“’You know who I am, and you see what I have become. You created your own demons, and I am going to make sure you regret everything you have ever done. Also, thanks for the money.’”
The old woman reached for the letter opener with a bony hand. Cutting open the envelope, she found a yellowed piece of paper:
A long time ago, in western Europe, there lived a man, myth, and legend who was simply known as the Miracle Worker. His abilities stunned the world as he pulled off many astonishing crimes, such as a string of robberies, and somehow the assassination of the leader of an army of mercenaries. However, the man became a legend when he stole every pound of gold from the corrupt Kingdom’s treasury and vanished without a trace. Nobody knew him, except for me, and today I will tell you this man’s story from the beginning to the end.
Magiano was a boy who could never keep out of trouble. He stayed alive in the once-known kingdom of Shoto by stealing food and water, and begging in the streets. Sometimes, as practice, he would steal the swords out of the sheaths of the passing soldiers in the street.
As time went on and the boy grew older, he was introduced to the world of gambling. He caught on very quickly to how the games worked and, after watching over some experienced players for some time, he worked up the confidence to try and win a game of cards using his stash of stolen money in order to bet. To further ensure his win, he had an extra set of cards hidden up his sleeve.
As it turns out, he was naturally lucky, along with his quick hands, to pull the cards he needed. With his abilities, quick hands, and craftiness of a cheating gambler, it was no wonder he caught the eye of Sergio, an older magician who later became his mentor. The mentor believed that he had similar beginnings as Magiano, and eventually they became great friends. By age 15, Magiano began training under his new mentor, and by 16, he mastered the act of magic. At 17, Magiano performed a trick in which he levitated six audience members from the crowd onto the roof of the venue, earning him the reputation of the greatest magician of all time, to the joy of his mentor.
Now, I know you’re asking: how did the Miracle Worker turn from a performer to a thief, killer, and ghost? Well, you will find the answer to that question through a girl by the name of Casey. She was beautiful, with long dark hair and a smile that could evaporate the bitterness from a person’s soul.
She and Magiano met when he spotted her in a crowded square one afternoon, browsing the sweet selection of roses the vendor was selling. For the first time in his life, Magiano had experienced love. It is one of the most incredible love stories to date, in my opinion, because in order to impress her, he walked up to her with a closed palm and blew a kiss in her direction. She had a confused look until she realized that after he had blown the kiss, he opened the palm of his hand and a bright red rose emerged from seemingly nothing.
They soon continued to date each other until they were married a year later at the age of 20. We all know the feeling that comes with young love, and how it lightens the soul and brings joy to our hearts. That was what Magiano felt, but sadly fate decided strike the proverbial spear of tragedy straight through his heart.
During this time there was a rebellion raging throughout the kingdom. It was a rebellion against a violent and unfair king who had just raised taxes to half a pound of gold per person, and triggered a building tension in the working class of Shoto’s civilians. Alas, while on an outing at their favorite restaurant, Magiano and his wife were caught in the middle of the most violent protest in the history of the kingdom.
“Down with the king!” someone shouted.
Magiano turned to see the door being busted down by the broken body of a man who had been trampled under the great mass of rioters.
“R-run,” the man managed to whisper before he collapsed onto the floor of the restaurant. Magiano grabbed his wife and swiftly led her out the door by her hand.
He managed to keep himself and his wife safe from the hail of arrows and projectiles raining on the mob of people in the strangest way. Nobody knows if it was luck or magic, but every time an arrow seemed like it would kill either of them, the arrow would miss or get blown off course by the wind or some other force.
By the time Magiano and his wife reached the end of the crowd, the path which they had run through was the only spot not covered in arrows or dead bodies. They kept running until they thought they were a good distance away from the action. Thinking they were safe, Magiano relaxed and looked over to his wife just in time to see a stray arrow pierce its way through her heart. Catching her as she fell, he had no time to say any last words before realizing she was dead.
After this happened, some say that a part of him, the good part of him, died with her, and what do you get when the peaceful side is gone?
You get the boy who lost everything, you get a fighter, and, lastly, you get the dark side of the Miracle Worker.
After that day he abandoned his practice and show altogether and gave ownership to his mentor. He then disappeared, never to be seen for a few months. Some say he moved to a foreign land where his wife had been born, and others say he threw himself off a cliff overlooking the sea.
Yet what the public did not know was that Magiano was not one to give up. After his wife’s death, Magiano emerged as one of the greatest criminal masterminds of his time. He went back to his old ways of stealing anything he could get his hands on. However, unlike his 12-year-old self, he went beyond stealing and even became a master of murder.
