by CSyphrett and Martin Maenza
In a flash, Headmaster Gallowglass and Rose Psychic arrived at the infirmary. The teleport from the administration building to the small medical station had been instantaneous. The sensation was awkward for Rose, and she grasped the edge of the counter to balance herself for a moment.
“You’ll be fine in a moment,” Gallowglass told her as he threw open the doors to one of the supply cabinets. “It’s no big deal.”
For you, perhaps, she thought. Aloud, Rose said, “Yes, of course.”
Gallowglass rummaged through some containers and then picked up a hypodermic syringe. “I’ll need to multiply this to satisfy the amount of dosages we’ll need to administer.” He placed it down on the counter and concentrated, and suddenly there were so many syringes piled up there that it was difficult to count them quickly.
Next, he picked up a bottle of antibiotics and concentrated. It began to expand in size, changing from a small bottle to a rather large one.
Rose stood back at the side, quiet as she took in the amazing multiplication magic; she had always found it impressive, and Gallowglass performed it with such ease. Doctor Occult could not have performed it any more quickly. She then noticed a look of concentration appear on his face. “A problem, sir?”
“No,” Gallowglass said, shaking his head. “I just need to get the right makeup to achieve the desired results.” As he spoke, the solution in the bottle began to change color slightly, from a transparent liquid to a more washed-out tan color. “Almost…” The solution changed once more, now gaining more of a faded lemon color to it. “Yes, there!”
“That will do it?” she asked, brushing her dark black hair back.
“The parasitic infection was passed on by an unknown plant,” Gallowglass explained as he opened his eye. “Somehow, it got on the island from some other point. I eliminated the root cause earlier this morning, but some of the students already appear to have been exposed to it and had delayed reactions to it. All the students and teachers must be inoculated from future exposure!” He gestured to the bottle. “And this will do the trick. I want everyone, even Adam, to get five CCs of this in their arms as fast as you can do it. Start with Mr. Cantrell and Miss Ambrose while waiting for the others to arrive. The students from the gym class should be first, since they were close to the first outbreaks.”
“Understood,” said Rose calmly. “Anything else?”
Gallowglass filled four needles. The first he injected in himself, just for safe measure. Though, truth be told, he doubted he needed it. After all, he had fought off the invasion of his body earlier by the spores and had won. Still, it didn’t hurt.
Then he gestured for Rose to roll up her sleeve; she complied without hesitation. He prepped her arm with a cotton swab and injected the chemical into her bloodstream. “I’ll be back as soon as I can!” He took the other hypodermic and blinked away in a flash.
Where is he going now? Rose wondered. The answer would have to wait. She prepared two more needles to tend to the infected children already there.
Gareth Gallowglass smoothed his brown tie against his yellow shirt as he stepped inside the three-story clock room. It was hard to believe that he still wore the same suit he had received in 1951 when he had built the school for Margo the Magician and the other founding fathers. Where had the time gone? (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Secret Origins: The Books of Magic: Times Past, 1951: Founding Fathers.]
It slipped away while I protected the world and my students from tragic consequences and dire menaces, he thought. Maybe he needed to retire and let someone else run the school from now on. He dismissed that thought entirely. Who is more qualified for this task than I?
The thin Simon Belmont come down the stairs from the top of the tower. “What do you want?” asked the crusty old man.
Gallowglass considered the man. Of all those who had come and gone on Grimoire, Belmont was unchanged by the rigors the place put on people. Rude and obnoxious were almost kind descriptions of Simon Belmont, a man of little patience for others intruding on his keep.
“First, you get a shot,” said Gallowglass.
“A shot for what?” asked Belmont.
“A new, plant-based infection,” said Gallowglass, producing one of the two remaining needles he had.
“No needle is going into my hide,” declared Belmont. “Never has, never will.”
Gallowglass blinked. The fluid in the hypodermic vanished. Belmont drew a face, as if tasting something awful. Stubborn old fool always prefers things his own way! the headmaster thought. Gallowglass turned the syringe back into air and dust.
Belmont shook his head once and then said, “And second…?”
Gallowglass’ expression changed slightly. “Next, I need to know what you did with Mrs. Cable!”
Belmont turned his back and started to adjust a few books. “I let her go home yesterday afternoon,” he said. “She hasn’t come back to the pick-up point yet.” In truth, Belmont had hardly expected to see her again, as she had taken her bags with her. There was no point in mentioning that at this juncture, though.
“Let her go home? You know we have an agreement with Shazam over this since the Crisis!” Gallowglass fumed. “The terms are no travel to and from, except for field trips and vacation times! That is it!”
“I know the terms, but what harm was there?” said Belmont. “She’s from this Earth after all.”
“Rules are rules!” said Gallowglass. “I shouldn’t have to tell you that! You’ve been here the longest out of anyone and should know better!”
“What are you going to do?” said Belmont. “Fire me?”
“I should,” Gallowglass said.
“You wouldn’t last a week without me,” Belmont replied.
