The last time I was proud of my NaNo, once I started letting people READ it, I found out it was lackluster and had no action at all. Yikes. This one may suck, too, but I'll share anyway.
I don't have a title for it, I'm just calling it "How I Stopped Worrying And Embraced Being A Mage," although that's not really the title...
It wasn’t completely dark when he woke up in the night, but Josh knew it was late. There was a hush over the hospital there hadn’t been in the daytime; the lights from the hall were soft, and the beeping of the video game was stilled. There was a glow coming from the monitors over his head. He could hear his own breathing. Slowly, he started to realize he wasn’t alone in the room. Josh turned his head.
A woman sat in the chair by his bed. He was pretty sure he’d never seen her before, but there was something very familiar about her, anyway. Her hair was the same sandy-brown his own was, although he could see some silver streaks in it here and there. She wore it long, scooped back behind at the base of her neck, with soft tendrils coming loose around her face. He could see the curve of her cheek, her face unlined despite the silver in her hair. She was focused on the crochet she worked on, her hook flashing in and out as it drew up loops of a coppery yarn.
As though she felt him looking at her, she raised her eyes and smiled.
Josh felt that shock of recognition again, although he was certain he’d never met her before. But her eyes were the same bright green as his own, and her smile was almost exactly like the one he always saw in pictures of himself, and of his father.
“Hello, Josh,” she said, her voice gentle and loving.
“Hi,” he answered. “Who are you?”
“I’m your Aunt Sally,” she answered. “And your Godmother.”
Joshua blinked a few times. “I have an Aunt Marge,” he said, thinking of the sturdy, fun-filled woman who was married to Mom’s brother Ben.
“Marge is on your mother’s side, sugar,” said the woman. “I’m your father’s big sister.”
Josh opened and closed his mouth. It had never occurred to him that his father had family out there, although why he hadn’t he really couldn’t say. Mom never talked about them, never mentioned cards or letters, and for some reason Josh had gotten the idea that his father just didn’t have any other family out there. Once he’d asked about genealogy, and he remembered that every time he asked about his father’s side of the family, Mom would neatly divert the question. He had an almost completed family tree of Mom’s relations, he realized, but nothing on the Duncan side.
“Mom’s never mentioned you.”
The woman’s lips tightened, color rising to her cheeks, but she didn’t comment on that. “We’ve been looking for you for nine years, Josh.”
“We?” he asked.
“My brothers and sisters, our parents, all of the family.”
That took Josh by surprise. “My grandparents are alive?”
“Oh, yes, sugar,” she said, pausing in her crochet work to smile at him again, although that tightness was still around her mouth. “You have a lot of family out here eager to meet you. Your Great-Aunt Genny will be here in a few minutes.”
“My mother’s sister.” She held up her work and counted her stitches. “Oops. I should have stopped when you woke up.” She pulled out a line of yarn, then set the work aside to sit forward, taking his hand in hers. It tingled strangely, but it felt pleasant, and Josh didn’t pull away. “Joshua, you’re the only child of Jack Duncan, Jr. The Duncans would have never abandoned you.”
It was as though she’d read his mind. Josh opened his mouth again, then blurted, “So why haven’t you come to see me before?”
“We’ve been trying. I send you a birthday present every year, but I’ve never heard a word.”
“I’ve never heard of you. I’ve never gotten any presents or anything,” said Josh, his mind reeling.
“That’s kind of what we’ve been afraid of,” she went on, and pressed his hand tightly. “Josh, honey, has your mother ever once told you anything about your father’s family?”
He shook his head. “No,” he said.
“What a shame. That means we have to start from scratch.” She sighed, blowing out a long breath, and held up one finger. “What do you know about magic?” she asked.
“Magic? You mean, what? Fantasy stuff, prestidigitation, illusion?”
She laughed. “No, sugar. Real magic. The kind that flourished in the world long ago. You’re not old enough to have gotten magic theory or history. They don’t teach it in most grade or high schools unless they’re really savvy. But at least you must have read about the Werewolf Massacre.”
Josh nodded, slowly. It had been a brief topic in History 101, last year, and he’d been interested in it enough to get some books out of the library on it, but Mom had been upset every time he’d asked her about it. Steven seemed to know a great deal, though, and had talked with him for hours on the subject. “I read about it. That then, werewolves and vampires and such were real, they said. Even witches. And the Catholic Church hunted them down and killed them all. That magic was wiped out completely, doesn’t exist anymore. Some books say it was just a lot of hysteria, though. None of them were actually real, there was never a real werewolf. It was interesting.”
“They were real, Josh. Still are. Mages, those of us who can actually use magic, our families went into hiding. So did many of the magickal creatures. We still exist.”
“So I’m a wizard? Like Harry Potter or something?” he asked, unable to keep the skepticism out of his voice. To his surprise, she laughed.
“No, not exactly,” she said, her bright green eyes crinkling with mirth. “Or at all, really. About the only resemblance is we ARE real. But there are no wands, no hidden world, no robes or schools or anything. We’re just people who have the ability to use the lost science of magic, that’s all. We have ordinary jobs in the ordinary world.” She indicated her crochet. “I do this when I’m stressed, to relax. No magic about it. I’m a transmogrifier.”