People. Yelling. Cars. We bumped into everyone as we tried to get to the grocery store. More about that in a minute. Mostly it was adults who just said, “Sorry, didn’t see you,” but a few of them were teens with phones that had fancy covers and they said, “Watch where you’re going.” then walking away to chat with their friends. It was annoying. So many people stepped on my shoes that I wondered what it would be like in California. Probably ten times the amount of people. As we rounded the corner, I turned to face my sister.
“What exactly is your plan?” I asked her, hoping for a response. Nothing. She just shrugged and kept walking. I hated these times. We had found a scepter which turned me into her and her into me. Sort of like switching places. All sorts of annoying things had happened like I had to go to a kindergarten summer camp and I nearly had to eat applesauce. Now we were heading to the grocery store, hoping to see if the man who traded the scepter was still here.
Here’s a brief overview of Mr. McLane’s grocery store. It’s a grocery store obviously. It’s also where my mom tells me to go once a month if we need something. But most of all it’s the place that caused us something we’d remember for our whole life.
“How much longer do we have to walk?” I complained, “My feet are killing me!” My sister didn’t know what an exaggeration was but she still spoke.
“Your feet can’t kill you,” she assured me. I rolled my eyes as we crossed the road and I saw in bright green letters the sign said Mr McLane’s Grocery Store. I walked to the entrance of the door where he was when I got the scepter and the only thing I saw was a stray dog, eating a morsel of bread. My shoulders sagged in defeat.
“Nope,” I said, looking at Vi who was moaning. This is awful I thought, Probably the only chance of getting back to ourselves, washed down the drain. As we turned around to head back home, the dog behind us was acting strange. It tilted it’s head then began growling at...the sky? Then it turned back and glared at us. I’m not sure if dogs can glare but this one seemed to be doing it.
“Anika, let’s get away!” Vi yelled in a scared tone. She’s scared of dogs and hates being around them. I ignored her. The dog obviously was upset so I tried to calm it down by petting it’s tan fur. I pulled my hand back, something slimy was there. My sister was screaming at this time because the dog was showing its teeth. I wanted to run but something about the dog made me stay. The dog had finally calmed down and was now looking at me with a curious look on his face. Then he looked at the scepter in my sister’s hand and his expression turned to a scowl as he dashed at it. Vi screamed at the top of her lungs and dropped the scepter. I couldn’t process what was going on as the dog raced up to it and grabbed it with his mouth. Then he bolted far, far away.
“How are we supposed to find a tiny dog in the entire Brooklyn?” I asked Vi as my brain kept replaying what just happened over and over in my mind. Dog. Grabs. Scepter. And. Runs. Away. She glared at me.
“I don’t want to have anything to do with that crazy dog,” she informed me, “I’m staying here and that’s final.”
“Suit yourself. I’ll go to the park. Ask around if anyone’s seen a dog,” I said then continuing on seeing her stay put, “I heard the ice cream truck is gonna roll by.” That was all it took. She bolted ahead of me and started leading the way to the park. She’s going to have a tantrum when it’s not there. I thought, smiling to myself.
“You said it would BE THERE!” Vi yelled on the top of her lungs, on seeing the truck was nowhere to be found, “You said it would and it’s not. You’re a big liar and I’m going to tell mommy what you did.” I shushed her as a few people at the park turned to look at us. I guess they thought it was pretty strange that a 9-year-old girl would be yelling at someone who’s 5. Vi paid them no attention and kept on yelling things like, “I hate you,” and “You’re the worst.” I pulled her over to a corner and in the middle of another insult she stopped, and her eyes grew wide.
“It’s HIM!” she shrieked, “IT’S THAT DOG, IT’S HIM!” I followed her gaze as I saw the dog we had encountered. And next to it was the scepter but it wasn’t its normal red color. It looked gray, like stormy clouds. The dog was barking at a person behind a hot dog vendor. The person didn’t seem to know what to do - give the dog the meat in his hand or yell “SHOO!” He gave him the hotdog that had ketchup and mustard drizzled on it but the dog ignored it. He kept barking, his eyes trained on the person until he turned around and he saw me. I braced myself for a loud ‘bark’ but instead, the dog shot me a curious look, then went to the sandbox on the playground side of the park.
“No, no, nooo,” Vi moaned, “The sandbox is one of the only good things about the park. I don’t want him to get his muddy paws on the sand.”
But the dog was already in the pit and was digging in it. I looked closer. More like drawing? My sister didn’t seem to be that interested until he stopped doing whatever he was doing and turned to look at us. Vi looked at him right back then faced the sandbox. What she saw was crazy.
“Did...you just write a sentence in there?” she asked, her face turning angry, “Just because a stupid mutt like you knows how to write doesn’t mean you can destroy the sandbox!”
I smiled, at how funny she was to think a dog could write until I looked there myself. Right there in small letters were seventeen words.
It’s about time you got here! Switch me back now! Oh, and mind getting me a burger?
My jaw dropped open and Vi had a look of fury on her face. She started yelling every insult she could think of and I stared in disbelief at the dog who, just moments ago, had seemed like any other. The dog tilted its head as if to say, Well can you read or not? I didn’t know what to do. Our problem had become an even bigger one. And I had no solution.
Cover Picture Source: https://www.evilresource.com/images/data/full/re2remake/scepter.png