Wand

She missed the bus. Jane waved and shouted “Hey, hey,” at the back of the moving vehicle.
“Shit,” she whispered.
Now, she was stuck in Perth, while her gear was winging its way to Aberdeen. The driver had given them ten minutes at the bus station to have a toilet break, get a coffee, buy a chocolate bar or whatever. According to her watch, she was two minutes late.
“That driver doesn’t take any prisoners,” she thought.
“Okay, I’ve got my phone, money and credit cards. It could be worse.” Jane started to calm down a bit, but then she had a terrible realisation. In her mind, she could see her neon pink bag on the empty seat beside her on the bus. Not only had she left her magic wand on the bus, but she had also left it poking out the top of her bag.
She rushed to a cash machine and without a thought about how she was going live for the remainder of the month, withdrew the full 200 pounds left in her account. Jane jumped into the first taxi in the rank and shouted: “Follow that bus.”

Bobby was so bored. His Mum didn’t let him read on the bus since the time he was sick on the way to Glasgow. ”Look out the window,” she told him. Out the window was boring. Her head rested against the window, and he could hear her snoring softly. He looked around the bus. There weren’t many passengers and most were sleeping.
He stretched out his feet and kicked the back of the empty seat in front a few times. It transpired that the seat wasn’t empty at all. The head of a scary bald man appeared before him. The man adjusted the red bandanna that covered his eyes and glowered at Bobby.
“Quit it, wee man. I’m trying to sleep,” said the scary man.
“Sorry,” whispered Bobby in terror.
Bobby kept quiet for a while. He barely moved for fear of disturbing the man in front. After ten minutes, however, his terror had diminished, and boredom had returned. He looked around again and spotted a bag on the seat across the aisle. He liked the bright pink colour. He loved pink things, but for some reason, his Dad wasn’t keen on the colour, so Bobby was never allowed pink stuff. He went over for a closer look at the bag.

The taxi driver turned around and looked Jane.
“Follow what bus? There are loads of buses.”
“The bus to Aberdeen.”
“Aberdeen. That’s three hours away, lassie.”
“We can catch it when it stops in Dundee if we hurry,” she said.
He sighed and started punching something into his SatNav. Jane watched in agony as he took his time selecting the route.

Bobby’s Mum woke up and smiled. “Hey Bobby, how are you doing?”
He smiled back and then realised she was going to be mad at him for borrowing the magic wand.
“Where did you get that?” she asked.
He used the wand to gesture towards the bag. She grabbed it off him, stuffed it back in the bag and looked around nervously.
“You’re in big trouble,” she whispered.

Jane willed the driver to go faster. When she couldn’t stand it any longer, she asked him “do you think you could speed up a bit?”
“I’m travelling at 50 miles per hour.” He even talked slowly. “Studies have shown, this is the most economical speed to travel.”
She wanted to shout at him, but she sensed this would be counter-productive.
“I really need to catch that bus. All my gear is on it.”
“Okay. I’ll move up to 55.”
Jane closed her eyes. One more strike and she was out of magic school. If she had to report a missing wand, she was finished. It would be even worse if someone managed to use it to perform some kind of misguided magic.

Through some small miracle, the taxi passed the bus just before Dundee. Jane re-boarded and was extremely relieved when she found her bag and wand exactly where she’d left them. As the bus arrived in Aberdeen, she smiled at the cute little boy in the seat across the aisle. “He must be shy,” she thought as he looked down to avoid her gaze.

Once all passengers had disembarked, a small green frog with a red bandana hopped off his seat and onto the floor below.

5 thoughts on “Wand

  1. I liked the stakes you gave Jane’s situation. The clues you gave as to the main characters relationships were easy to follow—that the boy was across the aisle from the bag. I suggest adding a small interaction between Jane and the boy on the bus at the beginning of the story, though. The first time I read this, I thought the boy was Jane’s son for most of the story and that their storyline was a flashback. I’m unclear as to how the man sitting in front of the boy turned into a frog.

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  2. I loved this! Jane’s situation was great, and I always sweat those short times they let you off buses, or pause tours, or switch planes, so I sympathized right away. I understood who was who right away, but I had to reread to remember the grumpy man’s bandanna to know who the frog was. I loved his accent. 🙂

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  3. Jane and Bobby were really great characters, though I’m a bit more partial to Bobby. You wrote him with such humor. I loved the puking and the kicking the seat and his quick recovery from being scolded. I would’ve liked a little more of a hint about the man turning into the frog, and I wasn’t quite sure how it happened or how his mom knew that it was a magic wand. But it was a really fun, imaginative story.

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  4. These magical Janes really need to get their acts together! Having the story told more or less between the lines worked for me – boy is scared of man, boy finds thing that looks like a magic wand, boy turns man into a frog while mom (and presumably lots of other passengers) sleep.

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