6: The Cloak to Many Places

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"I didn't do it," I said dropping the baseball bat on the floor. "Honest!" I looked all around. "It was this man with green hair. He broke into the house and used some magic black box to trash the place. He vanished in his cloak." My aunts gave me the look of disbelief. "I swear I'm not making this up."

"Lies!" they both shouted together.

"I'm not lying."

Aunt Vera turned to Aunt Vicky.

"I believe we need to teach our niece a little lesson."

"Agreed." Both aunts began ascending the staircase to my attic room.

"No, aunties!" I pleaded. They entered my room and in a mad rage swung their thick arms and legs. I watched helplessly as my model house and clay figures crashed to the floor. I watched the camera I paid for with my hard earned money snap beneath their large feet. And in a final swing, I watched the framed picture of my parents slam against the wall cracking the glass. Tears flowed down my eyes. All my things destroyed by two hideous cyclones, the floor a battlefield of broken bits of plastic, wood, glass, and dreams.

"A healthy lesson in respecting other people's things," they said wiping their hands.

"Now downstairs with you. You will clean the mess you made before you go to bed and you will do so without supper. Understood!"

I nodded grabbing the picture of my parents off the floor.

"Yes, Aunt Vicky. Yes, Aunt Vera."

"Good," they said as they stomped down the stairs. I wanted to cry, but there was no time for tears.

I stayed up late into the night scrubbing and sweeping the downstairs living room. By the end of it my hands burst with blisters and my arms ached. I collapsed on my bed unable to do anything more. That night I dreamed of Novus and the words he said. "I'll be back tomorrow for that wish." A wish, I wondered, how great that would be. I had very little time to ponder the dream when the morning honking of my alarm woke me.

It was Monday, a school day, the worst day. My bus would arrive in half an hour and I would be forced to sit with a bunch of snobby kids many of whom picked on me. I knew if I wanted to change my life I would have to run away, away from my aunts, away from school, away from everything. I started packing the few things my aunts did not destroy, a flashlight, my drawing pad and pencils, my parent's picture, and Gilbert's movie script. I guess he would want it back. With the camera destroyed we would never finish the movie now. I gathered what little money I had saved.

"That should be enough," I said shoving the dollars and quarters into my pocket. My plan was simple. First I would take the school bus into town, sneak around behind the school to the city bus stop, and then go as far away from here as I could get.

I had nearly stuffed my backpack of all the things I needed when I remembered the glowing rock beneath my pillow. I lifted it into the light. It shimmered and pulsed like a beating heart made of a thousand diamonds.

"So you must be my wish?" I said. "Such a curious little object." The rock began to grow brighter and vibrate in my hands. "I wonder what would happen if I used it." I leaned in. The blue and red light danced along my face. I swallowed nervously. "Here it goes. I wish--"

Suddenly a bright flash of light and a loud crack burst across my room followed by a cloud of smoke. I coughed.

"I would not do that if I were you," came a voice through smoke. Novus stood there with his arms folded. "Wishes can be dangerous if you aren't prepared for the consequences," He said through his green beard. "I told you I would come back."

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