Neoniks and Mystie the Fox
Fairy Tale for Elementary School Children
Chaper 1. The Magic Fox
This summer all of Jay’s friends were going away on vacation. He could just picture how they were going to travel through the cities resting on the backs of giant turtles or search for Lake Uncatchable, which constantly changed its location… While Jay would be staying home and not even have anyone to play with.
Jay the little wizard
“I’ll save up some magic and make myself a talking fox,” he announced to his older sister Phoebe.
“Remember my favorite stuffed animal I used to play with when I was little? I want the same one but alive. She’ll be smart, kind, and brave, and we’ll be the best friends ever.”
“You already have me,” teased his sister.
Jay could only sigh.
Phoebe was only brave during visits to the dentist because she never had a cavity. And her kindness was not even worth mentioning: Jay had asked her for a sixth-grader’s magic wand countless times. She never gave it to him! And when you are that greedy – it doesn’t really matter how smart you are.
Phoebe, Jay’s older sister
Jay had to use his own wand to do magic. He called it “spaghetti” – it was long, smooth, and had no decorations except an inscription that said: May turn into a pencil, a spoon, a comb, or a locker key.
Jay spent a long time going through library scrolls and consulting the shadows of famous scientists to figure out how to make his wand more potent. Only when he had taken it apart and inserted magic crystals from his mother’s necklace, the “spaghetti” became powerful enough to create a talking fox.
For the spell Jay should have saved up more Will Power to control the flow of magic. But he could not delay any longer: tomorrow was the last day of the school year and the kids had to turn their magic wands in to the school.
It was nearly midnight. Jay should have been asleep hours ago, but he was sitting on the bed in his pajamas and watching the cuckoo clock. When the hour hand got close to twelve, he perched his magic-working goggles on his nose, picked up the “spaghetti”, and said the activating spell:
“Light-Drawing class, Chapter fifteen, Problem six.”
The magic wand immediately turned into a fat pencil with a shining lead.
Moving away the bed rug, Jay sketched out a fox on the floor. He was so nervous that luminous wings flared up behind his back from time to time and he had to use his Will Power to black them out. What if it runs out before I complete the ritual? Jay thought, agitated.
He had already tried to create a talking fox without saving up enough Will Power, and he got a white woolen sock instead. It was completely clueless and hid under the bed right away. Whenever anyone tried to touch it, the sock puffed itself up and hissed spitefully.
On the second try, Jay did not have enough magic and he came up with a sock again, this one a bit smaller. The socks made friends, ran away from home, and made a nest in a rock crack. Soon they had children – three balls of white yarn.
“I hope it works this time,” Jay kept repeating. Now he was questioning his magic ability. After all, what kind of a magician were you if the only thing you could make were useless socks?
The minute hand moved to twelve. A little door above the clock face opened and a cuckoo perch came out; it had a plaque attached to it that said, “Sleeping. Do not disturb!”
The drawing on the floor flared up and became a mirror, reflecting Jay’s pale face. His fair hair was standing on end and his blue eyes were widened, as if he had to go into a giant’s den without a safety vest of invisibility.
Jay uncorked the little flask he wore dangling from his wrist and the bluish balls of magic floated up one after the other. Circling a bit in the air, they dissolved in the mirrored surface and soon enough little violet-colored lightnings played over it.
Suddenly everything went out and Jay froze in despair – did something go wrong again?
“Shalaam-balaam,” he said in a trembling voice. The lightnings flared up again and Jay breathed out in relief. “Abara-kadabara!” he continued to read the magic words.
To make a live creature you had to find a thousand odd words in the reference guide and then make a spell of them. There were no ready-made formulas for this – after all, the magician had to take into account his own ideas, the time, the place, and the positions of the stars in the sky. For a ten-year-old it was a nearly impossible task.
Nevertheless, when Jay finished reading the spell, there was a brilliant whirlpool on the mirrored surface. A ray of light from the magic wand hit it, there was a gust of hot wind, and a fireball went spinning in the air.
If I get a sock this time, I’ll never do magic again, thought Jay.