It first started with a bad business deal with the leader of a notorious street gang known as the League. The gang dealt in assassinations, drug trafficking, and the forced “protection” of establishments at certain prices. During the months after his wife’s death, Magiano had gotten into making deals with this gang in order to sustain himself with proper income, and was constantly scamming them with fake drugs and other forged products.
It eventually got to the point when the leader of the gang decided he was fed up with Magiano hindering his business. He began threatening Magiano and directing his gang to harass the citizens of the Kingdom in the hopes of drawing Magiano out of the shadows.
Soon, the crime rates of Shoto were shooting through the roof, with an estimated 80 percent chance of being mugged in the streets. All this, just for Magiano to turn himself in to the gang and allow himself to be punished. Instead, two weeks after the increase in crime, the king’s police found the leader of the League lying on his living room floor, dead. On his body was a note reading, “The king claims peace yet uses this man’s gang to collect money for his ‘perfect kingdom.’”
People still say to this day that Magiano achieved the perfect murder – no evidence, no witnesses, and no sign of any sort of struggle. It was as if the gang leader had just laid down and fallen asleep. I would later ask Magiano how he did it, and he would repeat the phrase you hear most magicians say: “A good magician doesn’t reveal his secrets.”
Besides not having to deal with the gang members constantly in the streets, Magiano became somewhat of an urban hero. The public attempted to identify him by many absurd names, but eventually decided to settle on the Miracle Worker. And so, out of a violent and tragic background, the legend was born. From that day forward, more and more of the king’s corrupt supporters fell to this mysterious embodiment of death.
It was months after the day of his first murder before the Miracle Worker struck again. This time, he killed the head protector of the Kingdom’s treasury. The protector was a trusted and good friend of the king, and was mourned throughout the king’s castle after his body was found slumped over on the king’s throne with the words, “Throne of lies” written in blood across the floor. Due to this, the king decided to increase the security of his castle with the addition of more soldiers and a very experienced head guard of the soldiers watching the vault at all times. With such high security and experienced guards, the king thought no one would ever dare try to set foot in the castle, let alone steal all of the money. Despite the logic of this statement, the man had forgotten that Magiano was someone who had defied reason time and again.
This replacement occurred during the week that the king was sent a message with an open challenge from the Miracle Worker himself. The message read,
“Meet me out in the central square if you want to know what I am going to do next. Bring your guards if you want. You won’t catch me. —Max.” (You may be wondering about the name change, but I will get to this later.)
The king’s face paled at this, but thankfully, nobody was around to see it. He quickly called every guard in the castle with him and set off to the square.
The king arrived at the square and looked around for a familiar face. He eventually found it when he saw the Magician appear to materialize out of the crowd and into the square.
“Oh my god,” the king whispered to himself. It can’t be, he thought. He should be dead. There is no way a mere boy could survive on these streets.
After spending so much time on this planet, I have become very good at reading people’s emotions through their faces. In the king, I saw anger, fear, and, to my surprise, a small sign of remorse.
It was the standoff of the century: the infamous Miracle Worker standing face to face with a corrupt king and his army of guards. It was an extremely surreal encounter with both of the men staring each other down. I’m actually pretty convinced I saw tears in both of the men’s eyes, but considering their reputation, they did a good job of hiding whatever emotions wanted to escape.
However, the one thing people did notice was the slight physical similarity. Despite being much more heavyset and shorter than Magiano, the king seemed to have similarly colored eyes. This is much more of a big deal than you might think, because the king’s stood out for their rose-like tint, and Magiano’s seemed to posses that same red color. Yet, in the king’s face, I saw something thought to be impossible: guilt.
The king finally spoke. “Whoever you are, I don’t care for your reputation.” The stony-faced king continued,“You are still a criminal who has committed many crimes against me and the citizens of our nation, and for that you shall be arrested and hanged!”
People cried out and a tremor spread throughout the crowd. I was tempted to walk away as I sensed the tension spreading through the masses, but I had to make sure Magiano would be okay, even though I knew he would be. Suddenly, a voice came from underneath that dark hood, and the Miracle Worker spoke.
“And what have you done? You force people from their homes, steal their money with absurdly high taxes to fund your own personal projects, and to top it all off you work with organized crime bosses to get what you want.”
He then lifted his head so his face was visible and said, “If it were up to me and the rest of the people you rule with such an iron fist, you would have been executed for your crimes the day you clawed your way into royalty.”
Magiano spoke softly, yet his voice projected across the entire square.
“You know who I am, and you see what I have become. You created your own demons, and I am going to make sure you regret everything you have ever done. Also, thanks for the money.”
And with that, he vanished into the crowd as quickly as he appeared. The king stood puzzled, until another realization finally dawned on him.
“Hurry!” he shouted to his guards. “GET BACK TO THE TREASURY!”
