The Magician’s Doll – Excerpt
Phillip walked over to the map. He hesitated for a second, then took a deep breath and focused on the spot where Parker’s Field lay. He stared for several seconds.
Natalie was not sure what they were waiting for, but nothing shook or stirred or vibrated around them.
Mrs. Blaine patted Phillip on the back. “That will do for now.”
Phillip stepped back. His lips were a crooked line of disappointment.
“Nothing to be upset about,” Mrs. Blaine said. “We just need to keep exploring. Sometimes it just takes time.” She gestured Natalie over. “Why don’t you give it a try, dear? Take the other map from Phillip.”
Butterflies fluttered in Natalie’s stomach. She took the map from Phillip and moved around the table. “What am I trying to do?”
“At this point I’m not too sure. I’m trying to recreate what happened when you said you felt something unusual with the maps.”
“Great,” Natalie muttered.
“Remember what I said. Please keep your mind open about what we are trying to accomplish. It’s important,” Mrs. Blaine said.
Natalie nodded. She focused on Parker’s Field. She braced herself for something to happen, waited for the map to shift and evolve like it did before, but nothing did.
“That will do for now, dear,” Mrs. Blaine said.
“Sorry,” Natalie said.
Phillip looked relieved that he was not the only one who failed the test.
“Oh, honestly,” Natalie said, exasperated, “could you want anything to happen more?”
Phillip chuckled. “Probably not,” he admitted. “But I’m kind of glad the map thing didn’t work for you. Maps are my thing.”
“You are such a weirdo. Does it really matter what we can or can’t do?”
Phillip looked as if she had sprouted horns. “You’re kidding, right? I mean come on! I’ll bet you can’t even find your own house on a map.”
Natalie did not have much of an argument there, but darned if she was going to admit that. She grabbed the map and searched it for her house. Unfortunately, all she could see was a series of criss-crossing lines and squiggles and none of it made any sense. She tilted her head this way and that, trying to make heads or tails, but it might as well have been a foreign language.
“Give up?” Phillip teased.
“Fine,” Natalie said grudgingly.
“It’s there.” He pointed to a spot on the map. Natalie looked at where his finger was and recognized the street names as the ones surrounding her area.
“Oh.” It was starting to make a little sense. “Which way do we go to get to your home?” she asked Phillip.
Phillip moved his finger down the map. Natalie looked at the street name.
“Cullom Lane,” she said. “I get it now.”
She followed with Phillip as his finger traced along the road they took to get to his home.
It was then that the map started to move. Cullom Lane had widened, become larger. Natalie blinked. Could her eyes be playing tricks on her?
But no, Cullom Lane was growing, shifting the other sections of the map aside and coming into sharp relief.
“What the…” she heard Phillip say.
Details emerged from the map. A sidewalk appeared, and then a stop sign. She recognized the fire hydrant she always passed when walking to Phillip’s house. Street lights lined the sidewalk for blocks and blocks. There was the shrubbery from the Winterbell’s house.
As the details appeared, they grew large—the way things grew big as you got close.
There was a rushing sound in her ears, as if a wave of water had crashed. A ball of heat slammed into her and then surrounded her in a warm cocoon, pulling her towards Cullom Lane. The Winterbell’s shrubs loomed large, and her body glided towards them as if she were a plane coming in for a landing. She opened her mouth to scream, but there was a blinding flash of light. When the light receded, Mrs. Blaine’s study had disappeared, and she was standing in the middle of the Winterbell’s shrubs.
Her stomach dropped, her knees almost followed, but a hand clamped around her mouth just as she was about to cry out.
“Shhhh!” It was Phillip. He held a finger to his lips. He was pale, but his eyes glowed with delight and amazement.
copyright © 2013 M.L. Roble
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