Haven Shorts – Chapter 3– Episode 7 – A Stranger Magic
Chapter 3 – Episode 7
Outside, the vivid bands of sunlight fractured the white, billowing clouds and greeted Sam like a warm embrace. Giddyup Lane, a quiet, middle-class neighborhood tucked away in the center of town, had been his home all his life. His house was a charming Cape Cod-style home nestled in the middle of the street that curved like a horseshoe.
The outside of the house was a dingy light gray trimmed in white, with a brown steeply pitched roof and three white gables. It had a white front door and two windows on each side. The house had plenty of charm.
The sweeping front porch had settled over time, and now leaned to the left. His father had built a swing for his mother years ago to enjoy the summer evenings together. The swing still hung from rafters with ropes instead of chains for a more natural look. Originally it had been painted white, but the color had now turned to a pale yellow. Sam thought it looked like a rotten banana with the chipping paint and dark patches of wood. But Barron the cat didn’t seem to mind, as he had deemed it his favorite spot in town.
The front lawn had definitely been neglected, but it was nothing a little water and a lawn mower wouldn’t fix. The flower beds needed attention too. Right now they were empty and waiting for the seasonal planting.
Even though it was still early in the morning, it was extremely hot and humid outside. Sam was used to this; Texas weather was unpredictable. It could be hot and sunny in the morning and cold with a chance of snow in the evening. To be honest, Sam liked the unpredictable. For him, unpredictable meant change, perhaps for the better.
Sitting on the front steps waiting for Sam, was Travis. This was a daily routine for the two of them. Travis waited for Sam each morning as Sam dragged himself out of bed and out of the house. Which was strange, because Travis was never early for anything. Compared to Travis, Sam had his game together, at least to the untrained eye.
Travis sat on the edge of the wooden steps jabbing a soda straw at an innocent spider. It was an unusual-looking spider, mostly black except for the three green stripes on its abdomen. Travis continued to prod as the spider tried desperately to scurry across the steps.
Sam watched for a moment as Travis entertained himself. It was like watching a small child play with dirt on a playground. Sam laughed to himself; Travis may be a teenager, but in his heart he was still a great big kid.
Sam and Travis had known each other for years, but they weren’t always close. At first, Sam had felt sorry for Travis when they met five years ago. Back then no one liked Travis, although sometimes it was understandable. He could be a giant pain in the rear, but you got use to him after a while. If you could get past his ADD he was actually fun to have around.
Back then the kids at school had picked on Travis and called him names. There were a few times Sam had stood up for Travis. Like the time Brent Holland thought he caught Travis staring at his girlfriend Tina. In reality, Travis was staring at Sarah, who had a locker next to Tina. Sam had intervened, telling Brent that Travis suffered from neck spasms. Travis played along knowing if he didn’t, Brent would beat them both up. They both turned and slowly walked away. Sam looked straight ahead hoping the plan would work. Travis inched along at his side with his neck still turned to the left. Over the years things had changed; people made less fun of Travis. As fate would have it, newer kids moved in who seemed to have much bigger problems. Like Missy Baker, who ate her hair when she got nervous.
Travis, for all intents and purposes, was a slob—a big ball of mess, walking around bumping into life. He had light brown hair that was never combed and stuck out in every direction. He was Sam’s height, but heavier. Travis also had an unusual sense of fashion; he wore clothes that looked like they belonged back in the seventies, lots of brown and orange. His shoes were torn, ragged, and sometimes did not match. He was not poor; he just didn’t care.
But, for the record, Travis occasionally tried. He wore cologne—Old Spice, Sam thought, because he smelled just like Travis’s grandfather. Without a doubt he was a fashion disaster and a reject from the seventies, but he was a loyal friend, and that was the most important thing to Sam.
“Hey, dude, ’bout time,” Travis said, looking up through his disheveled bangs. His eyes were a dark hazel and he had a small patch of freckles that fell to just below his eyes. His face was round with sporadic patches of hair on his cheeks he like to call his man beard. He would constantly brag to Sam that he was more mature because of his three whiskers as opposed to Sam’s girlish face which had zero.
“Morning, Trav, how long you been out here?”
“Umm, a few days, give or take.”
“Right, I’m not that late,” Sam said smiling.
“Since about seven-thirty, I guess. Hey, your mom said pack a lunch.”
Travis always chatted with Sam’s mom as she made her way out of the house and to her car.
“Why didn’t you just come in?”
“Well I was going to but Barry showed up, and well, you know …”
Travis didn’t want Barry to find out about his crush on Sarah. But Barry knew and he didn’t care; heck, he thought it was funny. Sam had overheard Barry mention it to Sarah one time and they both laughed about it. Travis had made a fool out of himself plenty of times in front of Sarah. Sarah thought Travis was grosser than Sam, and that’s pretty darn gross!
