Bang. I’m back in the staff room. My hands are my own. Hoping that time’s been congruent with my vision this time ’round, I start running. I know what room Bobby’s in. Science Lab A. As soon as I’ve had the thought I’m in the lab. As I was running when I had the thought, though, I slam into a desk. At least the beardy guy by the blackboard is startled into letting go of Bobby. She slides to the ground, whimpering, thankfully. I take a breath and jump at the guy. I’m hardly afraid now. He’s real old, and I know he hasn’t got any Magic. I’m not getting the intensely boundless Magic hit I got off of mom this morning. Instead, I’m feeling a kind of vacant, rigid, anti-Magic vibe. But I sure ain’t stopping to think about that. He’s surprisingly sinewy, and I’m only thirteen. I’m of age, though, I finally remember. ‘Oh, exalted, are we,’ he rasps the very moment I hit him with all the random concentrated Magic I can muster, and he crumbles.

He’s not moving when I prod him with my foot, then my finger. He’s not breathing either. I am, though, heavily. To say I’m hyperventilating is a hell of an understatement. This sure ain’t how I imagined coming of age.

My state of mind isn’t improved by the unannounced appearance of a cloaked, staffed and bearded man. 1982 and still no modernization of the look. I recognize Rolf instantly. In a neat kinda ironic twist he’s become a figure of such legend in our family that his status with us children could be said to equal that of Santa Claus among regular kids. But let’s not jump ahead. By that stage I haven’t actually found out about his former connection to Sinterklaas yet.

While I’m now backing off, painfully aware of the uselessness of that move, my eyes flit between Rolf, the lifeless form on the floor and… oh, yeah, Bobby!