The magic really begins... enjoy!
All day at school, Sammy was in a fantastic mood. He was happy that he was alive, on account of the strange occurrences from the previous night. He was also happy that he had escaped the Babcock gang unharmed. A sort of electricity began to run through his body and mind. The feeling was strange to him, but it almost seemed as if the dark cloud that had been hanging over his life was beginning to fade. He felt a little more alive, a little more in control. He felt like he did when he was a bit younger and his father was alive. Mr. Lanski had even given him an extra once over glance upon entering his classroom. “My dear boy! I do sense a change in you today,” he said. “Did you win the lottery my boy? Did you have some intrepid revelation that you would like to share with the rest of the class? I do say you are of grand spirits today! Whatever it is that has put such a mood in you, keep it up. Welcome back to the world Mr. Nichols.”
Sammy’s cheek muscles cracked and strained themselves, almost unable to physically concoct the smile that his soul was endeavoring to put upon his face. He had never felt the urge to smile so strongly. His eyes lit up and felt more focused. His muscles seemed to move proudly and effortlessly when he crossed in front of the blackboard. He had always hated walking in front of the peering eyes of the other students, but today the room seemed to stand still. He felt like he could walk on water, and it showed in the way he carried himself. All of the other children watched in awe, as he slowly made his way to his desk. He felt it. He felt like a budding movie star or traveling rock star that everyone loved and adored. Sammy questioned the validity and source of the sudden feelings of power, but he let himself feel them nonetheless. He hadn’t felt this good in years and he wasn’t about to let himself lose the sensation.
When he took his seat, he pulled his father’s wristwatch out of his pocket in an almost slow motion fashion. It was 12:30pm, just after lunch. He lifted his glance up to the front of the class. Every head in the room was turned towards him, even Mr. Lanski’s in a silent sort of awe. It was as if everyone was waiting for his permission to start the lesson. Some of the girls even batted eyelashes at Sammy. This was not the sort of attention he was accustomed to. He smiled back at the class in a shy boyish kind of way as if to give them the blessing to proceed.
“Humph ummm....” Mr. Lanski interrupted, finally breaking the silence. “Shall we begin then? Good. Open your textbooks to Chapter 20. Slattery, you begin reading the first paragraph on the Magna Carta.” And so it went, Slattery, being the first boy of the first row of the classroom, was always first to read. The succession of paragraphs would be read by one and all in a sort of snake like fashion through the rows of the classroom. Sammy was in the last row and the last seat, so he was almost always last to read. As Slattery finished his paragraph, the next to read was Marcy McGee. Her monotone voice and slow cadence pulled Sammy into a slow state of dreaminess. He started drifting off into his head as her voice slowly faded into the distance. Every word pulled him deeper into a trance, and before he knew it he was off into an episode of daydreaming…. Or so he thought.
“Come on you big baby! Just do it! Don’t be scared Nichols! You can do it. If I can do it, then you definitely can do it!” He knew that voice! He knew that voice very well! Sammy looked all around him as he gripped the rope swing hanging from the side of the grain elevator. “Do it Nichols! I promise you won’t get hurt. I promise I won’t let you fall.” He stood on the very top platform of the old building. He was holding on to a rope that was slung around the giant boom arm protruding from the side of the 200-foot tall grain elevator. One hundred years ago that arm had been used by the mill workers to hoist bags of supplies on and off of ships. Below him was the bubbling brown water of the Buffalo River where those big grain ships used to dock. “Go on Sammy. Just jump and hang on. The rope will swing you out and then down, then back through the window a few floors below.” That voice! “Do it or I’m going to push you off!” Sammy held on tightly to the rope and leapt. The feeling of weightlessness began instantly as his feet raced towards the water below. He held ever tightly to the rope that was limply sailing through the air with him. He felt his stomach in his throat and wondered why he hadn’t checked to see if the rope was properly fastened in the first place. Instantly, it tightened up and Sammy held on for dear life as he felt all of the force of gravity pulling him towards the river. His hands and arms clanged to the rope and he began fast arc towards the building. There was the window opening and it was fast approaching. He could hear the fibers of the rope hissing under the weight of his body. He lifted his feet to clear the old frame and let go of the rope. His body slid across the old concrete floor for a good 10 feet and finally came to a stop.
Dust and debris were all around and the air was thick with the dirty fog he had created upon his grand entry. Sammy sat there coughing a bit, while he waved his hands to clear the dusty air. A hand appeared out of the cloud as if to help him, and he grabbed it. The person whom the hand belonged to slowly lifted him from the floor and began patting him on the back. “You did it Nichols! You did it man!” Sammy tried to let go of the grip, but was unable. The stranger escorted him to the window he had just dropped in. When the sunlight hit them, the stranger was revealed. Sammy nearly collapsed to the floor. It was Eddie! “Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name…thy kingdom come, thy will be done,” Sammy raced through the Lord’s Prayer and shook from head to toe. “Sammy, Sammy, relax buddy! You are ok! It’s me.. Eddie!” “I realize that!” Sammy replied, continuing the prayer “ …on Earth as it is in heaven, give us this day” “ Sammy! Relax and let me explain,” Eddie said, still holding Sammy’s hand. “Ok, please do!” Sammy said. With a quick leap he pulled Sammy out of the window and the two were racing face first towards the river over a hundred feet below. Sammy screamed in terror and kept praying. Eddie smiled and looked at him the whole time. Any second and they would be crashing deep into the murky waters of the river. Sammy shook all over and tried with all his might to loose himself of Eddie’s strong grip. He closed his eyes and braced for the impact.
“Hey dude. Take a look. Nichols! Come on Nichols, open your eyes!”
When Sammy slowly opened his eyes, he was hovering about five feet from the surface of the water with Eddie still holding firmly to his hand. He could see their reflections in the water. He gasped and wrapped his body around Eddie’s in fear. “Whoa good buddy. No need to be afraid! You did it! You finally did it! I’ve been waiting for you for a long time. I’m so happy you figured it out!” Eddie said happily looking straight into Sammy’s eyes. “What did I do Eddie? Did I die? The last thing I remember was sitting in Mr. Lanski’s class… and now this! Oh no, I can’t die! No, no, no…. Eddie, what about my mom! And my sisters!!! Oh no, not now Eddie! I can’t die!” Sammy cried desperately. “You aren’t dead Sammy!” Eddie said as he gripped his friend by both arms, “You are still in Mr. Lanski’s class. You just crossed over to the other side! Come, let’s have a look!” Just like that, he whisked Sammy high into the sky and across the south side of the city. They moved like jet planes until they were just over St. Bonnie’s school. Eddie guided him to the other side of the building and they hovered close to the window where Sammy’s desk was. There he was, well his body at least. Sammy was so confused. He looked at himself through the window. His head was slumped over against the big radiator that sat next to the window. “But… but… you are dead Eddie…. I mean… this is all so strange… what’s going on? Please tell me this is all a dream,” Sammy said to his best friend as they hovered near the classroom. “ Oh Sammy, I’m fine…. And look, you are next to read! Ha ha! I’ll explain next time! See you soon buddy, you gotta get back in there!” Eddie smiled and pushed Sammy quickly towards the window. Sammy lifted his head from the radiator and looked up, Mr. Lanski was standing over him. “I suppose some things never change”, he said quietly pointing to the paragraph Sammy was to read aloud. Sammy smiled at his teacher and began reading to the class.