The air in the workshop shuddered with pneumatic force. Theodore’s hands worked with deliberate but careful motions. Sparks streaked as metal screamed under his will. Other materials flowed together in a mysterious, arcane symphony of light.
The magic flowed from his soul, a part of him in every piece. Each one a work of art, custom made for a single patron. They had to be.
Fingers were always the hardest part—the delicate articulations needed to be smooth and fluid—like ice melting into a stream. Dozens of failed attempts littered his bench. This would not be one of them.
He scratched uneven whiskers on his chin; it needed something more. The curving lines shined like quicksilver in the dim light of vanishing dusk. The orange-red nimbus dancing through the workshop’s window cast prismatic colors on the walls—the same stunning chromaticity as his client’s dress the day he met her.
Furiously, he worked on mixing the colored powders. Iridescent violets and sunset crimsons danced into an amalgamation that flickered and reflected the fire in his eyes.
Past midnight, Theodore labored to find perfection. The commissions were far too important for anything less. Some of his colleagues tried to match his skill, but none could capture the same grace, and none came close to his dedication to the craft.
His eyes drooped with heavy lids, night having passed by like a sandstorm in the desert. Exhausted hands polished the smooth curves to a bedazzling radiance. The corners of Theodore’s mouth turned up, then relaxed with satisfaction, but he never knew if the magic worked until it was paired with its new owner.
Theodore’s eyes snapped open; the grains of the workbench boards imprinted on his cheek. He looked at the clock and felt the adrenaline surge through his veins like hot ice. It was time.
Scrambling, he smoothed hair through shaky fingers and tucked in the tail of his shirt. The design was whisked into a satchel of smooth fabric, and he was out the door.
Colleagues greeted him as he rushed down the hallways to his appointment. He wasn’t late, but this particular guest would not suffer delay. Her patience was precious.
The waiting room came to a sudden stillness as Theodore entered. Eyes focused on him, but he ignored the onlookers, his gaze fixed on the only person that truly mattered.
He kneeled down to match her height.
“Hello, Sarah.” His smile was tender and genuine. He held up the black satin bag. “I have something very special for you. Would you like to open it?”
Delicate brown curls bobbed on her forehead as she nodded, her blue eyes deep as the sky and twice as wide. She beamed brighter than the sun that inspired the piece as she pulled free the rainbow-colored prosthetic arm from its wrapping.
“Mommy, look at the colors.” A kaleidoscope of emotion in her small voice.
Theodore, the Wizard of Wellford Children’s hospital, had cast another successful spell.