The Literary Magazine of Westwood High School


The Literary Magazine of Westwood High School


The Literary Magazine of Westwood High School



Sleight of hand. Exaggerated flair, charisma, presence. A magician tricks and bamboozles
the audience to put on a show, a spectacle that leaves common people starstruck. Misdirecting
the crowd’s eyes to set up a spectacle of glitz and glam. No matter how you look at it, that’s
what magic is. A swindle. Meant to sparkle and amaze. But, the younger me never thought of it like
that. Sitting in my living room, TV glowing, the cheers of the crowd blaring from the speakers as
the lights of the stadium shined on the star like a spotlight. A spell was put on all who saw his plays.
Cutting through the field, disappearing and appearing in two places at once, and finally sending
a shot elegant enough to capture your attention, yet powerful enough to demand you look. A
grip on the audience, a grip so tight yet subtle you can’t escape, whether you want to or not.
Magic in tangible form. Magic isn’t just cheap tricks and charm to me. “HE DOES IT AGAIN,”
magic isn’t something to fool, or distract “A SPECTACULAR HAT TRICK TO SEND OFF THE
GAME,” magic is for more than dazzling a measly crowd “FROM OUR STAR STRIKER, LEO
THIRD YEAR IN A ROW!” Magic can dazzle the world.

“Spitfire canon!” A name that shook the world when it first appeared, Leo Dorchic’s
infamous curve shot. Funny, my idol, the man who inspired me to chase this naive dream of
mine, was also the man who was about to end my life all over again. With one kick, it would all
come crashing down. Italia versus Argentinia. The first scrimmage match of the annual Unisex
International Pro League, where futbol players from Spain to Norway come to claim the title of
“Best in the world.” A street magician, abandoned by their family for nothing but scraps. Imagine.
Someone with nothing, with no one, grew up to represent her country on the national stage. I
did it, I earned this, and my dreams of stardom were finally within reach. My magic performed on a
stage truly fit for me. Everything, my hopes, visions, and love, started crumbling before my eyes.
Before I even had the chance to show the world true magic, my stage was stolen. By the hands
of my hero.

How could I even begin to describe my despair? It’s too intense to fully, express.
Watching as my dreams were run through by a canon shot by my idol. After all I did, my life
ended up in a ditch again. Why do I still try? How stubborn can one be till all that’s left is a husk?
The ball, a slight orange trail surrounding it as it shoots past the defense, the ball trajectory
dotted in my eyes. Huh? Wait, the route of the ball? How am I, when could I manage something
like this? I could see the trajectory for basic and advanced shots during practices, yes, but a
shot from Leo himself? Was coach… right? The memory, reflex, pattern, and prediction tests
had a purpose besides team bonding. Coach did mean what he said “I know you better than
you know yourself street rat, when I give you advice, you’d best take it. Unless you wanna go
back home to nothin’, livin’ life as the neighborhood Abuela with delusional stories for your
kids?” didn’t he? Gear Shift: Accel. Without my say-so, I make a mad dash to the goal, this
chance my body recognizes as the last.

The soft, wet grass bursts onto my legs, the cold rain pecking my face, stadium lights
blinding me as millions of future fans watch on in shock. Leaping towards the path I predicted,
transitioning into a corkscrew aerial combination I used back home for performances, I slam my
leg into the oncoming shot with a spinning block. Gear Shift: Zero The force of the ball almost
pierces my defense on impact, the faint orange glow from before transitioning into a brilliant
flame enveloping the ball as it grinds into my leg. The spin on this thing is monstrous, it almost
got past with its sheer trajectory change alone, the sparks grinding off the ball blinding me.
Then, the force starts to lessen. The spin slows to a stop till it’s stationary, gently led back to the
ground by my leg.

