Who To Trust

by Aleeza Shekhani, age 11
Who To Trust Aleeza is eleven years old. She likes to write short fiction and read fantasy/mystery novels. She likes to cook and bake and goes to cooking class every month. Aleeza wants to win the lottery when she grows up and travel all around the world.

“‘It was a night just like this one,’ said Melody.
‘Seriously?’ said Nate. ‘That’s how all stories start. Try something new.’
‘Why don’t you tell the story then,’ said Melody.
‘Okay,’ said Nate. ‘In a forest only a mile away, a little girl was walking in the woods. Suddenly, a big bad wolf came in front of her.’
‘Is this Little Red Riding Hood?’ asked Melody.”

“It was a night just like this one,” said Melody.

“Seriously?” said Nate. “That’s how all stories start. Try something new.”

“Why don’t you tell the story then,” said Melody.

“Okay,” said Nate. “In a forest only a mile away, a little girl was walking in the woods. Suddenly, a big bad wolf came in front of her.”

“Is this Little Red Riding Hood?” asked Melody.

“No way, that’s such a lame story. This is much better. Let me continue,” he said. “Just then, the little girl turned into a dinosaur with squid tentacles and a lion mane and a mermaid tail. She slapped the wolf with one of her tentacles, and the wolf fell down. He was terrified.

‘Why are you hitting me? I was going to ask you to come to dinner.’ The wolf was actually a nice guy.

‘Oh,’ said the little girl. She turned back into a little girl.”

By now, Melody was bursting into giggles. “I don’t know if that was a horror story, but it was definitely funny. You should send that to the writing competition in school.”

“No way, Melody. Everyone will make fun of me. I am 12 years old and a boy. Boys don’t typically write stories. At least that’s what the kids in school think.”

“Who cares what they think? You know we could use the money. Father is suspended, and mother is very ill. We could use $800.”

“I know,” said Nate. “Okay, I will do it.”

Melody smiled. “Let’s go home and start working on it.”

One week later, the results came out for the contest. The loudspeaker announced, “Nate Machine, please come to the main office. You are in big trouble.” Nate’s eyes widened — what did he do?? As he left the classroom, he felt everyone staring at him. His cheeks were burning. His eyes were tearing up. Just then, he heard a voice.

“Can I go with him?” It was Melody. His little sister always cared about him so much. She was also extremely smart. She was only eight, but she was in sixth grade.

The teacher rolled his eyes and said, “Sure.” She got up and went with him. They walked together silently in the hall. When they got to the main office, the lights were dimmed.

Just as they walked in, the lights turned on, and everyone yelled, “Surprise!!!” The principal was holding a check of $800.

That means I won! thought Nate. In a second, all his emotions changed from scared to happy. He looked at Melody and saw his sister beaming at him.
When they got back to class, the whole class saw the check and gasped.

Another kid named Craig whispered to someone, “Melody must have helped him. No way he could have done it on his own.”

He said that just loud enough for Melody, Nate, and everyone in class to hear except the teacher. Craig was always jealous of the siblings. Melody was really smart but wasn’t so good at controlling her emotions. Nate thought she was about to blow. But Melody just breathed.

“Mr. Yellowstone, Craig is saying Nate cheated.”

Mr. Yellowstone said, “Craig, accusing someone of doing something wrong when you know they aren’t is a type of bullying. Our school has zero tolerance for that. Please see me after class about this.” Craig seemed completely fine with it. He was fine with it because he got a picture of Nate cheating in the whole class’s mind. Nate knew this, and he felt mad. Really mad. He wanted to take Craig and push him in the wall. But he controlled himself. Suddenly, the bell rang.

“Class dismissed,” said Mr.Yellowstone. “Craig, please stay.”

Melody and Nate started walking home when a strange man appeared in front of them. “Hello, children.” He looked at Nate and said, “I can make your problems go away.” The man was tall and had a long beard with silver eyes. He was super creepy.

Melody said, “It’s okay, we don’t have any problems.” She started to pull Nate away, but he wouldn’t budge. “Let’s go, Nate.” But Nate was in a trance-like state. “What did you do to my brother, you freak!” Melody cried. Her voice full of rage and fear.

“Nothing,” said the man with a evil smile. “Now run along home, little girl. Your brother and I have some business to take care of.”

“I will never leave him,” said Melody with all the courage she could summon.

“Yes, you will,” said the man. He raised his hand, and a strong gust of wind attacked Melody. “Now run along before I get really mad.”

