The Ornament Maker

There was once a common man who sought health and pleasure. He, Mark Grim, thought himself ‘common,’ anyway. A simple enough life and story he lived for his first twenty five years, as a college student, he decided to take a break and work for a while. With over three years of education, he had not slept well during those times and was classically ‘burned out.’ He worked a job and made ornaments, studied occult texts. The ornaments came to life, and occurrences ensued… (Sally solves a complicated mystery, Grim not the… ).

“Good morning, Mr. Grim,” said Sally Witherspoon. “Good Morning, Sally,” said he, “You are early?” “I knew I was cutting it close and did not want to take my chances.” “You make your own schedule to work here, and you worry for being on time?” “I like to be on time, to be here when you want, and I appreciate the flexibility.” “Your current art project?” “In the works. Coming along fine. Other students don’t seem to ‘get it,’ short one or two of twenty or so.” “Their sculptures may compete?” “Already do. We have separate work areas at the University, yet a few students have shown me their projects. One or two of them will surely promote some form of thought.” “And yours is of a kind of waterfall?” “The assignment is meant to convey some meaning; I went with a kind of ‘cycle of life, rolling stones travel mossless,’ kind of an idea.” “Well, I am sure it will work out. I am going to step out for a bite to eat; I should be back in a few hours.” “Okay.”

Mr. Grim left and Sally exhaled. An interesting man, she dared never to curiously seek his creative motivations. “Always for goodness,” he once said. “I am an artist,” thought Sally on more than one occasion, and during those thoughts she would look upon the various shelves of Christmas ornaments, some lifelike and some decorative or ‘geometric.’ She would think, “And as an artist, most things seem to present a notion of sorts, yet these things present some mysterious element of fear.”

And, of course, time then seemed to stop. She relaxed, took in the rest of her familiar surroundings and walked to behind the cash register to settle her belongings. Usually, business was slow enough for her to study some while the occasional pedestrian waltzing non-nonchalantly flittered through the doorway to inspect never-seen-before, or at least rare, curiosities. Sales were usually most promising with parents who enjoyed Christmas shopping.

Caught up with her studies, for then, anyhow, Sally gazed upon the hundreds of figurines, wondering if she simply did nothing at all time would continue to stand still. There for a short while, she was ‘nearly’ convinced that, so long as nothing moved, time must have stopped. A small part of her knew full well; however, that time moves as objects fall within the laws of physics, that nothing so peaceful lasts forever.

With minimal surprise, the front door to the small sales place opened in common fashion, and a seemingly intelligible man walked in, cautiously, wearing a full-brimmed hat that somehow nearly masked him. He stood in the doorway for a moment, as if, depending on his welcome, he could flee. “How may I help you?” asked Sally. “What, may I ask, sort of business is conducted here?” “We sell Christmas ornaments. They are made by hand and some deem them magical.” “Magic?” “‘Some.'” “I  see.” “How much are they?” Sally, feeling like she could have been more hospitable, carefully got up to better greet a person some part of her did fear, somehow.

“Well, let me show you,” she said, politely guiding the pedestrian from the light of the front window to the shadows of the ornament shelves. The man’s site returned from the change in light after a brief moment, and he was impressed with the ambient yet colorful and fading lighting, the ornaments, and the obvious attention to detail that must have gone into their making.

“These front shelves are for mostly anyone and display items that are less intricate and more affordable, for most. They are eighteen plus tax.” “Any of them?” “All eight of these shelves.” “I see their value; even of these that are ‘more affordable;’ mind if I take a look around?” “Nope. I will be behind the register if you need assistance.” The man noticed the small signs that said, “No touching, please,” and meandered throughout the small store.

Sally attempted to not keep an eye on him, yet he was seemingly intrigued with nearly each ornament. How, given the time he was there, was a seeming perplexity. “I see this one shelf is set aside, there, in a glass case, and a little harder to reach than the rest of the items.” “Sure. Those are special.” “Why?” “Supposed reasons. Those are the most intricate, made of the most costly materials, and possess the most meaning, magical force or depth or whatever.” “Interesting. There is no price on them; the most expensive shelf lists each item for eighty nine.” “Usually, if someone wants an ornament out of the glass shelf, they work a deal with my manager.” “I see. Is that by appointment?” “Sometimes.” “I may return to inquire further of one of those,” said the man, taking one last look at one of the ornaments in the case. It looked like the figurine of a Christmas ninja, and for one small instance, the customer wondered if the figurine was watching the front door.

The man walked to one of the shelves and asked about one of the more expensive ornaments, one he liked yet one that he chose nearly at random. Sally carefully packaged it for him; he paid in cash, left the change, and politely departed with such grace that Sally wondered if she had even seen him. She counted her drawer and it was accurate, and Mr. Grim returned a few moments later.

