I thought it'd be fun to throw up a short story I wrote about Samuel Light during his teenage years. Quite a different character from his adult years. It was meant to be fun, silly and kind of like an underage Harry Potter sort of thing, but with enough reality and fantasy to it that one might be given to think perhaps magic is real and quite a few other things we'd rather not think about.
Have fun reading it.
Sure it does.
It happens when you're back is turned. It happens when your eyes are closed. It happens when you have the covers over your face. Especially when you have the covers over your face, because if they weren't you'd probably drop your body right there from overwhelming fear.
Now, this is not to say that magic happens. It doesn't. It takes a lot of will. A lot of effort. A LOT of effort, and a lot of hope. Hope is the trump card here, because without hope you have nothing, but a deck of cards waiting to be tossed...and God knows where they will end up.
So Magic happens.
It happens a lot in the morning. That's when the Sun is usually up, except when it's cloudy and the sun gets short-changed by the moisture obscuring its shining face. But Sun or no sun, magic happens in the morning, just a bit stronger when the Sun is visible.
Likewise magic happens at night. But unfortunately, it's not the usual sort of happy-happy stuff. Instead it revolves around selfish acts of self destruction and self indulgence. Tolkien, the master of fantasy, would have called it a remarkable way of creating the suicide of spirit and soul. A Sauron kind of thing. So there you have it, magic on the platter of a grin, and magic on the cadaver of reality...one is served with panache...like licorice in a bowl of Jello, while the other is a Hodge podge of broken dreams and rancorous reality, fraught with despair and anger, and the worst kind of self importance.
So it was that Samuel began his day, as any good Samuel might. Up with the first rays of light in the morning, sucking in the pure freshness of the fabric of time that intermingled with the dancing streamers of golden light that passed through his bedroom window. He sucked it into his chest, like a drowning swimmer, striving to fill his lungs with air.
"Samuel, hurry up or you'll miss the bus!" Bell hollered at him through the cracked door to his bedroom.
Samuel rolled over onto his stomach and clamped his pillow over his ears, trying desperately to contain the sovereignty of his thoughts. Suddenly, the pillow flew away, propelled by motherly wisdom and exasperation.
He rolled over and looked into her steaming brown eyes, her long floppy curls boiling into her face like the barely concealed anger on her lips and nose. Her nose was cute when she was angry.
Samuel smiled up at her and poked her nose lightly. "Dimples!"
She giggled and swatted at his hand. "Samuel Junior, you stop that or I'll..."
He sat up before she could get away and threw his arms around her neck and hugged her. "Love you!"
So there it was, the magic of youth striking a blow for freedom. Bell shook her curls away from her eyes and grinned at him. "You rascal! One of these days you're going to meet someone who won't fall for your cutesy magic!"
Samuel rolled off his bed, and threw on his pants that lay neatly across the chair beside his bed. He pulled them up, and then tossed a loose sweat shirt over his head. A huge slogan with a picture of Mickey Mouse with a Wizard's Cap on it said, "I'm the Magic Man."
"Gotta run, Bell!" He said, as he squirmed into his tennies, a worn out, frayed batch of gray and white that he had picked up at Wal-Mart's for ten bucks, and now needed to be retired.
Bell shook her head again and sat heavily down on the edge of his bed, watching him rush into his small cubicle of a bathroom, rub his teeth with toothpaste, spit it out, then swallow, gurgle some mouthwash and swallow, then toss a used piece of multi-colored wads of gum into his mouth. He opened his mouth and wriggled it at her with his tongue. "Mmmmm!" He said, sounding like some kind of monster.
"Your Dad phoned." Bell said.
Samuel's devilish smile dropped like a hot sack of potatoes. "Ouch!"
"Ouch!" She agreed, her eyes looking into the fold of her palms, trying to hide the disappointment and hurt that was revealed in her eyes at that moment.
"Hey!" Samuel said gently, dropping beside her and putting his head against her shoulder lightly. "Magic happens."
"Yeah." She agreed. "But so does poo!" She added, making a face.
