Magic Eyes

by D. D. Falvo on March 29, 2012 | @ddfalvo

My cousin has come to spend the night. We are two little girls subject to the curfews of solicitous parents. It’s hard to sleep. The warm summer night calls from the open window and stirs my restless soul. Hours spent with my favorite cousin are limited and much too precious to spend asleep. She is obedient and closes her eyes. I am deserted. I reach for the ever present book on my nightstand and flip the pages.

She is intrigued. “What are you doing?”

I smile to myself. I have her attention.

“Reading.”

“What? You can’t read in the dark.”

“I can.”

“Nobody can read in the dark.” She rolls to her side, her back a wall of dismissal.

A few minutes pass. I turn another page.

“Are you still pretending to read?”

“I’m not pretending, I am reading.”

She sits up. “Let me see that.” She inspects the book, you can almost feel the hope. She wants to believe it’s possible. Magic is always possible when you are nine-years-old.

“I can’t see anything,” she says, and hands it back.

“You have to use your magic eyes.”

“There’s no such thing.”

My magic eyes tell me she is making a face. “Is, too.”

“Prove it.” Bed sheets rustle as she jumps up. She grabs a random novel from my bookshelf, then plops back onto the bed. The mattress springs squeal abuse. “What’s the title of this book?”

She thrusts it in my hands. I turn the hardcover face up, and lean forward. After a moment, I reply, “The Time Thief.”

She makes a strangled noise. “Read it.”

I am up for the challenge, but the words do not come from the pages. The book is a prop, an instrument from which my imagination is released.

“I think he wants us to let him go,” Kimber says to Tom. She hovers near a small dragon. The creature is shackled to a giant perch; he shifts from foot to foot, looking hopeful. Flashes of purple reflect from his glossy, black body, and he smells like grape Kool-aid.  He is an unexpected find, but not out of place in the secret attic study.

The room’s contents suggest the owner, a local teacher, might indeed be a wizard. Bookcases line the walls. Shelves are filled with musty books of muted colors; exotic artifacts and more curious objects are locked behind glass doors. A life-like skeleton, suspended from the ceiling, grins and jiggles though no breeze disturbs the heavy humidity of the day. The dragon dips and nudges Kimber’s hand, the one that is curled into a  protective fist.

Tom stops rifling through the wizard’s desk long enough to give his younger sister a hard glare. “Don’t do it,” he says, “You’ll get us caught.” He lifts a large stack of loose pages from a drawer—the sheets are aged and covered with lines of calligraphy, the ink is faded. He places them on the blotter. Kimber’s eyes widen. One page, near the bottom, wiggles as though trying to escape the weight of its brethren. Tom doesn’t appear to notice—he is on a mission. He bends low, shifting items that clink as he searches the deep interior. 

Kimber turns back to the dragon. “But he’s just a baby,” she replies. The creature straightens at once and ruffles his wings. His mouth opens wide, displaying a double-row of sharp teeth. He pulls back, arching his neck, then thrusts forward, intent, and . . . hiccups. A wisp of pink smoke rises between them. Kimber laughs. The dragon slumps. He withdraws into the folds of his black wings and disappears. Only the shackle on his leg remains visible; it slides, upright, down the perch with a life of its own.

“Don’t be embarrassed,” Kimber says. She opens her palm and fingers the odd-shaped bit of metal within, frowning at the tiny, heart-shaped box with an open bottom. Gripping the flat, scrolled handle, she pushes the bulky end into the lock. It fits. The dragon reappears, peeking out from his leather cocoon. He and the girl are inches apart; his eyes whirl with rainbow colors. Kimber gasps and swallows, but does not move away.

“I’ll save you,” she whispers, and turns the key. The lock gives a click; the chain rattles to the floor. The dragon spreads his wings and lifts off, circling through the room. His wingspan is too wide for the enclosed space. “Rawk!” he cries, sideswiping the crowded shelves. Books tumble and thunk on the wooden floor. He veers and strikes a lamp, it tips into the skeleton; the bones break and scatter, then magically reassemble. The dragon skids to a stop across a low table, carving racing stripes into the polished surface. He teeters and continues fanning the air.

The stack of spells lift from the desk, swirling into an upward funnel before overflowing and fluttering to the ground. One page snaps upright. The bottom left corner pushes forward, and then the right; it shuffles back and forth, moving towards the open window. The other pages squeak like broken bike horns from where they lay, while the runaway slides up the wall and then curling over the sash, slips from sight.

