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IML_42 t1_jdt943l wrote

Iso Mito, a great mage, sits cross-legged before a menacing vault. His hands move in practiced, precise formations, his finger tips glow faintly blue as his mind picks it’s way through the locked door. A bead of sweat gathers on his forehead and streams down his chin into his lap.

This is hard work.

He is given the most critical job—he’s the most tenured mage on the team, after all—the job of cracking the most expertly shielded vault in all of Kantaban. And the vault’s defenses are high for a reason, for within the vault sits the most closely coveted spells in all the land.

To get past the vault’s defenses requires the brightest magical mind, one intimately familiar with runic and intentional magic, one able to call upon an encyclopedic knowledge of defense spells and their associated counter spells.

A mind like Iso Mito’s.

In the room with Iso, defending his back, is Hal Miter, another mage. Hal’s leg bounces in anticipation, betraying his impatience with the process. He watches on as Iso continues on in a workman like manner.

“How is Iso progressing, Hal?” asks Fin Baker, group leader, through the ether. Hal hears Fin’s voice as his own within his mind.

“As best I can tell, he’s cracked the first runic guard but has yet to proceed to the second order defense. At this pace we’re going to get caught,” replies Hal silently.

“Patience, young one,” says Fin. “We have planned for this. We have time. You are there to provide protection and support. The rest of us have done our part. Iso should have all the time he needs.”

“Whatever you say,” says Hal.

To say that Hal is bored is an understatement. Fin often chides Hal for his lack of patience.

“Success should be hard fought, the result of tedious study and slavish devotion to the craft,” says Fin at any given one-on-one training session.

To which Hal inevitably replies, “Fuck that. I’m not going to be slavishly devoted to anything.”

Or Fin has been known to say, “Magic works best when treated as the intersection of intention and practice.”

To which Hal replies, “Nope. I don’t give a shit how it works. What I care about are results. And, oh baby, you bet your sweet ass I get results.”

So it was no surprise to Hal that he was given the least critical role for the mission. He was given Iso babysitting duty while the rest of the team worked hard to ensure that Hal’s role would not be needed.

“What a fun job,” thinks Hal to himself.

Was it Hal’s fault that magic came naturally to him? The rest of the group viewed him as dangerous, a loose cannon. To Hal’s mind that was simply because they were jealous of his gifts. Hal knew in his heart that he could open the vault more quickly and more effectively than Iso ever could.

Alas, he was not afforded the opportunity.

Hal hears footsteps in the corridor. That’s odd. No one had alerted him they were coming.

“Fin, I hear footsteps just outside our antechamber. You send reinforcements?” says Hal.

“Shit,” replies Fin. “It’s not one of us. Hal, you listen to me and you listen good, do not engage unless they do. We’re too close to blow this whole thing because you’re trigger-happy. You stay still and only engage if Iso’s life is in danger. Am I clear?”

“Yes, Fin,” says Hal petulantly.

“Hal, I mean it. Do. Not. Engage,” says Fin knowing fully well that his meticulously planned mission was about to go tits-up.

Hal turns to Iso, still seated before the vault door, fingers still pulsing a faint blue. Hal taps him on the shoulder to see if he’ll respond.


Hal knows better than to bother Iso while casting, but some part of him wants to warn Iso of what’s about to happen. He taps again.


The footsteps grow louder.

“Fuck it!” Curses Hal under his breath. “Bring it on, big boy.” Hal readies himself, his back to Iso. He spreads his legs wide and raises both hands in anticipation.

The footsteps have now paused just outside the door. The antechamber door creaks as it opens. Hal sees a flash of the crimson robes worn by the Kantaban guard. He knows he has no choice but to strike now.

As the door swings open Hal begins casting, unthinking and natural. He says words that mean nothing in his tongue but that carry with them the force of a magical codex.

“Kowabunga hang ha!” He cries aloud as a wave forms before him and swallows the Kantaban guard at the doorway. The force of the wave sends the guard tumbling down the corridor.

Hal just makes out another 5 guards wading through the now knee deep water. He’s bought some time, but not enough to allow Iso to crack the vault. He knows he has to act fast.

