The clock in his study struck mid-night. Israel looked up from the papers before him and looked out the window to see the rain pouring down, sliding down the pain of glass. He sighed. It was his birthday today, he was now one hundred and sixty-five yet he didn't look a day over twenty five. Absent mindlessly he started fiddling around with a pocket-watch that was on his desk. A knock came at the study door. He looked in the doors direction and called, "Come in!"
Kallista emerged from behind the door followed by Thalia, Rachel, Octa and Gepard. Kallista held something behind her back and she was smiling. All eyes were on him making him slightly uncomfortable. "What?"
They all looked at one another and back to him, smiles spreading across all of their faces and in unison shouted, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY ISRAEL!"
Kallista produced from behind her back a rather large purple cupcake with a single candle, bring a lighter from out of his pocket Gepard lit it up. They set it in front of him.
"Make a wish," Thalia said, excitement evident in her voice.
Israel, not seeing the point in argueing closed his eyes, made a wish and blew out the candle. When he opened his eyes none of them were standing before him anymore.
It was as if they disappeared. He looked around, checking to see if one of the girls was hiding behind one of the sofas, waiting to jump out at him. None of them were. Suddenly Israel found himself seraching the whole of Elysium Asylum. A knock came to the door which he, naturally, went to answer. When he opened the door he seen a drenched NJ Maverick standing before him. "NJ, why are you all wet? Didn't it at all occur to you to bring an umberella? Better yet, where is your car?"
NJ raised the broken umberella into Israel's view explaining without speaking the umberella perdicament. "As for the car, it broke down a mile up the road. seven cars drove past not one having the certisy to stop and offer me a lift, instead splashed more water over me. It really is beginning to flood. So instead of bringing me inside where I can dry off, you keep me out in the rain to explain myself, increasing my chances of hypothermia. Well done."
"Oh God, sorry." Israel stepped aside to let the young woman in.
As Israel went to get her a blanket, NJ sat infront of the fire blazing in what could only be described as a living room. It was incredibly homely. Israel arrived back with the blanket and handed it to her. She took it gratefully and wrapped it round herself. She looked around and noticed something was different. "It's awfully quiet Israel. Where's Octa and everyone? I would have thought they'd still be walking about now, you are all practically nocturnal anyway." She joked, but Israel didn't even crack a smile. "Israel, what is it?"
"Earlier on I was in my study and just after midnight they came in- Kal, Octa, Thalia, Gepard and Rachel- they came in to wish me happy birthday. They gave me a cupcake and told me to make a wish. I closed my eyes made my wish, blew out the candle. Then, when I opened my eye, they were gone. I looked all over the house. At first I thought they were playing a practical joke. Now, I'm not so sure. That's when you arrived and brought us to this point in time."
NJ looked at him a moment and was suddenly stifling a laugh. Israel looked at her in disbelief. How could she be laughing now? Their friends had just disappeared and she was laughing! Well, trying not to. "What is so damn funny?"
"I know, I shouldn't laugh. It's just, it always happens!"
"What always happens?"
NJ gave him a look. "Come on. Don't tell me you haven't noticed. Every single one of our birthdays, something has come up, then we end up sorting it out with enough time to celebrate not only the victory, but also the persons birthday! It's just one of those days. It'll all be fine. It will all work out." She waved her hand dismissively.
"This is different. Our friends have disappeared!"
"On my birthday, Kallista shrunk me down so tiny, a kitten that I was given for my birthday started chasing my around trying to eat me! It was rather funny. "
One second Israel was blowing out the birthday candle, next he was gone. Kallista looked over in the direction of where Rachel should have been standing, but she was also gone. So was Gepard. Only Octa and Thalia remained. The three of them looked at one another, trying to figure out what had just happened. It made no sense. How could three of their friends just disappear like that?
"What just happened?" Gepard asked spinning on his heels, only to see Rachel standing there in just as much confusion as he was. "Where did they go?"
"I don't know." Was all Rachel could say, because honestly she had no clue as to what had just happened. All she knew was, that they were by themselves and they couldn't change that unless they figured out what had caused it in the first place.
NJ sighed. "Okay, joking aside, it is weird that they just disappeared without a trace. We need to back up a few steps. You make a wish, blow out the candle, then you open your eyes and they just disappeared. So, what did you wish for?"
"I wished time could just stop." Israel's eyes widened a fraction in realization. He looked at the watch on his wrist, it wasn't working, it had stopped. NJ pulled out her phone and looked at the time on it.
"Surely it's later than four minutes past midnight," she said.
"That's the time it says on my watch but it isn't working. It's just stopped." They looked at each other and then looked at the huge grand-father clock resting in the corner of the room. It, too, was no longer working. Time had just stopped. "Wow. I have never had that happen before."
"Had a birthday wish come true."
