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Anna & Amber's Secret Powers



   Amber woke up when a sharp pain went through her skull.  It was dark and she was on the floor of a cold room.  She went to rub her head  and found that her hands were tied behind her back.  Her cheek against the cement floor was clammy.  Her legs were also tied together  but she could wriggle like a worm.  She did that until she was on her back. 


   As her eyes adjusted to the light she could see she was in  a small shed that had a door at the far end.  A little light emanated from the slit under the door.  That showed her that next to her  was some pumps and tanks and pails which in the faint light she guessed were pool chemicals.  A pool net hung on the wall sliced the room in half; above it was darkness. 


   She smelled rotting wood and pine sap.  She realized she must be in the pool storage room!  Exactly where the boxes were!  She searched the place in the faint light, and saw that next to those chemical pails were cardboard boxes! There was no sign of Anna, however.


   She tried to pull at her ropes but couldn't get any leverage.  Even her legs were bound tight.  Slowly, she wormed her way over to where the boxes were.  Some of them were opened, some were sealed (they were labeled "dishes") and some had their contents strewn about (an  old printer from the 1990s, baby clothes, toys, a hanging mobile with six bears on it, stacks of magazines and unopened mail). One was a bin of stuff to recycle, big empty plastic bottles and soda cans and such. 


   There was car stuff, mats and cup-holders, some batteries which had corroded and were lying in a green pool of liquid as well as plastic pails of pool chemicals which were cracked and had spilled out as well.  It was a powder which smelled sharp like ammonia.


   She could see a few boxes were full of books but she couldn't open the boxes.  She tried rolling over until the boxes were at her feet, then she pulled her legs back and kicked.  It was like a fish trying to flap its tail on land.  She connected with one box with a loud  bang and made a rip in the carboard.  She was going to try to get her toe inside of the rip and then hoist the box over her head when she heard voices coming from under the door.


   "This one's up now, I'll bet.  I heard a noise."

   "Yeah, I heard it too.  Hope she's better than her sister."

   "Get this one and throw her back in."


   Then Amber heard crunching on gravel.  She froze as shadows cut into the slit of light at the door.  Then it swung open and she saw the  man who was at the bar counter, another woman, and Anna.  Anna was also tied up.  The man had her slung over his shoulder and Amber saw  her legs were bound. 


   "Sack of potatoes," he said to the other woman.  And then he swung her around and started to set her in the shed, and that was when  Amber saw the bruise on Anna's face.  Anna seemed sluggish and out of it, so the man was able to lay her on the floor without a problem.  She lay there half-dazed while the man snarled at Amber "You're next, but not yet." 


   And then he slammed the door and sent her back into the darkness.  As the couple crunched away on the gravel she could overhear their  conversation as it trailed off. 


   "The Chinese on the cover says its magic.  If she could read the Chinese she could decipher the damn spells."

   "Why did you think that stupid girl knows Chinese?"

   "Why would she look for the book?  How would they know it was here?  They know what it is.  I know they know.  I could see it in their eyes, and when I said the word magic they jumped a mile!"

   "That's a sure sign," agreed the woman.  "And it does say magic on the cover."

   "She couldn't read Chinese but she said her sister could.  They better know.  That thing has some kind of power.  Else why else did it melt all the snow like that when the storm did everything else in?  And why in English does it read "To Jobi - all the powers you'll ever need are in this book" on the title page inscription?  It's obviously oriental sorcery of some kind.  Why else would it make that strange noise at night like a cow mooing, incessantly, like it did during the wind storms?"

   "If that other girl can't make it work what will you do, Mr. Smartie?"

   "Make them breathe more chloroform or give them a roofie, they'll forget everything. And if it does work we'll dispose of them and keep the magic.  I'll be Harry Potter you can be Hermonie!"


   They both laughed, then the man said he needed to get back to finish out the customers and then he would close the restaurant early and then they would take "the other girl" into their cabin like they did Anna and "extract the information out of her by getting one of those..." and the rest she did not hear as they passed out of earshot.


   When it was quiet for awhile Amber heard Anna moan.  "Oh God, Amber, what is going on?"

   "They have the magic book.  And they know!"

   "I know."

   "What did you say?"

   "I didn't say anything!"  Anna rolled over to face Amber in the small shaft of light from the door, grunting in pain while she did it. 

   "They hit me in the face."

   "I know."

   "They wanted to know how to read the chinese to do the spells.  But I couldn't."  At that Anna started to shake and she fought off tears.  "I wish I would have tried to learn Chinese when I had the chance," she lamented. "I lied and told them I didn't know about any magic book, we just wanted our parent's boxes.  But he didn't believe me."

   "At least I have a little Chinese after all that studying I needed to do to talk to Wai Gong," said Amber.  "But what do we do?"

   "I don't know.  I'm all tied up."

   "Me too." 

   Then they sat in the darkness for a little bit.  "We gotta get out of here."

   "I know."

   Anna wiggled until she was sort of propped up against the wooden wall of the shed.  "What if we use our magic to get out?"

   "But how?  We need the book to tell us how." 

   "We've done it before."

   "Sure, but we don't know how we did it."

   "Let's wish as hard as we can "loosen these ropes!"

   "Loosen these ropes!  Yes!"

   "Loosen these ropes, loosen these ropes, loosen these ropes!" Anna chanted.  It seemed loud in that small shed to Amber. 

   "Um," said Amber, "can you just do that in your head?"

   "Ok," said Anna, and she went back to chanting. Amber could tell because she was still wriggling her big toe to each syllable as she did it.


   They must have tried summoning their magic for about ten minutes, until perspiration was starting to show on Anna's upperlip.  But  nothing had happened and the dark and the silence around them had only deepened, especially after they heard what seemed to be some of  the patrons of the restaurant leaving from the parking lot far away from where they were bound up.  At least it sounded like it, as she could hear two motorcycles start up and pull out one by one into the night.  They called as loud as they could but their weakness and the distance to the parking lot killed the sound.


   Then Amber heard the dreaded crunching of gravel again.  Boots came to outside the door and then she heard the jangling of a key as someone unlocked the door.


   The Deer Lodge man was standing there with a cloth in his hand, and a jar.  He dipped the cloth in the jar and then he leaned over and put it to Amber's mouth and nose.  She screamed and held her breath and tried to kick, but after about thirty seconds she had to gasp and  when she did a chemical filled her throat and lungs and she felt immediately woozy.  She fel the man pick her up and throw her over his  shoulders.  She was facing the ground and if she twisted a bit she could see the parkinglot where it was about one hundred yards away down a path. On her left was the empty swimming pool, on the right more cabins. There was still one car left in the lot.  


   The man turned right and headed towards his cabin.  He kicked the door open with his foot and swiveled her into the room and onto the  bed there in one motion. It was a typical motel room, with two beds covered in an olive green bedspread that looked like it was from the  1960's, a TV and a dresser.  She tried to speak but she found her mouth was numb and only dribble came out.


   "I'll be back in twenty when you can talk again," he said.  "You better be ready."


   And with that he left the room, locking the door behind him.

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