Note: To read The Wishing Map from the beginning, click here.
The Wishing Map
Chapter Sixteen: Fisher Folk and Naims
Previously: Knowing they might never come home again, Zack and Gina nevertheless agreed to return to Ismara.
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Ten minutes after Momandad called good-night from the hallway Zack opened the door to Gina’s room and slipped inside. She looked up, and then went back to figuring out what to wear.
Zack had on jeans, sneakers, and a t-shirt. Over the t-shirt he’d added the tarnished hauberk Aunt Aloysia had given him, and on top of that a faded Green Lantern hoodie. He also had a backpack filled with essentials like twine, flashlight, and party-sized bag of Jolly Ranchers.
“We’re only going for a few hours,” Gina snided as she dug through her chest of drawers.
“How do you know? What if it takes a month?”
“Hello? You think maybe someone might miss us?”
“That’s twelve hours.”
“If we spend a month in Ismara, twelve hours goes by here.”
“Holy…you’re right!” She pushed her desk chair over to the closet, climbed onto it, and pulled down her old Disney Princesses backpack, unconsciously feeling that if she thought of the event as a G-rated movie, it might end up being as harmless as one. She was going to put the crystal scarf Aunt Aloysia had given her into it, but at the last second decided to stuff it into her pants pocket instead.
Ten minutes later, the siblings Dore positioned themselves over the glowing blue triangle-in-a-circle near Kellansend Bay in Sur (South) Kellan.
“I’m completely freaking out here,” admitted Gina.
“Me too. I thought I wanted to go back, but not—”
“Not like this?”
“I mean we might not even—”
“I was going to say ‘survive,’ but that too. Still, if we don’t, Ismara, and maybe even Middleton—”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Why us, damn it?”
Zack shot his sister a look, but then said, “Yeah, damn it!”
They stood in silence for several minutes before Gina whispered, “I didn’t think I’d miss Middleton, but…”
Zack nodded. She took his hand. Sister and brother stared out the window at the placid Kleemuk Hills, the ancestral crescent that had watched over them since their births. And then Gina whispered, “We want—”
“Wish,” Zack corrected.
“Right. We wish…”
“That we were there,” they finished together.
Just as the cool blue light began to spiral up and encircle them, Zack said, “Wait! How do we find it?”
There was a loud WHOOM, and they were sucked into the Map.
Compared to falling into Ismara, skydiving is bed-bouncing. Still, they’d done it before, so after a few minutes they began to relax a little.
They let go of one another’s hands and actually began to play in the air: Gina made her hands soar the way you do when you stick them out a car window, then realizing she could do this with her whole body, started to bend and twist in various directions. Zack did a Goofy-esque swan dive, followed by a series of cartoonish runs. Once they learned to use their limbs as ailerons, they swam…pirouetted…leapfrogged…played badminton…
In short, they did everything you’d do if you could fly—except prepare to land. Then they looked down and saw the double moon.
“Wait. How can the moon be below us?” Zack shouted.
“We must be falling up!”
They looked up, or rather they looked in the direction that should have been up: there was the double moon, faithfully hanging in the sky above them. They looked back down again: there was the double moon, faithfully—
“Oh, crud!” exclaimed Zack. “It’s wa—”
They hit the water hard.
Thoughts: Have you ever been dangerously unprepared for what you were about to face? Basketball great “Pistol” Pete Maravich died just minutes after announcing, “I feel great!”
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