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Anna & Amber's Secret Powers



   He stood there with a wicked grin smeared on his face, and he just stood there and grinned for maybe twenty seconds.  "I knew it," he  finally snapped.  "I knew it."


   "If I tell you will you let us go?"

   "If it works.  If it don't work you're never getting out of here.  If it do work you're gonna get out when we all get out and move down  into the Beverly Hills hills. You got to use the magic to work the customers. Do it right, we'll let you go."

   "That spell will make you rich right away. No waiting, no customers. You could let us go right away."

   "Is that so?" he countered, but he was clearly interested.

   "It's a wealth spell.  It's mandarin magic from the emperor, and it made the emperor Huang Di rich, so it'll make you rich too!" She was desperate. She checked his body language to see if he was buying.  He was leaning in and licking his lips and cocking his ear towards her as if he wanted to  hear more, a good sign.

   She went on.  "How do you think the emperor gets to be?  He gets the spell and uses it.  All the emperors of  China got that way when the book was passed to them or they stole it. You could be just as rich!  Your bank account would swell up and  boxes of gold would be delivered to you by impala. That's what the spell says."

   "Where does it say that?"  He grabbed the book and shoved it in front of her nose.

   "How can I point at it, I'm tied up?" she protested, daring to put a hint of derision in her voice.

   "Use your nose," he ordered.  He looked at her.  "I'm not joking."

   She nodded her nose at the line that read "nature works by scientific principles" and said, "That one.  It says that by wishing after doing the preparation, the spell will be cast and nature will obey.  Accounts enlarged.  Impalas with gold.  It says it."

   "The preparation?"

   "Sure, to cast a spell you have to prepare the preparation."

   "What in the hell is this? "

   "It's Oriental, ok? Why do you think my aunt was a millionairess in Hong Kong, one of the richest ladies in the city about fifty years  ago before she died and we moved to America and lost the book."

   "Do it.  Tell me what the preparation is.  NOW!"  He was full of emotion, probably greed, along with his rage.

   "Ok, ok, calm down. I'm telling you," Amber pleaded, genuinely afraid he might kick her or beat her again.

   "First, you get, you get candles.  And you have to place them in a circle three meters in diameter."

   "What the?  Diameter?  Meters?  What the hell is this, algebra class?"

   She looked at him with contempt.  "This is how its done.  You want to do it or not?  Asia is on the metric system."

    "Ok, I'll look it up.  Circle, three meters, candles."

    "You put six candles around the circle.  Then you pour a sage mixture in the middle of a giant cooler, like the kind of cooler they make  Gatorade for footballs teams in."

   "Sage mixture?  Where the hell am I going to... wait.  I know where there's sage growing up the canyon.  Ok.  What the hell else?"

   She squinted like she was pretending to read the book.  "It says to complete the mixture you, you get the..." her mind was racing but she couldn't think of anything, and then she had it!  "You get the drain cleaner.  Draino."

   "We don't got Draino.  We got some Liquid Plumber."

   "Ok, that's ok.  It just has to be drain cleaner because that has the um, the cymballine and the um, cardomom you need in it.  And then  you pour a lot of bleach on it.  A lot of bleach and cleaner.  It says three parts cleaner, three parts bleach, one part sage, one half  part vinegar.  But use as much as you got."

   "What the hell is this, chemistry class?"

   "I thought you were a chef?  That's all you need.  It's because your karma has to be cleansed before the spell works.  Oh, and here," she nodded her  nose again at the book, "It says to light two pieces of paper with your wishes on them on fire and then pour it all onto the potion.  You wish for the riches you want while it is smoking and the magic will be done."  She almost cracked a smile at that one.

   "It better be done, or I'm going to beat you from here until tuesday."

   "That's all you need.  Then you can let us go because you'll be rich.  You'll thank me." 


   She watched him as he seemed to be rolling a small rock from one side of his brain to the other.  When it reached the other side he said "Ok, we got sage.  We got liquid plumber.   We got bleach in the kitchen."  He snapped his fingers and did a little dance.  "We got the magic book, we got vinegar, we got  everything we need to get rich!!"


   Then his eyes narrowed.  "And we got you.  But we can dispose of you with a little of this."  He pulled his chloroform rag from his  pocket, and the liquid.  After wetting the rag, he approached Amber again.


   Just then, Amber realized something.  He had said that it would take thirty seconds for the cholroform to work.  If she could hold her  breath for longer than that...  Then the rag was over her nose and mouth.  She struggled and made a muffled chough, then held her breath  and even made her stomach muscles rise and fall as if she had taken air into her lungs. 


   She started counting.  Five seconds.  ten  seconds.  She wanted to breathe so badly but she held on.  Fifteen second, twenty seconds. He was pressing the rag into her face and  breathing heavy standing over her.  She remembered the times she went swimming and had underwater breath holding contests.  The best she  had ever done was fourty five seconds.  Now her lungs seemed to be on fire. Still, she bit her tounge and made the cavity of her chest  expand and a little noise came out and then she pretended to slump down.  Fourty five seconds!  Every cell in her brain was shouting at  her to intake a breath.

   Still, she pretended to go totally limp and then held out by imagining herself at the beach for a second, just  the beach, the sun, sand, the wind on her face, the sting of salt in the air, and that gave her an extra ten seconds.


   He rose from above her and gave her a little kick in her ass to see if she responded.  But she was ready for something and when the point of the toe hit it  was right on the fat part of the butt and didn't hurt.  She remained motionless.  Sixty seconds!


   Then she started letting her breath out  slowly.  Even when passed out, people breathed, they just didn't gasp.  He seemed satisfied with his kick and he pulled her away from  the bed by her feet and then hoisted her over his shoulders again.  She slowly allowed some air to fill her lungs again, which was so  hard to do when she wanted to gasp that it burned and she had to drive her thumb into her palm to have something else to focus on as she  did it.


