Mr kents wall of wonders, p.1
Mr. Kent's Wall of Wonders, p.1D.D. Roy / Young Adult / Fantasy
Mr. Kent’s Wall of Wonders
A Troubled Tweens Short Story
By DD Roy
Copyright © 2013
Table of Contents
Mr. Kent’s Wall of Wonders: A Short Story Bonus to the Series
Sneak Peek of Jinnie Wishmaker, Book 1 of the Series
Sneak Peek of Marcus Mender, Book 2 of the Series
About the Troubled Tween Series
About the Author
Mr. Kent’s Wall of Wonders
By D.D. Roy
Each year, Mr. Kent dreaded this day most of all.
It wasn’t really the report that was due. The forms were easy to fill in now that headquarters had sent him the ScanBot 5000, which made categorizing all his magical items quite simple.
His problem waited in Cabinet 11. He faced the wall of doors, each a different color. They varied from the largest, which held a flying bicycle (the girl who eventually wrote the movie E.T. had lived near him as a boy and caught Mr. Kent riding it one night in front of the full moon), to the smallest, barely the size of a ring box, which held a small rock from Mars.
The bell rang, and he stood near the window watching the students of Trinity hurry by. He spotted Jinnie first, jostled among the faster students, lost in thought. No doubt she was hearing or sensing a dozen colliding wishes among the middle schoolers, all ringing inside her head for attention. She’d described it as a buzzing feeling, like when you rode in a car that vibrated really hard, making your stomach quiver. She’d gotten used to it, and now it didn’t make her feel sick, but the sensation still made it hard for her to focus on anything else.
Soon he saw Maddy and her twin sister Grace. Maddy stomped down the sidewalk, shoving people out of the way. She wore her crazy striped tights as usual. No doubt some teacher would be sending her to the office at some point during the day.
Grace stepped daintily through the crowd, hugging other girls and smiling at everyone. Mr. Kent chuckled to himself. Grace glanced at the window and waved. She pointed at her wrist. He had loaned her a bright red bangle bracelet with a smiley face painted on it. She nodded and gave him a thumbs up. Good, that meant it was working.
Grace had a tendency to cry too much, and sometimes her bright smile was really hiding a deep and powerful sorrow. The enchanted bangle had the ability to cheer up anyone who wore it. You just had to tap the smiley face twice and think of one good thing that had happened to you. The happiness of that moment would then spread to your whole body, and any temporary sadness faded away.
Mr. Kent returned to his desk, shoving aside the normal school papers to reveal his report parchment. He no longer had to fill it out with a quill and ink, thank goodness, but the organization of the checkboxes had not changed in a hundred years, far before his time.
His door burst open, and Marcus flew into the room.
"Whatever’s the matter?" Mr. Kent asked.
"I fixed something that should have stayed broken!" He laid a bright yellow whistle on the table and backed away as if it might explode.
Mr. Kent studied the plastic outer shell. It had been cracked at one point, he could see. "What’s wrong with it?" He turned the mouthpiece toward him.
"Don’t point it at your mouth!"
A horrifying shriek blasted from the whistle like the scream of a ghost. Mr. Kent cupped the whistle in his hands, trying to muffle the sound.
"See?" Marcus shouted.
"How long will it sound like this?" Mr. Kent yelled over the noise.
The piercing screech abruptly ended.
"That long," Marcus said.
Principal Bower hurtled into the room, looking every direction at once. "What was that? Who is hurt? Should we call an ambulance?"
Mr. Kent kept the whistle tight in his palm. "Whatever do you mean?"
"That agonized sound I heard coming from here. Surely something fell on someone?" She studied Marcus and Mr. Kent then glanced behind the desk.
"We’re quite all right here," Mr. Kent said. "Perhaps it was the attendance office?"
Principal Bower backed slowly out of the rooms. "I’m not crazy. I heard that sound." She whirled and walked back into the hall.
Marcus sagged on the desk. "See?"
"Where did you get this?"
"Bruscilla threw it out the window of the bus after someone stepped on it. I figured it was Loki magic."
