Impossibly tiny trophies sat on the shelf in Reuben’s crowded sitting room. Jess had to get up so close to see them her nose almost knocked them off.
‘What are they for?’
Reuben ran his fingers through his long grey hair.
‘All things are revealed in time my child. Sit with me and have some tea.’
Jess sat opposite Reuben and drank her tea.
Jess reached up to get the trophies off the shelf.
‘Don’t touch them until you are ready for them.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘They may be tiny, but they are powerful. Each one contains powerful magic.’
‘You mean when we wave our hands and things move around or we make fire or dirty things are clean and we heal cuts and …’
‘That’s ordinary magic. ‘
Reuben wave his hands, and all was clean and tidy.
‘These cups I take with me on my travels. They help keep me safe.’
‘The bronze one takes me where I want to go and brings me home. I hold it, speak the location and I’m there.’
‘Wow, that’s faster than the bus.’
‘Very much so.’
He stroked his beard.
‘The silver warns me of danger. It vibrates when it senses trouble so I can leave as soon as possible.’
‘Have you been in danger?’
‘I got home safely and that is all you need to know.’
Jess shifted on her chair and tightened her ponytail.
‘I understand. What about the gold one?’
‘Ah the gold one… the gold one is the most powerful.’
Reuben rubbed his face with his hands.
‘What does it do?’
‘My darling granddaughter I love you very much. I don’t want you to think badly of me, but I have done some things I am not proud of.’
‘I love you too grandad and I could never think badly of you. Is it not true that we all do things we are not proud of?’
‘It is indeed.’ He took both her hands in his.
‘You need to understand that I only did what was necessary.’
‘I have killed people.’ Reuben hung his head.
‘With the gold cup… how?’
‘My belt lets me know if people are in trouble.’
‘I thought the silver cup did that…’
‘Only when I have it on me and it only alerts me that I am in danger.’
‘The things that hang from my belt, each one represents someone I care about. These people live all over the world. When the trinket for that person vibrates it means they are in trouble. If one of those people is in danger I have to act – you understand?’
‘I do grandad.’
‘Sometimes I had to use my power to kill someone who was going to kill someone I care about.’
‘How does it work?’
‘I tell it what to do. It gets warm when its working. When it cools, I know it is done. Then I make sure people are safe and leave, sometimes they have to come with me.’
‘One day I will make you, your own tiny cups to sit on your shelf, but I need to be sure you know how to use them. So we will practice together, one cup at a time.’
‘My dad doesn’t have the cups.’
‘No, your dad will not use them. He chooses to stay here and leave it all to me. He has protection like you do.’
‘He could change his mind.’
‘He can at any time, but he has seen me live with the consequences of what the cups can do. He wants you to make your own mind up how much magic you use. He has agreed to let me take you with me so you can decide for yourself.’
‘When do we start?’
‘Can I stay here tonight?'
‘I think its best you go home and see your parents. These journeys can be long and …’
‘Sometimes yes. So just in case…’
‘I have to say goodbye.’
‘Yes child, you do.’
‘It’s ok I understand. Till tomorrow.’