Jasper Chapter Three

Author: W. K. Hayes

Jasper: Chapter 3

When Jasper woke up, he found himself lying in his bed with the buzzing of his alarm clock going off. As he reached over to shut it off he found the book still laying on his chest which startled him at first.

“So, it’s not a dream”, Jasper remarked before quickly covering his mouth. He grabbed the book with one hand and swung around to shut off the alarm clock with his free, right hand. “And, now for the second part”, he told himself as he raced to the window and stared over at Rebecca’s house. Right as rain, she had left the sock in the window and Jasper knew it wasn’t just a dream.

Crawling back in bed, he strained his eyes to look at the book before rubbing them and trying again. The title of the book was, Gather’s Memories. However, the book possessed a most peculiar quality about it. For, as Jasper gently pulled back the cover of the age worn book, he saw that nothing was written in it. ‘It’s blank’, he thought to himself as he started leafing through the pages only to discover the entire book was blank…every page.

“That’s odd”, he mused to himself as he closed the book.

A voice spoke inside him saying, ‘If my memories were a book you could simply memorize, you will have learned nothing. Secondly, simply having this book in your possession tells me that Professor Amaethon believes you are a gifted pupil’.

‘Thank you’, Jasper replied, as he lay back down and closed his eyes. ‘If I can’t read the book, how will I know what it says’, he asked.

‘I am the book, silly kid’, the reply came.

‘Oh, another one of those, hush-hush, deals’, Jasper remarked jokingly.

‘Precisely, believe it or not, this book can only be read by someone with your ability. Indeed, you did read the book and now, what you have read, is simply playing out in your mind, as needed’, the spellbound-book, explained.

‘So, what am I supposed to learn from this and how does it apply to Alchemy’?

The book replied, ‘You will learn Alchemy as you continue attending Professor Amaethon’s class. Teaching you Alchemy is not my purpose’.

‘Oh…so, why did the professor give you to me’?

‘You’re not a good listener, are you’, the book asked him. ‘My purpose is to teach you everything else that you need to know’.

‘Oh, like Spirit Seals and that sort of thing’, Jasper asked within his own thoughts.

‘Among many other things but basically, all you have to do is ask me a question and I’ll answer you accordingly’, the book explained in the simplest of terms.

“Hey, Jazz…you awake”, jimmy asked as he popped his head in.

Jasper looked up at him and replied, “Yea, what’s up”?

“I just wanted to let you know I have football practice today so it’ll be late before I get your Alchemy book from the library”, Jimmy replied as he started to close the door.

‘Stop him’, the book called out.

“Hey, Jimmy, don’t worry about the book. I appreciate it, though”, Jasper said as he rubbed his head.

“You sure…I really don’t mind. Oh, and I plan on having a little talk with the kids that have been harassing you”, Jimmy promised.

“Really, don’t worry about it”, Jasper said as he thought of Rebecca.

“Seriously, Jazz…they need a good whooping for what they did to you”, Jimmy replied in a whisper.

“It’s okay…what’s done is done and I get a few days off for it”, Jasper told him.

“Alright, but they bug you one more time and it will be on”, Jimmy promised.

“Thanks, Jimmy”, Jasper said with a grin.

“No problem but I better run. Now, you’re sure about the book”, Jimmy asked.

“Yea, and hey, don’t say anything to anyone about it either, please”, Jasper asked him. Still, when he saw the odd look Jimmy gave him, he quickly added, “I don’t want to worry our house mom and find myself in another foster home”.

“Oh, gotcha…sure, I’ll keep it quiet. See you later”, Jimmy replied as he closed the door.

‘Why can’t I read books about Alchemy, here’, Jasper asked.

‘One of the ways the witches look for the school’s students is they watch over any books of magic and sees who reads them. Secondly, I promise you that any books you may read in your world will only cloud your true knowledge of Alchemy’, the book explained in length.

‘Still, I want to learn so much more about it but the book the professor gave me only teaches basic potions. I want to learn stuff like, the Dragon Potion’, Jasper complained.

‘Well, since you believe you have learned all that the book can offer, tell me how to make the three basic levels of healing potions’?

‘Wouldn’t that fall under Alchemy level two courses’?

‘Precisely, Jasper and that is why you need to slow down. You just finished your first day in class and already, you’re ready to call it a semester’.

‘A long time ago, one of my teachers taught me the value of paying attention and taking my time in class, otherwise, I would be in college right now’, Jimmy argued. ‘So, instead, I hid my ability to memorize books in a flash and what good did it do me’?

‘Throughout the years, we have lost many potential students who share in your gift simply because they didn’t keep their ability a secret. Still, it is imperative that you move more slowly. The three levels of a healing potion are not written in the next semester’s book…you simply overlooked it by not understanding what you read’, the book told him telepathically.

