gave myself a moment to catch my breath before working hard to make him hate me.
“Tell me, what did you think of my performance?” I asked again.
“Despite the fact that I hate you and everything you do, it was flawless,” he said with a look of disgust on his face. This time I did faint. When I came to I had barely the time to put his devotion to me back in place before we were off to dinner. I couldn’t concentrate, I couldn’t eat, I was startled every time someone said something to me. My parents gave me queer looks and I finally excused myself. Edward tried to accompany me but I refused. I walked home under a wan October moon and put myself to bed with a cold compress and chamomile tea.
Magellan feigned surprise when I appeared with my thrall in tow.
“Mary, darling! I’m so happy to see you! What are you doing here?”
“You know full well why I’m here, Peter Magellan,” I said as fiercely as I could manage through my tears. “You instilled a post-hypnotic suggestion that I return once I heard honest criticism from my thrall. Don’t you deny it. I couldn’t rest for weeks and felt no peace until I had purchased my train tickets.”
“No, I did not.”
“Then who did? I had no intention of returning to New Orleans.”
Beatrice appeared behind her Master and said, “Mary! I’m so happy you returned! And look, you brought a friend. Oh, I’m so glad it worked.”
Magellan and I stared at her, too shocked to speak, until he managed to say, “What worked, Niece?”
“My post-hypnotic suggestion. I knew we’d be so lonely here without her, and sometimes I’m bored enough to actually read what you’ve got in your library…” her voice trailed off as she looked from his face to mine.
“Beatrice, I am going to beat you senseless,” I said, breaking into fresh tears. Beatrice and Magellan looked dismayed and half dragged me into the living room, where there was a small fire despite the heat of the day. They stretched me out along a fainting couch and Edward the Doll, following behind, knelt on the floor by my feet.
“You can’t be so distressed simply because of my suggestion.” Beatrice declared.
“No – no, it’s not just that. I did miss you both, to be honest. No, it was – it – I should have simply left well enough alone,” I murmured.
“What do you mean?” Magellan asked.
“There’s nowhere left for me to go. Musically, I mean. I’ll never play again.”
“Don’t be daft,” Magellan said sternly, “Of course you will. I’ll make you.”
“No, please don’t make me. I never want to see another piano as long as I live,” I wailed. Magellan slapped me and the shock of it made me gasp. He glared at me before marching out of the room. Beatrice’s eyes were wide as she sat by my side and held my hand.
I stayed with Magellan and Beatrice for another year, most of it in a deep trance, and I remember very little. Despite the magician’s hard work, I still cannot stand the sight of a piano. I am broken, undone by my vain and egotistical search for the truth, which is a story we tell ourselves: “What is truth, really, but the best explanation we can come up with for the unknown.” What was unknown was the depths of my ability. It should have remained unknown, the depths unmarked and unmeasured.