Connections Jan 2015 - Page 20

I had a bad feeling about this. He returned to rummaging through the contents of another bench, and I realised that I’d plastered myself against the rear of my bottle. Silly, I chided myself. As if a few extra inches might make a difference. I cringed as the magician re-entered the circle, and was a tad miffed to see him treat the thermos with far more caution than my bottle. If he thought he would be safe once I was free, well, he’d learn otherwise. That was assuming we all survived this insane experiment of his, which I seriously doubted. He pressed a lump of sticky stuff to the neck of my bottle, and then taped on a small black box with a winking red light. He repeated the procedure with the thermos, again handling it with infinitely more respect. Now I was truly offended. I had a pretty shrewd idea what the contraption was designed to do, although I’d only seen suchlike in movies. Satisfied with his preparations, the magician stepped back out of the circle and picked up a bowl. He proceeded to sprinkle a white powder—salt, I guessed—in a continuous overlay of the chalk, his lips moving all the while as he muttered what I had to assume was an incantation. At least he was taking precautions, but I doubted he had any real idea of what he was about to unleash. Next, he opened one of the wicker baskets and extracted a frantically flapping cockerel. One swift machete chop later, and he was marching around his circle again, this time holding the headless corpse so that its blood drained to mingle with the salt. The poor bird’s legs were cycling as if trying to run away, not yet realising it was dead. The exercise kept the blood flowing freely from its severed neck. Gross. He completed the circuit and stood back to view his handiwork. He appeared satisfied. Nervous, but satisfied. After the magical preparations, he took some time laying thick, heavily insulated cables around the exterior of the circle. These black hi-tech snakes were interrupted at intervals with gizmos sprouting coloured wires, which in turn trailed off beneath the various benches around the perimeter of the room. After a final lengthy survey of the completed layout, Nerd-Features reached up to a large junction box on