Spring – Cratersville – Fifth Grade
Written by Jellybean Reds
We were spending the afternoon in Cratersville. It was spring and we were talking about animals that are symbolic of the season when Poppy mentioned sheep. Apparently she had been talking to Marjorie, one of Mrs. Fields friends, about sheep and how wool is turned into yarn.
It sounded complicated, so I quipped that the whole process would be a whole lot easier if the sheep’s wool were already pre-colored.
Poppy’s eyes lit up. I half-expected a eureka sign to appear above her head.
We spent the rest of the afternoon designing the perfect pre-colored sheep that would deliver the perfect pre-colored wool. Our wool would be new and improved. It would be soft like silk, bright like a rainbow, and definitely shrink-proof. We both hated how woolen things shrank in the wash.
The problem is, we really didn’t know if we should make the sheep themselves shrink-proof or shrink-proof their wool only. We argued over the logistics of each scenario not realizing that all of our convoluted suggestions would eventually set up a series of improbable events.
Not that we expected our colorful sheep to become real. We lived in a desert town where tumbleweeds ran free. Adding sheep to the mix would only create a velcro nightmare, so we archived our designs and didn’t give them another thought.
We should have known the Magic would play Puck with our ill-conceived idea…
Early March – Cratersville – Ninth Grade
Written by Blueberry Fields
I was at my grandpa’s place. He and gran had a motel at the edge of town. Strange shit happens at the edge of town, and this day was no different.
It was crap cold outside. I was looking through Grandpa Field’s latest batch of clunker starcars that he was about to transform into solid gold classics when gran comes out and beckons him inside. It’s never good when Grandma Fields beckons.
Grandpa grunted as we left his classics-in-waiting. He knew something was up before the screen door shut.
“I need your help,” gran said.
“What’s it now?” Grandpa grumbled.
Grandma Fields told her tale, after which Grandpa Fields promptly told her it was the craziest thing he ever heard. This was his way of acquiescing to her request for help without losing face when his poker pals found out.
We left the house and headed out to the sprawling garage where grandpa did his restoration work. My twin-sister, Bluesy joined us. Grandma Fields may have given the orders, but it was Bluesy who rallied the troops.
Behind the garage sat a much-abused, pickup-style starcar. I learned to drive it when I was eight. So did Bluesy, though she would never admit it.
The door creaked fiercely as grandpa opened it. He slid behind the wheel, while my sister Bluesy and I loaded the accoutrements we would need for our adventure in the rusty bed. When we were sure everything was tied down, we joined him up front.
The starcar started out slowly on four wheels before picking up speed on the gravely road. Bluesy and I held on as the starcar rattled like a bucket-of-bolts. Right before it shimmied apart, it lifted off and took flight. In a blur of light we were off, cocooned within a force-field of energy.
In the air, the flight was smooth and quiet. We flew high amongst the signpost satellites as we cleared the hills that surrounded Cratersville proper.
Apparently, our destination was the phantom lands on the other side of the ridge. If I was smart, I would have asked how a bunch of sheep ended up in the middle of nowhere, but, once grandma had spoken, the details really didn’t matter.
As the phantom lands came into view, we began our descent. Bluesy had provided coordinates to grandpa before we left. I’m not sure how Bluesy discovered the sheep. I think it’s the freaky blue ring she had been wearing for the last month. I swore it was some kind of beacon, though I could never prove it.
As we landed, the sheep came into view. Grandma Fields’ tale of sheep engulfed by tumbleweeds proved spot on. There was one thing that she had failed to mention.
“No one said they were in technicolor,” I said.
“Does it matter?” Bluesy replied, innocently.
“You know I hate magic,” I said.
Bluesy put on her gloves and got to work tackling the tumbleweeds by the time that grandpa and I joined her.
“Now Bluesy,” grandpa said, “don’t free them all at once.”
Bluesy paused. “You’re right.”
We freed four at once for that was the number of crates we brought for transport. Sheep are stubborn little beasts and cantankerous to boot. A sheepdog probably would have been a good idea.
Bluesy had one better. She whistled and motioned with her hand. At once, a rabbit appeared at her side. The rabbit, a phantom companion since her birthday, exhibited the same freaky blue glow as her ring.