"Well, it's not exactly one you would want to come true now is it? Our friends are now missing. I bet they're in another second."
Israel groaned and muttered, "This is not how I expected my birthday turning out to be like."
"Hey, don't blame yourself. How were you to know? Besides, I take fault. I am the birthday jinx."
"How do you come to that conclusion?"
"Well all my friends so far have had to put up with something happening on their birthday. Rachel being chased through Belfast by two vampires. Raven and the stake out. Me being turned into a little speck. And now this. So now I am the birthday Jinx. It is official. I am making it official! And so, as a result, I must have a new name. I shall now be known as NJ Jinxie Maverick." NJ looked proud that she had now come up with a new name for herself.
"Um, you know the 'j' in 'NJ' could stand for Jinxie. Also, what does the 'N' stand for?"
"An Irish name, meaning 'bright'. I am a rather bright person. Also, thank you so very much."
"Ruining my proud moment. I was very proud of coming up with that name and now it's ruined."
"I did not. NJ you are just jealous that I am more awesome than you. Everyone is. It's okay though, I understand. Some people have trouble being around me. They make slip ups because they are in awe of my awesomeness."
"Israel, I get it you think your awesome. You don't need to remind us. We need to fix this."
"Quite right." Israel looked about, and then back to NJ. "How do we do that?"
NJ looked at him a moment then rose to her feet muttering something about he should have a better in sight on what to do seeing as he was the old timer out of the two of them. "Let's look in this library that I've heard so much about."
Israel rose to his feet and cut in front of her to lead the way.
Rachel and Gepard met up with each other again back at the study after searching the house from head to toe half an hour later. Upon the sight of Gepard Rachel shook her head. "Nothing. Not a single thing. It's like they've all just, disappeared off the face of the earth. Also, the grand-father clock in the living room seems to have broken. The same also applies for the clock in the kitchen, hall and music room."
"That's strange. That's the same for the clocks on bedside tables and the library. They all seemed to stop at four minutes past twelve. Why would all the clocks have stopped?"
Rachel shrugged. They needed to do something. But what? They didn't even know how this came to happen. If they knew, it could really help them. "Let's try and find something in the library. There must be something in there that'll help."
Gepard nodded and they made there way to the library. Not knowing what to make of the turn of events they walked in silence.
Thalia, Octa and Kallista sat flicking through books in the library. They all decided that would be their first course of action. Kallista and Thalia looked from what they were reading with stinging eyes. They had to have been reading through the assortment of books for at least an hour non-stop. "What time is it?" Thalia asked as she yawned.
Octa now looked up from the material he had been reading and looked at his watch. He frowned, "My watch is broken. Check the clock at the door, Thalia."
Thalia stiffly rose to her feet and went to look at the clock. When she came back she too was frowning. "The clock is broken. There is no way it is still just after midnight. It must be at least two now."
"Okay, this isn't funny anymore." Kallista said rising to her feet. The usually bubbly girl was now stressing and pacing back and forth. Octa rose to his feet and laid a comforting hand on her shoulder.
"It's going to be alright. We'll figure this out." He said softly.
NJ sat on one of the library tables, her leg crossed and she was sitting reading an old leather bound book about time. Israel sat on a chair reading a similar looking book about wishes. The library had so many books about many different things. It was almost as good as the library China Sorrows once had in Ireland.
"Hey, I think I found something," Israel whispered as he stood up to show NJ. She looked up at him, pulling out a megaphone from behind her back she raised it to her lips and said loudly, "Why are you whispering?"
Israel looked at her and said quietly, "We are in a library."
A bit louder. "We are in a library."
"Israel, I can't hear you and I'm not very good at lip reading."
A bit louder again. "We are in a library."
"Israel seriously your going to have to speak up."
Fed up he snatched the megaphone out of NJ's hands and yelled, "WE ARE IN A LIBRARY!"
"Shhh," NJ said raising her index finger to her lips, making the well known silence sign and whispered, "We're in a library."
Israel stared at the largely smiling girl and sighed. "Just look at this, will you?"
NJ lifted the book up and rested it on her legs, Israel pointed to the paragraph he wanted her to read:
'Throughout many centuaries it has be seen that 'birthday wishes' have come true, particularly within the sorcerer community. Although, it is still a rarity in that circumstance. It has also be seen that the wish can take its own form interpreting it in the way it sees fit, which is not always the 'wisher' intends it to turn out.
The most well known case of wishes to come true are birthday wishes. Research into the hypothesis has shown that the wishes have more-often-than-not come true with non-believers in the old tale.'
NJ looked up from the book. "Whoa. That is pretty intense. So, it is established, you made a birthday wish and it came true. Which led us up to now. That's just... wow."
"Right, seeing as I am awesome," he said, muttering something like 'and how it is also my fault'. "I am going to figure out a way to fix everything."