   Then he was marching across the gravel and opening the door of the pool pump room again.  He swung her around like a pair of skis and  dumped her on the floor.  Luckily, her face was away from him so he couldn't see the look of pain that overcame her as she hit the  cement floor.  She made sure to keep her body limp.  He slammed the door and shut it just the woman came up.  He started fiddling with the lock but the woman pressed him on his progress.


   "So what the hell are you doing now?  What'ja get out of her, you idiot?"

   "I got her to give me the spell!!  We're going to be rich!!"  He told her.

   "Oh yeah?" she said, skeptical.  "Why do I doubt this?  Maybe its because you're an idiot."

   "It was in Chinese but she could read it.  We got to make a preparation with sage and then it'll work."

   "Sage? God, you idiot!  That's native american!"

   Amber could hear the lock slip into its hole but she didn't hear it click shut. Instead, he whirled at her.  "Don't call me an idiot.  Youre the one who's the idiot.  We're gonna be rich!"

   "Ok, idiot," she spat back.  "Hows that gonna happen?"

   "There's gonna be Chevy Imapalas driving up with gold in them!"

   "Impalas? Are you kidding?"

   "It's a car, a GM car!  Those are great cars, and they'll have gold in em! I told you that book was magic spells.  And one of em is to make you rich!  Ha ha, we're going to have Chevys full of gold in our  parkinglot!  That's what the flippin book said.  Gold to be delivered!  That's how the emperors of China got it, so what do you know?!"  And with that he started off.

   "Where you goin'?"

   "I gotta go up the canyon and pick some sage for the preparation!"  He hollered, and then set off jogging down the trail.   "I need paper too.  Where do we keep it?"

   "In the office, idiot.  Where else?"


   He started off down the path.  Then he said, "Oh, wait" and seemed to turn around.  Anna's heart sank when she heard the lock click after all at the door.

   "It's a wonder you inherited this place when you don't know a thing.  What about them?" Mrs. Deerlodge called with a wave of her hand at the twins as he was walking off.

   "They're both gassed.  They'll be out another twenty at least, and then we'll see after that.  Probably dump 'em down in Bear Flat where  the poison oak is, no one goes there.  I'll dig a hole and we'll toss their bodies in."


*          *          *

   When it had gone quiet and the woman had seemingly walked away, Amber wispered "Anna!" 


   "Oh my god, I thought you were out!"  Anna replied.  She squirmed around to face her sister.  As she did she knocked over a bag of old  toys.  One of them clattered to the ground and then started making a "moo" sound. 


   Both of the sisters were startled and then they  couldn't help but laugh.  It was one of their old childhood toys that had driven their father crazy since it would make its moo sound  anytime it sensed movement or felt a vibration near it.  Finally he had threaded to throw it out but the girls had convinced him to box  it up.  And now here it was again!  They looked at each other in the dim light and at least it was good to have someone to talk to.


   "He tried to gas me.  I held my breath."

   "Me too," said Anna.  "I still got some but I'm better now I think."

   "We have to get out of here."

   "I know," Anna concurred. "Let's try to use our magic powers again."

   "Um, about that..." Amber started.  She was a little sad when she realized what she would have to confess to her sister.  "I hate to  break it to you, but... We don't really have magic powers." 

   Anna just stared at her, shaking her head like she didn't understand.

   "I read the Book of Spells," Amber admitted.  "It said that we make our own magic with science or something."

   "What?" Anna's look was incredulous.  "But what about..."

   "The giant cookie?  It really was a mattress factory next to a cookie factory, like dad said, and they ran out of foam.  The times we weren't late to school?  Probably our watch was wrong, or the school clock was, or I just red my watch wrong and the 2 looked like an 8  Everything else was just a coincidence."

   Anna heaved a sigh and thought it over.  "That's why we could never do it on command."

   Amber she nodded.  "The book said we make our own magic With the help of science.  well, I guess we had to grow up and put aside childish fantasies at some point."

   "Oh great, now what do we do?  We have no magic.  We're tied up. He's going to give us poison oak!"  Anna gulped.

   "He's going to do worse than that.  He's going to bury us by the poison oak.  That's what he said."

   "I was hoping he didn't say that," admitted Anna.  "I'll be itchy forever if I'm buried over there!"

   "No, no you won't," stated Amber determinedly. She started looking around the shed.

   "That guy said that he thought the book was magic because the shed didn't freeze during the winter.  But take a look around, no wonder.   The whole shed has all these spilled chemicals in it."


   "Sooo, they use Chlorine on pools.  And this powered stuff right here I think is that kind of stuff.  When Chlorine breaks down it heats up! No wonder the pool shed stayed so warm over winter." Both Anna and Amber looked at each other and a light sorta seemed to go  off over their heads.

   "And he heard the cow toy in the wind!!" Anna rolled over and tipped the Cow and it made its annoying moo again. 

   "He thought it was magic!" they both said simultaneously, laughing. 

   They both laughed so hard in spite of their circumstances that it hurt their wrists where the ropes were still digging in.

   "Oh, Amber, we sound as stupid as Mr. Deer, we thought we could do magic too!" Anna wailed.

   "Turns out its just some do it yourself advice book!" scoffed Amber.

   "Wait... do it yourself?"  Anna tried to sit up and look around the room. "Why not?  Look here.  We got all this stuff, we got everything we need to make our own magic!"


   Soon the girls were combing (as well as they could while tied up) through all of the contents of the shed, overturning the boxes and seeing what they could find. Perhaps there was a knife or something they could use to cut the rope?  "We have some time maybe before he gets back with the sage," Amber estimated.    "Let's see what we can do."


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