‘You’re right…I really should pick a spell and play with it until I truly get the concept behind what I’m doing versus simply doing it’, Jasper agreed while putting it in his own terms. I had planned on spending the day learning more about Alchemy. I mean, Professor Amaethon had me read the book on making potions but Alchemy is a lot more than potions, isn’t it’?

‘Alchemy is way much more than potions. By using alchemy, we created the doors to the classrooms and other areas of the school’.

‘What else can I learn at the school’?

‘You were chosen as an alchemist and are not allowed to take the other courses unless Professor Amaethon recommends you’, the book replied.

‘So, all I have to do is finish Alchemy…without holding back like I have to do here, and I should get the recommendation’, Jasper replied.

‘It’s not that easy and you really have a lot more to learn, than Alchemy, before hoping for such an honor’, the book replied.

Jasper opened his eyes and sat up in the bed to think about it. His head still hurt but he really wanted to do something productive beside lay in bed, all day, thinking about Alchemy and so, he got to his feet when Miss Marble popped open the door.

“Jasper, are you okay”, she asked.

“Yea, I’m okay. I’m bored, though”, Jasper confessed.

“Always got your wheels spinning, huh”, Miss Marble teased. “Don’t you have a good book to read”, she suggested.

“My head still hurts so I’m trying not to stare too much”, Jasper confessed.

“Well, just take it easy. I’ll come home on my lunch break and check with you”, she told him as she pulled his door back to.

With nothing better to do, Jasper flipped on his computer and went to the bathroom while waiting for the contraption to finish booting up. When he came back to his room, the computer had loaded up and was waiting. Jasper brought up the internet and started with checking his email after the homepage, he used, came up. Right at the top of the list was an email with the words, ‘Alchemy Interested’, in the heading.

‘Sounds like a trap’, Jasper thought to himself.

He began scrolling down the list of the usual spam, where he had mistakenly, registered for some free software that never was free to begin with. About two good rolls of the wheel and he found a second email with the heading, ‘New to Alchemy’.

‘It would appear you’ve already been digging around online for your answers’, the book called out to him.

‘I’m sorry but I really thought it was just a dream’, Jasper replied as he simply checked off all the garbage and deleted it along with the two emails regarding Alchemy.

‘That’s the best thing to do, Jasper. I realize you’re naturally curious about everything you come in contact with. Still curiosity is a two-edged sword; you can use it to excel or it can destroy you’.

‘I’m eager to learn but Professor Amaethon has already told me that anything I find on Alchemy, in this world, is nothing short of junk and would only impede me in my learning’, Jasper replied proving he really was paying attention and beginning to see more clearly the importance of taking his time and learning about Alchemy as much as he was learning Alchemy. ‘Still, if there is the danger of another war, I really should be learning all I can and as quickly as I can’.

Nevertheless, Jasper filled his morning with grabbing a bowl of cereal from the kitchen and playing video games until Miss marble came home for lunch and to check on him.

“How’s your head, Jasper”, she asked him right off the bat and he realized even more so, that he meant more to her than just a monthly check.

“I’m okay, Miss Marble. I’m really just killing time”, he replied.

“Do you want me to drop you off at school on my way back to work”, she asked him as she rubbed his head only to watch him jerk in pain as she came across the injured spot. “You sure you’re okay”?

“Yea…I think so. Miss Marble, what is your first name…I feel like I’m talking to a teacher every time I see you”, he admitted.

“I guess so but it helps me to avoid getting to close to the children until I know they’re going to work out”, she said making her own confession.

“I can understand that and it wouldn’t be fair if I called you by your first name which would confuse the younger kids”, Jasper agreed.

“It’s Monica; by the way”, she told him as she got up and headed into the kitchen to grab a quick bite.

Jasper got up and followed her into the next room and asked, “What do you do for a living”?

“I’m an investment broker with a firm downtown”, she replied.

“Oh, do you like it”, he asked.

“I really do enjoy my job, Jasper. And, talking about enjoyable things”, Monica said as if this had been on her mind and she just needed an opening, “Jimmy said you were interested in Alchemy”, she told him and added, “I know, I wasn’t supposed to say anything but Jimmy had already asked me if I knew anything about it before you asked him not to say anything. So, don’t hold it against him, Okay”.

Jasper did get mad at first but then he quickly realized she was right as he listened to her. “Yea”, he admitted and explained, “When I hit my head in the sewer, I dreamed I was an alchemist”.

“Now, that’s an interesting dream”, she replied. “Perhaps you’ll go to school to become a chemical engineer”.