As he and his royal guard retreated to the treasury, a low yet powerful noise could be heard from the mob that had been watching.
It was the start of a revolution.
I’m sure you have already figured out that by the time that the guards managed to get back to the unprotected vault, every single ounce of gold was gone. In its place was another note. The message on it read,
I will never forgive you for what you have done, and now I have been given the revenge I have waited so long for. I will not kill you, I will no longer bother you, but I’m afraid you have literally just paid for all the pain you have caused me.
Signed, the Royal Prince
That was the last the public saw of the Miracle Worker, but not me. He came to me the night after the great heist for a last talk together before he disappeared for the last time.
I had just finished leading some soldiers away who were hunting for Magiano when he came to see me. I heard my back window open and there he was, still in his magician’s costume with a black hood and cape.
“You’ve been causing some trouble,” I said casually.
“Thought you were done with those fancy disappearing acts,” he replied to me in a stoic voice.
“Yeah, well, I had to make an exception for that man. We both know that he is one politically corrupt animal.”
We then sat down and I began my last conversation with my old friend.
It’s almost as if he was making some sort of confession to me. He told me about how he was so torn apart by the death of his wife, and that key motivating reason for him to go after the king. As he spoke of this, I noticed how the emotionless shield which he usually wore began to fade as he discussed the past events. As he began to speak of his murder of the gang leader, I had to stop him and mention how the way he pulled off those tricks was incredible, even to me, so I asked him.
“So, my boy, how did you pull it off? How did you steal all that gold? In such a short time as well!”
Once again, with a devious smile on his face, he replied with a familiar phrase,
“I’m a good magician, and good magicians never reveal their secrets.”
As he was about to stand up to leave, I had to ask him one more thing. “I noticed the king’s reaction when he saw you.”
Magiano’s hands that were usually steady had begun tapping a fast rhythm on the table beside him.
“It was almost as if he were seeing a ghost!”
I then took a deep breath and stated the last fact which I was sure connected Magiano to the king, “You also have those same, distinct, red eyes.”
After looking at the floor for what seemed like an eternity, Magiano finally whispered, “Yes, you would be correct to assume he is my father.”
“Then why are you not the prince?” I exclaimed.
I would have jumped out of my seat as I said this, but my age prevented any sort of sudden movements. “This whole damn country would have been in much better hands with someone like you in control!”
He once again looked down to the floor. “I was good. Too good for my own sake, I guess,” he said, taking his hands away from the table.
“I had been stealing things practically since I was able to walk. Then came the day when I thought I would be able to get away with stealing one of my father’s personal robes for a homeless man I had spotted outside the castle. As you can expect…” He sighed. “I was caught and swiftly brought to my father, and we all know his attitude toward the people.
“Well, to him, I guess I wasn’t any different, and I was banned from the castle.”
Magiano then closed his eyes, and, with a broken voice, said, “I remember he last said to me, ‘You like homeless men, boy? Then why don’t you become one!’ and with that, he threw me out.” Opening his eyes he continued, “After that, I decided I couldn’t bear to keep the name Max which he had given to me, so I went by Magiano instead.”
I sat there with a grave face, one of sympathy and understanding. We were both silent for a while until he stood up at last and whispered, “Goodbye, my friend.”
With that he, he glided across the room and slid out the back window without a trace. I got up and prepared to go back to my bedroom until I noticed something on the carpet, in the spot that Magiano had been hanging his head. There was a single tear stain, one of satisfaction and grim revenge. When I saw that, tears welled up in my eyes and I cried the hardest I had ever cried in my 87 years on this planet.
I’m not going to lie, it took me a very long time to get over Magiano’s disappearance. I knew the boy would be something special, yet he was a candle meant to burn brightly, but shortly. I know you have experienced enough sadness in your own lives, so I will spare you from the burden of my own.
Allow me to explain what happened after Magiano’s disappearance. Soon after the loss of the nation’s treasury, the king eventually went bankrupt and was overthrown. During the debates about how to run the kingdom, a single cloaked figure apparently ushered one of the political heads into a room to have a private discussion. It was after this discussion with the mysterious figure that he suggested the country be run as a democratic republic.
Now, enough about the old news. Let’s get to the point of why I wrote this letter. You may be asking what happened to the money he stole from the king. Well I’ll tell you, he left half of it for me first of all. At least he still cared about an old man such as myself, who was practically a father to the boy. However, he has left the other half for you. Go to his wife’s tomb and dig under the tree next to her gravestone. There you will find Magiano’s last wishes along with the gold which he left for you. Magiano and I send our regards.
To: The Family of Casey
Signed, Sergio (Mentor of the Miracle Worker)