TITLE: THE CATBIRD SPELL
GENRE: MIDDLE GRADE FANTASY
Ben and Kim watched the shed a good fifteen minutes before they broke in. Their cover was a sagging plank fence. Through the gaps they could also watch Torbin’s house, where it poked up behind trees at the end of a dusty lane.
“If he comes, we’ll see him long before he gets here,” Kim said. “No problem.” She swigged water from her red plastic bottle, then offered it to Ben. He took a swig too. He could feel the moisture wicking out of his body and up towards the sun.
Only bees moved over the baked late-August fields. Cicadas made their power-saw noise, but no sound came from the shed. Not a squeak.
“Maybe Lee was wrong.” Ben pushed sweaty hair out of his eyes. “I don’t hear any animals. Maybe this is the wrong place.”
“He said the noise came from behind the house. The shed is all there is.” Kim nodded around at the cornfields on two sides of them, the meadow of milkweed and thistles behind, and the woods behind that. “If they’re in there, we have to set them free.” The deep blue glow around Kim’s head told Ben that her mind was made up. When her colours got like that, nothing would move her.
That morning, in the park, Lee Rosenblum had told them how he’d gone to Torbin Edgebine to get his stuttering cured. It worked, too. Lee used to stutter like a jackhammer. Not any more. “It’s like a miracle!” he said.