( 2 b continued, eventually 🙂 )

The Story of Mathias Wizandar

His hands were shaking with sweat as he made his way in the darkness to the sink. An extraordinary man, Mathias’s previous notions had proven accurate. These next few lines mention his story.

His original name was Bob Smith, a horrifyingly common name. He did not mind his name much, enjoyed meeting other Bob Smiths into his early thirties. A Christian man, Bob had obtained an associate’s degree and left college to pursue the life of a paralegal, averaging between fourteen and twenty-four thousand a year. He lived alone, as most women he dated were either greedy for money, too overly controlling, or simply non-monogamous.

During Bob’s studies as an undergraduate, he studied various religions within one of his classes. Attending a Bible college, the more non-traditional belief systems of various cultures around the globe seemed to appeal to him. He liked the idea of Buddhism; mainly, the notion of pursuing a nothingness to achieve enlightenment.

During his many years working as a paralegal, Bob worked hard hours and saved and pursued two activities other than attending church once a week. One of those activities involved working for his brother-in-law, who ran a construction firm, on Saturday mornings. The pay was decent, yet the physical labor was what he enjoyed and also why he held the second job.

His other activity was painting. He painted obscure images of fantastical nature to impress both himself and others that may gaze upon his works, eventually got into oils and began to sell his paintings online. Of course, he saved his money from these sales and put it back into more painting supplies and material for study. Eventually, a studio.

By the age of forty, Bob had his own place for painting and politely took a permanent vacation from his law firm with a suitable retirement plan. It was understood that he could return to his legal services at any time; he may even consider studying to pass the bar exam, eventually.

Bob was of the mind to dream, consider possibilities, and pursue what intrigued him most. His paintings were selling and the rent for his studio was low; he decided to take it a little easier on his forty-first birthday and gave up construction work, at least temporarily.

There was something pressing on Bob’s mind. He enjoyed reading and writing, usually read some form of fantasy, sci-fi, or horror story before bedtime. The horror stories usually did not scare him; he enjoyed analyzing the grammatical style of prose and considering what caused fear to occur in the mind of a work’s reader. He had noticed that the spiritual realm was not just some hoax; it was there. He saw or sensed spirits all the time, did not let these occurrences distract his Christian beliefs.

Growing up, Bob was taught, as a Christian, to stay away from ‘occultic’ study. He had always wondered; however, why would practitioners of magic chose an afterlife of doom for rewards on Earth? There simply had to be a justifiable temptation. “One way or the other,” thought Bob, “I am, at least, going to consider the study of magic.”

On one breezy, cloud-cast, and relaxing Saturday afternoon, Bob decided to jog across town to the local bookstore to check out anything he could find on practicing magic. After all, what could it hurt? Wouldn’t certain notions further found him in his Christian beliefs? Though many clergymen would most certainly disagree, he made the jog over to the bookstore.

He found a great many books, many of which seemed overpriced or fancy yet not necessarily what he was after. He picked up a book on how to light candles with spells, calmly grinning to himself in wonder of said possibility. He flipped through the book quickly so as not to catch the eye of a worker; Bob was no freeloader, that was for sure. On the back of the book there were references to other books and a website that sold them. He memorized the website; put the book back; quickly jotted down the site in a small address book; and made his way to the magazine section towards the front of the store.

He spent little time looking through the magazines and selected one on modern painting with oils and other mediums. Bob brought the magazine to the counter, purchased it along with a grape-peach Snapple, and headed home.

Once home he spent about an hour going through the magazine and admired the paintings and various techniques he did and did not know of, before. Of course, the site he had written down seemed to be jumping around in his pocket in need of attention. He looked the site up on the web with a search engine and found hundreds of sites with books on spirituality, healing, and witchcraft.

Bob made sure to check out the site he had written down first and also browsed through the top five most visited sites found with the search. Of the books he saw, he finally found one that seemed to appeal to him the most, which happened to be on the site he had written down. It was a basic history of witchcraft, how to become a Wiccan priest, and basic practices with spells and the acknowledgement of various Sabats (which he eventually thought of as ‘witch Sundays’ that seemed to occur at least one hundred days a year).

Bob ordered the book and continued with the arduous work involved in painting and selling his art. The book came in about a week later and he read twenty to sixty pages of it a night until he had completed the text. He was not too keen on burning incense, drinking wine, or dancing around naked with witches, yet he learned a few things that satisfied his curiosities.

Bob then found his dilemma. He was sure he would have to denounce his Christianity in order to fully pursue the virtues and goodwill of Wiccan order. He thought about it for a few weeks as he was painting landscapes overcast with floating geometric objects and made a form of lukewarm decision. He would study and sometimes practice rituals without actually denouncing his original beliefs. The spirits near him seemed to be watching him patiently, waiting to help him achieve whatever goals he was really after.

