Chapter 5 – What makes the magic?

Joey and Robin had been walking a while. They had called and tweeted for Ben but the hedge seemed to muffle the sound. A mist had been forming around their feet as the time went on, and now they could hardly see in front of them. Suddenly Joey heard the crunching of leaves, the hedge began to move just ahead. “Well, this is it” Joey thought and strung an arrow on his bow ready to shoot. The arrows weren’t sharpened, so they wouldn’t hurt anything, but would give them a bit of a donk as Granny called it. The rules were ‘no aiming at living things’, however this was a bit of an emergency. The rustling was now behind him, and he span around quickly walking backwards, his heart racing. Bow at the ready. WALLOP. He collided with something. He turned quickly bow at the ready, when his eyes met the eyes of… Ben! They were just about to burst out laughing with relief, when there was a louder rustle behind them. The boys looked ahead. The mist was swirling around mysteriously, when two glowing golden eyes appeared in the gloom. The boys looked at each other and raised their bows… “Prrrrrp. Prrrrp. Prrrrp” A small tortoiseshell cat with the black eye-patch of a pirate appeared in front of them. “Mim” shouted the boys, relieved once again. Ben put out his arm to stroke her, but Mim seemed to have other ideas. She ran back in the direction she had appeared from. “Mim. Where are you going?” shouted Ben and started running after her. “Ben, don’t be silly! Come back” shouted Joey running after Ben as he disappeared into the gloom.

Joey sighed. He seemed to have lost Ben again. “Where had that boy gone this time?” he thought. “Robin, we need to find them, and Grandad… and save Granny!” The Robin flew upwards from his shoulder, and away over the hedge and as he too disappeared Joey felt a little alone. “What would Granny say in this situation?” Joey wondered. The wind blew around him “Always with you. Onwards…onwards…don’t give up!” came a voice on the breeze. Joey looked left and then right, but which way? As he stood trying to make a decision a red-breasted form flew back over the hedge. It was Robin singing, “Follow me. This way. Follow me. That way. Follow me, follow me, follow me.” Joey did as he was told and as he turned the corner of a particularly large hedge he blinked as his eyes were blinded by the sun. As he blinked again to get used to the brightness, he saw that there were four familiar figures in the square in front of him. The centre of the maze. He looked at the scene. Ben and Mim, with wrists and paws bound by electric blue rope, looked sadly at a large cage. In the cage sat the familiar tall bearded figure of Grandad. He looked pretty comfortable all things considered being in a cramped space. He was sat in a wooden chair which looked a little bit like the Whacky Chair now waiting for them in the meadow. He was carving a piece of wood. A yellow bird was appearing from the wood as Grandad used his pocket knife to whittle it. Next to the cage on the other side stood the small figure of a wizard. He was dressed head to toe in bright blue. He had the typical sort of pointed wizard hat, but it looked scrunched up like something had bounced on it. He had blonde messy hair which seemed to escape from under his hat. He looked evil, but a little ridiculous too. He was standing on his tip-toes to look taller, and was pointing his wand at Grandad. The wand was also bent like something had bounced on it. Blue sparks were dripping from the end, sizzling as they fell to the floor. “I have asked you to help me. I have been nice so far, but now I have your lovely little Grandson, and your grumpy cat I am sure you will build me a chair just like yours that can travel wherever I want and to whatever time I want. I am going to go back to when Boris whatcher’m-call-it became prime minister. I am going to take his place. I am going to rule the country, and the world. I am getting rid of all the green stuff, and all of those, those small things with feathers or fur.” He pointed his wand at a blackbird which had appeared at the top of the hedge. A snake of blue light appeared from the end and encircled the blackbird which disappeared in a little puff of feathers. “There. Aaaa…AaAAAATCHOO” the Wizard sneezed and as he did he got a little smaller. “I am allergic to those trees and plants, and all those birds and small beasts. I need to get this sorted…I can’t keep getting smaller. I have lots of beautiful things. I live in a wonderful castle. I have gold and jewels, everything I want…but that chair. Now I need that chair. I see people like you, all out in your gardens. Laughing, laughing. Growing those green things, encouraging the birds, the bees, the bugs. Just like your witchy wife whom I have sorted out! [Insert evil laugh here]. There you all are hugging and laughing, all having such a lovely time. You shouldn’t be happier than me because I have EVERYTHING. Anyway, it gives me allergies. So I am going to get rid of it all. Concrete, I need concrete, and you all need to just get on with working for me to have more gold.” By this time the wizard was right up on his tippy-toes. More blond hair was peeking out from his hat. “It’s for the best you know. I only want what’s best for you all! So just get on with it…” with that he lifted his wand in a threatening way towards Ben and Mim.

