"Is this your card?"
A young man, dark of features, bright of eyes, and a bit out at the elbows, whipped out a card from a friendly volunteer from his audience, almost feeling it slip in his hands.
A jack of clubs, just as the man requested. The man got the normal canned round of applause, and a few whistles from his friends. The man gave the volunteer a pat on the back, and a firm handshake. "Give it up for Steve, everyone!" he announced, and then shortly after. "I hope you've all enjoyed my last trick of the day. Be kind, be well, and most importantly be magical!"
The magician stood proudly at the center of attention. He may not have called himself the best magician, but it was his dream job to be entertaining, to be friendly, and the most important of all, to be magical. He stepped behind the blue curtain adorned with yellow stars, and packed up his supplies.
Backstage in the small theater, the magician put away his dark trousers, shirt, and even his top hat in a large brown hard suitcase. He put on a pair of light jeans and a white shirt, and looked at himself in the mirror with a happy sigh. The cheer of the audience with the amazed looks in the eyes of both children, and adults. That was what being a magician was about. Deep down, he longed for more. He didn't crave fortune or fame, but real magic.
Once the magician put away his tricks and his magician clothes, he walked down the empty hallway backstage, and out the door. The small crowd dispersed, but as he walked along, he heard gossip.
"Did you see what he did with that last trick and those cards?" A man asked. "How did he do it?"
"The deck is rigged from the beginning." A man replied to the first. "Every deck has its own markings on it, or the magician does something to the back so they 'feel' different and they memorize it. There's always a simple explanation to how each trick goes."
"Yeah, there was one trick with the soda and the coin he did at the beginning?" A woman with the two men spoke up. "There's actually a video online that explains how they do it. They slap the coin on the bottom of the can, they tilt it just right so the coin isn't on their hands afterwards, and then they slip it back with some sleight of hand tricks while opening the can and taking advantage of all the fizz that comes out."
The magician let out a soft sigh as he heard the woman explain his very first trick. He kept the tricks at the beginning simple enough for others to figure out, but he tried to make it more complicated as the tricks went on to make the guessing much harder. He definitely didn't mind it when they figured out the simplest tricks, but he wished there was more to figuring out tricks than just creative problem solving.
The magician went to his car and drove home quietly. He didn't bother listening to the radio. Nothing on the radio would improve his mood. Clouds began to roll in and cover up the otherwise sunny day.
The magician arrived to his apartment complex, pulled into his parking spot, and walked inside. He walked up the staircase to the top floor, and noticed a package at his doorstep marked 'Aiden Yazzie.'
"The one water container I ordered already came, what could that be?" he asked himself.
He looked to the left, and then to the right suspiciously, before he pulled the package into his house. He carefully looked at the address, and noticed the package label had his address. "From the Wonderful Order of the Wolpertinger?" he said aloud as he read the return address.
The package didn't look rewrapped, but he was still suspicious. Aiden reached down to grab the package. Just as he grabbed the package with his fingertips, he froze. He felt a presence. He felt as if something watched him, right down through his skin. He grabbed the box, and brought it inside quickly.
Aiden brought his suitcase over by the couch, and set the package down on a small table.
The young man took a deep breath, and pulled out a pocketknife. "Maybe I should open it with my magician mask on too." He wasn't sure why anyone would target him for anything.
He cut open the tape, and carefully opened up the box. He peeked inside, and raised a brow at what he saw. "What?"
He pulled out a top hat, a black top hat that a stereotypical magician would wear with silk red ribbon around the base. "A top hat?" He looked inside of it, and then he examined the hat entirely. The hat looked like a plain, normal, everyday hat that a magician would wear for a magic trick. "Hah, maybe someone's a fan." He turned the hat around, and a small white card fell out. Aiden knew that there was nothing previously in the hat, at least from what he could see, and he blinked at the card. "Uh...huh..."
Aiden grabbed the card with his free hand, and examined it.
