Magical kids ii the smal.., p.2

Magical Kids II: The Smallest Girl Ever and the Boy Who Could Fly, page 2

 

Magical Kids II: The Smallest Girl Ever and the Boy Who Could Fly
 


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  “I am afraid we will,” said Mrs. Top. “He would hear about it sooner or later.”

  Thomas knew this would be the worst part. His dad prided himself on having an ordinary family. They lived in a three-bedroom house that looked no different from any of the other three-bedroom houses on their street. Mr. Top had a regular job as a button salesman, and Mrs. Top worked in an office. They were ordinary people. Nothing extraordinary ever happened to them, and that was the way Mr. Top liked it. He would be none too pleased to hear that his son had done something as out of the ordinary as jumping as high as the ceiling.

  That evening Mom told Dad what had happened at school. When Mom had finished, Thomas gave a demonstration.

  His dad smiled and said, “Rita my dear, boys don’t jump to the top of school gyms or hit their heads on kitchen ceilings. It is simply not possible for anybody to jump that high. I think this is a classic case of people letting their imaginations get the better of them.” He laughed. “Perhaps, young man,” he said, looking at Thomas’s worried face, “April Fools’ Day has come late this year?”

  Thomas felt relieved. It wasn’t exactly what he thought his dad would say. He had imagined he was going to be in big trouble.

  “But Alan,” said Mom, “you must have seen him jump just now. Thomas, do it again.”

  Thomas did as he was told.

  “There, you see,” said Mom. “That can’t be normal.”

  “Rita, this is the last time I’ll say it. Boys don’t jump that high,” said Dad, beginning to lose his temper. “I don’t know what’s come over you. You will be giving the boy all sorts of stupid ideas.”

  Thomas couldn’t believe it. Surely his dad could see him jumping up to the ceiling?

  “I think,” said Dad sternly, “that Thomas just needs an early night. Then he will be as right as rain.”

  There was a terrible silence. Then Mom smiled weakly. There seemed little point in arguing. “Perhaps you’re right,” she said. “It is all a bit strange.”

  “Of course I’m right,” said Dad. “Now, we will hear no more about it. There’s nothing wrong with Thomas. He is just an ordinary little boy. There’s definitely no excuse for missing any more school. I will speak to Mr. March tomorrow and put an end to all this nonsense.”

  5

  Thomas sat in bed that evening thinking about fairies. Fairies weren’t fat, were they? All the fairies he had ever seen in fairy books were thin with beautiful long hair and wings that twinkled. They weren’t fat and they didn’t belch. It was hard to believe she was a real fairy, and even if she was, would she have the power to make a wish come true? But then, how did the fairy know what his real wish would be, or about Mom and the cupcakes? He lay in bed looking at the stars that shone bright in the night sky and thought about all that had happened that day.

  Suddenly Thomas felt as if a lightbulb had gone on in his head. He finally remembered that he’d wished he could fly! He got out of bed and gingerly stood on his comforter. He wasn’t quite sure what to do. Then he thought back to the gym. He seemed to go up when he waved his arms and legs. That’s it, thought Thomas, that’s what had stopped him from falling. This time he pretended he was swimming. He felt a little silly doing a hopeless sort of breaststroke in the air. Except it wasn’t silly at all. He was way above the bed, flying around the room.

  Thomas could feel the excitement from the tips of his toes to the top of his head. He felt it like a delicious feeling of melted chocolate. Thomas Top, nine years old: Thomas Top could fly.

  6

  The next day Mr. Top took Thomas into school and spoke to the headmaster while Thomas waited in the hallway. Mr. Top came out and so did Mr. March. “Glad we were able to sort out that little misunderstanding,” said Mr. Top.

  Mr. March also seemed relieved. “Now that I have had a night to sleep on it,” he said, “I think you are right.” He looked at Thomas. What were they all thinking of? Of course this boy couldn’t jump that high. It was impossible! Really, this had all gotten out of hand. He was running a busy school, not a circus.

  “We can safely put the whole incident down to an overactive imagination,” said Mr. March.

