Jack had been told not to stray from the market area into the alleys but the garbage bins looked interesting with colorful tin cans and rotting vegetables strewn in the alley. Jack stood on his tip-toes and peered into a dumpster. A green jar caught his eye. He pulled himself up, balanced on the edge, and stretched until his fingers were barely able to grasp the top of the jar. Jack jumped down holding the jar carefully. He noticed it rattled. What could be in it? He thought to himself. The label was ripped and peeling but there was no mistaking the words, “Magic Beans”. Eyes wide, Jack opened the jar and shook the beans into his hand. Jack puzzled over the plain reddish brown beans. They don’t look like “magic beans” but more like kidney beans mom puts in chili.
“Magic beans?” Jack laughed out loud… until the beans sprouted to life. Spindly legs and arms popped out of the sides, dark ominous eyes blinked quickly and a wide mouth emerged into a grin before giving a sinister laugh. Shaking the beans out of his hand, Jack stepped back as they embedded themselves into the ground. Jack ran out of the alley screaming for his life. Monstrous tentacles stretched towards the fleeing boy.
Wondering why a shadow was suddenly cast over the window, Lucy peered out in time to see the first appendage wrap around the house. Screaming in horror, Lucy ran out the patio door as the ground shook. As she was stumbling into the nearby pasture, she saw the house enveloped in a greenish ropelike being which pulsed with an appetite for destruction. Hiding behind the low ridge near the creek, she took deep breaths trying to gather her wits and as she looked out she noticed the tentacles stretched for miles to the west. Other tentacles drove out in other directions looking for more victims.
Panicked thoughts raced through her mind. Where? How? Suspicion crept into her thoughts…..could Jack be responsible for this? Her little brother had a habit for trouble. Last time it was the Lightning Machine. The town courthouse stood for over 100 years only to be felled by a 9-year old. Then there was the great Tumbleweed Tragedy. Now what?
A small voice whispered from a nearby sagebrush. “Is it coming this way?”
Looking behind her, Lucy saw her brother creeping up the incline towards her.
“No, it seems to be heading towards the Mahoney’s farm” answered Lucy.
Nervously Jack avoided Lucy’s suspicious gaze but his sister wouldn’t be thwarted.
“Spill it, Jack!!” she ordered.
After Jack told his glaring sister about finding the beans in the alley, she continued to glare at her little brother. Jack wanted to shrink into a hole and disappear. Lucy stomped in anger trying not to explode at her brother. How do I fix this? She thought. Our parents will be home in about an hour. They’ll flip when they see the house covered in green tentacles. As Lucy watched the tentacles invade the house, she wracked her brain for an answer to this ever-growing problem.
Lucy felt Jack come up beside her and noticed he was decked out with his shield and sword. Jack stood tall as he declared, “We must fight against this invader!”
Before Lucy could react, Jack was running towards the growing mess of tentacles swinging his sword and screaming at the top of his lungs, “Die you fiend!”
I can’t let him fight this alone, she thought. Lucy turned and ran for the barn where she had hidden her archery set. Grabbing her bow and quiver, she sped across the pasture to join Jack in the greatest battle of their lives.
Jack jumped into the clammy mess and sliced away at the tentacles to stop them from spreading and attaching themselves on other structures. Lucy aimed her arrows at the larger mass in the center of the tentacles in the hope of stopping the growth. Minutes later, their faces were beet red and sweat dripped off the ends of their hair as they forced the tentacles back. In desperation, the tentacles fought back by wrapping around Jack and Lucy’s legs attempting to throw them off balance. But Jack and Lucy’s assault over powered the monstrosity and they drove it into a small quivering yellow goo.
Panting and wiping the sweat off their foreheads they reveled in their success with a high five. “We did it!” hollered Jack.
They both jumped at the sound of the back door slamming shut – THEIR PARENTS WERE HOME!
Jack and Lucy turned in time to see their mother gasp and exclaim, “What in the world has happened to my kitchen!” Their father scowled at them as he took in the scene.
Jack hid behind his older sister while she stammered, “We were trying to surprise you with dinner.”
Their father raised an eyebrow as he saw an unidentifiable mass sitting in a saucepan with worm like globs hanging limply from the edges. Gruffly, their father asked, “What was dinner supposed to be?”
Jack and Lucy both gulped and replied in unison, “Spaghetti”
© Rebecca St Croix 2013