Inside that circle, equally red and in Grandma’s handwriting, were the letters BTSFOASTG!
When they asked about it, Grandma said, “It’s an
acronym. It means ‘back to school for Otto and Sheed, thank goodness!”’
All around, on
haphazardly aligned shelves the boys had fastened to the walls themselves, amidst the model cars and their made-up superhero drawings, were souvenirs from all the adventures they’d experienced throughout the season.
A lock of
banshee hair that sang them to sleep whenever the moon was full.
“They broke the tie,” Otto said, his gaze flicking to their
meager pair of keys; they somehow seemed duller in this morning’s light.
Sheed ceased his grooming, wedged his pick tight into his thick hair, so only the handle
protruded, and dug into a bowl of Frosty Loops.
Ignoring that nonsense, Otto tried to determine which Awesome Adventure represented the best opportunity for another Key to the City. “We can look for the
Triptych Treasure in Bosch Cave.”
Other points of interest included Sunshine Cemetery, the FISHto’s, and the many other things,
mundane and strange, that made up Logan County.
Otto, shorter and wider than his cousin,
gravitated to Sheed’s side.
Both of them angled slightly away from each other for a better view of their
flanks, in case something dangerous tried to sneak up on them. Maneuver #24.
Both of them angled slightly away from each other for a better view of their flanks, in case something dangerous tried to sneak up on them.
Sheed, always a
killjoy, said, “You’re not from Logan County.”
He was brown, like the boys, wore dark goggles cinched tight through a mane of coiled dreadlocks that whipped about as he got his
portal the stranger had come through blinked away, leaving undisturbed air and sky in its place.
Sheed knew Grandma had “
ailments,” and his stomach twisted thinking she must be having a spell to be standing so stiff and talking so low.
“Grandma, why are you talking like a
DEDUCTION: This can’t be coincidence...but HOW does it all relate?
He almost said, Like we always do, but couldn’t
muster the confidence.
After a few false starts, the spokes spun, and the chains whizzed, and they began their ride into town like they did when it was time to buy new comic books, or when the mayor called them to
wrangle a peeved-off jackalope.
All held cell phones to their ears or extended in front of them while they tapped at some app or another. Sheed
pried one from a guy who said, “Hey!”
“What did I say after the were-bear in the Gnarled Forest?” Sheed barked. “Or when we had to walk that tightrope over that
chimera can also refer specifically to a fire-breathing monster from Greek mythology.
“We used the spring snare to snag that
chimera last month. I don’t really like repeating ourselves. Makes us look less innovative than—” He stopped himself.
This was a third voice, more
dour than the Archies’, but just as familiar.
One particularly creepy lady had
dingy dark hair and sharp fangs, and instead of running appeared to be riding a bed of fog that zoomed around all the others like a hoverboard.
He pointed to tilted (not fallen) trash cans, tipped (and angled
precariously) newspaper boxes, and benches, and merchant signs, and other small messes.
Otto continued his
Still low and quiet, the boys crept past the mirror
emporium’s display window, catching glimpses of their own reflections dozens of times over in mirrors of various sizes, shapes, and mounts.
While the other wore a mustard skirt, her blouse was like a fresh egg’s yolk, and a big floppy hat the shade of sunflowers
complemented her gold hoop earrings.
Their skin was coppery, the shade and
sheen of new pennies.
She fluffed the garment’s yellow lacy
“We’re responsible for that special time of the day—”
“Just around sunrise and sunset—” the woman
“What the heck’s a Time Suck?”
“Extremely dangerous creatures,” said P.M., his
Otto had forgotten about the camera dangling from his neck. Had grown comfortable with the weight of the device that had messed up the town. That bothered him, but not as much as these
quirky strangers noticing it.
The mirror flipped like a tossed coin, and where cracked glass should’ve been there was a fat green
tentacle, tapering down to a tip the width of a carrot and whipping about.
The mirror flipped like a tossed coin, and where cracked glass should’ve been there was a fat green tentacle,
tapering down to a tip the width of a carrot and whipping about.
There were ten or twelve of the thick, octopus-like arms uncoiling from the
ornate bronze, and silver, and gold mirror frames.