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At first, nothing. I’m still, taken aback by what I managed to accomplish. A move I only
saw in dreams and fantasies. No one spoke, yelled, not even a move to steal the ball. A
deafening silence. And then, an eruption. Cheers, screams even, burst from the crowd, the
impossibility in my eyes, an inexplicable miracle in theirs. The faces I manage to pick out from
the crowd a cacophony of excitement and intensity. “UNBELIEVABLE, PLAYER 20, WHO
announcer bellows on the loudspeaker, and the praise I received surprised me. A smile starts
tugging at my lips, like a little girl who’s seen her dreams come true. What’s this feeling of,
warmth? Accomplishment? Pride? I can’t even begin to understand this, rush. Goddamnit
coach, I hate to admit it. You were right, you hardass.

My distracted demeanor was quickly taken advantage of, Leo materializing in front of
me, ready to steal the ball. “Impressive move kiddo. Never seen a play as flashy as that, but ya
gotta remember,” He says to me, going for my legs with blinding speed. “This ain’t the little
leagues anymore.” No, no he won’t take this from me. I finally managed a performance that truly
captured my audience! I won’t let it end prematurely, not even if Dorchic stands in my way! Gear
shift: Curve Juggling the ball between my feet at a rapidly changing pace, I use the
unpredictable and fast movement to mask when exactly I pass the ball between his legs, finally
spying my opening to kick, wrapping one foot around the other to confuse, using the shock to
disappear behind his blindspot and reappear past his offense like a ghost. My Rabona Mirage! It
worked! The feint was a work in progress during our practices leading up to the tournament, I
knew it had potential but I never expected it to be so effective! It felt as if I had, vanished!

Another volley of cheers erupts around me, the flair of my plays hypnotizing my audience,
swaying to the beat of my spell. “WHAT’S THIS?! NYX VARELA MAKES ANOTHER
Keeping my momentum from the little disappearing act, I sprint straight towards the opposing
goal, the team thrown into a frenzy. Their defense left their positions to help support a blitz
against our shattered defenses, leaving their penalty and the majority of their midfield completely
vulnerable. Leo, being the ace player, recognizes the cracks as soon as I do, shouting to his
team “Fallback, switch to the defensive formation, don’t let her get past the midfield!” While I
make a beeline across the sidelines, a mistakenly undefended portion of the field. I’m met with
an opposing MF at the center of the field, even when caught off guard, they’re recovery is nearly
instant. The rain bashing against us and the ground would normally be a hindrance, blinding
players with the downpour and an uptick in clumsy plays from the slippery ground. But these are
just the fields we had back home, broken, cracked, and the only grip was a weak one.

My movement speed gets a generous boost, while most others are burdened. “Oi, Leila,
you up for it?!” I shout to the right, glancing at my fellow midfielder, player 15, and childhood
best friend Leila Sosa. Even my team was surprised by the counter, but as always, Leila had
read my mind and sped forward to help my counter. “Always the crazy moves from you, I mean
a corkscrew when you’re that close to the ground?!” She curtly retorts, a not-so-subtle grin
spread ear to ear. Gear Shift: Curve “You know me,” passing the ball to her in the middle of my
sprint, the pass hidden by both the rain and my subtle change in movement only seen by
someone with as good an eye as mine. Trapping my pass Leila sprints forward with a sudden
boost of speed, her long silver hair glowing and flailing wildly in the rain as she waits for my
move. “Aye, mami, when ya gonna get it through your skull?!” Leila yells to me while I charge
the unaware MF. He lunges to steal the ball, realizing too late I no longer have it, tripping over his
feet while he is at it. An easy tackle to weave past, disappearing to his left after his clumsy
recovery. Leila used the back of her heel to lift the ball over the opponent’s head but with a hint
of my subtlety to mix up her feet. Haha, she took my advice seriously! The MF was too slow,
allowing Leila to trap her lift once she got past the MF with her brute feint. Stepping to the
right, then left, right again, tripping up her opponents’ feet and making a brute force charge to
the left.