"Indeed." Mr. Kent didn’t dare open his hands again but nodded toward a blue cabinet on his wall. "Can you get that for me?"
Marcus opened the small door, and Mr. Kent thrust the whistle inside. It attempted another shrill cry, but he slammed the cabinet shut.
"I didn’t mean to fix it! I picked it up, and you know, I just did!"
Mr. Kent patted Marcus on the back. "You’ll get control of that power soon, and you’ll only fix things you intend to repair. Remember how Jinnie used to grant wishes haphazardly?"
"Boy do I." Marcus had gotten very sick after receiving ice cream he wished for as a joke.
"Now off to class. We’ll attend to that whistle at our next Troubled Tween meeting. The girls might know what Bruscilla intended to use it for."
Marcus nodded, shifting his backpack on his shoulders. "See you later."
Never a dull moment at Trinity. The final bell sounded, so Mr. Kent closed the door, locking it with his special key that would temporarily erase the memory of anyone who tried to turn the knob. They would walk away without remembering why they wanted to visit, and he could finish his inventory uninterrupted.
He moved to Cabinet 18, where he’d placed the ScanBot after it arrived two weeks ago. He itched to get started. How much easier it would be to just open each door and quickly scan the object inside. Maybe, just maybe, he’d be able to keep Cabinet 11 under control this year.
The mandarin orange door revealed the sleek silver machine, about the size of a flashlight and just as simple. One button turned the ScanBot on, and a second one activated the scanner. A small screen displayed the scan results.
He opened the red door to Cabinet 1. Inside was a pair of magical dice. Despite appearing normal in every way, white cubes with black dots, no matter how you rolled, you always got double sixes. They had been great fun at parties when he was a teenager but weren’t very useful as battle magic. He aimed the ScanBot at the dice, pushed the red button, and a beam of light flashed as it captured the three-dimensional image. The screen lit up, showing a picture of the dice and "Dice: 2. Rolls double sixes."
Cabinet 2 was empty, where the smiley bangle should go. He’d scan it later, at the Troubled Tween meeting.
Cabinet 3 held magical lip gloss. He aimed the machine at it and pressed the button. The pink tube, swiped from his older sister in 1967, appeared on the screen. "Lip gloss: 1. Seals lips closed for approximately six minutes."
He laughed to himself, remembering when Keira had planned to tattle on him because he’d snuck out the night before to ride his flying bicycle. He’d enchanted the lip gloss to keep her from being able to tell his parents, but she was smarter than that, ripping a page from her notebook and writing it down. She had known about his power to add magic to everyday objects, but his parents had never been told.
He’d almost forgotten the jump rope inside Cabinet 4. The machine captured the image, pausing a moment to figure out its magic. "Jump rope: 1. Provides invisibility while activated." No one ever used the jump rope, as you were only invisible while you were jumping. He’d used it to sneak into a parent-teacher meeting at school, to see what they were saying about him. But of course, he’d tripped and as soon as the rope stopped skipping, he was visible again. Grounded two weeks. He should have made an invisible hat or something else easy. He’d only been nine then. He got smarter about it later.
In the Mood
Cabinet 5 held one of his favorites, a small velvet box with a mood ring inside. He tugged the silver scallop ring out, cradling it in his palm. He’d made the ring very shortly before his powers had left him when he was thirteen, during the period when he had frantically tried to make sure he had everything he needed to get him through a lifetime as a non-magical person.
The ring turned the usual colors for regular people, but if you had abilities, whether you knew it or not, the ring would become clear. He’d last used it on Jinnie. The ring was his way of knowing who he was dealing with as he was growing up, and now, as a counselor and regional advisor, he used it to help young people recognize their abilities. He scanned it quickly and moved on to Cabinet 6.
He opened the pink cabinet to reveal an old-fashioned Polaroid picture that appeared to be faded to black. Mr. Kent held his breath a moment. Such a powerful object, one of the most impressive items he’d ever enchanted. He lifted it from the shelf, afraid to stare into its dark rectangle.