  “Exactly,” said Dad.

  That was the end of it, as far as the staff was concerned. His teacher, Miss Peach, who had never allowed herself the luxury of imagination, was only too delighted to agree with the headmaster. It must have been the stresses and strains of teaching that made them think that such an unremarkable boy as Thomas Top could jump that high. Thomas hadn’t actually done anything extraordinary. He never had and he never would. He was just your average child. Nothing out of the ordinary.

  Except his classmates didn’t see it that way, and stories of Thomas’s incredible jump quickly spread around the school.

  At break that day, Neil, the biggest boy in school and a bully to boot, came over to Thomas and his friends.

  “What you got in your shoes, Tommy Top?” demanded Neil.

  “Nothing,” said Thomas.

  Shoes were a very sore point with Thomas. He would have loved to have had sneakers like everyone else in his class, but his dad insisted on him wearing sensible, ordinary brown lace-up shoes.

  “Nothing,” said Thomas again.

  Neil didn’t look convinced. “Well, that’s not what I heard. I heard you jumped up and hit the ceiling of the school gym.”

  “Everyone just imagined that,” said Thomas.

  “I don’t think so,” said Neil. “Come on, you baby. Show us what you got.”

  Thomas paused. Since no grown-up believed he could jump that high, he had nothing to lose by showing the school bully that he could not only jump, but fly.

  “Go on,” said Neil, “bet you can’t, Tommy Top. Bet you can’t.”

  Thomas started doing his swimming strokes.

  Neil burst out laughing and so did all the other kids who had gathered around to see what was going on.

  “What are you . . .” laughed Neil, but he didn’t finish what he was saying because Thomas was now flying upward. He was a little bit wobbly. It felt strange not having any walls or ceilings to stop him from going higher—and also a lot more scary.

  “Miss Peach!” shouted a little girl. “Look, Thomas Top is flying!”

  “It must be fun to have an imagination and be able to see things that aren’t there,” said Miss Peach dismissively.

  Thomas was rather pleased when he came down and landed safely on the ground.

  “Fantastic!” yelled Spud.

  Neil, on the other hand, couldn’t think of a single thing to say.

  “I would shut your mouth before you swallow a fly,” Thomas said to him, smiling.

  A near riot had broken out on the playground. It took Miss Peach quite some time to get the children into class.

  “Now settle down, children,” said Miss Peach. “I don’t want to hear any more stories about jumping or flying. Open your math books to page three.”

  After school finished, the whole class said they wanted to come to Thomas’s birthday when he had it. This in itself was quite something. Usually nobody except Spud wanted to come to Thomas’s parties because of Mr. Spoons, the magician, who did the same old magic tricks year after year. But Dad wouldn’t hear of having anybody else. “We’ve had Mr. Spoons since you were five years old. It wouldn’t be your party without him.”

  It was not surprising that no one ever wanted to come, especially when Suzi Morris had her party on or around the same day. Last year, she had had Aunt Hat and her Magic Handbag, and she had become the most popular girl in the school overnight. Everyone had wanted to go to Suzi’s party. In the end she had only handed out invitations to those who had promised to bring the biggest and best presents. There had hardly been anyone at Thomas’s party. But this year it was going to be different.

  7

  As the week went on, Thomas’s flying got better and he became braver and bolder. He even had the nerve to fly over the school soccer field and get a ball that had b
een kicked high up in a tree. That had gone down well with his friends but unnoticed by Miss Peach. So far no grown-up had noticed him flying.

  His most daring venture so far was to go to the corner shop and get some bread for Mom. Thomas had started walking. Then he wondered, as nobody was around, whether he could fly. It would be quicker and he could test if some people really didn’t notice him while flying. There was only one woman out walking her dog and Thomas wondered if she would let out a scream when she saw him fly past. She didn’t, but the dog barked wildly. Oh well, he thought, if no one can see me, then I might go a little bit higher.

  He flew right up to the top of a building and sat there seeing the world in quite a different way, watching the sunlight play over the roof-tops. No longer was he afraid of heights.