Joey could stand no more of people threatening his family, and jumped in front of the wizard, bow raised. “Oh, I thought I recognised him” hissed the wizard pointing at Ben. “You two thought you’d defeated me last time in this maze. You left me a bit bent” he said straightening his hat, and looking angrily at his wand “but I still have all my powers.” He raised his wand towards Joey and a blue snake of light began to form. The wizard moved his hand back ready to flick his wand and the magic at Joey, when Grandad shouted “Joey throw me the Raven Stick” Joey did two things – he threw the stick with all his might towards Grandad’s raised arm and ducked at the same time. The blue lighting bolt grazed Joey’s ear as he dived to the ground. As the Raven Stick landed in his hand, Grandad caught it and speared it into the ground. Several things happened. The beak of the Raven opened letting out a loud “Caw”. The rails of the cage fell to the ground freeing Grandad. One half of a gate flew over their heads into the woods beyond. The Wizard shrank with a small “plop” sound to the size of Grandad’s thumb. He stepped forward, picking up the tiny little figure between his finger and thumb, and was heard to say as he put the small wizard in his pocket, “We’ve had quite enough of that sort of thing, thank you.”

The companions walked through the beautiful trees now alive with birdsong. Everyone was happy, apart from the angry meow of Mim who thought those birds were taking liberties, and the very small sound of a sneeze from Grandad’s pocket. The wizard wasn’t getting any smaller thank goodness, or he might have disappeared. However, Grandad couldn’t make him any bigger either, despite trying. “This is a problem for Granny. She’s good at growing things” Grandad said as he patted his pocket. “Talking of Granny, where is she?” “Well” said Joey guiltily “There is something I need to explain.” They were just arriving at the edge of the woods where the Elder tree had stood. However, instead of a tree, Granny Annie was laying on the ground. Her eyes were closed as if she was asleep, and she looked oh so still except for her dreadlocks which were still rising upwards from her head, but were motionless like the branches of a toppled old elder tree. “Oh no. Granny!” shouted Joey. Grandad, Ben and Joey ran to her side. Grandad held her hand as the three gazed down at her. The Robin circled around her head. Mim climbed onto her, curling herself into a ball. One dark brown eye suddenly opened and then the other, blue stars brushing her eye-lashes. “You took your time” she said smiling.

Later after telling of their adventures, they climbed into the Wacky Chair, and it seemed to expand once again to fit them all comfortably. The Robin flew onto Granny’s shoulder depositing a little poo as it landed. Grandad, Ben and Joey pointed and laughed. Mim curled herself into a little ball on Ben’s lap, tired after her adventures. She thought, as she began to have a nap, that she might need two lots of dinner tonight. Joey held the Raven Stick. Grandad held Granny’s hand. Both the boys held onto the knobs of the chair. Granny put her other hand in her pocket to join the three lego pieces. Nothing happened. “It’s not working Granny” said Ben sadly. “What do we need to do to make the magic work?” said Joey. Granny and Grandad looked at each other before reaching over to tickle each of their Grandsons. As the both of them started to giggle, blue sparks flew out from the knobs. The chair began to bounce up and down. The Raven Stick began to jiggle. The Robin began to sing at the top of its voice. Granny’s eyes seemed to fill with blue stars. As the chair exploded into a sea of blue and a small sneeze emerged from Grandad’s pocket, Granny Annie was heard to say “Something that small wizard needs to remember: Plenty of laughter, and lots of love – that’s what makes the magic!”

The End of the adventure…at least for today…

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