Hal scans the doorway and screams the first words that come to his mind. “Entranco no passo!” A black mass rises from the bottom of the doorway and slams against the top of the door jamb.

“That’ll hold them for maybe five minutes,” Hal says aloud.

“Hal, what the hell is happening down there?” says Fin.

“Kantaban Guards. A lot of them,” replies Hal. “I’ve sealed the door, but it won’t hold long. I need to help Iso get through the vault asap.”

“Do not interfere! For the love of all that is holy you do not interfere with Iso. The consequences could be catastrophic,” orders Fin.

“If I don’t do something both Iso and I are royally fucked, Fin,” replies Hal, “and I think you and I both know I don’t mean that metaphorically.”

“Hal, please, don’t do anything rash,” says Fin.

“Rash is my middle name,” says Hal as he turns to the vault.

Part two in the next comment. r/InMyLife42Archive


IML_42 t1_jdt9abp wrote

“God damnit,” is the last thing Hal hears before he begins to cast against the vault.

A slurry of words fall from Hal’s mouth with fury and vigor. If good magic was where intention and practice met, then Hal’s magic was at the intersection intention and passion. He cast against the vault door as if his life depended upon it.

And it did.

“Open sesame!” He screams. “Entrado a now-o,” he cries.

He waves a straight arm wildly through the air like a sword, casting behind it a cross-pocked afterimage of glowing red. He extends a palm toward the glowing shapes and says, “Fucking open, you god damned door!”

As his spell meets the magical defenses of the door, it erupts into a fire of white and red lightning, the spell roars and rages against the defense set by a mage of greater study, but lesser ability.

The door crumbles into a million pieces before him.

Iso opens his eyes to the mess before him. He looks up at Hal. He already knows what’s happened but, being the prudent mage that he is, confirms his suspicions.

“You get impatient and just blow up the door?” he asks mundanely.

“Er—yeah, but I mean I had to. There’s—“

“You think about the fact that you probably just destroyed the Book of the Damned inside?” interrupts Iso.

“Well, not exactly. I—“

“We’re so fucked,” says Iso.

“Look, the Kantaban guard is right outside the door and I had to act,” says Hal. “We didn’t have time to do this the right way. We needed results and you bet your sweet ass I got the results.”

Iso rises from his seated position and begins laughing. Hal is taken aback by this reaction. He’d never seen Iso laugh before. Iso puts a hand on Hal’s shoulder and looks him in the eye.

“Kowabunga,” he says simply.

“What?” says Hal confused.

“You really casted a spell with ‘Kowabunga’, dude,” he replies shaking his head. “You’re something else, you know that?”

“Look, Iso, my spell isn’t going to hold them out there much longer. Can we figure out how to get the hell out of here and debrief of my spell choices later?”

“Let’s see what’s left of the book and then you can blast a hole in that there wall so we can make our escape,” says Iso.

The Book of the Damned is badly burnt but not beyond repair. Iso’s mood improves at the sight.


Try as they might, neither Hal nor Iso has any luck casting their way out of the vault.

“We’re fucked, Iso,” says Hal.

“Cast the spell you did to crumble the door, Hal,” says Iso, “surely it will work on the inner walls as well.”

“It doesn’t work that way for me,” says Hal. “I kinda just, feel it in the moment.”

“Well, you better feel it fast or we’re going to be feeling the pointy-end of a Kantaban Guard Rod,” says Iso gravely.

As if he summoned them, the guards break through Hal’s defense and enter the antechamber. Hal and Iso share a look.

They’ll have to cast their way out.

They are two powerful mages, but their odds of survival against upwards of ten Kantaban Guards are not good.

Hal turns to Iso. “The book. Throw it to me,” he says.

Iso looks at the Book of the Damned and back to Hal. He reluctantly tosses the book to Hal who catches it. Hal feels it’s power in his palms, he feels words flowing through his mind, whispering, rooting out mental corridors long-empty, burrowing their long-forgotten, ancient wisdom deep into the recesses of his mind.

