The next day, I raced to the cafeteria at school. Like an idiot, I’d tried to find Francisco to tell him about Wish Book but couldn’t find him where he normally ate breakfast.
Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to talk to him until second period because of a tyrant who was impersonating a teacher—Ms. Claxton.
Down the hallway, my wheels hummed as I dashed to first period. Ms. Claxton, my computer teacher, was going to kill me!
This woman was 199 years old, skinnier than a needle because she mostly ate barley and Metamucil. If she smiled, her face would probably crack and disintegrate into a million tiny pieces. Oh yeah. And her favorite pastime was devouring students for breakfast. Today, I was going to be the main course.
Quietly, I opened the computer lab door and wheeled myself inside.
I stopped between Holly and Francisco’s desks. Glaring at Francisco, I mouthed, “Where have you been?”
He lurched his head back and whispered, “I had to take a test.”
I spoke silently, “I have something important to tell you!”
Claxton was behind her computer and didn’t even glance my way. What luck!
Holly waved at me and whispered, “Read my text. Okay?”
I reached for my phone when I heard Ms. Claxton clear her throat. “Miss Martin. Come to my desk. Now.”
Holly shot me an I’m-so-sorry-for-you-but-glad-it’s-not-me look. Everyone in the class shot me that look.
I inched my wheelchair over to her desk. “Miss Martin!” Ms. Claxton, the Beast, yelled, slapping her ruler on her desk for emphasis. Smack!
My heart wobbled.
“Why were you late?” she asked, glaring her puny gray eyes. The woman looked like she hadn’t washed her hair in months. I knew she’d bathed, though. She was meticulous about covering everything with antiseptic before touching it. The reason her hair was so greasy was that she constantly drenched herself in ghastly smelling lotion every fifteen minutes so it would end up everywhere: In her hair, on her desk. Once she handed me a paper and it stuck to her fingers. Blecch.
She went on with her lecture, “You don’t think school is very important, do you?” Her thin lips drew down into an ugly C shape. “You think you can come skulking in here like a careless spider? You think the world is all cartoons and boys and roses.” She caught her breath and continued evenly, “Am I correct, Miss Martin?”
Scribbling something on a familiar yellow slip of paper, she then peered into my eyes, saying in a low, horrifying voice, “Well, it’s not.” She flicked the slip at me. I took it.
I swallowed my tongue. Five demerits!
Ten demerits sent you to Saturday school. I’d already gotten three—one for not turning something in on time and for two other tardies. Normal teachers only gave you one. Two more and I was royally messed over.
“Just because you’re in that wheelchair does not give you the right to shirk the rules. Have I made myself clear?”
I gulped and nodded.
“Do not come to my class late again or you will be sent to Saturday school.” Then she lifted the side of her mouth, wrinkles cracking. “With me. Take your seat.”
It felt as if everyone’s eyes set me on fire. If I could have died one thousand deaths, crawled under a ten-ton rock, sunk to the bottom of the sea, I would have jumped at the chance. Burning with embarrassment, I plopped my head on my hands, tears dropping one by one onto the desk.
Holly shoved a note underneath the tepee I’d made with my head and arms. I grabbed it then swiftly unfolded it.
Read my text.
P.S. It’ll make you feel better!!!!
Keeping an eye on the Beast, I carefully looked at my phone.
My eyes popped. If the wishes in Wish Book didn’t work out, maybe selling it could be the answer to my families’ troubles. Well, at least for a little while. And maybe I could go to the the summer art institute! I grinned, then texted back.
I was about to put my phone away when the Beast ripped it from my hands.
I was soooo screwed.
Ms. Claxton read my text, looked a little shocked, then gave it back to me.
“Eyes on your work, ladies.” She threw on a fake smile.
Then she marched back to her desk.
I couldn’t believe it.
No demerits. No yelling. No Saturday school. What was up?
Holly blew out a breath and wiped her forehead. I guessed we were saved.
When the bell rang, I met Francisco and Holly at my locker, pulling out Wish Book.
Francisco spoke first. “What’s all this about, Athena?”
“What if I told you this book really works? It grants wishes!”
“I’d say you’ve totally flipped.” Holly shook her head, but I could see in her eyes she wasn’t sure.