Still focused inside the drawer, Tom gives happy crow of victory. “Score! I found it.” He lifts his head and views the mess. “Kimber, what did you do?” He pockets his prize, then pauses, listening. The sudden onset of footsteps, climbing the attic stairs, resound. The children exchange panicked looks–it is the slow, ponderous clump of an older man, most likely the wizard. “Never mind. We gotta go.” Tom climbs through the window, onto a near branch, then pokes his head back inside.  “Hurry, Kimber!” The dragon circles the ceiling, then dives; Kimber ducks as he swoops out after Tom. The swish of his long, scaly tail upends the monstrous, ivy creeper sunning before the paned glass.

Outside the study door, the footfalls stop and the doorknob turns. 

Kimber straddles the sash, reaching for her brother’s outstretched hands. He clasps her arms, guiding her. The ivy shudders; long shoots snake along the floorboards with lightening speed and coil around her ankle, holding her fast. She slips and falls headlong off the ledge.

“Tommy!” she screams.

Tom tightens his grip. Kimber sways, stretched between the tree and the house. She looks down and gulps at the thirty-foot drop. Tom pulls hard, and the vine pulls back, engaging a tug of war. The dragon settles on a high branch and hisses. Hinges creak as the study door swings wide, and a deep, angry voice calls, “Show yourself, Thief!”

I pause. My cousin gives a sharp intake of breath, then sighs—the soft sound of surrender. “I know you’re making that up, but don’t stop. I want to know what happens next.”

I tell the story into the night, stealing moments of time . . .

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Aragorn March 30, 2012 at 1:07 am

Love this! So magical and reminds me of my own childhood. Can’t wait to read more.

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D. D. Falvo March 30, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Thank you, Aragon. You have the distinction of being my first comment, ever– a magical moment for me. Please come again soon . . . more adventures await.

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Sandy March 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Oh, my! Oh, my! I’m HOOKED and so ready for more!!!! I love they way your words flow along and then suddenly a s’prise….grape Kool-aid!… RAWK! I am left wondering what further adventures are ahead for Tom & Kimber….what did he put in his pocket?…is the baby dragon good or evil?…what secrets will the Wizard divulge? More, please!

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D. D. Falvo March 30, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Thank you, Sandra. <3 Agreed, the Time Thief somehow developed a life of its own with the introduction of Magic Eyes. Now, it begs me for attention beyond this single blog. Posts like yours only serve to encourage its plea for perpetuity and I fear I shall have to consider giving this side venture some thought. lol.

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Vaughn Roycroft March 30, 2012 at 5:58 pm

This was great fun. Really well written. It’s magically delicious. Great job!

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D. D. Falvo March 30, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Aw, shucks. Thanks, Vaughn, 🙂 your kind words are savored.

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Judy March 30, 2012 at 9:06 pm

My favorite three sentences…… thus far
~The mattress springs squeal abuse.
~Flashes of purple reflect from his glossy, black body, and he smells like grape Kool-aid. (I do think this is my #1 favorite)
~His mouth opens wide, displaying a double-row of sharp teeth. He pulls back, arching his neck, then thrusts forward, intent, and . . . hiccups.
Wow….. You are the Word Mistress !
Thank you for gifting us all with your mind treasures….. <3

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D. D. Falvo March 30, 2012 at 9:19 pm

hee! Big grin. Ear-to-ear. <3 Judy, thank you.

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Wade Clark March 31, 2012 at 12:58 am

I’ve only just turned fifteen years old. I’ve been obsessed with reading, writing, and creating my own imaginative worlds as long as I can remember. My mother, Lori Clark, told me to check this out. Drawn in by my ever-going thirst for reading, I was captivated by this the moment I began reading. I’d like you to know that I am going INSANE wondering what will happen next. The expression on my face at the end was priceless, I won’t lie about how much suspense is floating about in my consciousness right now. Once again, I can’t wait for what happens next. 😀

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D. D. Falvo March 31, 2012 at 3:07 am

Hi Wade. I loved your comment so much that I hung it on the wall by my computer. Like you, I write because my imagination needs an outlet, and for the love of it. The Time Thief isn’t part of the series I’m currently working on–it’s a little story that pestered me until I promised it could live in the blog. I think the cheeky little devil has had bigger plans all along, because now everyone wants to hear more about the Dragon (his name is Zebedee.) So I will make you a deal, I will continue the story here on the website, if you promise to have patience with how often I update. In the meantime, keep writing! You already have an engaging style. 🙂

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Lisa April 5, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Intense. Filled with excitement and emotion. Every word has purpose. Keeping writing we need more!

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D. D. Falvo April 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Thank you, Lisa. Your comment is much appreciated– please keep coming back. Readers like you are why a writer keeps writing.

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