“No,” said Melody. She loved her brother so much nothing could keep her apart from him.

“Okay, you asked for it.” Suddenly, a tornado appeared and swept Melody away to her home. Melody blacked out. The bright sun woke her up. She blinked.

What just happened, she thought to herself. She pinched herself. Was this a dream? She remembered her brother.

She ran back to the spot her brother and her were separated.

Meanwhile, Nate awoke from his trance.

“What happened? Melody, where are you? Why am I in chains?”

“Don’t worry about anything,” said the man. “Now drink this, and all your worries will go away.”

“No way, psycho. What is wrong with you? Where is my sister?”

“Kids like you are so annoying. Don’t listen to anyone. Your sister is back home — now just drink it, or I will do the same to you as I did to your sister.” The man smirked.

“What did you do to her?” asked Nate, worried.

“Just drink this, and you can go to your sister. She has no idea where you are, and she will never know until I release you. Just drink this, and you can see her.”

“Promise?” asked Nate. “And this is not poison?”

“Why would I want to hurt you my boy? I am your father.”

Nate’s eyes widened. “What are you talking about, no you’re not. I don’t have magical powers.”

“Yes, you do,” the man said with glee. “Try them out. Point your finger at the chains, and wish to be released. Pretty easy.”

Nate did as told, and it actually happened! Nate was so surprised. He pinched himself. Is this a dream, thought Nate. “Does Melody have magic too?”

“Obviously,” said the man. “Kids these days ask the dumbest questions,” said the man with an eye roll. “Okay now that you know, what other questions do you have? Hopefully they aren’t as dumb as the last one.”

“Who is the man I lived with so long? What’s your name?”

“The man you were living with is my brother. He is the only one in our family who doesn’t have magic. I gave you and Melody to your uncle to keep you safe. If the world found out about you, then you guys wouldn’t be safe. Your mother doesn’t have magic, so she agreed to pretend that she was married to your uncle, just to keep you guys safe. Also, my name is Frank. Should I bring Melody here?”

“Yes!!!” Frank used his arms, and then magically Melody appeared.

“Nate?” Melody asked curiously. “What’s going on?”

“This will take a while,” Nate said.

After Nate explained to Melody what happened and Melody tested her magic and Melody went into her shocked stage, Frank said, “Will you finally drink this? You to Melody.” They both nodded. It was weird, but they trusted him. They both drank a sip, and suddenly they felt this magical force come over them. They felt strange. They had never had this feeling before.

“Now you can go,” said Frank without giving any details.

“How?” asked the kids at the same time.

The man rolled his eyes and said, “With magic. Duh.”

The kids wished to get out and… boom they were home.

The next morning, the kids talked about whether they should tell their “parents” about yesterday. They had felt a whole bunch of emotions. They were sad, angry, confused, and most of all, they wondered who they could trust. They knew their “parents” were looking out for them, but they should have mentioned something to them. A little hint so this wouldn’t be such a shock. They also wondered if their “parents” actually knew about their confrontation with the man. They wondered if they were ever planning to tell them about magic.

“What should we do,” asked Melody.

“I’m not sure,” said Nate. “I think we should keep it to ourselves. I feel like they don’t know about us meeting Frank. They haven’t mentioned anything about it, and if they knew, I’m pretty sure they would say something.”

“I think you’re right,” said Melody. They decided not to because they didn’t want to worry them. After all, they were just looking out for them. They acted as if everything was normal. They said hi to their “parents,” ate breakfast, and left for school.

When they reached the schoolyard, they met Craig. Oh great, thought the kids. They tried to walk past him, but he wouldn’t let them.

“So, did you spend your money helping your dad pay for some food. You know when your dad got laid off my dad got a raise.” Unfortunately, Craig’s father and their uncle worked at the same place, so Craig knew about what happened with their uncle.

“Just stop, Craig,” said Melody, annoyed and a little hurt.

She felt like Craig was lying because her uncle said he got laid off because the company had lost so much money, but now she didn’t know who to trust. Nate was feeling the same thing. They suddenly felt a strange feeling come over them. Something they couldn’t control. The ground began to shake under their feet. They started an earthquake. Nate and Melody glanced at each other.

Magic, they both thought.

Wow, thought Nate. Who knew we could do such powerful magic.

A feeling came over Nate. One that had a mix of happiness and pride but also a bit of fear. He was scared that he would never be able to control it. Suddenly, the siblings relaxed a little. The earthquake stopped. The kids gasped. Craig was stuck in a hole in the ground. As the teachers came and helped Craig out, the kids shared a knowing smile.

