After much deliberation, Radu concluded his name was Merlin.
Merlin was the greatest wizard of all.
Radu had first been Houdini, the Master of Illusions,
But all that magicians worked with was perception after all.
Reality remained unchanged.
A wizard, on the other hand, could cast spells with their wands.
Radu had two Magic Wands instead of one.
To double the power.
Radu and the wands were inseparable.
He also wore his Cloak of Invisibility all day long, even late at night,
Between the crumpled tattered sheets.
It had become his second skin.
The wands and the cloak became his fighting arms and armor.
His mother disagreed. She called them willow twigs and filthy garbage bags.
But Radu’s faith was strong.
Magic could make everything and anything real if one willed it hard enough.
All wizards had to do was twist their wands and say the magic words.
Abracadabra, the bills, paid, the electricity and water on again.
Hocus-pocus-preparatus, food, steaming on the table.
Otipy-motipy-poof, Radu’s sisters home as well.
Hax pax max Deus adimax, his father’s heart beating in his chest again.
When Radu’s father was alive, he would swing his children one by one.
Merry-go-rounds would make the girls sick.
But Radu was fine.
And then, unlike his sisters, he had the wizard’s tools to keep him home.
But Radu’s will grew weaker by the day,
So the wands lost all their magic in the end.
Then he turned his face to Jesus.
Jesus could put food on the table.
He had multiplied the fish and bread
And turned water into wine.
So Jesus might just as well turn paper money into real money
Jesus had even brought the dead to life.
Wake up, Lazarus, He said,
And Lazarus woke from the dead.
Radu believed that resurrecting his father would be an easy task for Jesus.
If Jesus could do all that, Radu was going to be Jesus.
For only Jesus could convince his mother not to sell him.
Some buy retail, others wholesale goods.
Children would go solo or in pairs.
Radu’s older sisters went in pairs.
His mother shipped them two by two to England and America.
Radu was the last one left.
He would go
$1,000 was the asking price for an 8 year old.
New born babies would be more expensive,
But Radu was already old.
When his time came, Radu begged and pleaded
But in vain.
Just like the other four already sold.
Two other babies were growing in his mother’s belly after all.

Photo by Christophe Hautier on Unsplash

Laura Bota

Laura Bota is a Romanian who has called The Netherlands home for the past six years. With an education in foreign languages (French and English) and a strong passion for reading and writing, she has attended multiple international creative writing courses. The main themes she addresses evolve around the human condition, existential crises and social injustices, mostly situated in a troubled pre- and post-communist Romania.