The image began to develop color and light. It showed him kneeling on the ground by Principal Bower, who had fainted dead away on the ground. Marcus stood behind her, looking shocked. Mr. Kent burst out laughing and quickly scanned the Polaroid with the bot. "Polaroid Photograph: 1," the screen read. "Provides a snapshot of the viewer’s life if they changed their very last decision."
Mr. Kent had chosen to lie to Principal Bower about the whistle, not the best policy, but the only option he could think of on short notice. The Polaroid showed what would have happened if he had made a different decision, one to tell her about the magic whistle. The image darkened back to black, awaiting the next person to look at it. He returned it to its cabinet.
He opened Cabinet 7 and immediately groaned. Now THAT had been a life changing enchantment. He’d used the slinky dozens of times. When you stretched it out, it made you super-humanly tall, so you could look in windows, climb up trees, or crawl on roofs. He’d used it so much that one time, when he’d stretched himself up to reach a kite in a tree, it had sprung and broken before collapsing all the way back down. This was why now, as an adult, he was still over seven feet tall.
He held the slinky, afraid to let it move even an inch. Marcus could fix it, he was certain, and use it to return himself to normal size. He looked down at the ground, imagining it much closer, and at his six-foot desk, which could be cut back down. Nah. He scanned the slinky and set it back inside its door. He was used to his height now. No use changing one of the things that made him unique.
A knock at his door startled him. He glanced at the magical key, still in the lock. "Mr. Kent?" a voice said. The principal again. "I have a student to see you."
Mr. Kent covered his hand with his sleeve so he could turn the knob without knocking out his own memory. Outside, Mrs. Bower waited with a wiggly young boy, probably a third grader.
"Can it wait until later today?" he asked. "I’m in the middle of an urgent report."
"I’m afraid not."
Mr. Kent sighed. "Can you turn that knob for me, Mrs. Bower? I think it’s stuck."
"Well, okay." She grasped the brass knob then immediately let it go. She shook her head. "Why, hello, Mr. Kent! I came down the hall to—" She paused. "To do something." She looked down at the boy. "What are you doing here? Hustle to class now!"
The boy’s eyebrows shot up. "Really?"
"Go on," Mr. Kent said.
The boy dashed down the hall and through the office doors.
The principal frowned, still confused. "Thank you," she said absently and turned back down the hall.
He closed the door and leaned on it. Still so many cabinets to go. Some fifty in all. And that pesky number 11. The door to number 11 was brick red, menacing. Maybe he could skip it somehow. No doubt the moment he opened the door, even a crack, it would escape. If only this report was due during the summer, when he didn’t have to worry about students in the halls if it got loose.
He returned to Cabinet 8. Inside a black handkerchief lay neatly folded. He couldn’t resist and tugged it out, setting the ScanBot down a moment. He made a fist with his left hand and covered it with the fabric square. Immediately all the lights in the building went out. Someone shouted from the next room. When he lifted the handkerchief away, the light returned. Such a great trick. He did it once more, then scanned it into inventory and placed it back on the shelf.
Cabinet 9 was enormous, on the bottom, almost as big as the one next to it, 10, which held the bicycle. He opened the square door to reveal a red and white hula hoop. Again, he couldn’t help himself, laughing out loud as he pulled it out and stepped inside. As it began to spin around his waist, the room changed. The cabinets turned brown again, dull and ordinary. The desk shrunk back to normal size. The moon and star mobile hanging in the center of the room disappeared. Another man sat at the desk, surrounded by papers and a very old-fashioned telephone. He wore a funny wool suit and a little red bow tie. The calendar on the wall behind him read 1942.
The other man looked up, saw Mr. Kent, and stood. "Hey, who are you?"
Mr. Kent whirled the hula hoop faster and now the walls fell away. He stood on a construction site, steel girders surrounding him. Men in overalls unloaded brick from a big truck with a wooden bed, the kind he’d only seen in movies.
A worker shouted, "Mind yer heads!" A big steel beam came right for his face!
Mr. Kent ducked and disrupted the spin of the hula hoop. It clattered to the ground and the scene quickly righted itself back to present day, the colored cabinets and his oversized desk. He stepped out of the hula hoop and scanned it. Sometime he’d have to take this toy home to find out the history of his house.