In that moment, he understands the chaos at his finger tips.

Hal stares down the Kantaban guards and then closes his eyes. He says the first words that scream in his mind as if begging to be uttered.

“Ashes to ashes! Dust to Dust! Now you die, you must, you must,” he screams.

The Kantaban guards look around at one another, then down at their bodies.


They advance.

And then it happens.

The Kantaban guards slowly crumble into nothingness, first arms fall off and dissipate into ash on the white marble floors. Then heads and torsos dissolve into nothingness like water dissolving pillars of dust. Hal’s words had cleansed the room of any trace of the guards.

Soon the two mages stand alone in the now silent vault. Hal looks to Iso as if to confirm that that just happened.

Iso looks to Hal and smiles—another first for Hal. Iso approaches Hal and takes the Book of the Damned from him. He then puts a hand on Hal’s shoulder and finally speaks, eyebrows raised.




BeardedAnglican t1_jdurot0 wrote

Amazing. I could read a series about Hal


IML_42 t1_jdw7lc7 wrote

That’s very kind of you to say. Thank you.


Loki007x t1_jdx41eg wrote

Dude, that's an awesome story. Better writing and pacing than some of the regularly featured writers on the creepypasta narration channels I listen to. If you could expand the story and turn it into a series you could get this narrated and turned into an audio book.


IML_42 t1_jdx8wvd wrote

Thank you so much for the encouragement - it means a lot!


AmishPotato t1_jdvbd1l wrote

Somehow felt like Malcom in the Middle with Hal and Iso. Hal being hal and malcom being Iso.


IML_42 t1_jdw7oi1 wrote

Funny - that’s the second piece I’ve written recently that has been compared to Malcom in the Middle. Sounds like I should give that a watch.


Ketheres t1_jdwqbyz wrote

Definitely not the worst thing one could do with their time.


CommanderMalo t1_jdxa5pv wrote

Fin: “please Hal don’t do anything stupid.”



IML_42 t1_jdxhx0b wrote

Haha you’ve perfectly captured the essence of Hal in two lines.


CommanderMalo t1_jdxi3yd wrote

Amazing story sir, I would totally read a start to finish about their heist planning and find out what happens because I’m just that hooked. Well done.


IML_42 t1_jdxpbos wrote

Thank you. I really appreciate that - it means a lot to me that my story hooked you. Thanks for taking the time to comment!.


ludonope t1_jdxbrtk wrote

That was such a great read, a very satisfying character to follow after such a small amount of time.



IML_42 t1_jdxhtp7 wrote

Thanks for saying that. I’m really glad you enjoyed Hal! Kowabunga!


lego1042 t1_jdwr10y wrote

> spells and they’re associated


IML_42 t1_jdwv94o wrote

Fixed - thanks!


lego1042 t1_jdxpdhn wrote

Usually stuff like that jumps out at me a bit more when I'm reading but I got too engaged with this one and only got hung up on the one typo near the beginning.

One note I did notice just now glancing back is that the words 'says' and 'replies' come up a lot (particularly says). It wasn't noticeable to me on first read but it might be worth taking a look at. On the other hand there are a few other words like screams that come up which maybe are a little more emphatic because they're rare? "I guess you could also stick with words like says but then maybe describe the declarer a little more," he says now yelling loudly.

Anyway this was a particularly fun read. Thanks for the story


IML_42 t1_jdxx6xk wrote

Hey! Thank you for this well considered feedback. It really is greatly appreciated.

As it relates to dialogue tags, I actually prefer that they blend into the background unless I really want to add emphasis (as you pointed out).

Generally speaking the tags are there first and foremost to provide clarity for the reader. For that reason I don’t mind having the “Hal says” “Iso says” be repetitive because they are meant to fade away and allow readers to skip over them. I don’t like to get too cute with dialogue tags as I personally get taken out of the story when I read something like “Hal hissed/bellowed/squealed” as those things often don’t adequately describe vocalizations made by a real person.

Regardless, I greatly appreciate this dialogue and you taking the time to provide feedback. Thank you!