The two men went up to the top of the tower. Gallowglass stared out over his small domain silently, while Belmont made some arrangements. “She said she was going to stay with some woman named Liz Tremayne,” said Belmont, placing a file on the stand and opening it. “I am going to put you down right in the living room.”
“You have the exact place at your fingertips, eh?” said Gallowglass. “When I get back, we’ll talk about this flagrant abuse of your position.”
“If you make my hands shake anymore, you might wind up in a wall,” Belmont warned. He spread a blueprint out on the stand, and a room took shape on the circular windows of the four walls. He then waited for that special tingle that meant a connection had been formed before nodding. “Anytime you’re ready.”
Gallowglass nodded and stepped off his island for the first time in almost forty years. It was as easy as if he had stepped into the next room, and nearly as quick.
Looking around the room, Gallowglass saw that it was a modest place, decorated in darker tones. Charming. Then he heard a low moan coming from a room behind him. The sound wasn’t at all threatening, but more of a pained tone. He hurried to the doorframe. A punched hole in the wooden door was a clue to something. Not a good sign.
Gallowglass looked in, observing a wrecked bedroom. A woman lay against the wall, moaning softly, her body contorted oddly. Her arm was stretched out on the floor in vain, as if trying to reach for the telephone. Her back is broken, he thought. How long, though?
He bent down near the woman. She started to strain. “It’s OK. What happened?” he asked gently, wanting to be sure of his assessment before attempting to fix it. He gently touched her spine area outside her shirt. It was only a broken back, which was good.
“A-Abby… threw me…” the woman groaned, trying to speak through the pain and the tears. “So strong…”
“Just hold on a moment,” Gallowglass said. “I’ll make it better.” He blinked, and the woman was whole once more. “Here, let me help you. Take it slowly.” He offered his hand and helped her rise from the floor.
Liz Tremayne was startled by all of this, suddenly free of the tremendous physical pain she had felt. Amazingly enough, much of the emotional pain she’d felt seemed to be lessened as well. “Who are you?” she asked in wonderment, her voice more confident than it had sounded in ages. “How did you do that?”
“You need to rest,” he said, helping her to the bed nearby.
“Are you some kind of doctor or something?” she asked.
“No,” Gallowglass replied. “I know of Mrs. Cable from the school where she was working. Do you know where she went?”
“No.” Liz shook her head.
Gallowglass realized from the damage that her trail would not be hard to follow. “I’ll find her,” he said, leaving the house.
As he stepped out on the porch, he saw the broken door. With a wave of his hand, it was back on its hinges. All the while, he glanced about the yard. His eyes narrowed and focused. Burn marks in the grass! The footprints made a trail for him to follow.
Just like Miss Ambrose and Mr. Cantrell, he thought as he took off in pursuit. I hope no has been killed yet!
Downtown Houma looked as though a tornado had ripped through it, leaving the small town a wreck. Burning footprints were more visible in the street. Gallowglass frowned at the sight of it.
The damage will have to wait, he thought. First, I must find Mrs. Cable. She has to be the cause of all this!
Gallowglass opened his mind’s eye and scanned the town for his missing staff member. He found her quite easily. There! With a blink, he was to her side.
Abby Cable held a portly man about the throat, strangling the life out of him. He was the principal of one of the local schools. “Die, you bastard!” she howled. The man choked.
“Unhand him now, Mrs. Cable!” Gallowglass ordered.
She spun around, her eyes as fiery as the rest of her body. “You?!” Abby glanced down at her victim and back at who had ordered her. She dropped the man to the ground. “You are Gallowglass! You will die!” Her face was full of rage, and smoke and steam rose off of her as if she were cooking from the inside out. She lunged forward, her hands reaching for the one-eyed man.
“Go to sleep!” Gallowglass commanded.
Abby collapsed in his arms, still hot to the touch but slumbering. Gallowglass stabbed the last syringe into her bare arm and let the antidote work its magic. Quickly enough, her face assumed some of the placidity and calmness he associated with her. He laid her down on the ground.
But his work was not over yet.
Gareth Gallowglass was called a master of the impossible. It was a title given to those who had reached an ability to do almost anything they could think of as easily as breathing. The only limit was imagination and will. This man had great levels of both.
Closing his eyes, the headmaster of Grimoire Academy concentrated. With his mind, he reached out to all of Houma and grabbed it. He could feel its pain, its essence cry out to him in its agony. He focused and secured a picture of how everything should be.
Be as you were!
Everthing reverted back to the way it was before Abby Cable had begun destroying things with her bare hands. While some of the injuries had been severe, luckily, there were no fatalities. He could bring the dead back to life, but they were never the same; he had learned that the hard way.
Then, just as carefully as he had repaired the damage of body and property, he focused on the minds. A town as small as this one would have been rocked by such an event. It was best that all was forgotten. No one needs to know that a normal woman had become a nightmare for a few hours.
He only left one memory intact: Abby Cable’s. She would then need to decide if she wanted it or not later.