Sam always hated to see Travis interact with Sarah; it was sad, really. Travis would make a complete 180, from a confident wise crack to a bubbling idiot who couldn’t string three words together the moment she walked into the room.
Just then, the door flew open and his sister came dashing out of the house with a frown on her face and overdressed as usual. Sam hated to admit it, but Sarah was a striking girl. She had long, chestnut brown hair, and the same ice blue eyes and dark skin as Sam, but her skin was darker because she laid out in the sun so much. His mom said they got their dark features from the Italian side of the family they’d never met.
Sarah wore a black tank top and a black skirt with sandals, a matching purse, and a small backpack thrown over her right shoulder. Her smooth, shiny hair fell below her shoulders, and was gently layered around the face.
She walked briskly by the two boys with her nose held high, as if she smelt something foul. Barry, of course, was close behind, like a small lap dog that had lost his way.
“Come on, turds, you’re already late,” she groaned.
Travis stood at attention and straightened his wrinkled shirt, but never looked up.
“Hi Sarah,” he mumbled, staring at his warn sneakers as she passed by.
Like always, Sarah was crude and annoyed.
“Hello, Travis, and what did we say about talking to me?” she said coldly.
Travis scratched his head and muttered “Um, not to?”
“That’s right. Let’s keep working on that, shall we?”
Sarah rounded the corner of the white picket fence in the front yard and never looked back. Barry laughed and shook his head as he followed her.
Sam stood staring in disbelief; he could never see what Travis saw in his sister. She was mean, rude, and hated everyone except for herself. He wasn’t even sure she liked Barry.
Sam stood next to Travis looking disgusted. “I see you’ve set aside this moment to humiliate yourself again,” he said.
“Whatever, dude,” Travis said, watching Sarah and Barry walk off.
“Why do you do that to yourself?” Sam asked.
“Do what?” Travis replied.
“You know what.” Sam shook his head and stepped down onto the front lawn. “It’s like I’m watching the same car crash every morning with you and her. When are you ever going to learn?”
“Dude, she’ll come around. I practically have her right where I want her.” Travis patted his chest.
Sam rolled his eyes, “You’re joking, right? Please tell me you’re joking.”
“What?” Travis asked, throwing his hands up in a mock surrender.
“Ummm, that you’re not blind to my sister’s witch-like charm. That you actually see that she can’t stand anyone on this planet beside herself.”
“Like I said, I have her right where I want her. Have a little faith, buddy,” he said and gave Sam a wink.
“Well, if having her ticked off and annoyed is part of the plan I would say yeah, you got her right where you want her.”
“There was a smile this time. I saw it!” Travis said with a smile of his own, like he was proud of some great accomplishment.
“I think you’re confusing the smile with what people here on earth refer to as a sneer, genius!”
Looking a little more perplexed, Travis replied, “Whatever, dude. All I’m saying is the world’s round—I’ll get there!”
Sam looked at Travis and rolled his eyes again, “Quit stealing your comebacks from old movies, Spicoli”
“Who, me?” Travis said, smiling and placing his hand over his heart, as if he were offended.
“Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Jeff Spicoli. Hello? I know movies too, dork!”
This time it was Travis who rolled his eyes and sighed, “Yeah whatever, it fits. Can we get off of me now and on to the situation at hand please?” then pointed to his stomach. “I’m hungry. I need food, dude. You got anything to eat?” His smile was fading into a more serious frown.
But Sam found it hard to just let the Sarah thing go. It didn’t even bother Travis. He was oblivious to rejection and hatred when it came to Sarah. Sam felt himself becoming more frustrated by the minute. But who knows, perhaps Travis was right, perhaps it was best to change the subject. Besides, if Travis wanted to get his ego crushed by Broadzilla, who was Sam to stand in the way of progress?
“No there’s nothing to eat. Barry was here; what do you think?”
“Dude I’m starving! Can we make something real quick?”
“No Trav. What am I, your mother? You should’ve eaten before you left your house!”
“Come on, Samster!”
“Nooo, Travis! And stop calling me that!” he said as he turned and walked around the front gate.
“Oh man, we’re already late, what’s the big deal?” Travis asked and mumbled something else Sam could not make out.
Travis picked his backpack up and swung it over his shoulder.
“It’s the last day of school! Hey, wait up!”
**I will post one EPISODE each week, but there are 50 EPISODE, so this may take a while. If you just can’t wait, you can buy (Just .99) the complete book and the rest of the HAVEN series (More Coming Soon) at Amazon.
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