He opened Cabinet 10 and quickly scanned the bicycle. Too bad he could never take it for a spin, but after the slinky incident, it was miles too small for him to pedal fast enough to fly. If he’d known Jinnie would be riding to Silver’s house when she tried to retrieve her stolen wish from the magic thieves, he would have loaned her this one.
Now it was time for 11. Maybe he should skip it. If only the report wasn’t due so soon! But rules were rules. It had to be submitted during daylight on the 22nd of May, every year. On good years, this was a weekend, but not this time.
He took a deep breath and turned the dial of the combination lock that kept Cabinet 11 protected. He readied the scanner and cracked open the door. He pushed the end of the machine in and pressed the button then slammed the door shut.
The ScanBot bleeped a warning. "Scan failed" the display read.
Curses. He opened the door again, bracing his knee against it, and aimed the bot inside. Thumping noises startled him but he held the door tight.
Magic on the Loose
An image appeared on screen, turning in three dimensions. "Pogo stick: 1. Able to hop entire structures and achieve super sonic speeds exceeding—"
Mr. Kent fell back on the floor as the pogo stick knocked hard against the door and flung it open.
The stick sprung against the floor and smashed against the ceiling, knocking a hole in the plaster. Bits of white rained on Mr. Kent’s head as he scrambled back up. The pogo stick lunged for the door, and Mr. Kent grasped for it, tumbling forward to catch himself on the doorknob.
The door opened wide and the pogo stick made a break for the hallway. Mr. Kent let go of the doorknob, puzzled. Why had he opened the door? What had he just been doing?
He glanced down at the ScanBot in his hand. Something to do with the cabinets. He saw the display with the image of the pogo stick at the same time he heard a scream from the main office. Cabinet 11! He turned back to it and saw the open door and loose lock. It had escaped!
He dropped the ScanBot on a chair and ran down the hall. The students in the office sat shocked, the secretary standing over the long front desk with her mouth open.
"Rogue pogo," Mr. Kent said. "Mechanical remote control thing." He ran out in the main hall just as the pogo launched itself into the ceiling again, this time getting entangled in the "Welcome to Trinity" banner. Mr. Kent caught up to it, holding out his arms in hopes of snatching it. If he could get on the darn thing, he could steer it back to his office. It wasn’t easy, as he was too tall for it, but he’d done it before.
The metal pole crashed in front of him, and he managed to get his hands around the handles before it took off again. He realized his mistake as soon as it sprung up again, his head going straight for the concrete ceiling.
He angled the bars and leaned forward, neatly flipping as they went up so that the bottom of the pogo hit up top. Now they were hurtling toward the floor. Mr. Kent let go before he smashed into the tile, rolling into the wall. The pogo took off for the atrium.
A bell rang and students spilled out of the room. This was a disaster. He chased after the pogo, shouting, "Back away! Remote control machine gone batty!"
Maddy and Grace caught up to him. "What can we do?"
The pogo appreciated the height of the main entrance, where stairs led to a second floor, bouncing up and down in place. Shocked students lined the staircases, watching it.
The three of them stood away from the crowd to discuss their options. "Do you think my power works on a machine?" Grace asked.
Mr. Kent watched the silver stick, considering this. "Have you ever calmed down anything but people?"
"She hasn’t," Maddy said. "But it’s worth a shot."
"I don’t know," Mr. Kent said. "This thing is pretty dangerous. If it gets outside, it can jump entire buildings."
Jinnie ran up and set her books on the floor. "I can help. That thing might be a thing, but it has enough personality to have a wish."
"What can that thing want?" Maddy said. "It’s a bunch of metal and a spring."
"Isn’t it obvious?" Grace said. "It wants freedom."
"That’s the one thing it isn’t going to get," Mr. Kent said.
"Nope," Jinnie said. "What it wants is a rider."
"I’m up for it," Grace said. "Just tell me what to do."
Mr. Kent's Wall of Wonders by D.D. Roy / Young Adult / Fantasy have rating 4.3 out of 5 / Based on17 votes