They both laughed.
Samuel gave her a good-bye kiss and hurried from the front door, just as the school bus screeched to a stop across the street. Samuel waved to his Mom and ran. His backpack, as frayed and worn as his tennies, flopped on his back as he ran. He just made it to the bus door when it began to close.
A big fat man inside, wrenched a handle and the door slammed open again. He grinned at Samuel. "Magic happens sometimes."
Samuel saluted him smartly. "That it does, Captain."
The kids along the aisle laughed as Samuel walked towards the back hi-fiving palms raised towards him from both boys and girls.
The bus door slammed shut and the bus jerked to a start just as Samuel flopped down in his favorite perch on the back seat. A tall, gangly kid with a mop of red hair peered at him with a sheepish smile. "Hey Samuel."
Samuel smiled back. "Rag."
They both looked away and watched the street and homes pass by as the bus picked up speed.
"Chem's gonna be a killer today." Rag said quietly, sniffling as he did, then wiping at his nose. "Damn allergies."
Samuel didn't respond. He wasn't expected to. His thoughts flew to the room in his mind. It was old, as much of the school was. It should have been condemned years ago. Over sixty years old. Some of the kids claimed ghosts lived in the place. He had never seen any, but a lot had. Strange place, and many of the teachers called it home. He didn't know which was stranger, the thought of ghosts, or the thought of teachers who accepted them.
He shrugged to himself, and shivered. Ghosts. Were they real?
"Sure they are." Rag answered.
Samuel jolted from his thoughts and looked at Rag, who was looking into his Smartphone at an image of a pretty young girl.
Samuel relaxed. Just a coincidence. Nothing magical or spooky about it at all. He shrugged inwardly and closed his eyes.
An explosion of colors lit his inner vision a moment and then he saw himself standing high up, looking over a beautiful green valley, sprinkled generously with tall majestic trees. A dirt road meandered through the valley and trees working its way towards where he stood. On that road rode several tall white horses. Mounted on them were Knights. Tall men who clutched large lances in their right hands. Shimmering armor sent scintillating lances of light into his face.
He smiled. His men. Good men. He would trust them with his life. He had. Many times. Many more times than he would like to think. Trailing along behind the Knights was what appeared to be a tired old man. He kept looking as if he were about to fall off his mount, a small dust colored pony with one white ear and one red. The old man would swat at his face and then appear as if he were speaking to something or someone in a nasty tone of voice.
The Knights burst into laughter. He couldn't hear it, but he knew they were. He almost did himself. The Old Man sparked the best in everyone he was around. Even when he was foul tempered he was likable, as his anger was no worse than a light summer rain, and much more refreshing. The man wore his pride like a soft cloak. It was there for all to see, but he never flung it into their faces. A man of great power and wisdom who never flaunted any of it.
He had won his heart at once when he was a child. He could still remember when the old man, much younger looking then, had come to him, almost apologetically and helped him right a cart that had fallen off its wheel as he attempted to repair it.
"Here." He had said kindly. "First you put a prop beneath the axle like this." He used a piece of wood to his right to shove under the axle of the cart. "Then you can lift the broken wheel off without the cart tumbling. Also, it will make it easier to replace it once off as well."
He had thanked the old man and then ran to grab the unbroken wheel. With a grunt and a shove he had managed to squeeze it onto the axle, and then grabbed a large wooden bolt. He shoved it into the hole in front of the wheel, then jammed it deep. Next he grabbed a large stone and pounded it flat into the hole. Finished he stood up, brow sweating profusely. He pushed the cart lightly and it moved evenly and without a wobble. He clapped his hands together and laughed.
The Old Man laughed too. It was then he realized that he wasn't alone again. He turned to the Old Man. "Thanks, you probably just saved me a beating from the Master."
The Old Man shook his head slowly. "Surely you exaggerate?"
He had lifted his jerkin to reveal welts on his side and back. The Old Man's large, white caterpillar brows knit together, forming angry storm clouds. "Who is your Master?'
