I thought for a moment, and had it.
“Ahem… ‘Three Art Collectors, Met in a wood, One bought a metal detector, The other two had names like tepid watercress. Ardria, Korohasink, Lou, Lou.’”
The space between the trees contorted like a circus performer and stretched out again. I walked past it without incident.
Now, you can’t really tell from the nonsense gibberish in the spell, but I had changed the trap. Firstly, it didn’t affect me anymore, but anyone who happened to stumble upon it would not have their atoms scattered across four irrational dimensions — they would suddenly find themselves unharmed and in the position of museum guard — complete with silly uniform — standing vigilantly in front of an abstract work of used coffee-grounds falling from a suspended filter onto old copies of The Evening Bastard. They would only remember who they were for the two seconds during which the coffee grounds fell at thirty-seven second intervals. I had thought of giving away only one second of memory, but I had to give the poor kids some chance of finding their own way back.
As to the spell itself, I rarely ever say things out loud, and when I do they sound like the gibberish I had just spoken. The vocal part of spellwork is usually the smallest part of what is actually being processed in your head; it’s a condensed set of syllables that branch out into entire chapters of thought and speech, smell and sound that crashes around in your brain. Some spells, you lose track of time. To any observer you may have spent three seconds talking about autumnal lamp-posts, but for you it may have felt like hours.
You can, of course, buy one of those fancy books that belong to Magic Type 12, but there’s barely any fun to be had in flipping open a page, pointing at a target and shouting, “Wombulionga!” or whatever.
I hope to make these random writing excerpts into a regular feature. This one’s from chapter three of the newly rechristened How to Prove Your Insanity. Hope you liked it.