Haven Shorts – Chapter 12 – Episode 17 – A Stranger Magic
Chapter 12 – Episode 17
The night sky was filled with silver clouds and a radiant cream-colored moon that seemed to follow the boys as they walked briskly back through their development.
Sam’s ribs were throbbing now; the cuts and scrapes were starting to sting. His mind kept flashing back to the mirror. Had the stranger come through a mirror like the spiders did, he wondered.
Travis was walking very stiffly, trying not to cause any additional pain. Trickles of blood from small scrapes cascaded down his arms like road maps to nowhere. His muscles were taut and his legs ached as if he had run a small marathon.
“Sam, I’ve never seen anything like that in my life! The mirror was floating above the water! Just freaking floating!”
Sam looked over at Travis. He had no idea just how bizarre things really were.
“I mean, how in the world did it do that? Where did it come from?” he continued. “And who or what made the new tunnel?”
Sam thought for a moment before he spoke. What would be the best way to tell Travis that yes, he had seen something just as crazy before and it happened just the other night? What if he went on to tell Travis about the stranger that might be stalking him and that he can vanish into thin air? Surely he would believe him now! Surely after tonight he would know it was in the realm of possibility, surely.
Sam knew if he told Travis the truth it would place him on the same path as Sam. But what was that path? Where was it headed? Perhaps Travis had been on the same road all along without knowing it. After all, it was Travis’s idea to come to the caves. Didn’t he owe it to Travis to tell him the truth? What if the stranger came after Travis? That was a chance Sam couldn’t take, Sam concluded. Travis had to know.
“Well, to tell you the truth Trav, there have been some very strange things happening around the Dalcome house lately.”
Travis looked over at Sam with his dark brown eyes squinted and eyebrows flexed, preparing himself for more of the bizarre.
Sam began to explain in detail the events of the last several days. He told Travis about the dreams he had and the mysterious stranger outside his house. He told him about the chocolate wrappers and how the stranger had disappeared into thin air.
Travis listened intently, never interrupting to ask questions. By the time Sam had finished Travis’s face had gone sallow. The realization of what Sam had said was slowly sinking in. The moment had come and gone, the words had escaped Sam’s mouth and seeped into the air, changing everything they knew around them. Things were different now; more real, and more alive. Magic had fused unimaginable possibilities together with imminent danger bringing forth a world they never knew existed, but that had always been there. Magic had slumbered in the shadows until now. Now it was awake and nothing would ever be the same. Sam shivered at the thought.
They rounded the corner to Giddyup Lane. Their neighborhood in the past had felt like an old friend—familiar and comfortable, but most of all safe. But tonight it felt foreign and eerie. Things they took for granted, such as next door neighbors, stray animals, and insects, for that matter, could no longer be looked at in the same way. Not anymore, not with magic out there. Not with the stranger out there.
Sam and Travis continued to walk in silence. The soft breeze grazed against treetops of maples, elms, and oaks that perfectly lined both sides of the street, rooted in small, overpriced lots. Sam’s house was the fifth from the end on the left.
As the boys approached his house, Sam could see that the light in his mother’s bedroom was still on. His heart sank just a little, remembering that he still owed her an apology. With all that had happened he had simply forgotten about it. It was just one more thing that would have to be done before the night was through.
As they stopped in front of his house Sam turned to Travis with a sardonic grin.
“Well, we made it.”
“Yeah, I’m not sure that’s a good thing,” Travis said.
He quickly surveyed Sam’s appearance and shook his head as a smile crept to the corners of his mouth.
“You look like crap,” Travis said.
Sam could not help but laugh; it was the first time he’d laughed in days, as far as he could remember, and it felt good.
“We smell like it, too!” he added.
They both continued to laugh as they tried half-heartedly to straighten and dust themselves off. But it was no use. Their shirts and shorts were stained and torn, their hair matted to their faces, and Travis was even missing a shoe.
“Hey, what are you going to tell your mother?” Travis asked.
“Nothing, I mean, do you really think she, or anyone else, would believe me?”
“No, probably not. Heck, I wouldn’t believe you if I hadn’t been there.”
But Travis had been there and he had seen the magic with his own eyes. Sam was glad Travis had gone to the cave because now he was no longer alone.
“Okay then, well, I’ll talk to you tomorrow, right?” Travis asked.
“Yeah, I’ll talk to you tomorrow. You okay walking home?”
“I’m okay. The stranger’s after you, not me, right?” Travis said smiling.
“Well, for now.” Sam grinned back.
Travis’s smile faded. “Yeah, not funny Sam.”
Travis turned, and with only one shoe on he headed home.
Sam opened the front door to his house. It was dark inside except for the dim light coming from the kitchen. He had been out much later than he expected, so late that he had missed dinner, and both Sarah and his mother were either in bed or asleep by now.
