(Inspired by Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning)
It really got to him when he turned 19. School was no longer important to him, and people weren’t worth the effort. But the one thing he could count on — have any control over — was magic.
Magic was Harry’s go-to. Shy and passive by nature, he loved to manipulate the audience’s attention and hear them gasp in astonishment. It began with silly card tricks and coin-in-your-ears, but at 21 something motivated him to want to pull off the grandest trick of all: to become a member of the audience — to perplex them, while simultaneously convincing them that the trick isn’t going on.
Maybe it was an accumulation of stress at school that did it. Harry (obviously) couldn’t find any work with magic so he went to school for engineering, something practical that stimulated his mind and also would pay off financially in the long run. Also engineers, his parents were happy that he was trading in a time-consuming hobby like magic for a truly satisfying and successful life.
Two years into Harry’s academic career, he won an academic leadership award for his contribution to the engineering club (which is where he was spending most of his time these days). His peers had voted him president and he lead weekly meetings that became very popular within the engineering department at his university. Harry was finally started to feel like he fit in with a group that shared his interests.
Fast forward 8 years: Harry is sitting at his desk at work. It’s 2am and his assistant pops his head into Harry’s office, “How we doin’?” she says with a smirk.
Harry sighs, “I’m exhausted, actually. Long day at the office.” He picks up the tiny, shiny party horn on his desk and blows it sarcastically, sending a persistent squeak through out the empty office. The sound of another co-worker in the main room jokingly squeaking his in response makes its way to Harry’s office.
“Good one, boss! You’re CEO now. You don’t have to worry about harsh days ever again. Anyways I’m heading out for the night. Congrats again, Harry!”
He smiles as she exits the office, and the smile isn’t quick to fade. Harry stands up from his chair, and walks out of the office after his assistant, slipping into the stairwell while she steps onto the elevator. Harry runs excitedly up the stairs, skipping every second step. He opens the heavy red door to the top of the building and opens his eyes in astonishment at the sight of the Hong Kong skyline. Stepping to the guard rail, he pauses for a moment to reflect on his newly acquired status. Boy, would his parents be proud. The only thing he desired now was someone special to travel with, a beautiful woman, perhaps.
At that moment, he leapt over the rail and pushed off the edge of the building, only to fall freely into the abyss of traffic and pedestrians miles below him. As he fell, he faced the sky with a smile and held his arms open wide. It was almost as if he knew that there would be a trampoline beneath a trap-door in the ground, waiting to catch him.