Time to Dream
“Hey geek,” says the bully as he hits Bobby in the head
with a paper wad. Bobby's groggy eyes open and he raises his head. The
bully laughs,“Sleepin on yer desk again.” All the other kids
in the classroom begin laughing at Bobby. Merry-go-round music plays as
they circle around his head, their faces spinning around him like he was
being whirled in his chair. He covers his ears but their distorted
laughter still gets through. Wack. A really big paper wad strikes the
bully in the side of his face, ceasing the music and spinning faces.
Rubbing the red mark the wad left on his cheek. He looks to the thrower
with gritted teeth.
The thrower, in full Wild West gear from head to toe, is kicked
back at a desk with arms crossed and hat down to hide the face. Bobby
whistles a tune from an old Wild West movie and the other kids follow
with a high-pitched “Waa Waaa Waaaaa.”
The thrower slowly pushes up the hat to reveal a smirking grin. Her
teeth sparkle. In a low, raspy voice, she coolly commands the bully,
“Leave my friend alone.”
“OOOHHHOOO,” moan all other the kids, then their lips
go tight and silent.
“Aw, the little girl is taking up for ya again,” the
bully taunts Bobby. The cowgirl stands slow and smooth. As she steps
towards the bully, the clanging of her spurs are the only sounds echoing
in the classroom. The bully shakily says, “Sorry, gulp,”
under his breath and adds, “Big girl,” as he looks at her,
beginning with her tall, flashy tasseled boots up to the top of her
She peers down at him and spits to the side. “Name is
Riley,” she says with a nod and reaches towards him.
“Stop, listen to me Bobby. You have no time to dream now, no
time at all,” echoes from nowhere. Suddenly, his dream is totally
dark. Moving in from behind him a blurry image of an older woman
appears. Dressed in a plain white gown, she's excited to see him.
“Bobby, I made it, I got to you.”
Startled, he spins around. “Mae?” His face shows alarm
at her appearance “You look like a ghost.”
She gets closer and the blur goes away so she now looks like a
person. “Uh, no, it's me. Ghosts aren’t attractive.”
She says with an attitude. “When my time comes I'll be a beautiful
good spirit. Though I'd rather get the wings, if I could make the
squad.” She chuckles then grabs him by the arms and pulls him
close to hug him. He could see her so clearly now, unlike most dreams,
and her touch felt so real. He couldn’t tell if he was dreaming or
if he had woken up to a dark room with Mae really there.
She speaks quickly, but softly “My Amulet. You are the only
one who will understand, the only one that can help. So wake up and send
your father to my house right away. Something is wrong. Tell him to find
the Amulet because it's no longer on my body. You must wake
Bobby gasps and quickly sits up. He gets a glimpse of something in the
mirror over his desk but as he blinks the mirror only reflects some
light from the moon. He hears the phone ring and rubs his eyes, trying
to clear his head of the confusing dream he just had. He looks around
his room as if he is expecting someone to be there. A bit of light comes
from his computer screen as -Bobby the WIZKID- scrolls across it.
“Yes, this is Robert Lowery. What? Who is this? Uh, I’ll get
there as soon as I can.”
“Who was that?” Leigh asks.
“A police officer. There’s been a fire at Mae’s house.
They’re taking her to the hospital and said she should be alright,
but they want me to go there.”
“Oh no, I’ll wake up Bobby.” Leigh rises up onto one
“Wait.” Robert puts a hand on her shoulder and rubs his head
with the other. He blinks to clear his eyes and mind. “No need for
all of us to go until we know what's going on. I’ll call you when
I get to the hospital. I didn’t even know she was back.” He
hops out of bed, opens a drawer to pull out some green sweat pants and
pulls them on. He grabs an orange t-shirt from the open drawer and his
red striped tennis shoes from the floor. He shoves his phone and wallet
in his pocket as he pulls his t-shirt over his head, then grabs his
keys. As he is heading out of the room he whispers back,
“Don’t worry. I’ll call as soon as I know what's going
Excerpted from "Shadow Caster" by Stephen Colter. Copyright © 2012 by Stephen Colter. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.