“You are out of your mind, Owen!” The fourteen year old shook his head with vigor. “Do you know how much trouble you’ll get in, if mom or dad figures out where you went?”
“So, you’ve heard of Fedonta?” The younger wizard observed his older brother with suspicion. Glen turned away, refusing to make eye contact.
Owen pried again. “What do you know?”
” Long ago, Grandma told me there was a place in our dreams where magic was the norm.”
“Did you know you could get there during the day?”
“What do you mean?” Glen’s furrowed his brow. His face was solemn, but his bright blue eyes met his brother’s green ones.
“Not only did I visit Fedonta, but I went there while I was awake.”
“That’s not possible.”
“It is. Now be quiet, and I’ll tell you about it.” Owen passed his brother a fire crackle cookie. The two boys settled in on the 14-year old’s bed as their mouths got hot with both spice and flame.
For once, both boys climbed into the backseat. The two boys begged their mom to take them to the bookstore. She shook head no. “We can go to the mall tomorrow. I have other errands to run today.”
Glen quieted his brother’s protest with his eyes, and a gentle pat mid air. “Mom, we were thinking we could help out Uncle Marty.”
Samantha White moved her dark brown hair from her eyes and looked at her sons in her rearview mirror. ” I suppose he could use the help. Ok. I’ll ask him.” The brothers smiled quietly at each other.
The young wizards piled out of the SUV, greeted by the elderly Irishman who ran the Menagerie. He was quick to have them cleaning bathrooms and vacuuming the back half of the store. In a moment between rooms, the older boy asked is brother, “What now?” Owen looked to the front of the store, and seeing his uncle and an older woman named Rhian busy with customers, motioned to his brother past the office door to the Restricted Section.
Glen could feel his heart racing. Owen pulled out his grandmother’s wand, focused his energy on the door at the back of the room, and quietly called out a spell. Aperte te.”
“But the doors locked!” His older brother pointed out. Indeed, the door did not open but began to shimmer.
“Quickly. Come with me!” The 11-year-old grabbed his brothers arm and yanked him through the shimmering doorway.
As they arrived on the other side of the doorway, they found themselves in an open field. Glen’s mouth was hanging open, and his brother used a finger to close it.
Something was approaching them from across the field. Rapidly.
“Owen, wh-what is that?” It was black and seemed dog-like, but was much larger than any dog they had seen. It was not as beautiful as a wolf and more scraggly then an alleycat. It was closing the distance quickly.
“Do you know any spells?” The older boy asked his brother.
“You’re the one with the wand!”
“Right.” Owen pointed his wand far across the field and yelled “I’m over here,” as he pulled his brother into the tall grasses. As if he were practiced wizard, he projected his voice to the distance side of the grasses along the tree line. The beast was confused and turned toward the noise, charging at the place from which he had heard the voice.
“Nicely done.” A gravelly voice congratulated the young wizard. “Your grandmother’s wand is indeed a powerful instrument for your magic.”
The boys turned around to see a 3 foot high grey dragon immediately behind them.
“Headmaster!” Owen took a breath in relief. Glen’s eyes were as big as saucers to see a dragon, and a speaking one at that!
“I am glad to see that you brought your brother this time. I have a gift for each of you. You are not old enough for your own wands.” He eyed the younger White boy with amusement. “And I cannot give you amulets before your 14th birthday. They won’t work. So I will give you each something else. But first…” The grey dragon muttered something under his breath and began to grow, reaching the height of 7 feet or more and growing a beard nearly half that. Glen’s mouth was open, and Owen again closed it for him. “You’re an elf!
“Indeed, young master White. For you, I have a book. It is a spellbook that we no longer use at Cassia to my chagrin. Study it, but never practice them in front of anyone but Owen, and do not attempt to make them work in Termari.”
Glen took the old parchment manuscript with both hands and nodded his head in respect.
“Where is Termari?”
“It is the land from which we came: Maryland!” Owen was giddy to know something that his brother did not. Glen looked perturbed.
“He is correct. Study the spells well.”
The younger wizard jumped in. “Why don’t you use it anymore?”
The old elf looked over his glasses and stroked his beard but did not answer. “Owen, for you, I have this.” The old elf pulled out a small cylinder of a dark metal.
“What is it?”
“It will help protect you. Bring it with you anytime you return.”
“So it’s like an amulet. Right?”
“Not exactly. Your door is closing. It will be a while before I can meet you again, but when you return, call out for me.”
“How do we do that?” The younger wizard was frustrated with the vagueness of the elf.
“Glen will know. The answer is in his book. Now go!”
The older wizard grabbed his brother, and they jumped through a diminishing shimmering spot in the air. As they took a step into the Restricted Section of the Menagerie in modern-day Maryland , both boys were surprised to look up and see the restricted section door open.
Without speaking a word, they snuck out into the hall.
“Oh there yeh are!” came a voice from behind them. It was their uncle. “I’ve been looking for you. Your mom let me know that she would be back in just a few minutes. Glen, my lad, what have you there?”
without Glen a saying a word, Marty White’s eyes got huge in realization. Glen stammered, and then Owen interrupted him as each try to come up for an explanation as to why they were holding an old book in the vicinity of the restricted section.
“Lads, I know exactly what that is and where you got it. I just don’t know how. And I don’t think I want to know yet. Get yeh-selves to the front and wait until your mom arrives. For now, this will be our little secret.”