"Doug, turn down that noise!"
His brother looked at him but did not move from the couch.
"Lost the remote. Don't feel like getting up." he said.
Harold sighed. "There's better ways to do things, you know."
It was his Aunt Gigi who called with the news. The last time that Harold and Doug saw her, they were eleven and eight years old, respectively. She sat with them at the train station to wait for the people who would take them away from their mother, and to their new safe life. When two women arrived, both dressed in black and faces arranged in similar business-like expressions, the boys went with them without a fuss. They were obedient children and if their Aunt Gigi told them they had to do something, they did. They trusted her. Their mother, not surprisingly, never argued with her sister over this turn of events. She wanted many things but none included her children.
Over the years, Aunt Gigi kept in touch with them but thought it best not to speak too much about their mother's life. Harold now listened to the details of her death.
"She died in a storm?"
They resembled their mother.
Even though they lived an early life unnourished by an affection that never filled their mother's heart or their souls, he was saddened by her loss. But he vowed he would never tell Doug about the absurdity of her death. A house! A house had fallen on her and killed her.
Then, the locals cheered and danced and sang.
"Ding dong the witch is dead!"
He knew his brother would laugh himself sick at the story, and rightly so. But a dead mother deserved respect, he thought.
Harold left Doug's room and sat by the fire in the study. He allowed himself final thoughts on the matter. They were happy and settled in this place where magic was also known and accepted, though Doug refused to learn how to harness his gift. No matter. As always, Harold would take good care of things.
He stood, ready for bed, and pointed a finger at the fireplace. Its flames hissed away instantly.
There was nothing wicked about him.