Authors: D.C. Akers
I was just thinking of you and how much fun we had in Mr. Dolen’s class the other day! I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard in my life. Who would have known that you could screw up a Calling test so badly. You had Mr. Dolen screaming and running around like crazy. To be honest, I didn’t know he could move that fast. That’s what I love about you Alisa—you are always good for a laugh.
Anyway, I will miss you over winter break. Have fun meeting Rylan’s parents—I know they’ll love you! Write me when you can!
Just in case you
want to practice the Calling again, remember, Narravista.
Sam read and reread the letter, trying to make sense of it. It must have been from an old classmate of hers when she was a kid.
None of this made any sense; this was just a letter from a school friend, so why hide it?
The questions were staring to pile up and things were becoming more complicated. There were disappearing people outside Sam’s house, and now there was magic everywhere he turned. He knew he was getting in over his head and it was time to tell his mother.
He would never forgive himself if the stranger harmed someone in his family. Whoever or whatever was lurking outside was a threat; that much he had decided. Why else would this person be spying on him? This time, he would have to make his mother listen. Besides, she had some explaining of her own to do. She was the one who had told him to clean the garage, and she had hidden this box from him and Sarah. After all, it’s not like he went looking for it. He found it doing what she asked him to do in the first place, and now she would have to explain the box, and the magic behind it.
Sam looked back down at the scroll and focused on the sentence about the Calling.
What is a Calling?
And what does Narravista mean?
“Nar-ra-vista,” he said slowly, trying to sound the word out.
“Narravista!” he said again more quickly.
Suddenly a large crash rang out over head. Sam lunged forward, thinking the ceiling was caving in. But it wasn’t. He turned quickly to see the baseball that he had tossed into a paint bucket earlier spinning near the ceiling.
Sam’s mouth fell open; he dropped the letter and spun around to take a better look. The ball went flying to the left side of the garage, slamming into the wall and splintering the wood on impact. It was spinning so fast that wisps of smoke began to appear from the friction against the wall.
Sam fell back on the floor in shock. The baseball shot to the ground slamming into the floor and back to the ceiling above him.
Just then, Travis rounded the corner of the garage, smiling. “Well, it looks like someone’s been busy,” he said, looking around at the clean garage.
“Travis, look out!” Sam yelled.
Travis looked over just in time to see the speeding baseball heading toward him.
He fell to the ground as the ball shot past him like a missile, missing him by inches.
The ball blasted through the stacked boxes, sending clothes flying into the air. Then it shot out of the garage, up to the roof of the house, and back toward the ground.
“What in the world was that?” Travis yelled.
“I don’t know! I don’t know what’s happening!” Sam said as he rolled over onto his stomach trying to get up.
Without warning the ball came crashing down through the ceiling of the garage. Wood and shingles fell from the roof around Sam. The ball bounced on the floor and shot through the lawn chair, ricocheting back toward Travis.
Travis rolled right dodging the baseball as it pierced another stack of boxes, sending Legos and Barbie body parts in all directions.
“How can we stop it?” Travis asked, rolling into a corner of the garage.
“I don’t know! Sam yelled, turning onto his back to get up again.
The ball exploded through the roof once more, sending the bikes that were hanging on hooks crashing down on Sam’s legs. Sam quickly covered his face as debris rained down around him. A large wooden beam from the roof had pinned the bikes on top of him.
Travis quickly got to his feet and pressed his back to the wall, avoiding the spinning baseball at all costs.
“Sam!” he called out. “Don’t move! It’s right by you!”
Sam lay there frozen; he could hear the hum of the baseball cutting through the air as it spun directly above him. Seconds passed before he felt brave enough to peek through his hands and look at the spinning baseball, hovering just inches above his face.
He could feel the cool breeze wafting off the spinning ball and smell the leather in the air. The ball was moving so fast that the red stitching had become a blur. Sam was scared to move, not knowing what the ball would do next. His foot was stuck in the spokes of the bike and beads of sweat were trailing down the side of face.
