Conjuring Up Trouble by George Anthony Kulz
“But Dad...” Eric whined.
“Sorry, Son,” Eric’s father said. “You’re too young to attend the wizards’ meeting.”
Eric looked to his mother for help, but she shook her head. “Not until you’re old enough. Besides, you still have to do your chores.”
Eric’s mother kissed his forehead. “Now mind your Aunt Jenny while we’re gone. We’ll be home before supper. And remember...”
“No magic,” Eric finished.
His parents disappeared in a puff of smoke.
Eric sighed. From behind him came the sounds of snoring. Boy, is Aunt Jenny loud! he thought. It never failed. Every time his parents asked her to baby-sit him, she did nothing but sleep. And he wasn’t a baby. He was almost eleven years old!
Unfortunately, eleven was the cutoff age to be able to attend the meeting, which meant that Eric’s friends Andrew and Tyler, who were both twelve, could attend the meeting. Eric, on the other hand, had to stay home.
Hey, I have an idea, Eric thought. The spell Dad had spoken seemed simple enough. Teleportus impromptus Point Benefico. A wave of his hand. Piece of cake! I could easily cast that spell and travel there myself.
But what if Mom and Dad found out? Eric thought further. I’d be in a heap of trouble. Worse, they wouldn’t trust me the next time they needed to go somewhere. And when he was old enough, which would only be two months from now, would they let him go with them?
I’ll go there for just a few minutes, long enough to find out what it’s about but not long enough to get caught by Aunt Jenny. That way, I’ll be back in plenty of time to do my chores. Besides, nothing would wake that woman up anyway, so how would she know?
Eric waved his hands in front of him and spoke the words. As the last of the words rang out, a pile of dirty dishes disappeared.
Frowning, he tried again. This time, as he repeated the spell, something brushed against his leg. He looked down and saw Blackie the cat disappear!
Panicked, he tried again, and again. Before long, his mother’s potholders and a rug from the hallway had vanished. On several attempts, nothing at all happened.
I need to focus, Eric thought. At least Aunt Jenny’s horrible snoring stopped. Maybe now I can concentrate.
This time when he cast the spell, he found himself standing at the back of a large auditorium. He ducked behind an empty chair.
Across the aisle, Eric heard a loud snore. He couldn’t believe anyone snored louder than Aunt Jenny did! Behind the snorer was Blackie, curled up in a ball. Eric reversed the spell, waved his hands, and sent Blackie back home.
He looked around and spied the rug draped over an empty chair and the potholders hooked on a hat rack. He found the dirty dishes sitting on a windowsill in the back of the room.
Looking at his watch, he was startled to see that hours had passed since he first tried to teleport himself to the meeting.
I’d better get out of here so I can get my chores done, he thought. Disappointed, he used the spell to send himself back.
When Eric’s parents appeared later that afternoon, Eric was asleep on the couch. “Eric, wake up.”
Eric sat up.
“How’d everything go?” his father asked.
“Oh, um, fine, Dad. I got all my chores done, see?” He smiled.
“I’m very proud of you. I guess we can trust you while we’re gone. How about we go out and celebrate?”
Eric’s smile faltered a bit. “Sounds great, Dad,” he said in a small voice.
“Great. Go wake up Aunt Jenny and we’ll be off.”
Eric walked down the hall but paused outside of Aunt Jenny’s bedroom.
I can’t let them take me out, he thought. I don’t deserve it. I have to tell them.
He turned to his parents and said, “I can’t go.”
“Why not?” his mother asked.
“Because... I did use magic while you were gone. See, I wanted to go to the meeting, so I figured if I teleported there and back before you got home, you’d never know I was gone. Only, I had a little trouble with the spell.”
“Is that why my favorite towels are no longer hanging on the stove?” his mother asked.
“And why, when I went to hang my coat on the coat rack, it wasn’t there in the front hall?” his father asked.
Eric hung his head.
“Son, I’m very disappointed with you for using magic,” his mother said. “However, you did a responsible thing by owning up to your behavior. So for that reason, I won’t add any extra punishment.” She marched up the hallway and faced him. “However, since you were under Aunt Jenny’s care, I’ll leave your punishment up to her.”
Eric’s mother grinned as she pushed open Aunt Jenny’s bedroom door to reveal her rumpled but empty bed. “That is, as soon as you retrieve her from the conference hall.”
AUTHOR BIO: George Anthony Kulz is a software engineer by day, a freelance writer by night. He's a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature and the Gotham Writers' Workshop and a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. He resides in Rhode Island with his wife and kids.
ILLUSTRATOR BIO: Rosemarie Gillen is a professional Children’s Book Illustrator who has won several awards for her illustration work. She enjoys working with authors, taking inspiration from their work and making their stories come to life. She believes in a wonderful partnership between author and illustrator who work together to create something special a child will want to read over and over. Visit her website at www.rosemariegillen.com