He had fallen back from that frown, as a dog might an terrible wolf. The Old Man's vision softened and he held a hand towards him. "Fear not. I mean him no harm."
He began to relax until the Old Man growled. "Least not much."
Samuel snapped from his vision and thoughts like a diver surfacing from the depths. He shook his head to clear his mind and looked at Rags who was rising. "Just what the hell are you thinking?" He said, his voice showing a slight edge to it.
"What's wrong?" Samuel asked. He gave Rags a wary look; he'd never seen him that mad looking before. His normally cheery Eyore expression was turned flaming red and wrinkly, sort of like a dried prune.
"You just called me 'Old Man.'"
Samuel gave Rags a blank look. Rags shook his head. "Dude, you're really out of it. With a capital E."
"I am not Eccentric!" Samuel spat back at his best friend.
"Says who?" Rags said, towering over Samuel, his fists balled up. “You are the most odd person I’ve ever known in my life. You believe in flying saucers…”
“You believe in ghosts.”
“You believe in vampires, and no one, but no one believes that!”
Samuel sputtered. “So what’s your point?”
Rags just stood there, arms crossed.
"Oh." Samuel stammered.
"Are you kids getting off the bus, or going dancing together?" Captain yelled from the front of the bus.
Only then did Samuel realize the bus was stopped and empty, except for Rags and the Captain.
"Whoops!" Samuel muttered, almost apologetically.
Rags shook his head in disgust and stormed off, his backpack banging into the roof of the bus as he squirmed down the long and narrow aisle between the seats. Samuel watched Rags get off and on the Captain’s glare, he rushed forward and leaped out, landing squarely on the arch of his feet in a run.
“Can’t catch me, troll head!” Samuel hollered at Rags as he passed him.
He didn’t have to. Rags backpack slammed into Samuel’s back, sending him sprawling onto the lawn. Rags grabbed his backpack and sneered at him. “You were saying, worm grub!”
Ginger stepped between them. “Guys!”
Rags grinned. “Just having the usual fun, Ginger.”
“Yeah. The usual.” Sam agreed, wiping at grass stains on his already worn jeans.
Ginger made a sound of disgust, then hurried past them.
Rags put an arm around Samuel’s shoulder. “Girls, never understand them.”
Samuel nodded his head. “That must be why you’re always dating everyone of them.”
Rags snorted. “Sammie boy, what I do is far beyond your scope of understanding.”
“And I’d prefer to keep it that way. Thank you!” Samuel said.
Sam and Rags made their way into the main corridor of Elvis High and then split to go to their respective classes. The minute bell rang and students rushed in all directions to beat the last bell, while teachers and hall monitors hurried them on.
Samuel pondered the vision he had just had for a long time as he sprinted into his Math Class, barely making it before the last bell. A cute blonde on his left nodded to him as he fell into his chair and adjusted his backpack to drop beside him with a loud thump.
Mister Bourbon, his belly bouncing, as he turned at the loud sound, let out what could have been a grunt, then turned back to his White Board, where he was scribing instructions for today's lesson.
Ginger, the blonde, turned her bright green eyes on Samuel. "Rally's after school today. You coming?"
He shook his head. "Promised to help Bell with the housework. Spring cleaning."
Ginger laughed. "She's always spring cleaning."
Samuel sighed deeply, like a soul whose lot was destined to always be the same. Trapped as it were. "It's not as bad as it sounds."
Ginger was about to laugh, but instead she touched his arm lightly a moment in commiseration, and then turned her attention forward as Mister Bourbon cleared his throat.
"Class before we begin today's assignment I'd like to introduce you to my good friend, Al." He said, the smile never leaving his face, as he exploded like a miniature atomic bomb into a small mushroom cloud that gradually formed into the shape of an elderly Albert Einstein.
Samuel jumped up from his desk, spilling his paperwork everywhere. "Oh my God!"
Albert’s mustache bobbled like something alive as he smiled at Samuel. He ran a hand through his hair a moment, then laughed. "Magic happens!”