"So you see, Molly, it's like this." Timothy Hunter took a deep breath and launched into his speech. "I am the greatest, most powerful magician of all time. At least"—he ducked his head modestly—"that's what they tell me." Tim paused and then groaned. You sound like a head-swollen, egomaniacal loon, he scolded himself.Timothy Hunter, the boy with the potential to wield extraordinary magic, skate-boarded back and forth in front of Molly O'Reilly's dilapidated house. He'd been doing it for about half an hour. He and Molly had planned to meet later, and he was determined to have this conversation today. He tried out different speeches as he carefully avoided the many cracks that spread like veins in the pavement. In this part of London, a bloke was lucky if the traffic lights worked and the garbage was picked up regularly. Asking for smooth asphalt was a bit much. Tim didn't mind—he developed his awesome boarding skills by learning not to let such obstacles trip him up.He arrived at the end of the street and rolled to a stop. "Try again," he told himself, picking up the board and turning it around. "Version number three hundred and twelve." He kicked himself along until he picked up speed, then balanced expertly as he dodged cracks, litter, and a mangy stray dog."Okay, Molly, you're probably not going to believe me, but I swear on anything you like it's true," he declared. "I didn't believe it at first either. But these guys—I call them the Trenchcoat Brigade—came and gave me the heads up on being magic."He flipped up onto the sidewalk as a car drove past him, spraying some gray slush—the last bit of slush from the winter. "I've been to other worlds," he continued. "I even saved a few."He frowned. Every time he tried telling even imaginary Molly about some of the truly stupendous things he'd done, he had to stop. It sounded impossible and worse—it sounded like bragging. Then he wound up feeling like a total fake, because he wasn't always certain how he had done the things he had done.Take Free Country for instance, he thought. The kids there had kind of kidnapped him, wanting to use his power to save the place. But instead, he'd short-circuited everything. Literally—major power eruptions. The weirdest thing was, that was what ultimately saved them. Tim had protected that world by accident. He was glad he had—he just didn't know how he'd done it.What if Molly asked him to prove that he was magic? She was definitely an I'll-believe-it-when-I-see-it kind of girl. Her down-to-earth, no-nonsense attitude was one of the qualities he liked best about her. That and the fact that she was super tough, really brave, and awfully funny. He liked her soft-looking hair and sparkling brown eyes. Even more important, she was someone he could talk to. Like when he found out that the man who raised him wasn't really his father. She'd come through aces when he'd told her. High marks in all categories.Only, even then, he had held something back. Something big. He didn't let her in on the fact that he had also found out who his real father was: a man named Tamlin, who lived in a completely different world called Faerie and could turn himself into a bird. Tim had left out that little feathered detail when he talked to Molly."I should have told her everything right then," he muttered. Was she going to be angry that he'd waited so long to tell her? He'd never kept a secret like this from her before. It had been almost six months since the Trenchcoat Brigade episode, and she still didn't know.
Neil Gaiman (Author)
John Bolton (Author)
John Bolton was appointed by President George W. Bush as United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations in 2005, and served until his appointment expired in December 2006. He was nominated for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for playing a major role in exposing Iran's secret plans to develop nuclear weapons. An attorney who has spent many years in public service and held high-level positions in the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, Bolton is currently a Senior Fellow at American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., and a commentator for Fox News Channel. He lives outside of Baltimore, Maryland, with his wife and...
Carla Jablonski (Author)
Carla Jablonski is an actress, director, and writer living in New York City. She is the author of several books in the Adventures of Wishbone series: Homer Sweet Homer (inspired by The Odyssey), The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, 20,000 Wags Under the Sea (based on Jules Verne's classic), The Scent of the Vampire (an adaptation of Dracula), and Tales of Terror (an anthology of scary stories). For Pocket Books she has written Clueless: Southern Fried Makeover. She has edited books for The Hardy Boys Mystery Stories and R. L. Stine's Give Yourself Goosebumps, and co-created the new interactive mystery series, Digital Detectives. Carla Jablonski spent summer 2000 working for the Big Apple Circus in upstate New York, helping the directors ready the show for the new season. She is training on the trapeze for a play she will be doing in spring 2001.