Flash Fiction Friday: The Daily News

“That kid brags all the time. There’s no way he can do magic.” Tony kicked at a stone with his worn Converse, one shoe-lace untied.

True. Ryan Jenkins did brag about everything, most of which were obvious lies.

Still…

My teeth dug tight into my lip as I fought to stay silent. Could I trust him? Tony had been my best friend since preschool – eight years. There wasn’t anything I hadn’t told him.

Until now.

I pulled my backpack a little higher on my shoulder. His he dragged behind him. One more thing his mom would yell about, for sure, when she saw the rip he’d made along the side.

“Sure you, erm…” I cleared my throat. “You don’t think it’s possible for magic to be real?” My eyes stayed connected with the tiny colony of ants on the ground as we stepped over them.

“Pfft! No way! He really expects us to believe space aliens visited him last night and gave him the Magic Wand of Endor, and that he can hop from planet to planet now? He’s thick if he thinks we’ll buy that. Besides… Endor’s just a planet from Star Wars…” He kicked at another stone.

Again true. The magic that Ryan Jenkins spoke of was definitely not real. There was no way he could do magic. But the fact that he bragged that he could, sort of ruined it for the rest of us.

A gust of wind whipped my hair, pulled the hood of my parka up over my head. I fought to smooth it back down, my eyes watery from the sudden force of air. I blinked quick in case he caught the glint of extra moisture in them.

So, Tony didn’t think magic was real. Which I admit, would’ve been my answer a week ago, too, if it hadn’t been for that night…I shook my head, images of lamps that flicked on and off without a touch, baseball cards and dinosaur figurines that floated around my room by themselves. 

Except nothing had happened by itself… I had done it. I had made things move and change and defy the laws of nature with just one thought.

My belly filled with a sick lump. If only Tony would believe in magic, then I could tell him…

He scratched the back of his neck. “Yeah, that kid needs to be taught a lesson. I mean, if you’re gonna brag about -”

A tricycle that had been asleep in the neighbor’s grass suddenly rolled right across our path.

“What, the…?” Tony’s eyes shot wide, his jaw almost on the sidewalk next to his holey sneakers and those busy ants. “Did you see that? That bike, it just – it just -”

I grabbed the handle bars and shoved it back onto the grass, my feet already headed in the direction of home once more. “It was a gust of wind. Didn’t you feel it?”

Yeah right. That gust that happened a full sixty seconds prior? Even I had a tough time swallowing that one. Again, my gaze focused anywhere other than my best friend, as my fingernails dug into the palms of my hands.

“Uh… Are you sure? ‘Cause that looked…” He stumbled along beside me, his glance still over his shoulder toward the mysterious wheeled object that insisted on moving by itself.

How could I have been so careless? I needed to get control of these newfound powers of mine…

Flop! The newspaper at the end of Old Man Henry’s driveway lifted in the air and did a complete 180 before it crashed back to the ground.

“Whoa!” Tony yelled.

He came to a complete stop now, I had no choice but to stand by him as he watched the horror that had become my life. Fiddlesticks with a double dose of syrup! 

“Uh, what? I didn’t see anything.” My swallow tattled on my lie.

Tony wagged a finger in the direction of the Daily News. “That paper… it… it…”

It flopped again.

I sucked in a breath and concentrated real hard not to make it move this time.

“Hey!” he yelled.

It rolled over and flipped upside down.

All right. This was getting old. My eyes narrowed as I gave it my all. Don’t move. Don’t move. Don’t move. 

“Hey, hey, hey!” Tony hopped around on his feet now. “You’re not gonna believe this! But I just thought about moving that paper and it happened! It did exactly what I told it to!” He spun and looked me right in the eye. “I made it move with my mind!”

A zip and a thrill raced from my toes to my fingertips. Could it be I wasn’t the only one? 

For the first time in a week, I gave him a genuine smile. My insides invaded with something new – joy, awe… relief.

“Tony,” I said, as I put a hand on his shoulder. “We need to talk. I think I’ve got something you’ll want to hear.”

As we walked away, I flipped that newspaper over one more time… just because.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2016

244H

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