The card was from the 'Wonderful Order of the Wolpertinger' and it included an invitation for Aiden to join. A graphic of the four card suits with a rabbit that leapt out from a shining spark that greeted him. 'Just reach into the hat if you agree to join, and gird your constitution!'
He wasn't familiar with what the order even was. He figured it was just some sort of small magician's guild, a small name nobody. What was stranger were the instructions to accept to join. Aiden figured there was just more instructions somewhere inside a hidden compartment in the hat.
Before Aiden decided to do anything about this guild, he opened up a white laptop, and searched for the name online. Unfortunately, his search came up fruitless. "Nothing but a bunch of weird websites, and they are definitely not about magic."
Curiously, he reached into the hat. As Aiden reached into the hat with one hand, something felt off. The hat's interior felt much, much bigger than it appeared. "Where is this...is there a flap or...where are the sides even?" Aiden couldn't look into the hat very well with his hand as deep as it was. His hand was so deep that his shoulder touched against the brim. He knew there were magic tricks to have false bottoms in the hat, yet as he looked at the other side of the hat, he didn't see his arm stick out. The hat just looked as if it swallowed his arm. "What kind of trick is this? It can't be mirrors; I don't have any set up! It's almost like one of those cartoon hats."
Aiden lifted up the hat while his arm was still inside of it. He could definitely confirm the inside was much deeper than it should have been. He didn't see his arm on the other side of the hat; it just vanished inside the hat, as if the hat itself contained a sort of pocket dimension.
Just then, Aiden felt something furry grab his hand, and tug him. His eyes grew wide, and while he pulled back, it didn't seem to matter. The hat suddenly engulfed him with another tug. The hat swallowed him completely. Aiden felt as if he fell through blackness, a bottomless pit, but in slow motion. He felt himself land on something with a thud, but as he slowly stood up, he saw nothing but blackness around him, and below him. "W-what was that?" he looked at the hand that he used to reach in the hat with, and saw nothing held him now.
Aiden looked up, and noticed the top of his living room, but it looked so much larger now. He could tell he was inside the hat, but reduced to the size of an ant. "Hello?" he called out with uncertainty. If this was a magic trick, it was the most impressive trick he seen to date.
Suddenly, bright lights flashed above Aiden. The lights were blinding to look at. He put a hand over his eyes, and then looked back down to see he was on a wooden stage. He turned around and saw closed red curtains, and then in front of him was an assortment of red velvet seats, all empty.
Aiden couldn't see his living room above him anymore. The lights were just too bright to tell. He felt as if he were in a theater, but he saw no clear exits or entrances. "Hello?" he called out. "Is anyone here?"
The curtains opened up to reveal a male anthro wolpertinger on the other side. Two large deer horns jutted out from his head. He had the face of a rabbit, except with two large white fangs. His body looked like a squirrel anthro with light brown fur complete with a tail, and rabbit feet. He wore a magician's suit, complete with a top hat, but his tail stuck out from the back. "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I hope you are all prepared for a wonderful show!" the 'magician' bowed down to the many empty seats, and the theater roared with applause.
Aiden stared out to the 'crowd' and saw nothing. There was no audience to applaud, yet he heard all of the clapping. "I uh..." He looked back and forth between the empty seats, and the magician. "Excuse me, but..."
"But what?" The magician turned to Aiden. "You reached into the hat, so you agreed to join the 'Wonderful Order of the Wolpertinger' correct?"
"I didn't think reaching into it would send me here!" Aiden was ready to throw a fit, but he calmed himself. He wanted to try to figure out how the magic trick worked, but he couldn't think of how it even began.
"Has learning magic taught you nothing in the end?" The magician laughed at Aiden. "Expect the unexpected with magic, ANYTHING can happen! We shall start with my first trick!" With a puff of smoke to the right of the 'magician', a large metal box appeared. "Now, step inside, and be amazed."
Aiden stared at the box that just suddenly appeared. He figured it was nothing more than a cheap illusion at first. The smoke, the curtain, it must have come out from behind the curtain, or a hidden compartment. He grabbed the curtain to try to pull it open, but the curtain didn't budge. It felt as heavy as steel.