Light lightning the rabbit zipped erratically around the sheep’s legs. At first they scattered, but soon they were drawn together as if by an invisible rope.
The rabbit thumped. Sparks flew from its feet. The rabbit thumped again, before escorting the first sheep towards the crate. Whenever the sheep balked, the rabbit thumped.
By the end of the day, we had crated and delivered all the sheep to their new home. I asked Marjorie what she was going to do with all the sheep. I knew she did textiles and stuff, but having freaky colored sheep hanging around just seemed wrong.
Marjorie said she was going to experiment with their wool.
Now, I know I should have warned her not to go mucking around with things she didn’t understand, but I kept my mouth shut.
I’m smart that way.
Fall Festival – Cratersville – Tenth Grade
Written by Jellybean Reds
It was the day of the Fall Festival. Blue and I were taking a quick walk around the booths, directly before it opened to the public. I didn’t have much time before having to head back to my own set up, so we were walking fast.
I waved at Marjorie as we approached her booth. I always make a quick stop to look at her wares. It didn’t take me long to see that something was amiss with her offerings that year. Sure, they were their usual beautiful, but…
“Is that what you did with the sheep wool?” Blueberry asked. “Why did you make them so small?”
“I didn’t make them small,” she exclaimed. “They became small!”
I picked up one of the tiny hats. They were so soft, like silk, and bright like a rainbow, and the stitches were so tiny, like knitting in miniature…
“Can you believe it!” Marjorie continued. “I spent all summer designing them, now this! What am I to do now?”
Blueberry opened his mouth to speak, but stopped. I got the impression that there was a story going on that I wasn’t privy to.
“Uh, where did you get the wool from?” I asked, the answer already dawning on me.
“The sheep,” Marjorie said. “The ones that Bluesy found in the phantom lands.”
I glared at Blue. “Bluesy found sheep and you didn’t tell me?”
“I didn’t tell anyone, Jel,” Blueberry said. “Rustling up sheep isn’t cool, and I have a reputation to consider. You know Bluesy, she rescues things. Grandpa and I helped out. No big deal.”
In full panic, I hurried back to my booth. It was there I spent the rest of the day perusing my Creation Book for answers. I felt bad for Marjorie. Her whole inventory went all shrinky-dinky on her, and Poppy and I were to blame.
Between customers, I zeroed in on the flaw that made the wool magically shrink. Well, it really wasn’t a flaw. It was more like a series of flaws.
The first flaw was that the scripting we did to prevent the sheep’s wool from shrinking wasn’t permanent. It couldn’t be, not unless we really wanted to go ahead with making them real, at which point we could choose to make that selection.
Secondly, Poppy and I—thinking ourselves clever—wanted to insert a proof of sorts in the script. The proof went that if for some reason the anti-wool-shrinking script failed (or expired) the wool in question would shrink automatically, in a striking way. This would alert us to go back and fix things in our Creation Books before the sheep became real.
The problem is since the sheep became real without the right script in place all the wool that comes from them will—at some point—do a shrinky-dinky without warning.
I knew I could offer a spell to reverse the shrinkage, but I’m not sure Marjorie wanted to become a mage just to keep her woolen things the right size.
When I followed up with Marjorie at the end of the show I noticed that she had already packed up.
“Well Jelly, can you believe it!” Marjorie exclaimed. “I never had such an interesting day in all my life!”
“What happened?” I asked, nervously.
“Just when I was about ready to call it a day, all these little creatures came around. I had been hearing rumors of their existence for quite a while, but I didn’t believe they really existed. You can imagine my shock when there they were looking at my scarves and things. Next thing you know they bought me out. Apparently, no one ever bothered making anything in their size before. Imagine that!”
“Wow,” I said, dazed. “It sounds like you have a whole new clientele.”
“Oh dear me no,” Marjorie said, “I’m busy enough with my regular customers, but I told them I would be willing to teach them the tricks of the trade as long as they took all those technicolor sheep off my hands. Those things are multiplying like crazy. I don’t know how I would keep feeding them all.”
I would have said, “alls well that ends well,” but between the magic and the little creatures I wasn’t really sure I would ever feel well again.