Jasper’s first reaction was to explain the difference but then, he thought better of saying so. Instead, he replied, “I always wanted a chemistry set for Christmas”, he told her.

“Really, I didn’t know that”, she replied, paused to add mayo to her sandwich and added, “Why didn’t you tell me this past Christmas that, that’s what you wanted”?

“That was back when I first got here and it’s really not in my nature to ask for anything”, he told her.

“So I’ve noticed but I really do hope you never think of yourself as being a burden to me”, she replied.

“I only hope I’m not”, he earnestly replied.

“Jasper, I never think that about any of you kids, even the ones that don’t work out”, she told him. She finished cleaning up behind herself and sat down at the island bar with her sandwich and a glass of sweet tea.

“I’ll let you eat”, Jasper told her as he turned to walk back into the living room to play his game.

“Join me”, she told him. “I would have made you a sandwich too, but you’re so quiet I never know what you may or, may not, like”.

Jasper sat down on a stool across from Monica and asked her, “Are you still planning on talking to the other kid’s parents”?

“Yes, I do”, she replied flatly.

“Miss Marble…Monica, don’t worry about it. They actually did me a favor even though they don’t know it”, Jasper replied.

“How could, them knocking you down into the sewer, actually be considered a favor”, she asked bitterly.

“Well, dreaming about alchemy has given me a newfound love of chemistry”, Jasper replied.

“I’m curious why one is called Alchemy while the other is called chemistry”, Monica replied as she took another bite of her sandwich.

“I guess chemist, during the Dark Ages, was thought of as practitioners of black magic. Truthfully, I read up about some of the history of Alchemy, online but most of the websites contained ridiculous stories of fantasy”, Jasper replied as he downplayed any notion of actually believing in alchemy.

“That is fascinating”, Monica agreed. “Tell you what; do you want me to drop you off at the library? You might find some useful books on Alchemy”, she offered.

“Reading the definition online gave me a pretty good idea about Alchemy. However, I would like to find some books on chemistry”, Jasper suggested.

“Sure, but would you grab me a book on Alchemy”, she asked him, adding, “I hate to admit it but now you have my curiosity up”.

‘What do I do’, Jasper asked to himself.

‘Keep showing no interest’, the book replied.

Jasper agreed and told her, “Sure, I’ll see what I can find for you”.

“Had to think about it”, she asked sounding as if she were slightly offended.

“Sorry, I had a twinge of pain shoot through the back of my head. Maybe I’ll go tomorrow, instead”, jasper replied. He said this for two reasons: one, to make it seem if he was in no hurry to grab a book on Alchemy, and two, he still wasn’t comfortable about getting a book on Alchemy for fear of what he had been told about the witches watching for such tell-tale signs.

“Yea, maybe you should get some rest and that includes taking a breather from the video games…besides, didn’t I ground you from them”, she joked.

“Technically speaking, you did…but I’m injured so you should show sympathy”, he told her playfully.

“Fine…but I want you off of there before the others get home or they’ll think I’m a pushover”, she told him as she kissed him on the forehead and left for work.

Jasper curled back up on the couch and grabbed the controller. Even then, he left the game paused as he sat there reflecting on the unexpected conversation…for more reasons than one.

Around three-thirty, Jasper turned the game and TV off before the others got home. Afterwards, he headed upstairs and climbed back into bed with a book just as the front door opened up with the sound of the twins, that were close to his age, coming into from school.

“Hey, lazy bones…are you still here”, one of them yelled up. Jasper never could tell the difference between the two brown-headed girls except that one of them had a crush on him and the other was always mean to him. Sometimes, Jasper considered it to be a game they played just to mess with his head. He also wondered who else had to suffer through their scam.

“Yea”, Jasper yelled back.

“Great”, one of them yelled back.

Jasper heard the girl bounding up the stairs and wished he had kept his big mouth shut. “I’m still in my pajamas”, he yelled out, hoping to deter her.

His attempt fell on deaf ears as she burst into his room. “How’s your head”, she asked him.

“Full of rocks”, the other twin replied as she also walked into room.

“I really wish you guys wore something different just so I could tell the difference”, Jasper remarked with a heavy sigh.

“I’m Kim and that’s Mim”, the happy, bubbly one told him. “Surely you can tell the difference by now”, she remarked as she playfully slapped him on the arm like a southern belle.

“Why do you think guys wear white underwear…colored ones would just confuse them”, Mim sarcastically remarked insinuating that Jasper was an idiot.

“Girls only wear colored underwear so they remember to change them”, Jasper shot back.

“You two behave”, Kim told them both. “So, how’s your head and what’s it like being in the sewer”, she asked with a face full of smiling teeth.

“For him…it was like being home”, Mim replied as she walked out the room.

