Perspective short story by Iris Carden.
Orsinius Wishlet sat in his burrow on the border between reality and unreality.
His time among humans had given him a new perspective on his collection. He now knew that his previously treasured collection of pieces of paper: old shopping lists, cash register dockets, bills, scrap paper from long-forgotten notepads, was actually rubbish.
The pens and biros in his collection had a purpose, but he had so many of them they would never be able to use them all.
His odd socks, and other knitted and fabric items represented an inconvenience to the humans he had stolen them from, but had no further value. He had learned that socks needed to be in a pair to be of practical use.
Much of his jewellery collection was cheap junk that the humans he had stolen it from would not care about the loss. His more prized jewellery, and the artworks stolen from museums, were valuable to the humans he had stolen them from, but only gave him a sense of guilt. He considered returning it all, but he had stolen so much in his time as a thief he had no idea where his treasures belonged.
He considered throwing out the rubbish items, but his cousin Augustus had already entered the burrow in his absence to steal his true treasures. He needed the rubbish to trick any thief who would steal from him, the former master thief, into thinking that all in his burrow was rubbish.
Carefully, he cleaned and polished the two real treasures the great wizard Merlin had trusted to his possession: the sword Excalibur, and the holy grail. He began with Excalibur.
Life had been strange for Orsinius in the past couple of months. His new friend and employer Ariana Sutton had been a big part of the change. Now he had learned that Ariana might actually unknowingly be a witch.
He had told her that because she was a good human, if she were a witch, she must be a good witch. Still, he was troubled. Even in his world, witches were extremely rare, and good witches were almost unheard of.
After Ariana had done so much to help him learn to live without stealing, he felt he had to help her learn to stay good once she began to use magic.
“Can it be possible that she is a witch and still stays good?” he asked quietly of the sword in his hand. Excalibur seemed to grow warm for a moment, and then returned to its normal cool temperature. “You say, yes?” The sword warmed then cooled again.
Orsinius turned his attention to cleaning and polishing the grail. He had used the magical fluid coffee to carry its power, and he did not want to leave coffee stains in such a precious object.
As he carefully polished a mountain of jewellery shifted slightly, then collapsed on top of him. Instead of crushing him, it formed an arch over him. Either the grail, or Excalibur or both prevented anything actually landing on him. He was cocooned in the collapsed finery, but had a small safe bubble around him.
What could he do now? He yelled for help. There should not have been anyone but him in the burrow, so he knew it was pointless, but he yelled anyway. He yelled several more times.
Then he heard it. It was a scraping and a clattering, and a frantic crashing.
Eventually one side of his wall of shiny things opened, and there was Ariana throwing things aside madly.
“Orsinius, are you all right?” she asked.
He grabbed the grail and the sword and dived out from under the mountain of jewels, as it all crashed into the space where his bubble of safety had been.
He looked at his friend in wonder. “How are you here?” he asked. “Humans can’t be here, not on the border. Humans can only live in reality.”
“I don’t know.” She sounded confused. “One minute I was home watching tv, then I heard you call and the next moment I was here, and I knew you needed me to clear away all this stuff. Where is here? Is this your burrow?”
“This is my burrow. This is the border between reality and unreality. This is a place humans cannot survive, but you are here. It is true. You are a witch.”
“I’m a witch. When Lady Justice said that might be a possibility I didn’t really believe it. Now I don’t know what to believe. I am here, and I shouldn’t be. I don’t know how I got here, or how I can get back where I belong.”
“The only way back I know is through the interim.”
Ariana shuddered. She’d been trapped in the interim when she’d first met Orsinius, as a result of a spell her sister had cast.
“I don’t think that’s how I got here. In the interim, everything else stood still, but I moved. I would have noticed moving through a world staying still. It was instant. I mean it was instant for me, if you understand what I mean. Besides, we needed Lady Justice to get me out of the interim before. I don’t think I would have known how to get back into it to use it to move from one place to another.”
“I think you will learn this. I think now we know you have power, I can teach you. You taught me how to live without stealing. I will teach you how to live with magic.”
Orsinius Wishlet Stories
Lost and Found was originally a one-off story, until the day I had the idea for A Wish Come True. After that, Orsinius and the world built around him just kept coming back to me.
Series 1 stories: