All Stuffed Up

baby

© James Pyles

“Why not, Buddy?”

“No magic. Anna have no magic. Not taking new apprentices. Just you.”

Keeping his promise, Landon told his best (human) friend Anna all about Buddy the Ambrosial Dragon and their adventures together, which started almost a year and a half ago. It had taken a long time to relate everything to Anna. Landon hadn’t realized just how much he and the dragon had gone through together.

“But couldn’t we teach her magic?”

After Landon told Anna everything, she thought it would be really cool if she learned some magic, too. Landon said he’d ask Buddy if he would take her on as his second apprentice. Today in the boy’s bedroom, the dragon gave him the answer.

Only the events that had occurred in Shadow of the Dark Wizard made it absolutely necessary for Buddy to train Landon in the mystic arts, and that was because the child had been accidentally infused with magical energy. If Buddy didn’t teach him how to control the magic inside, the magic would control Landon.

But such wasn’t the case with Anna. Like most other children, she was a perfectly ordinary human and had no access to occult energy, especially in this universe where real magic was all but unknown.

“She’ll really be disappointed.”

“Sorry, sorry, sorry, Landon. Magic dangerous. Only train you because you need control. Anna no need.”

“Can you at least meet her?”

“Sure, sure, sure. I meet, but no tell Anna’s brother or parents. Too complicated if too many people know.”

“I know. I’ve already told her all of this has to be kept a secret and she said she won’t tell anyone.”

Landon had hoped to be able to study magic along with Anna but he understood Buddy’s point of view. The dragon wouldn’t have taught him even one simple spell, but the accident made it necessary for the boy to become the magician’s apprentice. At least he’d be able to introduce Buddy and Anna to each other. He couldn’t wait. The trouble was, how to do that so no one would find out?

Next Sunday, Landon and Anna planned to meet at her house to play video games on her Mom’s and Dad’s big screen TV. Buddy said he had an idea and just to play normally. When the time came, the dragon would reveal his plan.

They had been playing for about fifteen minutes when all of a sudden their game controllers stopped working. No matter how they pushed buttons and pulled levers, the game was frozen on the screen. Then the controls became frozen as if they were made of stone.

Landon looked up to see Anna was having the same problem he was. That’s when he noticed that Anna’s brother and parents were frozen, too.

“Landon. Anna.” A portal had just opened and closed and Buddy was standing in the middle of Anna’s living room. She’d seen the dragon once before in the frozen dimension but things were so crazy, she didn’t have time to talk to him.

“Hi, Buddy.” Suddenly, she seemed so shy, but then it’s not everyday you meet a real dragon.

“Hi, hi, hi, Anna.” Buddy held out his right front paw to shake. The girl was hesitant but then took his hand and shook it.

They sat on the floor together.

“Buddy, you never told me how the Ice Sprite was able to capture you so easily. I was surprised that you needed my help to escape.”

“Sprite sneaky, very sneaky. I in personal dimension studying in a trance. I just came out still weak from using potent magic. She waiting, waiting and froze me fast. Froze brain and thoughts so I couldn’t counter the spell.”

“Can you show me any magic, Buddy?” Anna was warming up to the dragon and now that she wasn’t in a dangerous situation, she wanted to see real magic up close.

“How about you, Landon? You do magic?”

“Oh, sure.” Landon had to think of a spell he could do that wouldn’t be dangerous or too scary. “Watch this.”

He held his hand out and made a ball of light appear. It was about the size of an orange. Then he made it fly all around the room, even “bouncing” off if the heads of Anna’s parents and brother.

At first that worried her until she saw Landon smiling and realized no one was hurt. Then the light ball disappeared.

“Now hang on.” Landon waved his arms and said some words in a language Anna didn’t know. Then she felt herself getting lighter and lighter and then she started to float. She squealed with fright and delight. “Landon!”

“You’re just levitating. I used to do this with my stuffed animals all the time.” At the thought, Landon started to feel sad that his formerly living stuffed animals were now just ordinary stuffed animals. He let Anna float back to the floor.

She saw the look on his face and patted his shoulder in support. He’d told her all about the animals and what had happened to them.

“I’m sure you’ll figure out a way to make them alive again.”

“I don’t know how, Anna. I used the spell I did before to make them alive but it didn’t work.” Then he looked over at Buddy. “What am I doing wrong?”

“Same spell doesn’t always work the same way twice, Landon. Not work the same with stuffed animals. Need another way.”

“What way?”

“Homework. That’s your magic homework. You study. Figure out answer.”

In the beginning, Buddy always told Landon how to do his spells, coaching him every step of the way. Now that the boy was slowly advancing, the dragon was giving him homework assignments, just like at regular school. Part of it meant learning the magical language of the ancients so he could read spell books. Reading wasn’t one of Landon’s favorite things to do.

“What if I helped, Landon? I love to read.” Anna thought that even if she couldn’t do real magic, she could still learn how the spells worked.

“Not work that way, Anna.” Buddy fluttered his wings to stretch them. “Must have magic inside to read magic spells. Not ordinary words and letters. Must be read by magic.”

She looked disappointed. There didn’t seem to be anyway for her to get to be part of Landon’s and Buddy’s adventures. Anna didn’t want to be involved with the dangerous stuff, but she did want to see more magic.

“Thanks for trying, Anna.” Landon appreciated the effort, but there was so much he could do that other kids couldn’t, even Anna.

“Buddy leave now but Landon has one more thing to do.”

“What?”

The dragon opened a portal back to Grandpa’s house and stepped through. Just as the portal was closing they heard Buddy say, “Restart time.”

Poof. Buddy was gone but everything around them was still frozen.

“Wait! Buddy! I don’t know how.”

“Homework.” It was the dragon’s voice but it sounded like a fading whisper.

“Homework. Just great. Now what do I do?”

“Did you study anything like this, Landon?”

Then he remembered. “Oh yeah, Buddy was teaching me simple time spells but he didn’t show me how to stop time.”

“What about starting it again?”

The boy tried to remember his homework. Yes, there had been a spell but he didn’t pay a lot of attention to it figuring that restarting time wasn’t too important, not until he learned how to stop it.

Landon concentrated and then used a light spell to illuminate his memory. A light image of the page from his spell book appeared in between the boy and girl and he read from it.

“Here it is. The spell to restart time. Hang on. This’ll take a minute.”

Anna scooted back a few feet so Landon would have more room. They were both still sitting on the floor as he started the spell. He said more words in that strange language and then she felt strange. Landon was moving faster and faster.

Landon opened his eyes as he was finishing his spell. Anna was moving slower and slower. Then she stopped completely. She was just as frozen in time as everyone and everything else.

“I didn’t work. Buddy!”

The little dragon didn’t appear or offer any sort of advice. Landon looked at the page that was still floating in the air in front of him. He re-read the words but it wasn’t just what the page said but how the words were pronounced. He knew from past mistakes that mispronouncing even a single word could make a spell not work or if it did work, the magic could go really wrong. That’s what happened this time.

He went over the words again and again, saying them in his head. Then he repeated the spell slowly and carefully. It was working. The images on the TV screen were starting to move a little. So was Anna, her brother, and her Mom and Dad. He made the light page vanish and put Anna’s game controller in her lap before time came back up to full speed again. Then everything was moving normally.

Anna hadn’t expected the controller to suddenly be in her hands and fumbled with it. Landon had forgotten where in the game they were and it took the both of them a few seconds to figure it out. Fortunately, no one else was paying a lot of attention, but even if they did, how would they guess that time had gotten magically stopped?

Then Landon and Anna started laughing.

“What’s up with you two?” Anna’s Mom was puzzled by their change in behavior.

“Oh, nothing Mom,” Anna replied giggling. Her Mom looked at the two of them but then shrugged her shoulders and walked back out of the room.

Later, after Landon returned home, he was studying his spell book trying to figure out how to reanimate his stuffed animals again. He had the double duty of trying to read the old language and at the same time trying to understand the spell. It was a good thing he didn’t have any ordinary school homework to distract him.

“Let’s try this.”

Buddy was in the living room playing with Dani to give Landon his privacy. Dad was at work and Grandpa was cleaning up after dinner.

Landon thought he had an idea on how the spell was supposed to work and started muttering the magic words. As he continued weaving the spell, he started thinking of Anna and how much fun it would be if she were here to see what he was doing. As he was picturing the stuffed animals in his head, he also pictured her.

Then it was as if the room folded in around him, like he was in a cloth sack and someone was pulling the string to shut it. It got dark and then light again.

“Landon!” It was Baby. He was waving at him. All of his other stuffed animals were getting up off of the ground and jumping around too, calling his name and laughing. He was so excited, he didn’t realize he wasn’t in his room anymore.

“Baby! Scorch, Ghost! It’s to great to see you all again.” They all started to rush toward him when Baby held up a soft cloth paw and said “Stop.”

“What’s wrong, Baby?” Baby the Giraffe and the rest of the stuffed animals were staring at him in astonishment.

“Look at your hands, Landon.”

He held up his two hands and gasped. They looked like they belonged to a stuffed toy. So did his feet. So did everything.

“Landon!” Baby pointed at him. “You turned into a stuffed boy.”

He looked around. They were in a field or a park but all the trees, grass, picnic tables, everything, even the clouds in the sky looked like stuffed cloth, like he was in a stuffed animal universe.

“Landon.”

He turned around toward the voice behind him. It was Anna’s voice, but when he saw her, he received his biggest shock yet. Anna had turned into a stuffed person just like he had.

This story immediately follows Of Ice and Anna and continues the events involving Landon’s best friend finding out about his dragon and their magical adventures together. Now they’re all going to have one more, but this time will Buddy be able to help?

Welcome to the latest entry in the series of adventures I’ve been writing for my grandson for almost a year-and-a-half now. To read the series from the beginning, go to The Day a Dragon Came to Live with Us. At the bottom of that story is a link to the next. Each subsequent story has a link to the next chapter, so all you have to do is keep reading and clicking and you’ll eventually get back here.

The next adventure is Getting the Stuffing Out.

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4 thoughts on “All Stuffed Up

  1. That was an enjoyable little side trip of unreality…. really enjoyed it, James. Thanks! Poor kids, now, they’re stuffed toys… every child’s nightmare, the stuff of the velveteen rabbit ( a very scary story indeed.).

    Like

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