"Well," Sally said before taking a break to blow on her tea, "I wouldn't say I used telepathy on purpose, it just sort of happened," she finished before sipping her tea, which was still too hot and placing it back in front of her, on its coaster.
"What I want to know," Anne said in-between chomping on a cucumber sandwich and gulping her tea, "is how you knew we were all being held in the abandoned fireworks factory, Nancy."
Officer Newton blushed a little bit, before noticing Gustav was also blushing, then she blushed some more, dabbed her lips with a napkin (even though she really had no reason to), and said, "Well, I'm afraid that's pretty boring. You see, cartoonish supervillains always gravitate towards abandoned factories. We have only two abandoned factories in town, the old fireworks mill and the old styrofoam cup factory. Nobody ever wants to go to a styrofoam cup factory, even when they aren’t abandoned, so I figured it had to be the fireworks factory, just for style reasons.”
“Ahhh, makes sense,” declared Anne, “now let’s get on with this telepathy bit. Sally, you said you didn’t know you were using telepathy, please continue.”
“Like I said, I didn’t know I was sending out thought blasts, I was just scared and thinking about puppies and kittens so I wouldn’t be so afraid. Then Officer Newton...”
Nancy interjected, “had her head filled with visions of puppies from out of nowhere. So many of them! It seemed like all the puppies in the world were in my head. I had no idea where it came from and it made me feel a little weird.”
“Weird how? And how did you get the idea to flood the fireworks factory with puppies, thus rendering all evil magick moot and void?” Grandfather asked.
My dear, probably confused, reader you may remember last time we left the gang they were in pretty rough shape. The Society's Head Quarters had been ransacked and all its members kidnapped by Freak Andy. Grand Father, Gustav, Jimmy, and Sally were completely at the mercy of Freak Andy and his goons. Everyone was in grave danger. Dire danger even. A stark contrast to where we find them today, sitting around a table in Anne’s kitchen, sharing tea and snacks while discussing their most exciting and thrilling adventure yet.
What happened at the fireworks factory was easily the most dramatic and sensational event of the century (nobody knew it would blow up so loudly) and I must admit that as the chronicler of these tales, I have failed you in properly recording the events surrounding the rescue of everyone and the defeat of Freak Andy. It was just too exciting and I forgot to take proper notes. Now we find ourselves in the midst of a bit of a well-earned celebration and I assure you I will do my best to unconfuse you while filling you in on all you missed.
“Well, I’m not really sure how to describe the feeling. It was like I was full of the desire to hug puppies and couldn’t think of anything else. It was sort of, but not really, like being hungry...”
“Except instead of food, you just need to be under a heap of puppies? Rubbing those puppy tummies and scratching their super cute butts while a million tounges lick your face until you’re crying from laughing too much instead of being super afraid that Freak Andy is going to eat you?” Sally interrupted.
“Exactly like that!” Officer Newton replied, “I knew it wasn’t my feeling that I was feeling because I’m a cat person. I didn’t know it was Sally’s thoughts I was feeling either, I didn’t know what was happening."
Grand Father turned to Sally and asked her to pass the plate of cookies sitting next to her, then he asked, “How did you know that a gang of puppies would negate Freak Andy's Shadow Magick and render him powerless?"
"I didn't know any of that. I was just trying not to be so scared. Honest. I had no idea that Andy's weakness was puppies or that I could use telepathy or any of that stuff. I just wanted to be home."
"Not just Andy's weakness," Grand Father began, "love and joy are the only things that can defeat Shadow Magick. Since it's based on hate and negative emotions, like self-pity and self-absorption, it tends to melt in the presence of overwhelming proof that the world isn't a horrible place and nothing so clearly demonstrates that more than a whole bunch of puppies trying to lick you into a laughing fit."
"I don't know why we didn't think of that years ago?" Anne softly mentioned to mostly herself, but the others heard just fine.
Grand Father placed his hand on Anne's shoulder and looked at her with a soft, unfocused gaze. Tears were forming in the corners of his eyes, but they weren't the kind of tears that spilled over and ran down cheeks. They were just poking their heads out of the window, so to speak. "So do I, Anne, so do I. Such a simple idea would have never occurred to us. Think of all the trouble that could have been avoided…"
"Now, now," said Anne, "what's that old saying? 'If its and buts were candy and nuts…"
"We'd all have a lovely Christmas." Jimmy chimed in.
Jimmy had been uncharastically silent ever since the Fire Works Factory exploded, nearly killing everyone and almost destroying the town in the process. He'd been thinking about the events of the past few days and had a lot of questions about how the adults were handling things. It was starting to occur to him that a bunch of adults with magick powers should be able to keep it together a little better than they were. Ever since joining The Society, it's been nothing but monster patrol after monster patrol. Jimmy was starting to feel like he and Sally were the ones doing most of the work, while the adults sat around doing paperwork and drinking tea. While this may not have been entirely what was going on, Jimmy did have a point. He was more right than wrong.
"Jimmy, that's the first thing you've said since we've been rescued," Anne observed, "How are you doing dear? I'm afraid we forgot to ask what with all the excitement."
"I'm fine," Jimmy answered curtly, to make clear that he meant the opposite of what he said. As Jimmy spoke, the mood of the room changed. Jimmy was not fine. Neither was Sally. They were both covered in bruises and dust and still had spider webs in their hair. Neither would have objected to taking a bath if one were offered. Sally spent her birthday hanging upside down, scared beyond reason and worrying about dying, which, I’m sure you can agree, is no way to spend one’s birthday. After all, they all would have been dead if Sally hadn't accidentally broadcasted her thoughts about the puppies to Nancy. Waiting for little kids to accidentally defuse dangerous supernatural crisis situations using the whimsy of childhood innocence seemed to Jimmy to be a less than ideal plan at best.
The celebratory, festive mood that was inhabiting the kitchen burst like a soap bubble slamming into a tree. The adults took a good look at both Jimmy and Sally and saw two exhausted, disheveled little kids who were in desperate need of a bath and a bedtime story, not a tea-party with cucumber sandwiches and boring cookies.
Anne stood up and faked a yawn. The rest of the adults mumbled about how they had things to do and how it’s getting late and other such things that adults say instead of “I just noticed I’ve overstayed my welcome”. Politeness is, in many cases, nothing more than a collection of little white lies.
Jimmy was aware of the effect his words had on the adults. He watched them look at him and realize what they had done. He felt the chill in the air and was glad for it.
“Sally spent her birthday hanging upside down and almost being eaten by giant spiders because a whole bunch of years ago you wouldn’t be nice to Freak Andy. We had to save the town again. I need a bath and an explanation for what’s going on around here and a nap, not a goddamn tea party. I’m seven, not stupid.”
Whatever joy remained in the room vanished when Jimmy’s words reached everyone’s ears. The adults lowered their eyes to the ground and couldn’t think of a thing to say.
Jimmy pushed his chair away from the table and stood up. “I’m leaving,” he said.
No one said anything. Not even Sally. Jimmy left Anne’s house, quietly shutting the door behind him. It was louder than any slam could have been.
“Well than Magus, what now?” Gustav asked.