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The Wishing Map
Chapter Thirteen: Domestic Blitz (Continued)
Previously: Less than an hour had passed the entire time Zack and Gina had been in Ismara. One task remained: to return the mysterious Objects to their own world. But how?
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Zack awoke fifteen hours later. He might have slept even longer if it hadn’t been the kind of torpid August day that forces you to peel off your sheets and slither out of bed; even the hamster wheel was squeaking listlessly. He discovered he’d vomited in his sleep, so he dragged his soiled blanket to the trash can and began scraping dried popcorn and mud into it. Mud? It was real then—becoming a sylph and then getting un-sylphed, traveling on the back of a gigantic bird who made us promise to send…
The Objects were bashing wildly against the inside of the toy chest, even more than when Aunt Aloysia had first brought the Map. Why? Zack stepped away from the big olivewood box—the Objects calmed down. He stepped closer—they went berserk again, bashing, thrashing, doing everything in their power to break the heavy lock off its iron hasp. Weird, it’s like I’m magnetized or something, but what could have made me… Ismara! The Objects are trying to get home and they can smell Ismara on me!
Gina was trying to believe she was still asleep when Zack burst into her room. “Zack! I’m going to kill you!”
Undaunted, he plopped down on her bed.
“Get out of my room! I mean it!“
“We have to send the Objects back, or they’ll try and send themselves back, and when they do they’ll bounce right on top of you!”
This might actually be true since the Map was underneath her bed. Gina stopped mid-scream and threw back her blanket. Her headache was mostly gone, but yellow tears were still draining from her eyes.
“The Objects are going nuts. When I go near the toy chest, it’s even worse. They’re gonna break out any second!”
Gina climbed out of bed and stomped out of her room. She marched into Zack’s room and looked at the toy chest: it was rattling like a vampire’s coffin.
“Walk up to it,” Zack said from the doorway.
Was this something he’d rigged to scare her? She took a few steps forward; the big box shook so violently it actually began to jump off the ground. Two screws fell off, and the left hinge pulled partly away. Gina stifled a scream. She looked at Zack’s alarm clock: 10:13 a.m.
“It’s Saturday. Momandad are at Fiskers.” (The café they ate at every Saturday morning.)
“Right,” said Gina, “but they’ll be home soon…we should roll the Map out first!” They rushed into her room, pulled the big parchment into the space in front of Gina’s bed, and unrolled it. “Now what?”
“I don’t know. I guess we just put ‘em on it and wish ‘em back.”
“The giant bird, what’s-his-name, said that—”
“Right. He said that…wait…then all of that was real?”
“Yep, and now we gotta—”
“Right, right, right, but Aviar said the Objects had to be brought together so that the true ruler could be revealed. So where’s that supposed to happen?”
“Zshinia. That’s where the Prime Regent lives.”
“There!” Gina pointed to the Ismaran capitol on the southeastern edge of Lake Zshinia. “So we just have to put all the Objects on that spot and wish them back. Do we have to go with them?” The moment the words left her mouth she wished she could vacuum them back in.
Zack’s eyes went round: “Go back? I…I don’t…”
She knew what he was thinking because she was thinking it too. Part of her yearned to go back, and part of her was terrified at the thought. “Well, we could just…”
“Put the Objects on the…”
“On the Map, right…”
“And then see what…”
They heard a distinctive clank from Zack’s room; both of them knew what it was. Zack ran out the door, followed by his sister. When they entered his room, they saw to their relief that the Objects had not escaped the toy chest—yet. One of the two big cast-iron hinges had fallen to the ground, but the other, along with the locked hasp, was still in place. Sensing the presence of Ismarans (for that was what Gina and Zack had become), the box began to shake…
The hasp and remaining hinge threatened to break away any minute.
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Thoughts: Have you ever faced an immensely important task–perhaps even life or death–and had no idea how to accomplish it?
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