Excerpt of When Magic Becomes Real


This is an excerpt of When Magic Becomes Real, which is an ongoing serial I’ll be sharing if you subscribe to my newsletter. I hope you enjoy.

Issue 1 - Petra

I remember the day magic became real. It’s burned into my memory, never to be forgotten, because it’s also the day my parents died in the car accident. We are on family vacation. They are driving my eight year old twin brother, Jesse, and myself home from a fun action packed week at Disneyland. We are driving away from L.A., finally free of the massive sprawl and never-ending congestion of the high way. My mom is driving and as the traffic trickles to a light flow, she opens up and lets the car loose, eager to get us home and reveling in the freedom of being able to drive faster than a 15 mph crawl.

It’s around 10:30 in the morning and the marine layer has burned off. The desert sun is beating down on the car, and we have the air conditioner blowing to keep us as cool as it could in the sweltering heat of the day. Jesse and I are ignoring each other, fresh off a round of give me back my phone, with dad telling us to both pipe down and leave each other alone. We are fixedly staring at our phone screens, doing our best to ignore each other, but occasionally eyeing each other warily, in case our fun little fight resumes. Neither of us wants to tempt Dad’s wrath, but I wants to get back at Jesse for stealing my phone and trying to mess up my game and music.

Then it happens. The color of the sky changes from a deep azure blue to a bright crimson red. The car itself seems to float in the air for a few moments, light as a feather, and then it crashes down on the pavement and my parents screams. Jesse and I both feel like the air is knocked out of us and we gasp for breath. His green eyes meet mine and he looks panicked, grabbing for my left hand with his hand. Somehow his hand finds its way into mine and we squeeze each other for dear life.

We look out the car window and see the sky continue shifting from maroon to indigo to teal and then back to blue again. The car itself drifts off the road and plows into the desert and rock beside the highway, finally coming to a stop a when it hits a wall.

“Wh-what happened?” Jesse asked shrilly. His clammy hand is still in mine and he abruptly wrenches it away.

“M-om? D-dad?” He asks.

Silence from the front. I look to the front and no one’s there. Nothing is there except an empty set of seats.

“I don’t think they’re with us Jesse,” I say, scared. Tears start welling out of my eyes and I start crying. Jesse starts wailing and crying too. They’re not here with us! They’re gone. What are we going to do?

We cry for a few minutes and then we simultaneously stop and start wiping our faces. We do this all the time. We’ll be doing something and then we’ll abruptly stop together. It’s because we’re twins, my mom thinks, because we have some kind of connection on a different wave length than anyone else.

“They aren’t here. We have to get help,” Jesse says.

“We also need water,” I say.

“I’ll call 911,” he says.

“While I’ll get out and open the trunk to get the water,” I finish.

We do that all the time, finishing each other’s sentences.

I skootch to the driver seat, through the gap between the back and the front and find the latch to trunk. I pop it open and unlock the car.

“Hello? We’re stuck in the desert. We crashed,” I hear Jesse say. 

I open the driver side door and hop out and gingerly walk around to the back. I feel sore all over, more than what I was already feeling after 3 days of walking all over Disneyland. It’s like my entire body is on fire.

I root around in the trunk looking for water. Mom always makes sure we have emergency supplies like blankets, water, etc, in case we get stuck somewhere. Forearmed is forewarned she’d say, and I suppose she’s right, wherever she is. She can’t be dead…she can’t.

I go back around to my door in the car and open it.

“I don’t know where we are. My parents are gone and we were on the highway out of L.A., I think the 5, but I don’t know!” Jesse says. His voice is too loud, too scared, too much.

I don’t hear what the other person says, but after a few moments Jesse hangs up and says, “They told me they’re coming. They said to stay where we are, not to leave the car, they’ll get to us as soon as they can. But Petra, they told me everything is crazy and it might be a while.”

“Good thing we have some water and granola then.”

He nods and then starts to tear up again.

“They’ll find them,” I say. I say it because if I believe it hard enough I won’t be crying like he is. And I need to believe that someone will find them.

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