Jasper was not letting that slip by him as he asked Kim “Did your mom stand in a doorway while rocking her back and forth as a baby?”

“I don’t know,” Kim replied with all due sincerity.

Jasper simply looked at her with utter disbelief. Finally, he shook it off and realized that Mim was the smarter of the two which would make it much easier to tell them apart.

“Kim, why is your sister so grumpy all the time”, Jasper asked as he spotted his, very special book and moved to his nightstand drawer for safe keeping.

“Is that your diary”, Kim asked him.

“No, that’s just a special book to me”, he replied. “Now that you mention it, I never did try keeping a diary”.

“Maybe you should”, Kim told him. “So, tell me all about the sewer”, she asked him with a huge grin.

“Later Kim”, Mim called out as she walked past the bedroom door. “The little ones will be here soon”.

“Kim, how old are you guys”, Jasper asked her before she made it to the door.

“We’ll be fifteen in September”, Kim replied with a smile.

“That’s just next month”, Jasper replied and asked, “What day”?

“The fourth”, she replied as Mim hollered for her to get downstairs and help with after school snacks for the two youngest ones, Michael and Anthony.

Jasper having fallen into the sewer had opened many new doors for him in ways he never would have dreamed possible. The people of the house were becoming more like a real family to him and he was the newest Alchemist at a school very few even knows, exist. Still one thing puzzled him about the school…why would they trust such a secret to children, the least capable of keeping a secret.

Even then, that was the least of matters on his mind. Jasper knew that for every question he had solved, many more new ones came to mind. For example, Rebecca had been watching him for a year, all while bullying him and treating him without any regard as a human being. Nevertheless, if fate hadn’t picked him, as he was so often told regarding the sewer…then, why had she been watching all that time?

‘Why was she watching me’, Jasper thought to himself not realizing that any question he had instantly activated the magic of the book he was given.

‘Rebecca had a special gift of insight. When she saw you, she had a premonition that you would become an alchemist so; I had her watch over you for any telltale signs’, the book showed.

‘Who are you, exactly’, Jasper asked. ‘Because, I’ve already figured out that the book acts like a gateway between our minds’, he admitted.

‘Your assumption would be correct. I’m Professor Ariel Gather, the founding headmistress of the Professors of Light School. I asked Professor Amaethon to give you this book that only you and I may use’, she explained.

‘Why the interest, if I may’, he asked her.

‘I take a personal interest in all of my students and all of you receive this book’, she replied.

Granted, her response made Jasper feel a little less special but he actually was hoping just to be another student to keep the pressure down on other’s expectations of him.

He changed the subject back to the book, itself and asked her. ‘Do I interfere with your work by talking to you so much’, he asked her.

“Hey Jasper”, Jimmy said as he pushed the bedroom door open. “Practice was canceled thanks to the storm so I ran by the library and grabbed you a few books on Alchemy, anyway. Truthfully, you’ve got my curiosity up”, Jimmy said as he brought a stack of books into the room.

Jasper opened his eyes, after excusing himself and told Jimmy, “I appreciate it. Quick confession though, Miss Marble told me you had asked her about it before I asked you not to. No worries though, but she really would like to read up on the subject, herself”.

“Then, maybe I should let her have one of the books”, Jimmy offered. “Still, you get first dibs”.

Jasper looked at the books and saw that there was three to choose from. ‘What do I do, here’, he asked.

‘Just take one so you don’t offend him’, Professor Gather replied.

Jasper grabbed the middle book and it shocked the devil out of him.

“What the devil”, Jimmy exclaimed as he jumped up.

‘What in the world’, Jasper exclaimed as he grabbed his hand and fell back on the pillow.

“It’s just a book”, Jimmy remarked as he was undoubtedly puzzled by the fact that the book even shocked Jasper.

Jasper heard the other kids running up the stairs, to see why he hollered and asked Jimmy to cut them off at door. “Just tell them I hit my head while I was laughing”.

Jimmy went out into the hallway and said exactly what Jasper had suggested. Once he had the others convinced that Jasper was okay, he walked back in the room and closed the door behind himself.

“Jasper, I know I’m not as smart as you but something really weird is going on and you know what it is”, Jimmy stated as he demanded Jasper come clean.

“Get the books off the bed and I’ll explain”, Jasper asked off Jimmy in the hopes of buying him some extra time to think. “Dang, that hurt”, he said as he tried to deflect the conversation to him getting hurt in an attempt to buy even more time.

Jimmy saw right through what Jasper was doing. Still, he quickly moved the books from the bed to the dresser before turning to face Jasper and told him upfront, “I even think you’re lying to me and I’ll rub those books all over your body”.

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