  Then Thomas realized to his alarm that he wasn’t alone. Sitting a little way off was a man in coveralls who was looking straight at him. Thomas felt a moment of panic. He only hoped that he was as invisible to this man as he seemed to be to everyone else.

  “The Fat Fairy, I take it,” said the man. Thomas stared, then nodded, hardly believing what he was hearing.

  “How did you know?”

  “Oh, I know all about the Fat Fairy. And I saw you flying around your garden the other day,” said the man, with a huge smile on his face. “May I introduce myself? I am Mr. Vinnie, at your service.”

  “You can fly too?” asked Thomas in disbelief.

  “How else do you think I got up here?” replied Mr. Vinnie, laughing at Thomas’s surprised face. “Why? Did you think you were the only person who could fly?”

  Thomas shrugged. “I didn’t think about it.”

  “What’s your name, kid?” asked Mr. Vinnie kindly.

  “Thomas Top,” said Thomas.

  “Nice to meet you,” said Mr. Vinnie. “When I was a kid your age, the Fat Fairy gave me a birthday wish too, and like you, I wished that I could fly. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the best thing I could have ever wished for.”

  “It hasn’t gone away, then?” said Thomas.

  Mr. Vinnie laughed. “No, it hasn’t gone away,” he said. “I have been flying nearly all my life.”

  “I didn’t think it would last,” said Thomas. “I was wondering if one day I would just fall to the ground.”

  “Isn’t that funny. I remember thinking exactly the same thing when I was your age. Then I met other boys and girls who could fly, and that was great. We grew up in the air, so to speak. We’ve all gone our different ways, but we still keep in touch.”

  “So there are others too,” said Thomas. He found this to be a very comforting thought, though he couldn’t quite think why.

  “Yes, scattered all over the place,” said Mr. Vinnie.

  “And no one noticed you flying? Are you invisible like me?” asked Thomas.

  Mr. Vinnie’s face creased with laughter. “You are not invisible, Thomas. Neither am I, though I am more invisible than you because I am old and people don’t take any notice of us old wrinklies at the best of times, let alone when we fly,” said Mr. Vinnie. “No, Thomas, it’s simple. Humans don’t fly, so no one sees us.” With that Mr. Vinnie flew up into the air and turned a somersault before neatly landing on top of a pigeon, who did not like having his feathers ruffled by such a large bird.

  “Wow,” said Thomas. “How did you do that?”

  “I’ve been at this a long time,” said Mr. Vinnie. “Now show me what you can do, Thomas.”

  So Thomas did his swimming strokes.

  Mr. Vinnie watched. “It looks exhausting. Don’t you get tired?”

  “Yes,” said Thomas, “but I don’t know what else to do.”

  “You don’t need to wave anything around. You just have to trust that you can fly. A wish is a wish, and it stays with you forever,” said Mr. Vinnie.

  Mr. Vinnie showed him how he could fly without moving his arms or legs. It looked so beautiful, as if he had control over the wind and the air.

  Up on top of a building near the corner shop, while the sun was setting, Mr. Vinnie told Thomas all he knew about flying. Thomas flew home in great excitement.

  Mom was very cross. “Where have you been and what have you been doing and where is the bread?” she said.

  “I’m sorry. I forgot it,” said Thomas. He hadn’t meant to. It was just the thrill of flying and meeting Mr. Vinnie. It was no use saying all that to his mom. She wouldn’t understand.

  “Oh,” she sighed, “head in the clouds, I suppose.”

  “Yes, I suppose,” said Thomas with a small smile.

  8

  At first, the magic of flying was so wonderful that it hadn’t really mattered that no grown-ups were aware of what an incredible thing Thomas could do. In fact it had been very useful. It had given him a freedom without which learning to fly would have been impossible. But as he got better, he began to feel more and more sad that his mom couldn’t see what he could do. His dad had said nothing, even when he had sat in the garden watching Thomas do somersaults in the air. It felt disappointing that neither his mom nor dad could see just how good he was.