Rachel walked through the library four times, not a clue as to what sort on book she should be looking for. She passed Gepard three times and when she looked at him she could tell he was just at as much of a loss as she was. She was about to pass him again when she seen him looking at a book with a look that told her he may have found something useful. She walked over and looked over his shoulder. He had his finger at the start of a line and was slowly moving it down the page. Clearly to lake sure he didn't lose where he was at. Rachel started at the top of the Paragraph he was reading:
'Time is broken down in many ways, seconds, minutes hours ect. It has been believed over the years that there is a way that time can be harnessed and controlled. One sorcerer TickTock McClock.'
Rachel looked up from the book at that point. "Gep, please tell me I misread that name."
Gepard looked over his shoulder at her, "Sadly not. Apparently his name is in fact TickTock McClock." His voice started choking up at the name, forcing himself to not laugh at the name. Rachel pushed her lips together, they quivered as she too forced herself not to laugh. Neither of them could help it, soon enough they were rolling on the floor laughing. Quite literally.
NJ handed a book to Israel. "Look at this."
Israel looked over and seen instantly what she was talking about. There was a depiction of a pocket watch on the page, and it was familiar to him. His hand was in his pocket pulling out a pocket watch Identical to the one in the picture. "It's the exact same. I was fiddling about with this earlier on. I wasn't really paying attention. But it never worked before. Why would it work now?"
"Magic of a wish? When you made your wish were you holding the watch?"
"Israel," NJ said as she took the watch out of his hand. "I think we have figured out how to fix this mess."
A smile spread across their faces, then Israel's faltered. "How do we fix this mess?"
NJ looked at him a moment, then walked away. She called over her shoulder, "Show me where the study is!"
He jogged to catch up then lead the way.
When they arrived at the study NJ walked over to the table, pulled out her own lighter and lit the candle. She held the cupcake out to Israel and said, "Make a birthday wish birthday boy."
Israel looked at her then the cupcake and back again, "See, this shows how down right awesome I am, I get not only a birthday wish, but I get two birthday wishes. All because I am awesome!"
"Just make the wish and get our friends back"
Israel closed his eyes. Holding the pocket watch in his hand, just to be on the safe side, he made the wish. With one blow, the candle was out. He opened his eyes and looked around. Only NJ stood there. He slouched.
"What's wrong?" NJ asked.
"Can't you see? It didn't work!"
"How can you be sure? They may have gone around looking, just like you did."
Suddenly Israel was bolting out the door, calling his friends names. NJ followed. A voice came, "Israel?" It was Rachel's voice. Within a matter of seconds she came skidding along the floor and crashed right into him. The both toppled to the ground. NJ looked at the two of them. Out of nowhere, suddenly Gepard was in the mix as well. And before anyone could even process it, so was Kallista and Thalia. They were all on the ground trying to escape the mass of twisted and tangled bodies. All of them complaining and shouting:
"Ow, that's my foot."
"Get off me, you are squishing my beautiful face."
"Please, get off! Your crushing my bladder and I badly need to pee as it is."
"Ew, we really didn't need to hear that!"
Only Octa seemed to mamgage not getting into the tangle and went and stood by NJ. "Bet you twenty pounds it takes them more than ten minutes."
Israel sat at his desk, finishing off the papers he hadn't managed to finish the previous night. It was seven thirty in the evening. A knock came at the door and Octa stepped in. He was carrying a clothes bag. "NJ demands your presence downstairs."
"Demands it? This is my home."
"She said and I quote- 'Get his Aussie Ass down here right now or I swear I will go up and drag him down, pull off that oh so loved trench coat of his and burn it.'"
Israel wasn't even going to risk the idea of losing his beloved trench coat. "She's threatened by the awesomeness of my coat isn't she? She is jealous that my coat and myself are more awesome than she is."
"Yes, that's what it is," Octa said in an unconvincing voice. "She also demands you to put on this."
Octa handed him the clothes bag. Israel pulled down the zip to reveal a clean, crisp bespoke tuxedo.
When they were in the hall Octa pulled out a scarf and wrapped it around Israel's eyes, cutting out all light. "Hey, what are you doing?!"
Octa directed Israel downstairs and into the ballroom. It had been completely transformed. Ready for Israel's birthday party. Everyone was dressed up. Octa removed the scarf from around Israel's and everyone shouted, "SURPRISE!" It hit Israel like a wall of sound.
Israel looked around in shock. "What? How did you manage this?!"
Kallista stepped forward. Looking around she said in a 'whisper' "NJ has OCD with this sort of stuff."
Everyone laughed. Israel nodded, "Yes, it's because I am awesome. I understand. People don't need to remind me. I remind myself enough times. I am awesome."
Gepard walked over to the table that held the three birthday cakes, lifting up the smallest of the three (even though at that it was still huge) Walked up behind Israel and dumped it on him and shouted, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!"
That, was when the food fight happened.