"Ahem." The magician crossed his arms. "Will my lovely assistant please step into the box so I may show both you, and the audience, a very magical trick?"
Aiden let out an audible gulp. "Just...don't do anything dramatic, okay?" He knew he wasn't going to get out of this one. The magician didn't seem evil, but at the same time, the magician pulled him into a spot he didn't want to be.
"You really don't know magicians, do you?" The magician said with a laugh. "Dramatic is our middle name! Now, step in the box."
Aiden walked to the front of the box with a slight grimace. He turned over to the magician with uncertainty, but then stepped inside.
Once he walked in, he turned around and faced the empty seats. He felt his heart pound heavily. "Are you going to give me a magician's suit or something?" he asked with nervousness. He knew very few tricks with boxes, and most of those few tricks often involved knives.
"Something like that. As for the trick, don't worry; I don't have any sharp objects." The magician closed the door. "Unless you count the horns."
"Wait, how could you tell I was thinking of-" The magician cut off Aiden once the box closed. He could hear himself talk, but he doubted anything he said would make it out of the box.
Aiden couldn't see a single thing in the box. He reached out curiously and felt the front of the box. Part of him wanted to see if it could open up the box, but he didn't want to make the magician mad. His breathing felt louder, and he heard nothing but eerie silence, at least until the magician spoke up again.
"Now, I could just use a simple puff of magic and make a new magician from head to toe in this box, but progression is often the best! We shall start simple for this young man! Say the magic words, I totally forgot them!" The magician tapped the top of the box.
Aiden couldn't describe the sensation that suddenly washed over his body. He didn't feel any different physically, but he felt a sudden tightness around his body from head, to almost his feet. His feet felt as if they wore clown shoes, but the rest of his body felt like he wore an outfit that was too tight for him. He was too afraid to stretch his arms for fear of wrecking whatever just happened to his outfit.
"And here he is now!" The magician opened up the box to reveal Aiden again.
Aiden's pupils shrank as the lights hit him again, but not as bright as when he looked up. He stepped out of the box, and looked down at his outfit. Just in one tap, in one simple magic trick, his clothes changed. He wore a suit similar to the magician's outfit. He had a black coat with a white suit underneath, complete with a red tie. He didn't have the same pants as the magician though. He had latex leggings with very long boots, but he did have a matching hat. His suit looked to be more appropriate for a female magician than a male one. "What is this?"
"It's the outfit for a magician's aid." The magician said with a smile. "Now, you may not look like you fit the part in that suit, but after a few more magic tricks, it will be perfect for you!"
'At least it's not an evil magician, I think.' Aiden thought to himself. He was still uncertain what to think of the magician. He looked up briefly, but the bright lights still made it impossible to see what there was.
"How do you like the outfit?" The magician asked softly. He wrapped one of his furry arms around Aiden.
Aiden felt as if the magician was hitting on him, and it made him shiver. He had a bit more trust in this magician, but he still didn't like him 'that' much. He was however, impressed by the real magic the magician used. "Please don't." he mouthed.
The magician released Aiden with a soft smile. "Of course, if there's any way I can make things more comfortable for you, let me know." He then turned his attention to the empty velvet seats, and spoke aloud.
"Now for my next trick, I shall give my lovely assistant the first of many improvements to her body!" the magician seemed to pay little attention to Aiden's wandering mind.
"Improvements to my body?" Aiden asked with a raised brow.
"Now, now, the best magician assistants do not talk much at all. You know Penn and Teller I'm sure." The magician took off his own black top hat, and shifted the position of Aiden's to the front left, while he put his hat to the front right. "Watch what happens next!" the magician pulled both top hats off of Aiden's head, and revealed two large deer antlers on Aiden's head, just like the wolpertinger had.
Aiden's eyes rolled up. He couldn't 'see' the antlers, but he could definitely feel two something's on his head. He reached up and felt the antlers in disbelief, and then the sharp tips at the very top of those antlers. He winced as he felt the tips, and then brushed down the rest of the hard antlers. The antlers reminded him of wood.