“You! It was you,” shouted a voice. It was Craig. “You started the earthquake.”

“How could we do that,” said the siblings at the same time. Everyone thought either Craig hit his head or just became hysterical.

“Let’s take you to the nurse,” said their teacher, “and then the psychiatrist.”

“I’m on to you two!” shouted Craig. “I’ll prove to everyone you started this earthquake. Just you wait!”

“Do you actually think he will find out?” asked Melody.

“No way,” said Nate. “But we will have to be more careful. I think we should get some more training from Frank.”

“I don’t know,” said Melody. “Can we really trust him. What if he is lying? Maybe there are more people in the world who do magic. Frank could be tricking us. Maybe that’s why he is running from the government. He didn’t even seem sorry that he left us.”

“Come on, Melody, don’t keep being so negative. I trust him. Have some faith in him and me.”

“I don’t know,” answered Melody.

Oh my God, Melody,” Nate shouted “Why are you being so annoying, Melody? You don’t trust anyone anymore. Do you even trust me?”

“What are you talking about, Nate? I trust you. You’re the only one I can trust,” Melody replied, hurt by Nate’s words.

“If you trusted me, you would come with me to see Frank.”

“But I don’t trust Frank,” said Melody, holding back tears.

“Just forget it, Melody,” said Nate. Nate walked away from Melody. A tear slipped from both of their eyes.

Nate walked to the place where they first met Frank. As if he was expecting Nate, Frank was waiting at the exact same spot.

“Come on, Nate, let’s talk. We can have some father-son time,” said Frank with an evil gleam in his eye.

“Nate, don’t go.” It was Melody.

“What do you want, Melody? You don’t trust me anyway.”

“That’s not true, Nate. I trust you, but I don’t know who else to trust. Frank came into our lives all of a sudden, and now he is trying to split us apart. Can’t you see it?” Melody replied, sobbing at the thought of losing her brother to a guy who had just randomly appeared in their lives.

Nate thought about this. Could Frank have been lying or could he be trusted? Nate felt so much pressure choosing between sides. He looked at Melody then Frank. When he looked into Frank’s eyes, he saw something. He saw promise in his eyes. A ticket to something more. He went with Frank.

“Sorry, Melody,” said Nate. “Faith’s calling.”

That’s when Melody lost it. A ray of pure light shot out of Melody. It hit Frank with every ounce of power she had in her body. It made Frank stagger back, but it didn’t seem that effective.

“Melody, Melody, Melody,” Frank said with an evil tone in his voice. “You can’t become more powerful than me in one day. Seriously, I don’t even know why you try,” said Frank. He shot out a ray of pure darkness. Melody flew across the block and was left unconscious.

“Next time don’t make me angry, Melody,” Frank said in his evil voice. Nate’s eyes widened at the sight of this. But before he could say anything, Frank said, “Let’s go, Nate.” And with a wave of his arms, they were gone.

Meanwhile, hiding in the bushes was Craig. He had gotten everything on tape. He smiled.

“Let’s see you get out of this mess,” he said to himself and tiptoed away.

Nate found himself back in the place where he first tested his magic. The minute they set foot in the warehouse, Nate found himself yelling at Frank.

What’s wrong with you!!! Melody is my sister who you just shot across the block!!! What time of father are you anyway?!”

“Calm down, Nate. She’ll be fine.”

Calm down?! She will be fine?! What are you talking about. Are you crazy. She is eight years old, you idiot!!!” Nate yelled at him.

“Wow, I didn’t know raising kids was so hard,” said Frank “Oh well. Let me explain all this to you, Nate. After this, you will have a totally different type of view,” Frank said with a twinkle in his eye.

“So what actually happened was… ” Frank started. “When you and Melody were born, we found out that you both possessed magic. It was only meant for one of you, but somehow you both got it. Melody’s magic was much purer than ours. But even though hers is purer, ours is more powerful. Basically, you and Melody are opposite. Melody is light, and you are dark. Any questions?”

“Yeah, why is Melody pure and I’m not? Also why does Melody have pure magic if none of us are?”

“Well, your grandmother had pure magic. But she was taken by the government. That’s why I was running from the government. But your sister doesn’t believe me. Also you’re not pure because you have my genes. Do you believe me?”

“Yeah, but what about Melody? How would I act around her if she is suddenly my mortal enemy?”

