My very first spell was a hex.

Unfortunately, it worked.

I was 13 or 14, new to these things. I'd worked hard to dig and plant that herb garden. When a neighborhood dog—an overgrown puppy, really—dug it up and destroyed the plants, I was furious. The adults around me basically laughed it off. Dogs will be dogs, and adolescent boys should care about sports, not flowers.

The next time I saw the dog frisking around with its owner, something inside me exploded. I took all that anger and all that hurt, packed it together into a fireball as dark and dense as a neutron star, and hurled it at that dog with everything I had.

The next day it was hit by a car and killed.


Actions have consequences. That little girl's anguish haunts me to this day.

Whether my magic had anything to do with her pet's death or not, I don't know. Frankly, I doubt it. But it might as well have done.

The power to blast is a terrible gift, not to be used lightly. If you can't say, I accept the consequences, you shouldn't even be considering such an act.

So, I learned my lesson, if at someone else's expense. In the course of my magical career, I have hexed maybe a handful of times, when it seemed to me justified, and there were no other options available. To this day, I'll stand by all the rest of them as needfully done.

But that first curse I still regret.