Unsure what to do, Sam moved as quickly as he could by placing his hands at his sides and trying to roll to the right, but it was no use. He was pinned down. The ball shot toward the far side of garage and collided into the tools hanging on the wall. Clanking and clattering rang out as the tools came crashing down on the concrete floor.
“Sam!” Travis said. “Are you all right?”
Sam tried to move his legs again but they wouldn’t budge under the weight of the beam and the bikes. He was stuck but it didn’t feel like he was injured.
“Yeah, I think so, but my legs are stuck!” he said.
Travis paused and watched the spinning baseball eat away at the wall as Sam flailed under the weight of the bikes. When he rolled right, the ball moved right. As Sam reached for the bikes and tried to move them off his legs, the ball flew to floor in front of him. Sam reacted by flinging himself back down on the floor and as he did the ball flew back to the right of the garage and slammed into the wall again.
Travis watched intently, his eyes scrutinizing every move Sam made. He didn’t notice it at first because he assumed the ball was trying to attack Sam. All his attention had been focused on the flying ball. But now that he was watching Sam he could tell the ball wasn’t trying to attack him—it was following him. The ball was reacting to Sam’s movements. Sam was controlling the ball!
“Sam!” Travis yelled out. “I think the ball is following you!”
“What? What do you mean?” Sam asked.
“It’s following you! Maybe your hands, I’m just not sure which one!”
Sam moved his left hand but nothing happened. The ball stayed still, spinning on the wall.
“Sam, try your right hand!” Travis said, crouching down into the corner.
Sam swung his right hand around to the back of the garage and the ball followed, shooting through the air until it hit the back wall of the garage.
Sam’s mind was racing. If he could control it, surely he could stop it.
He slowly moved his hand in front of him, as if to guide the ball into the center of the garage. The spinning baseball followed. It was now hovering just a few feet in front of him.
Sam stared at the baseball, trying to concentrate; maybe it was as simple as saying stop, he thought.
“STOP!” he yelled out.
But nothing happened. The ball continued to spin.
“Um, now what?” Travis said hastily.
“I’m not sure!” Sam replied.
“Try something else, like halt or land!”
Sam thought of the letter.
If the word Narravista made this happen, maybe it will make it stop too.
“Narravista!” Sam yelled out.
The ball abruptly stopped spinning and fell to the ground.
“That’s it, you did it!” Travis cried out.
He sprang up, ran to Sam’s side and carefully helped to remove the wooden beam and bikes that had fallen on top of Sam. Sam moaned as he staggered to his feet.
“Are you okay?” Travis asked.
Sam brushed himself off and surveyed the damage around him. The garage had two gaping holes in the roof and splintered wood on both sides of the walls. The lawn chair, the bikes, and all the boxes he had packed and stacked earlier were destroyed.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m okay,” he said grudgingly, “but my mom’s going to kill me!”
“Sam, what happened? I mean, you were controlling that baseball, you were making it fly! It was like you were using—” Travis voice stopped abruptly. He didn’t want to say it; the word scared him now, but what else could it be?
“Magic,” Sam said calmly.
He saw the look on Travis face; it was that same look he’d had back in the cave. The look of anxiety and bewilderment all rolled into one.
“Yeah, magic,” Travis said reluctantly.
Sam could tell it was the last word he wanted to use, but what else could you call it? He needed to make sense of this, he had to or he was going to lose his mind.
“I think it has to do something with the box I found in the wall.”
“In the wall? What box? Where?” Travis asked. Now he was curious.
Sam pointed to the back of the garage at the box next to the open panel in the wall.
“How did that get there?” Travis asked.
“I think it’s my mom’s,” he said.
Travis turned around, his eyes wide and his mouth half open in disbelief. “Your mom’s?”
“Yeah, in the box there was a letter addressed to her from someone named Holly.”
“Well, if I knew that I wouldn’t have said ‘someone named Holly,’” Sam said sharply.
“Oh, yeah, right,” Travis said as he walked toward the box. “Is it safe to pick it up?”