“Well, I wouldn’t believe it myself, but I watched it work last night. Look.”
I pointed at the page of the drawing of my new bedroom. “See that?”
Francisco shrugged. “It’s a bedroom. So?”
“This is a new bedroom I drew since Zelda got a really strange idea to trash my room. Right after I finished the drawing, my mom tells me I’d just won a grand prize and guess what it was?”
“A visit from Smartha Flewart?” Francisco asked.
“Close,” I countered. “A visit from Brindleton Bay’s version of Smartha Flewart. I mean, right now there are worker elves transforming my bedroom into the real live version of this. Mom and I picked out all the stuff for it last night!”
“Hum…” Holly said, scratching her chin. I could see a tiny flicker of fear in her eyes.
“What’s wrong, Holly?” I asked.
Glancing around nervously, she said, quickly, “Nothing! Um…well, we need more proof than that. You should make another wish!”
“Okay.” I shrugged. “What should I do?”
“I know,” Holly said. “Make Mr. Blah not give us a quiz today.” Mr. Rah was our 3rd period History teacher who was as boring as hell. We lovingly called him Mr. Blah. It seemed to fit.
“Holly, that’s genius!” I said. “Okay. I’ll wish our Thursday quiz away.”
Holly grinned. “Awesome!” She glanced at the wall clock. “Oh my gosh! We’re gonna be late!” She tapped on the book and kissed it. “See you third period!” She rushed down the hall.
Francisco stopped me from moving. “What about me? I don’t have your third period class with Mr. Blah.”
“If this works, we’ll do something special, okay?”
“That doesn’t sound promising.”
I rolled my wheelchair by him. “It’ll be great! We’ll plan at lunch. Bye!”
My arms burned as I raced my wheelchair to second period—art. My favorite. Ms. Harper was the best. Every month, she’d give a prize to the person who worked the hardest and usually that would be me.
When I got to class, Ms. Harper walked around, looking at our stuff.
I pulled out Wish Book, then glanced up and saw Adam Slack.
He was talking to Morgan Ashton and Peyton Marshall, the two most popular senior girls. Peyton had beautiful dark skin with amazing spiral curls and Morgan’s silky dark hair flowed down her back. Peyton was a star athlete and Morgan was a cheerleader–two things I could never do in a million years. They were laughing with Adam.
I imagined I was Morgan with long, beautiful hair and strong cheerleader legs so I could talk to Adam any time I wanted. Maybe that was something I could use Wish Book for later.
A tingle tickled in my stomach. Maybe Wish Book could help me walk. Heal my legs. I pictured muscle rippling where there was nothing but tiny bones and skin. I didn’t have any memories of ever walking, but I’d always dreamed about what it would feel like—splashing my feet in a rain puddle or bounding on the cool grass.
Maybe Holly was right. Wish Book was given to me so I could wish to walk.
But I pushed that thought out of my head for the moment. First things were first. I had to prove that I wasn’t imagining things with Wish Book.
Now, the last time I’d used it, I drew a picture, but that took too much time. I figured since it was my book, I could write about what I’d like to see happen in Mr. Rah’s classroom. I’d write like you’d see in those wish movies with a genie in the bottle—“I wish for blah, blah, blah” and poof! It happened.
I took out a pencil and wrote:
- I wish Mr. Rah wouldn’t give the Thursday history quiz.
- I wish
I felt Ms. Harper come up in front of me. “What’cha working on?” She smelled like Hollister’s sweet Malaia perfume. Mmm.
Smiling, I said, “Um, nothing much.”
“Wish Book?” she asked. “That sounds like a fun book.”
If she only knew. “Yeah, it is.” I smiled, trying to hide my guilt at wielding supernatural powers to foil wicked teacher-plans.
Her eyes grinned through her trendy round glasses. “Well,” she continued, “why don’t you save the book for English? It’s time to draw.”
I had to think fast. “Oh, well, this is sort of like a journal. I can draw in it.”
“Okay, Athena. You may free draw at the end of class for five minutes. You need to work on your art projects.”
I nodded quickly and said, “Thanks, Ms. Harper.”
At the end of class, I opened Wish Book and drew what I’d wished would happen next in history class.
Hopefully, this was going to work.
Next update Friday, October 26th.