Chapter 1Rassaya weaved through the crowd, never letting go of her purse though it dangled under her arm. Wisps of hair hit her face. “Come on just a bit longer,” she heard Kristina say. Fire filled her throat and she stumbled. “Can we just rest a bit, it’s not like the guy is going to rush his performance.” Kristina dragged her arm. “No, I refuse to be late like we were last time.” Rassaya rubbed her forehead. “Oh right.” Kristina helped her with her college project, and Rassaya in turn agreed to go with her to see this so called World Class magician that was spoken about since her first year here.
It’s not that she didn’t want to go, Kristina was her best friend after all, but something about him gave her a strange feeling. People shuffled behind her and she glanced back and saw a group of girl squealing. “Come on.” Kristina jogged until she was in the front of the line. Rassaya knelt against the wall. “Tickets please,” she heard the guy say. His hand reached out towards her. What she wanted to do is knock that top hat off his bald head.
She stomped her foot. “Let me breathe first please, my best friend is a Marathon runner.” After a few seconds she slapped the ticket in his hand. The theater had white and gold trimmings on the chair, and Rassaya noticed that the stage had an empty portrait standing on top of a table.
Kristina guided her to the middle seats in the front row. “James is trying a new magic trick for the first time in this city! Can you believe it? We’ll be the first to see it.” Rassaya scratched the back of her neck. “Oh I can believe it.” Every poster she saw of James in his suit and hat had the words, Exclusive magic trick on the poster. She rested her head back against the seat, but a familiar giggle caused her to jerk her head up. Sonya.
She could see her red shoes and her denim shorts all the way from here. She was speaking to Larry, one of her close friends in college. She was moving her hands around like there was an invisible thread in them. “My cousin knows James, James offered the tickets to us in person.”
Kristina slapped her shoulder. “I can’t believe it my crush is here, why didn’t you say anything?” Rassaya raised an eyebrow. “Well I didn’t know you were trying to avoid him.” Kristina dunk deep into the seat. “Well I kind of maybe lied to him and told him that I was going to be at this charity event Friday.” Rassaya rolled her eyes.
“Kris, you can’t kind of lie and what’s the point of lying when you bought the tickets anyways.” Kristina shook her head. “Well I had to pick, real crush or famous crush.”
Many people were filing in and the lights darkened. A tall fair skinned man with almond shaped eyes appeared. Many girls and guys, including Kristina clapped.
He bowed. “For my new trick, I need a volunteer please.”
“Oh pick me pick me,” she heard Kristina say, Rassaya folded her arms. “I need someone who is relaxed,” James said. His voice echoed throughout the audience, enough so that Rissaya had to shift to the other side of her seat because of the vibration. Then the light hit her face.
James pointed. “You the young lady with the bangs and purse in her lap.” Rissaya looked from side to side. “Me?” James nodded. He extended out his hand and Rissaya felt something soft on them, like a flower petal. “Please give a hand to our volunteer.” She dragged her feet across the stage and slipped her hand from his.
He faced the audience, and his pink lips disappeared under the light. “I am going to walk with this lovely lady, what’s your name?” Rissaya told him and he directed her to hold his hand. The audience grew louder. “It’s required in order for the trick to work.” She took his hand. “I am going to walk with this lady right through this portrait.”
He stepped closer to her and his eyes made her feel as if he was searching through her, made her feel exposed. So exposed that she wanted to say something, but what? He didn’t do anything. “On the count of three we are going to walk right through this portrait.” They stepped in front of the portrait. “One...two...three.”
Rissaya saw her body move through the portrait and she clung tight onto James. A man in glasses who looked identical to James offered her a basket. His clothes, they looked strange. It wasn’t until he smiled that Rissaya realized he wasn’t offering the basket to her, but a woman behind her. When she turned around she saw a woman that looked identical to her.
“James,” Rissaya said, but James was looking at the same woman he was too. “What is this place?” James asked. “I don’t know,” Rissaya said. James helped her up and once Rissaya looked up, she was back on stage behind the curtain.
Rissaya observed her arms and hands. Not possible. James ran his fingers through his dark hair. “Who are those people and why do they look like us?” Rissaya was just as lost as he was. A man backstage handed him a clipboard. “The next magic trick is in two minutes.” James lifted his hand.
“We’ll postpone it for three more minutes. I need to talk to Rissaya here.”
Rissaya paced the small room. “Is this your idea of some kind of creepy magic trick? Freaking people out?” James shook his head. “No, I didn’t plan that at all, and how are you able to see what I saw?” She stopped.
“That’s what I want to know too, where did you get that portrait from?” she asked.
“A garage sale,” he said. Rissaya there her hands in the air. “That’s some garage sale.” James sat on the blue couch. “2 minutes left,” she heard the guy behind the door say. James told him he understood. “I got it from the red and White House near downtown.” Rissaya searched her mind. An image of her walking towards her mother’s house popped up. “That’s my mother’s house,” she said.