“Yeah, I think so. I don’t think the box did anything. I think it’s more what the letter says that makes things happen.”
“What do you mean?” Travis asked.
“Read the letter,” Sam said pointing to the box.
Travis bent down and grabbed the letter and began to read it to himself. Sam continued to look in disbelief at the damage a baseball could do to a garage.
When he finished reading, Travis looked up from the letter with a puzzled look in his eyes.
“What is Narra—”
“Don’t say it!” Sam yelled out! “Are you crazy? You want to get us killed!”
“That’s the word you used to stop it!” Travis said defiantly.
“Yeah, and it’s also the word I used to make it happen in the first place, so don’t say it!”
Travis looked back down at the letter and then at the box. He slowly bent down and picked up the pouch.
“What’s in here?” he asked.
Sam shrugged. “Don’t know, take a look.”
Travis opened the pouch and pulled out one of the slivers of black onyx.
“Wow, that’s pretty cool.”
He touched the tip of the long triangle.
“Man, that would hurt if you fell on it. Looks like there’s quite a few of these things too,” Travis said.
“Eleven,” Sam replied.
“Weird. Odd number …”
“Everything is odd about that box,” Sam sighed. “There’s some kind of picture in there too, but I don’t know what it is.”
Travis put the crystals back into the pouch and placed it back in the box. He glanced at the picture, but it was the ring that caught Travis’s attention.
“Whose ring is this?” he asked, holding it up.
Sam moved closer, stepping over the wooden beams and around the bikes. “I’m not sure,” he said.
Travis brought the ring closer to his face to take a better look. He examined it carefully, scrutinizing every detail. Then he stopped and gazed up at Sam. “There’s something written on the inside,” he said.
Sam met his gaze. “What? How did I miss that? What does it say?”
Travis looked back down at the ring and swallowed, then spoke with a slight hesitation, knowing that what he was about to say was going to hurt.
“It says: Rylan, a Keeper of faith.”
Travis looked up at Sam. His cheeks were flushed and he had a solemn blank stare on his face. The words hung in the air and for a brief moment there was silence.
“My father?” Sam said in a broken whisper.
Sam hadn’t spoken of his father much, but Travis knew how he felt about him. Travis felt the same way about his parents. Just because you didn’t speak about them didn’t mean you weren’t thinking about them.
He handed the ring over to Sam and purposely began sifting through the scattered remains of the garage, trying to busy himself and give Sam a moment.
Just then, the back door sprang open and Sarah marched onto the porch. Her cell phone was to her ear in one hand and the other was waving in the air. Sam jumped in surprise and quickly shoved the ring into his pocket.
“That’s fine Barry. FINE! But if you didn’t want to date me any more, all you had to do was man up and say so! You didn’t have to cheat on me, you CREEP!”
Sarah began pacing back and forth.
“Scared!” she yelled. “I’m not scared of being alone! The only thing that scares me is that someone might hate me as much as I loathe you. And just for the record, you’re not as cool as you think you are! I hate that stupid football jersey you always wear, and you’re dumb, and there is no cure for that, Barry!”
Sarah pulled the phone from her ear, and pressed the End button with so much force Sam thought she might snap the phone in half.
“What a loser!”
Sam and Travis stood there in silence. Sam still clutched the ring in his pocket. He rocked back and forth, hoping Sarah would be too flustered to see the wreckage they were standing in.
Sam looked over at Travis, who stood staring at Sarah with a devilish grin. There was a small part of Travis that actually enjoyed seeing that. Maybe not the fact that she was hurt, but the fact that there was no more Barry in her life.
Sam was trying to get Travis’s attention when he finally snapped out of his trance. He quickly took to surveying the area once more as if he had heard nothing.
Sarah shoved her cell phone into her pocket and turned to walk back inside when suddenly she stopped. Slowly, she turned her head and her mouth fell open as she looked over the strung out contents of the garage.
“What in the world did you do, Sam?” she asked, flabbergasted.
Sam stood dumfounded, his mind searching for the perfect explanation.