"Excellent! You will be part of the Wonderful Order of the Wolpertinger yet!" The magician laughed. "There are so many other tricks to perform, and in such a short amount of time!"
Aiden felt his heart pound with fear, and at the same time, excitement. He couldn't tell what his antlers looked like, but he could only assume they looked identical to the wolpertinger's. "W-what else do you have to do?"
"Well, I know sometimes people like to start with the feet and work their way up, but with your current clothes, your legs may have already changed and you don't even know it!" The magician laughed. "Let us work on your arms next! This trick won't require any boxes, just a simple bed and ring."
"And where are you going to get a bed from?" Aiden turned around to face the center of the stage, but right as he did, he noticed there was a bed on a single stand just lying there, complete with a single white pillow. "Wait...where did THAT come from?"
"How many times are you going to keep asking questions that which I cannot answer?" The magician rolled his eyes at Aiden. "Hop onto the bed and lie down so we may begin. Mystical and dramatic may be part of the magician's act, but time is also a factor!"
Aiden did as the magician told him. He felt his new antlers the entire time as he lied down on the bed face up. "Okay, now what?"
"The magician assistant does not need to ask such things." The magician grabbed onto Aiden's wrists firm enough to pull, but not enough as to hurt him. He pulled his arms to the side, and spread them out to make Aiden give a sort of T shape. "Now, keep your arms spread just like that, and don't move. Let me move your body for you." He smiled at Aiden. "Do you feel comfortable?"
Aiden remembered an old levitation trick, and he couldn't help but wonder if the magician was going to try such a trick. "If you say so." He was a bit relieved that the trick likely wasn't going to involve knives. "And I'm comfortable."
"But you're nervous." The magician continued to hold onto Aiden's wrists, but gently.
"Wouldn't you be if you just got pulled into a hat and told to do magic tricks?"
"I suppose you have a point." The magician let go of Aiden. One lone white gloved finger traced down Aiden's chest, and right to his crotch. "Still, you need to be calm. I'm not going to hurt you. These tricks might look dangerous, but they are completely, and very, safe.
Aiden shivered at the magician's touch. His heart pounded heavily, and he could feel something else pulse between his legs. He couldn't explain why, but he tried to relax himself. He couldn't resist blushing though. He just hoped the magician didn't see either his blush. "I-I'm uhm...I'm not into men, you know." He wasn't even sure why he said that.
The magician laughed. "Oh, you know magic can do some of the strangest things to people. Illusions are quite common among them."
Aiden gulped nervously. "I...I uh..." he wasn't sure what to say. He felt earlier that the magician was hitting on him, but now he knew the magician must have been.
"Hah, you are still far too tense." The magician pulled out a large pink ring half the size of a Hula-hoop. "Just relax, think happy thoughts, happy as a cloud."
"A floating cloud?" Aiden asked, as if trying to get a hint as to the trick.
"A floating, puffy, happy cloud." The magician confirmed with a soft laugh. With a small wave of his hand, Aiden slowly lifted up into the air.
Aiden felt his body lift upwards. He knew there was often invisible strings or a platform, something reasonable that might lift a person, but Aiden felt nothing around him but air. From his head to his arms, his legs and his back, he felt nothing around him but air. He felt his heart beat faster, and he shook slightly from nervousness. He wanted to ask him how high he was going to float, but he remembered what the magician said to him. 'You don't want to upset him when he can do REAL magic. Who knows what he's really capable of doing?' He thought.
The magician held up the large pink ring to Aiden's right hand. "Hold still, and be prepared to say WOW! That is why we are called the Wonderful Order of the Wolpertinger!" The magician slowly moved Aiden's hand, and arm through the ring. As Aiden's arm went through, that same arm quickly developed fur, and his hand changed into a furry claw, just as the magician had. Although it was hard to see his claws with the white gloves his new outfit had, odds were he could no doubt feel them on the inside of the glove. The magician did the exact same trick with his other arm. "As you can see, nothing holding him up!"