The smell of homemade meatloaf from dinner lingered in the air, which made his stomach growl. For a brief moment his body wasn’t hurting, he wasn’t scared, he was just hungry. Really hungry. It felt good to be home.
Sam slowly closed the front door and quietly walked into the living room. His mother’s self-help book Stretching a Dollar by Reginald Blum was lying on the couch, and a mug of decaffeinated green tea sat atop a silver coaster on the wooden coffee table.
His mother had finished her nightly routine, which consisted of light reading followed by a hot cup of tea and bed. Sam looked up to the top of the stairs; her light was turned off now. He had missed her once again, and his apology would have to wait till tomorrow.
Sam sighed and walked into the kitchen. On the counter top in all its edible glory was his favorite meal in the entire world—his mother’s meatloaf.
The meatloaf was piled high and surround by fresh green beans and homemade mashed potatoes. A rich yummy tomato sauce covered the succulent meat. Sam thought it was almost too beautiful to eat.
He opened the counter drawer, pulled out a fork, and began to eat. The meatloaf was still warm and moist. He shoveled his food in so fast that for a brief moment he forgot to breathe.
Before Sam knew it, he had eaten the entire meal and his belly was full. He washed his plate and placed it in the dishwasher. Normally he would just leave it in the sink because dishes were Sarah’s chore, but for some reason he didn’t. Why was he feeling especially nice? Maybe it was the fact that he had triumphantly escaped the spiders in the cave, and now he was home, and had just eaten the best meal of his entire life. Despite all this comfort, Sam still felt uneasy about the events of the past few days. Then he remembered the spiders.
“Spiders, oh no!” he said to himself.
The spiders that were in the rosebushes were the same kind spiders that had attacked him tonight. Were they still out there? Were there more of them?
He quickly rounded the kitchen counter and headed to the front door. He turned on the front porch light and made his way down the steps to the rosebushes.
His eyes scanned every leaf, stem, and thorn on the twisted clump of bush, but he found nothing. There was not a single spider or trace of a web. Part of the bush was still mangled from where he had fallen in the day before. It was a sad-looking bush; there wasn’t even a single rose on it.
After closely scanning the surrounding area he finally felt satisfied that the spiders were gone. He made his way back into the house, locked up, and went upstairs. Sarah’s light was off too. Apparently they both had gone to bed early.
Sam was tired; the only thing he had on his mind now was a hot shower and a comfortable bed. His body was sore and it was getting worse. The smell of bat crap from his clothes was really starting to get to him now.
He quietly walked into his room where the Mountain Mist air freshener scent still lingered. His room was so clean that it felt odd, almost like he was in someone else’s bedroom.
Sam carefully took off his shirt and shorts, trying not to move any muscle faster than needed. He walked into his bathroom with his hand on his lower back, feeling as if he were a hundred years old. Gradually, Sam leaned over, turned on the shower and waited a few minutes before stepping in. Hot water stung his cuts and scrapes, making his muscles twitch as if they were being electrocuted. The water at the bottom of the tub drained steadily with a constant flow of dirt, blood, and bat feces. Warm jets of water streamed down from the shower head and massaged Sam’s body into a slow, peaceful trance. He felt himself sway just a bit as he began to doze off.
The shower lasted a full thirty minutes, if not more. Still drained, Sam brushed his teeth, turned off the light, and crawled into his bed. The bed seemed to wrap around him in a gentle embrace. It was extremely soft and felt good on his aching muscles.
The ceiling fan whirled above him, casting down a gentle breeze. His thin sheets smelled of fabric softener as he pulled them tight. He rolled onto his side and slid his arm under his pillow. His eyelids were heavy as he gazed up at the moonlight that shined through his bedroom window. There was no flashing street light tonight; it was the perfect atmosphere for sleep. The adrenaline he’d felt earlier was gone, leaving Sam completely fatigued.
He lay there, knowing the stranger was still out there somewhere. He knew there was magic in the world now, and that the stranger could use it. But how the stranger, the mirror, and the spiders all fit together he didn’t know. Not yet, anyway, but he promised himself he would find out, and soon.
Sam took in a deep breath and sighed. He felt every muscle in his body relax before closing his eyes and drifting off to sleep.
Good news! We are ramping up for BOOK 2 in the Haven Series: Revenge of the Viper. So in celebration and to say thank you for all your support we are giving away Book 1 A Stranger Magic for FREE!
If you already have a copy, get a new one! Each version (PRINT and DIGITAL) have been reformatted. You will love the new look. Also when you buy the PRINT copy of Haven: A Stranger Magic at Amazon.com you still get the DIGITAL copy in a bundle package for FREE.
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