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Jayben Treat


“Shouldn’t she be disappearing or something?” whispered Mrs. C out of the corner of her mouth.

“You don’t need to whisper,” said Jayben whose eyebrows narrowed as he stared suspiciously to the holographic image, “It’s not like she can hear us!”

Mrs. C then thrust the cape broom toward Jayben. “Here take your fly’n stick. I’ve a kitchen to clean up and a window to have fixed,” she said as she looked about the glass-strewn floor. “Why don’t you and that rat of a dragon go out and play now?”

Jayben took hold of the broom, although he did not take his eyes off of the holographic image still staring into the room.

“And turn her off,” Mrs. C said gruffly pointing to the hologram, “it gives me the creeps having her stare at us that way. You’d think a witch could do something about a nervous tick; now wouldn’t ya! She looks like a floozy trying to charm a sailor!”

“That’s it!” Jayben beamed excitedly as he ran to the other side of the kitchen, pulled open a corner draw and retrieved a quill and parchment.

“Now whatcha up to?” scowled Mrs. C as Jayben ran back across the kitchen and stopped in front of the holographic woman.

“Ms. Smok doesn’t have a nervous tick,” said Jayben as he watched carefully each blink and after a second or two wrote down something on the paper, “This is something more … it’s why the scarab smashed up the kitchen today.”

Jayben turned away from the holographic image and walked across the room toward the table where he plopped into his chair and stared at the parchment.

Mrs. C looked over his shoulder at the scribbled notes.

“What you have there Jayben?”

“I’m not really sure ma’am,” sighed Jayben miserably as he looked at the scribbled dots and dashes filling a quarter of the page. He moved his head up and stared into her face.

“Remember the story of the broken scarab, I was telling you about?” said Jayben as Mrs. C nodded, “well, Mrs. Beasley said on that day that the scarab was sending out a cry for help, called an S.O.S; she said it was using Morse Code. And Miss Smok’s ticks were doing the same thing! If I’m right, she’s sending us a message … but I don’t know how to decipher the code.”

A sudden look of awareness crossed the face of Mrs. C and she stood upright. “Well glory be,” she mumbled to herself.

“Sorry?” Jayben said watching her change of expression.

Mrs. C remained lost in her thoughts for a brief minute more before she regained her composure and looked back to Jayben.

“When I was a wee bit of a girl Jayben, there was a great war going on. All my bruthers went off to fight and I was the only child left at home. I was quite sad that I couldn’t be a part of the campaign,” she paused as she looked to Jayben’s tender face, “I was just about your age I bet, when one day my father, who was a dear man, bless his soul, sensed my longing to  make a difference in the war effort. He was an old Amateur Radio buff and told me needed help with his work for the government. As it turned out he was what ya call a Secret Agent! In any case, he taught me Morse Code!”

She paused again as she took hold of Jayben’s parchment and stared.


2007, 2008, 2009, 2010,  by R.L. Mesler
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First printing