“You can figure it out yourself. Do you want to go home?”

“Yes,” said Nate in a somber tone. He and Melody were so close, and now they were being pulled away from each other. Then with a snap of his fingers, Nate was home.

Meanwhile, Melody was awakened by the sun. As today’s events flashed by her, Melody felt a pain in her heart. She sobbed. “How could this have happened?” She got up and started walking home.

When Melody reached home, she saw Nate. She had no idea how to react or what to say. Neither did Nate. But as their eyes locked, they knew they had to talk.

“What should we do?” asked Melody.

“I think we need to talk to Mom and Dad.”

“Okay,” agreed Melody. They went downstairs to interrogate their parents.

“Hey, kids, what do you need?” asked their dad.

“Dad, why didn’t you tell us we have magic?” asked Melody and Nate, getting straight to the point.

“Uhhhh, what are you talking about, kids?” he said, nervously.

“Don’t try and hide this, Dad. We already talked to Frank,” said Nate.

“Fine,” their dad replied. “Yes, Frank is my brother and your father. We hid you, so you would be safe.

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.

“Who’s that?” all three of them asked at the same time. Melody and Nate felt as if there was something wrong. Their dad sensed it too.

“Go upstairs, kids.” They went upstairs as their dad cracked open the door.

As the door knob turned, ten government agents charged in.

“Search the house, and find the kids.”

Before their dad could say anything, the agents barged into the house and turned the house upside down. The kids were frightened and hid under their bed. As they hid under the bed, Melody found a trapdoor. She was shocked. How had she never noticed that? There was no time to think.

“Nate, help me push open this door.”

They opened the trapdoor and silently slipped inside and then closed the door. Just then, the agents ran upstairs and pushed open the kids’ door. But they couldn’t find them. The kids sighed a breath of relief as they left the room. But as they opened the trapdoor, they saw the agents still there.

“Hello, kids,” said one of the agents wickedly.

Melody and Nate shook with fear until Melody remembered that they had magic. That’s literally why the government was after them.

“Nate, we have magic powers,” whispered Melody. Then with a sly smile she added, “We should be nice and give them a preview.”

Nate smiled, “Definitely.”

Melody shot a gust of wind at them, and they stumbled backwards, losing their balance and falling on top of each other. Melody and Nate couldn’t help but laugh as they ran down the stairs, escaping the agents. At that moment, they didn’t care if Melody was good and Nate wasn’t. At that moment, they were just a pair of siblings who loved each other. They both smiled at each other lovingly.

Suddenly, Melody realized something and turned to Nate. “We can’t leave our parents here. We can take Dad but not Mom. She is too sick. Nate, what will we do?”

“We have magic powers. Can we use them to cure Mom?”

“Let’s try.”

Melody and Nate went to their mom’s room and saw her lying there, unconscious. She had lung cancer. Melody and Nate felt tears in their eyes as they saw their mom. As they walked to their mom, they felt afraid of what would happen to her if they did something. But, they knew they had to try. They put their hand on her and wished that she would be cured. Suddenly, a bright light came from their hands, and their mom opened her eyes.

“It’s working, Nate,” Melody said with tears in her eyes. Their mom was soon wide awake — she looked stronger. She smiled: she was okay. Nate and Melody cried tears of joy as they saw their mom waking up. But the happy moment was cut short when they heard the agents coming down.

“Come on, we have to go,” said Nate. The kids and their mom went to their dad. But before they could escape, the agents surrounded them. Nate and Melody looked at each other and smiled, while their parents were full of fright. Melody sent a tornado at the agent, and Nate shot out a blast of fire. Melody looked at Nate, and they shared a smile.

“This is who we are,” said Melody, and with that, they disappeared in a blink of an eye.

Epilogue

“Ugh, do we have to move again?” complained Nate.

“We wouldn’t have to if you didn’t blab about everything to your friends,” said Melody.

“Oh hey, my name is Nate, and I have magic powers. My family is running from the government,” said Melody, annoyed with him.

“It’s not my fault,” said Nate. “It just came out.” Melody rolled her eyes at him.

“Come on, stop fighting you two,” said their mother.

“But, this is like the 1,000th time Nate made us move,” protested Melody.

“Did not,” said Nate

“Did too,” said Melody.

They went back and forth like that a couple of times until their father broke it up. The family had been on the run since the day the government came to their house. By now, they had gotten used to moving around.

“Oh well,” said Melody, and just like the first time (and the last 100), in a blink of an eye, they were gone.


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