Lilac-colored smoke poured in through the slight opening under Alyssa’s bedroom window. Alyssa leaped back. She swore the window had been closed when she’d come in here a few minutes ago.
The gas clouded into her room, blocking her sight. It washed onto her, causing her to squint and lean back. She coughed, rubbed her eyes, and opened them. The smoke faded. Someone must’ve pulled a prank, and not just any kind—one that involved…wizardry.
Alyssa’s breathing sped up. She shut the window and gazed at the huge yard and long driveway. No one was outside—not even Alex, her godfather and legal guardian.
Perhaps the trespasser had escaped or had hidden somewhere—maybe behind the tree on the lawn or somewhere else on the property.
Alyssa hurried out, brushing ash from her muted purple shirt. She entered the ground floor and opened the front door. “Hello?!”
There was no answer.
“Whoever set that smoke off, it wasn’t funny!”
The silence continued.
Despite the freezing air this autumn evening, Alyssa stepped onto the front porch. A piece of paper appeared out of nowhere, making her jump. She picked it up, anyway.
Welcome back to magic.
Her chest tightened. She hadn’t encountered a single instance of wizardry in six months! Plus, she had two objects that were supposed to protect her from such encounters.
She dashed back up to her room and opened the closet door. Tape hung from a shoebox, and the items that she had left in there…were missing.
Heart jackhammering, Alyssa moved shoes and other boxes around. The two things might’ve fallen when she and Alex had moved here from Ohio in the spring after Alex had lost his job there. No one could have stolen them while Alex had taken her to Chicago this afternoon, right?
As Alyssa picked up the same shoebox, her palms warmed up, and light beams shot out of both hands. She screamed as the rays smashed into each other, and then faded, revealing a tiny, rainbow-colored, bouncy ball.
Alyssa’s body stiffened, as if paralyzed. Her jaw hung as she gaped at the bouncing ball.
How could I have done magic? Alyssa asked herself. I’m not a wizard.
As the object jumped onto her knee, she yelped and fell back. It had left a multi-colored stain on her leggings.
She sat up. The toy sprung onto her narrow shoulders and then to the top of her head, where it cracked like an egg.
“Ow!” Alyssa covered that area and then ran her fingers down her straight, pale-blonde hair, checking for any unusual, hard textures. She lifted the ends up from the area a few inches past her hips, where the length fell to. There were tiny plastic ball-bits stuck in her tresses, so she pulled them out.
Alex knocked on the door. “Alyssa, are you ready for the party?”
“It’s almost six o’clock, sweetie. The tent in the backyard is already set up.”
“Something’s wrong with me!”
Alex opened the door, already wearing his suit. “What’s the matter?”
Alex had tied his shoulder-length light-brown hair into a ponytail. “What’s going on?”
Alyssa whimpered. “Ma…ma…”
“Are you all right?”
She shook her head.
Alex looked away and covered his goatee. “Your closet’s a mess.”
“I did magic!” Alyssa’s breathing quickened.
Alex opened his mouth. “No way. That doesn’t make sense.”
“I did!” Alyssa sucked in inhalations. “I’m not making this up!”
Alex tilted his head.
“I told you about magic back in March! I was kidnapped and taken to Fiji by an evil wizard! And then one of the mentors gave me a couple of little things to keep me safe!”
“The objects are gone! Somebody must’ve stolen them!”
Alex clapped both hands over his mouth.
“I looked everywhere in my closet! I can’t find them!”
Alex removed his hands from his mouth.
“How could you forget these things?!”
He remained mute.
“What the heck?!” She sat on her bed, and her breathing still hurried.
“I’m sorry.” Alex closed the door and left.
He’d wanted to hold this party over the summer. But his agricultural-engineering and country-singing jobs had kept him from setting a date.
Alyssa considered the ways in which she might remove these powers. Maybe one of her previous mentors would know a way. Like technology, magic became more advanced over time.