“No matter how whacked you act,” She shouts, passing the ball just like I taught her!
She’s picking up my subtlety and incorporating it with her brute strength much faster than I’d
expected her to. I’m honestly impressed. “I’ll follow your mafia ass to hell and back!” She finally
finishes screaming, following my assault like a wild dog. Trapping her pass, a defender wider
and buffer than Leila blocks my path. But, my Mirage isn’t the only trick I’ve got. Tapping the ball
with the tip of my foot as it comes down, I use the force and angle of my foot to send the ball
skyward, jumping up to kick it over the defender with a kick using the momentum of a corkscrew
to send it spinning past any counter. Dropping to the ground as soon as my kick sends the ball, I
use my patented vanishing shift to weave past her like I did to the fool who tripped, to trap the
ball with a somersault, passing back to Leila again midair. She feints and passes to me for the
last time using her spinning drop feint. Spinning the ball away left and right, then dropping the
ball to her feet suddenly and forcing her way past the opponent’s blind spot, passing just like we
NEXT!?” The announcer cheers, the crowd losing their minds at the sight of Leila and my
synchronized play. How was that world?! You saw it here first, the debut of a tag team you’d
better remember! The Ethereal Sisters and our unbeatable Arcane Hotline!

Defenders attempt to mark me, but I easily feint and dribble past them just like the rest,
making passes to Leila as I do. A long line of defenders seem to stand in our way. A glance
and nod between us shows me it’s time. I get ready for a pass to Leila, a defender ready to
intercept my shot, unfortunately for him, I lift the ball instead of passing, lifting it over his right
and jumping up to trap my lift in midair, transitioning to a full power pass. Sprinting to a blind
spot, Leila traps the ball with her chest, surrounded by three defenders. A smile is barely visible on
her face, she stomps on the ball full force, launching it backward with a sharp spin to it. A
sinister laugh erupting from her mouth, she jumps backward and sends me her full-force volley
pass, which I’m easily able to intercept. Still laughing, Leila shouts out, her green eyes filled with
fire, “You get a load of that everyone! That’s what my sis and I can do, the magician and brute!”
Always had a flair for the dramatic, far more fantastical than mine. “Nothing can get past our
Illusionary Curtain One-Two!” Man, I love her but she needs to take it down a notch.

The goal is just ahead, everything comes down to this! Now or never! “Not so fast witch!”
Leo of all people shouts, managing to catch up and get in the way of my shot. “You’re good,
your potential as a forward playmaker is even beyond what I’d thought, but your rampage ends
here!” Reading my footwork much closer, his knowledge collection of my plays already helped
him adapt to my feinting style. Agh, damned it all I’m stuck again! I can’t find an opening, but
there’s no turning back now, I’m running out of plausible options! I need to think, or my dreams
are finished! He’s blocking the net perfectly, no spot for me to squeeze a shot past. But, there’s
one option I have. It’s stupid, risky, and dangerous I can’t. I’d only make Leila’s effort worth

“Nyx, this is our only chance for the big leagues don’t you dare get cold feet!” The fury in
the demand felt even here. She wants me to risk everything. Well, I suppose a
magician has to go all in for the trick. I lose the usual finesse and lift the ball with my heel,
jumping to juggle the ball between my legs in a cycle before I shoot the ball flying towards the
goal with all the force I can muster. The ball shoots past the defenders at breakneck speeds,
soaring over Leo’s head, and careening towards the open goal, finally. It hits the goalpost.
“Loose ball!” Leo shouts triumphantly. All is according to plan. While everyone had focused on the
ball, I slipped behind the remaining defense, cutting through their people after the ball had hit
the post, in tandem with Leila’s brutish feints. Leila slid into position perfectly as I leaped,
using her legs as a springboard I launched myself in front of the ball. This is the moment
everything had led up to. My final change was to prove to the world, to myself, that magic wasn’t
just a sham. With the assist, I intercept the loose ball and slam my foot at a slightly curved
angle against the ball. The volley shot floats at full speed towards the goal, gently floating from
side to side. In my head, a black, star-speckled mist follows its path as my shots spin gracefully
avoiding the goalie’s last-ditch dive. Nestling comfortably in the net, the spin slowed to a gentle

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