Aiden didn't want to mention the magician didn't do his entire body, but he could only imagine the ring would change him more if he did. He could only watch as his arms developed fur, although they didn't change too much besides that. His hands also felt different underneath the gloves, and he knew what changed there.
"But we also have to do his legs!" with a laugh, the magician did the exact same ring trick to both of his legs, and just as the magician had the legs of an animal, Aiden's legs changed to match.
Two long boots mostly covered up Aiden's legs, but that didn't mean he couldn't feel his legs grow into large rabbit-like feet underneath. The clothing stretched to match his newly grown large pawed feet, and he saw the light gray fur stop just at his crotch. "W-woah."
"Not woah, wow!" The magician 'corrected' Aiden with a smile. "Now, there are a few more tricks to perform if you are ready for them." Aiden's body slowly lowered back down onto the bed.
Aiden knew his body changed with every trick the magician did, yet he felt more excited than he did scared. The thought of looking just like this magician and doing actual magic tricks would no doubt be amazing to perform for his friends, maybe he could even transform them too! Although, the clothes were different, and his arms and legs felt more slender than the magician's appeared to be. "I-I don't know." He felt something else about the magician too, something he couldn't place, but something he hadn't felt since high school. His heart pounded, and he felt his body flood with excitement. He swore to himself he didn't love the magician, but the magician looked attractive, he was extremely nice, and the two shared a common hobby that was magic tricks, except this magician did them for real!
"Just take a breath, and imagine what you might look like, and the things you can do after." The magician hugged Aiden from behind, and gave his chest a gentle squeeze.
Aiden felt the magician's warm body and breath up against his cheek. He shivered slightly, unsure if he wanted the magician to stop. He swore to himself he shouldn't be 'this' distracted though.
"W-well what is the trick?" he leaned up on the bed, and stroked his new furry arms. It was hard to feel them with the gloves, but the fur was no doubt fine, and real.
"You might hesitate at this one..." Another large box rolled out on stage, but this one had one center divider and was set horizontally for someone to lay in. "You are familiar with the trick to saw one in half, correct?"
Aiden's eyes widened. He knew the trick well. He also knew horror movies that killed a person with that same trick. "I erm...I uh..." he wasn't sure what to say. The magician seemed to act quite nice to him, but he barely knew the magician enough. Moreover, with real magic, he could only imagine what the magician would actually do.
"Trust me." The magician tapped the box once it arrived in front of the bed. The box parted open to reveal a slot for Aiden's head and feet. "If I was going to do anything harmful to you, I already would have with the first trick. All I want is for you to know what it is like to be in the Wonderful Order of the Wolpertinger, and if you admire our magic so, make you into one of us so you may perform tricks that will best any human magician."
"That explains the horns and the arms and the legs." Aiden commented. He hopped off the bed and laid down in the box. The moment he put his head through the hole in the box, he noticed the bed was gone. He didn't even pay attention to the 'audience' that applauded at every single magic trick the magician did. He was too distracted on his body, and trying to figure out how magic was real, as well as how he could do it.
"Now, are you ready?" The magician closed the box to show off only Aiden's head, and his large wolpertinger feet covered up by two boots.
"Does it matter now that I'm in the box?" Aiden replied with a hint of sarcasm.
"Hah, I can tell you're so nervous, but just watch this trick." With a smile, the magician pulled out a sawblade. "I would normally have it covered with...well...you know, some dramatic, let's call it makeup, but I don't want to frighten my assistant more than she's already been."
"I appreciate you trying to at least keep me calm at least." He didn't bother correcting the magician saying 'her' to Aiden. He just assumed it was a slip of the tongue.
The magician chuckled, and showed the saw to the audience. The invisible audience let out 'Oohs' and 'Aahs' as the magician raised the saw. With one clean swipe, the saw went right through the box, as if nothing was in between the boxes, including Aiden's very body.