  As the evenings got lighter Mr. Vinnie and Thomas would meet in the park, where they could fly properly without buildings getting in the way.

  Mr. Vinnie said that it was sad that so many people walked with their heads bowed down, looking out for dog poo, and not seeing the magic that was all around them. The more Thomas flew, the more he thought how wonderful everything was. Being so high up with the birds made you see the world in a very different way.

  Mr. Vinnie told Thomas about his dad and how when he was young he had wanted him to get a proper job, like being a banker. “But once you have flown up where the sky is blue,” said Mr. Vinnie, “you couldn’t be tied down to a desk and imprisoned in four walls.” So he had become a painter and decorator, which was just the ticket. He could work faster than anyone else in the business. Flying up and down meant there was no need for ladders and he could float on his back to paint ceilings.

  Thomas found that he could talk to Mr. Vinnie in a way that he had never been able to talk to his dad.

  “Do you have any kids?” Thomas asked Mr. Vinnie as they sat one evening at the top of Alexandra Palace, watching the sun setting over London, turning it from red to gold.

  “No,” said Mr. Vinnie sadly. “Annie, my dear wife, and I wanted kids but that didn’t happen.” Mr. Vinnie smiled. “I am not complaining. Annie and I had a wonderful life together.” He had often taken his wife flying. She couldn’t fly, but Mr. Vinnie was a strong man and, as he told Thomas, his wife was as light as a sparrow. Sadly, she had died last year and Mr. Vinnie said he thought at the time that he would never fly again. But then one day he had seen Thomas flying in his garden and he felt that he couldn’t give up, not when there was so much magic in the world.

  “I’m sorry,” said Thomas.

  “No need, Thomas, but thank you,” said Mr. Vinnie. “Annie would have loved to have met you.”

  9

  It is hard to imagine your parents being young, and when Thomas thought about his dad, he couldn’t see him as a kid laughing and enjoying himself. Dad was more interested in Thomas doing well in math and things like that.

  “There’s no money to be made in having fun,” said Dad. “To get a proper job you need math.” Math, Dad told him, is the cornerstone of your future. But Thomas was no good at math, whereas flying was something he could do perfectly. Dad, thought Thomas gloomily, could suck all the fun out of a day without even trying. It was like their dreaded fishing trips.

  Fishing was Dad’s one little hobby. He bought every magazine and book on the subject. He prided himself on having the latest fishing rod and the most up-to-date equipment. There was nothing Dad didn’t know about fishing except how to actually catch a fish.

  He would pack the car very carefully on Saturday morning, bright and early, making sure nothing was left out. It took forever, and if Dad couldn’t find this or that, they would have to
stop everything until it was found. By the time they set off, the day was no longer bright, because Mom and Dad would have had a long argument.

  The reservoir was a dreary place that backed up onto the local gasworks. This was where Dad liked to go fishing, but they would arrive so late that all the good fishing spots would be taken. It hardly seemed worth all the effort. In the end, there wasn’t that much time left to catch a fish. They would both come home tired and frustrated and Thomas would wait for the awful words: “We’ll get it right next time, son.” His dad always said it and they never did.

  There was no doubt that Dad worked hard. Except for Saturday fishing trips, he would spend the weekends studying his button sale numbers. Mom would sit alone at the kitchen table looking through magazines and dreaming of what her house would look like if only she could paint it the way she wanted. Dad had painted it magnolia and brown when they first moved in. Nothing out of the ordinary—and that was the way he liked it.

  A sadness now seemed to hang in the air like a mist. It had definitely gotten worse since Thomas had taken up flying. Dad had become more rigid, seeing less and less of what was around him. At times Thomas felt sorry that the Fat Fairy had been unable to give him his original wish, that his dad could have fun. Then maybe everything would have been all right.

  10

  School was much better than it had ever been before. Thomas had gone from being unnoticed, with only one friend, Spud, to being one of the most popular boys in school. This was in no small measure helped by the fact that teachers couldn’t or wouldn’t see what Thomas could do. It gave him an edge over all the grown-ups, and a feeling of power, which also frightened him a little.

 
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