“Lanie’s Goodbye” – Short Story

Good morning readers! Today we are going to revisit “Magic Isn’t Real,” a short story I posted a few days ago. I played around with the night grandma went missing and created an extended scene for you to enjoy. I think I’m going to be playing around with this storyline and these characters a bit more and hopefully work them into a full-length novel in the near future.

What do you think? Do you want to know more about Lanie and her magical world?

Magic Isn’t Real – Lanie’s Goodbye

            “You can’t arrest grandma!” I shrieked at my mother.

            “Lanie, shut up. I don’t want to, but I don’t have a choice.” My mother put her hands on the countertop and stared at me. “Do you understand what is going on right now?”

            I bit the urge to scream again and answered as calmly as possible. “Not really.”

            “The president has outlawed magic. My department got the order an hour ago. Any persons known to practice magic are subject to arrest and removal immediately. Your grandmother isn’t exactly quiet about her practice. If I don’t do this, someone else will, and they won’t be nice about it. Lanie, it’s going to be a war zone outside very soon. You are old enough to understand a little of this.”

            “But…”

            “No buts Lanie. Dad will be home in an hour, and we have to report for emergency duty. You understand that we are cops, right? We have to uphold the law, even when we disagree with it. Listen very carefully. I’m taking you to grandma’s for an overnight visit. Tomorrow, I have to arrest her. I’ve made excuses for now, but they won’t last long.”

            I could sense the urgency in what my mother was saying. I gathered my things, and we left. Once we got to grandma’s house, I was sent outside to play while mom talked to grandma. When they were done talking, they called me inside.

            “Lanie, be good for grandma.” My mother said as she looked around the kitchen. My grandma was loading items slowly into a large ancient-looking steamer trunk. I only knew what that was from the Harry Potter books. Grandma had shown them to me when I asked while reading.

            On the table, my mother moved things around, clearing space. She pushed a large wooden chest to one end of the counter, spread out a velvet cloth, and then covered it in tiny glass bottles.

            I watched from the doorway, tears in my eyes, as I tried to understand what was happening. My grandmother was obviously packing, and it looked like my mother was helping, but she had told me she was going to arrest grandma. Was my mother going to help her escape? Where would she go? My brain couldn’t quite understand everything around me, but I wanted to.

            “Mom, are you helping grandma?” I finally asked as my mother was getting ready to leave.

            “What do you mean?”

            “Grandma is packing, right?”

            “Of course not.” My mother said, sounding worried. “I was just helping with a little cleaning.” I knew my mother was lying, but I didn’t want to say anything else. I was afraid. Something was wrong, and I couldn’t figure it out. So, I watched. My mother and grandmother hugged a few minutes later, and mom left. As my mother pulled away, grandma called me over to her.

            “Listen, sweetheart, a lot of bad things are about to happen. Do you understand?” Grandma said to me, her voice low but wise.

            “I think so. The president said you are bad and have to go away, right?”

            “Yes. But he’s wrong. Magic isn’t bad. Magic is nothing more than a tool. Do you understand?”

            “Yeah, like pencils and hammers.”

            “Exactly. But now, we can’t use this tool anymore. Okay?”

            “Okay,” I said, watching her closely. She had taken a small bag out of her pocket. Inside was a bright red cloth, a vial of bright red liquid that seemed almost to glow, and a small, vibrant yellowish-orange stone. She placed the stone in my hand.

            “This is yellow calcite. It will help you remember when it’s time.” She said, closing my fist around the smooth stone. All you need to do to remember everything is to hold the stone and try to think about what you want to remember, okay?”

            “Um…okay,” I said, playing with the stone. Grandma laid her hand on mine to stop my movements.

            “Drink this.” She held the vial in her other hand and passed it to me. As I drank the odorless, tasteless liquid, she whispered something under her breath in a singsong voice. It was rhythmic and pleasant, so I tried to hold on to the words, but I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around them. Grandma removed the vial from my hand and gently pushed my empty hand onto my lap.

            I sat at the table for a while, swaying my head and holding tightly to the stone. Nobody spoke for what felt like forever. Finally, my grandmother snapped her fingers, and I lurched forward, almost hitting the table. Feeling dazed, I fixed myself in the chair and watched her as she spoke.

“Now Lanie,” my grandma said, “I need you to remember that magic isn’t real. Promise me you’ll remember, no matter what happens.” I watched as she winked at me from behind her glasses.

            “I promise,” I said, then she tucked me into bed and left the room. A little while later, I snuck out of the bedroom and downstairs, where my grandmother was reading loudly from a large, brown-tattered book. On the kitchen counter, I watched bottles of liquids float just above the countertop, dumping themselves into a large pot on the stove.

            Magic.

            I knew it. I had always known it. But something nagged at the back of my mind, telling me to forget what I saw—something like a warning, an alarm, screaming at me to go back to bed.

            I hadn’t understood that night why my grandmother didn’t want me to know it was real. I had kept my promise since then, of course. I hadn’t talked about magic or tried to do anything magical since that night in her kitchen when I was thirteen. That was the night my grandmother disappeared. I had watched her make a bubbling concoction on the stove, and then she had poured the liquid into the small vials left out by my mother.

She loaded them into the large wooden chest, which I could only describe as an old treasure chest like pirates would use. She kept out one vial and sat it next to the chest. Then, she picked up the orange calcite stone, wrapped it in the bright red cloth, and tucked it into the small bag nearby. She then placed it inside the chest, closed the lid, locked the chest, and swallowed the key.

Afterward, she drank the vial, waved directly at where I was standing, hidden in the shadows, and disappeared.

            I never told anyone what I had seen that night. I ran back to my bed and cried for hours. When I woke up, nobody was home. Mom and dad came to get me. The police searched for grandma, but she was gone, and they asked me a bunch of questions. As they searched the house, not one person touched the chest. Even my mother ignored it. My grandmother’s house was locked up, and nobody ever went back.

            But I knew, deep in the back of my mind, that she wasn’t really gone. She was safe. She was waiting for me; I could feel it. But I knew it wasn’t time. Deep in my mind, I felt I would know when it was time for me to find her.

I can’t wait to share more with you in the future! I have a big creative writing challenge for myself coming up in February! I hope you will join me every day for a new story!

Until next time,

Cathy Marie Bown

A Covid Christmas Story e-book is on sale now! Buy your discounted copy today! https://cathymariebown.com/a-covid-christmas-story/

Published by cathymariebown

I am a writer and student looking for my place in the digital world.

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