Aiden watched as the saw just went right through the boxes. His body didn't feel cramped, but when he wiggled his toes, he noticed the feet at the other end of the box didn't move. "Uh," he was about to ask how the trick worked, but he refrained. 'It feels like I'm lying down, but if I am, then those should be my feet at the other end, right? So why aren't they moving? I can definitely feel something wiggle when I move my feet.' He was confused, but he watched, just as amazed as the invisible audience.
The magician put down two panels between the boxes before he suddenly pushed the right half of the box away from Aiden. Aiden's lower half seemingly just pushed off to the side. Another box wheeled itself from back stage, and the magician attached this box onto Aiden. "Now, you might notice this new lower half has one key difference about it that your previous lower half did not." He pulled the panels open, and lifted the cover of the box. "Stand up and check it out for yourself!"
Aiden was confused, but he did just as the magician asked. He definitely felt different, but he couldn't describe accurately as to how. He reached down and noticed his legs looked more feminine, but still just as furry as the magician made his last set. He didn't need to feel to tell exactly what had changed, and it made him blush tremendously. "H-hey!" He had the upper half of a male, but his lower half was the exact opposite.
"What?" The magician chuckled. "There's nothing wrong with suddenly being part woman now, is there?"
"I-I'd say you're changing me into something degrading and humiliating and I don't like it!" Aiden hated how much he enjoyed all of the real magic. He wasn't even sure if he could refer to himself as a 'male' anymore.
"Oh, you know the thing is, you would look very beautiful as a woman jackalope." The magician's glove slipped off to reveal his furry claw. His glove rushed over to Aiden's chin, and it mimicked the magician's hand movements as it slowly stroked Aiden's cheek. "Now, I'm not going to force it upon you. You DID want to see what our organization is capable of doing, and you did accept our invitation, but we are not a corrupt kind. If you wish it, I may return you your original body, and you may leave this world, but I cannot guarantee that you will ever be able to perform 'real' magic." He looked out to the audience. "I did want a lot of jackalopes to pull you in and have they be the audience, but I did not want to scare you more than I already did."
Aiden's face burned beet red. The magician was being nice to him, even if he was giving him a female body. He felt his chest push out as his torso took on feminine curves. He didn't see any special magic tricks take place that made his breast growth happen, he saw the magician casually wave his wand with his hand that still had the glove on. "You could have asked before transforming me, you know."
"Ah." The glove slowly tapped Aiden's nose before it returned to the magician's hand. "But would it have been stage magic had I revealed to you what I was doing and what exactly you were becoming?"
"Stop making good points..." Aiden was a goofball, but it was hard to be goofy when the situation felt so serious, although the magician treated it anything but such. "So you want me to become a female jackalope or wolpertinger or whatever and I can join the order and do all kinds of magic like you?"
The magician nodded. "That is correct. What do you say?"
Aiden hesitated, but he looked down at his body. He was in the body of what felt like a female jackalope, all except for his head. He felt 'something' flow through his body, and with the flick of his furry wrist hidden in a white glove, a set of cards appeared from literally nowhere. It was a very simple trick, but Aiden knew the cards were magical, and he made them appear with the magic his body now possessed. He knew if he turned it down, he would likely never make a name for himself. He would be a no name magician, but with the 'Wondrous Order of the Wolpertinger', he could become something fantastical, and perform amazing feats for the world. "Well..."
The top hat in Aiden's house jiggled and wobbled wildly. Suddenly, a female jackalope leapt out from the hat, head to toe in magician's clothing. She had a top hat of her own, a black tuxedo with a white vest and black pants with black high-heeled shoes covering her large bunny feet. She turned and smiled down at the hat. She took out a wand from behind her back, tapped her table, and in a puff of pink smoke, a box appeared from out of nowhere. The jackalope put the hat in the box, and set an address out for it go in the mail, just as the magician in the hat desired her to do.
The female jackalope, or Aiden, happily accepted the invitation to join the "Wondrous Order of the Wolpertinger", and the magician happily gave her a form that let her perform magic tricks, and real ones at that.
"Just wait until my friends see me, and what tricks I can do for them, now!"