It dawned on Bob that there was an occultic bookstore not too far away, one day, and he jogged over there on another Saturday afternoon. Seemingly odd, Bob was not even after a new text. He was after council, and he found it.

Bob cautiously entered the modest store; small bells chimed as a young woman was behind a counter. A faint smell of books and a small cherry-scented candle emanated within the stores shadows. “May I help you?” asked Melany. “I am in search of a basic text for those just beginning to study magic,” replied Bob politely.

Melany blushed and looked to the side and said, “Well, kind sir, we have a few of those here.” She walked over to a shelf and pointed out her favorite one to Bob. He sensed a second presence behind the counter. There were a few copies of the text and they seemed reasonably priced, so he selected one and thanked her. She checked her watch and noticed that it was nearly time for her to go. About the same time, Bob looked over to the counter to see a tall, handsome man, obviously in his golden years.

“May I go, sir?” asked Melany. “Sure,” said the man. Melany said that it was nice to meet Bob and to have a nice day. She gathered a few of her things, put on her sunglasses, and flew out the front door to make it in time for her favorite show.

Bob carefully made his way to the counter, curiously wondering just how intelligent the man must be. “Friend of Melany’s?” inquired the man. “No sir,” replied Bob, “Not until just now, I suspect. My name is Bob Smith.” “A common name.” “Right, I have considered changing it for some time, have not really come up with anything.”

The book still in Bob’s hands, the man said, “Why not Mathias Wizandar? It seems to suit your pursuits.” “Well then,” said Mathias, “I will go by that. What, may I ask, might you go by?” “Call me Tom; I am a wizard with many names in many places.” “I sensed your presence,” admitted Matt, and Tom nodded in understanding.

After a moment, Matt realized that there were a great many things for him to learn and proceeded to pay Tom for the book. “No questions?” asked Tom. “I honestly have no doubt in your capability,” replied Matt quietly. “When your questions arise, and I am sure they will, feel free to come here or give me a ring.” Tom handed Matt a business card who read and held it for a moment as if it was some unknown living creature.

The address on the card was to a large estate on the outskirts of town. “Will do. I am, as you may know, an artistic painter.” Matt carefully handed Tom his own business card which included his website and contact info. “I have some time on Saturdays if you need any help with the upkeep of your estate.” “Will do,” said Tom with a grin. Matt thought he saw his business card float into the pocket of the wizard yet discounted the notion, shook the wizard’s hand, and said it was nice to meet him and thanked him for the book, and departed.

Mathias, while jogging back, constantly reminded himself of how real the spiritual world and the power of magic must really be. Upon his return, he settled in, ate, and set back in his chair to start reading his new book. His spiritual surroundings seemed excited and watched his every move. Matt read the table of contents and glossed over the index. Even given all of the spells, practices, and rituals of the first book on witchcraft he read, which seemed to him to be a kind of a documentary, Bob found one spell that seemed to be a fun thing to try out before turning in.

The spell involved a simple thanks to a god and goddess, a candle centered within a circle drawn with charcoal, and two short poetic chants spoken with words in semblance to each other. One poem would light the candle, and the other the opposite. This would surely be no challenge for Mathias, the notation below the chant mentioned, “First and foremost, you must believe.”

Matt changed into bedtime clothes, found a thin, blank square of wood, and drew a charcoal circle. He retraced it a few times so the medium was thick. Matt then dug out a tea candle from a bag of them he had purchased while the lights were out due to a storm. He lay the book open by the circle, relaxed, held his hands above the candle, and whispered the first poem.

At first nothing happened, yet he held his hands above the candle, and it slowly came aflame. He watched it only briefly, ignoring his amazement, and glanced over to the book. He read the ‘de-cantation’ poem verbatim with his hands still held up, and the small flame slowly faded away.

By then, dusk had turned to night, and it was totally dark, with seemingly no one around. He felt a peace in the darkness, yet, in only a few moments, thought he heard someone thinking. “You know,” the voice said, “If you raise and lower your hand over the candle I will change the height of the flame.” Matt, at first, thought the notion to be crazy; that, surely, he had better things to do with his time.

Mathias courageously held his right hand above the candle and raised and lowered it, as its flame not only rekindled yet rose tall or fell short upon his motions. What seemed fun at first scared him in only a few moments. He sat back startled, the flame assumed its natural height, and, after taking a deep breath and exhaling, Mathias Wizandar made his way to the kitchen sink to wash his perspiring hands. These words may seem to conclude Mathias’s story, yet, as it may be no surprise, they are simply the beginning.