With a loud pop the fireball fell apart into minute sparks and a tiny white fox with a purple gem on her forehead jumped down on the floor.
Jay picked her up and brought her to his face: “I can’t believe it… It worked!”
The fox timidly touched him on the nose, “Hi…”
Jay meets the magic fox
There was metallic jingling and a patter of little feet out in the hall.
“Your son is playing with magic again!” said a nasty, high-pitched voice by the door.
Jay kicked his magic wand under the bed.
“We’ve got to hide!” he said to the fox. “Rusty Pomodoro’s coming!”
Pulling back the bed rug, he picked her up and slid under the blanket.
A light came on in the hall and Mom walked into his room followed by a tiny knight in rusty armor. He was waving his sword, hiding behind Mom’s legs, and yelling, “Milady, there must be a monster hiding here!”
Sir Rusty Pomodoro
“What’s going on?” asked Mom, not paying any attention to Rusty. “We heard a pop.”
Jay half-opened an eye.
“I just swatted a mosquito,” he said.
Lying did you no good – Will Power depleted very quickly if you did, but Jay could not show the fox to his Mom. She had enough problems with Sir Pomodoro and did not allow new magic creatures at home.
Mom created Rusty when she was still a young witch and wanted to be courted by a real knight, even a little one. But Rusty Pomodoro turned out to be a scaredy-cat, a sloppy Joe, and a terrible chatterbox. He was afraid to be alone even in the daytime; and in order to feel secure, he followed Mom around all day long and nagged her with advice on improving defenses.
“I don’t believe this mosquito story,” Rusty grumbled, peeking out from behind Mom’s skirt. “I saw something shine from under his door.”
“It was a firefly mosquito,” answered Jay. “It had a light bulb in its tummy.”
Luckily, Mom believed him – there were all sorts of magic creatures on Cake Island and no one would be surprised to see even a firefly dinosaur.
“Go to sleep now,” Mom kissed Jay goodnight and left his room.
Rusty Pomodoro ran after her, rattling his armor. “Milady, do not walk in the halls alone! You will be lost without me!”
Once the door was shut, Jay climbed out of bed.
“Where are you?” he called to the fox.
A sly little face with a black nose peeked from under the pillow.
“Who was that?”
“That was Mom and her faithful knight. My father is a surgeon at the hospital and he is on night duty today, so Rusty’s afraid of his own shadow. Let’s play, but we have to be quiet. They can’t find out about you or I’ll be in a lot of trouble.”
The fox nodded and began tickling Jay with her fluffy tail. They played for a long time, trying not to laugh too loudly; then they talked and Jay told her about himself and about other Neoniks who lived on Cake Island.
“I’ll show you around,” he promised. “Our island really does look like a cake with several layers – a large one with the smaller ones on top of each other. If you look at it from above, the beaches and the forest look like icing, and the houses – like candied fruit and nuts.”
The fox wrapped herself around Jay’s wrist like a bracelet, and a wave of violet light went over her soft fur. Jay noticed this happening every time she was happy.
Mystie the fox
“I’ll sleep here,” said the fox. “It’s the most comfortable place in the world. Have you decided what to name me?”
Jay thought for a bit. “How about Mystie?”
“That’ll work,” said the fox and closed her eyes. “Good night!”
Mystie fell asleep quickly, but Jay stayed awake for a long time and stroked her furry back with his finger – he still could not believe that he had created a real talking animal.
Jay was also worried about tomorrow’s Parascience class. Their teacher, an ex-sea captain named Sea Dog, told them to memorize the magic Winged Words that were used to restore Neoniks’ flying ability. It was a very long, difficult, and boring spell beginning with “Buh-toom, duh-doom, buh-boom…” that you had to chant to a special beat.
Mom gave Jay a double ball of magic to practice with the Winged Words but he spent it to charge his “spaghetti” and did not do his homework.
“Sea Dog’s not likely to give us a pop quiz anyway,” Jay tried to reason with himself. “He always gives the kids a pep talk before summer break and then tells stories about his young days. He is sure to get excited over that and forget about the Winged Words.”