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A Cup of Water, Jetpacks, and a Daisy
We slowed as we approached our neighborhood. Once we were directly above Ricardo’s back yard, the pod lowered to the ground and landed behind the shed. The door opened and we jumped out. As we hopped the fences and backyards to get to my house, I kept thinking of what I could have done different with the creation of the pod. “I should have included invisibility with the pod so it wouldn’t be seen.”
“Grace, once a thing is drawn, can you change it or add something new?” Ricardo questioned.
“Yes,” replied Grace, “but you need to be careful with this power, Drake. You need to keep it managed or things get seriously out of control.”
Ricardo laughed. “A dragon on the loose in downtown San Francisco seems pretty out of control to me.”
We walked in the back door of my house. My mom, dad, and the younger twins were all watching the news in the living room. On the TV was video of Buddy at the top of the building we saw earlier. The building didn’t have a flat roof like King’s Kastle. This building’s roof was older with a steep, shingled roof. Buddy paced back and forth along the roof and every step caused several more shingles to break loose and slide off. He looked scared and confused.
A fire chief spoke to the camera. “We’re doing everything we can to keep downtown safe until we can capture this thing. We advise everyone to keep a good distance away from the area.”
Everyone in the room had their eyes glued to the TV, but my mom managed to turn and see us. “Drake, you’re home!” she said. “Did you hear about this downtown dragon? Scary. I didn’t even know dragons existed!”
Jake and Jack were on the floor also captivated by the dragon. “Dragon!” Jake shouted. “Dragon!” Jack shouted, pointing at the TV.
Ricardo and I exchanged nervous looks. “No,” I said, “I didn’t. That’s crazy…um…oh, Mom, this is Grace from school. Ricardo and I ran into her at the park and we’ve been hanging out since.”
Grace extended a polite handshake. “Hello, Mrs. Dodger. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“You too.” Grace’s manners impressed my mom. “How nice. Look honey, Drake brought home a girl.”
My dad’s eyes stayed fixed on the TV, mesmerized by the dragon as he gave a feeble wave of his hand and muttered, “Mm.”
My mom rolled her eyes at him and turned her attention back to us. “So, what are you kids up to?”
I was still recovering from my mom’s embarrassing mention of me bringing home a girl, but I managed to come up with the next part of my story. “Ahh, I was going to show these guys some of my old drawings.”
Mom rubbed my head and said to Grace and Ricardo, “Drake is so talented, isn’t he?”
“Oh yes, he’s the best artist in school,” Grace said, helping to play her part.
We managed to pull away from my mom and head upstairs. I opened the door to the hallway closet and the three of us peered in. I dug around for my grandpa’s old briefcase.
“Found it!” I pulled it out and we retreated to my room. I placed the case on my bed.
“It’s just an old beat-up case,” said Ricardo.
The case was made of worn leather and had a shoulder strap. It had a large flap covering the opening. The flap stayed closed with two buckle straps. I undid the straps and flipped open the case. I pulled out the old drawings of mine that my parents had put in there when I was little and spread them across the bed.
“Wow,” teased Grace. “I guess all great artists start somewhere.”
“Yeah, Drake,” Ricardo said. “These are bad.”
I picked up a drawing of an extremely fat horse. Its head was misshapen and its eyeballs were bulging. “That is hideous,” I said. “But it was a long time ago. I’ve improved.”
I dropped the drawing back on to the pile. “Anything else inside?” asked Grace.
I opened the case as wide as I could, stuck my hand in and felt all around. There were variously sized pockets along the lining of the case, but nothing in those.
I closed the flap and on the front was a small pocket clasped shut with a button. I undid the button and I reached my fingers inside. My fingers pulled out a small, folded piece of tattered paper. I unfolded it and read out loud:
I was taught to draw what I see, not what I think I see.
But Imagos know you draw what you don’t see.
May this case find you at the right time.
“That’s my grandpa Gene. I think this is the Imago’s case we need,” I said.
“Great,” said Ricardo, “now we just need to get it and your drawing near Buddy.”
“Let’s go,” I said as I took off my backpack, pulled my drawing pad out, and started to place it in the Imago’s case.
“Wait!” said Ricardo. “Do you still have those speed shoes?”
“Oh, I see where you’re going,” I said. I pulled the speed shoes out from my closet and placed them on the bed. Then I slid my drawing pad into the Imago’s case to test if the case really worked.
We stood there with eagerness. “Give it a moment,” said Grace.
Then the shoes popped out of view. Ricardo and I jumped with excitement and gave each other a high five. “Awesome! It works!” we said.
“Drake!” my mom shouted from downstairs. “We’re having dinner soon. Your friends are welcome to stay.”
I threw the case over my shoulder. We went downstairs and met my mom in the kitchen. “Ricardo’s got to get home,” I said. “We’ll walk him home and Grace is not much farther, okay?”
“Okay,” mom said. “It was nice to meet you, Grace.”
“It was a pleasure meeting you, Mrs. Dodger,” replied Grace.
Back at Ricardo’s we ran to the pod where we left it. As we approached it, it suddenly folded up and disappeared. We halted in our tracks. “Where’d it go?” Ricardo and I both asked.
“Boys,” said Grace, “where’s the drawing pad?”
“In the case, why?” I said as if it were a silly question. Then it hit me. “Oh, right! The pod drawing is already in the case and once we get close enough it does its thing and disappears.”
“Bingo,” Grace said.
I pulled out the drawing pad from the case and a moment later the pod and the shoes unfolded back into existence. I ripped out the drawing of the shoes and put only that back into the case. The shoes then disappeared again. “Nice, let’s go!”
We jumped into the pod and I pressed the To Park button.
We zoomed over neighborhoods and trees, past the school, and over King’s Kastle. Ricardo and I checked the roof while we passed. It seemed forever since we were up there looking for Buddy.
We landed between some trees at the park. After we stepped out, I handed the case to Ricardo. “Hold this open.” I tore the pod drawing out of the drawing pad. Ricardo held open the case while I dropped in the drawing. A second later the pod folded up the same way it came and was gone. “Now for Buddy,” I said.
We ran out of the park and down the street. As we got closer to the building Buddy was on, we saw that a fire had engulfed the roof and top floor. Buddy was perching on top of a gable. Scared, he was slipping and trying to keep his balance.
A crowd of people watched from the street. “Let’s get closer,” I said. We made our way through the crowd until we had a clear view of the scene.
“Buddy must have breathed out fire,” I said.
“Or sneezed again,” said Ricardo half-jokingly. “Why is he doing this?”
“He’s probably just scared,” said Grace. “Drake, you need to get right up next to him before you can put his drawing in the case.”
The fire chief I saw on the news was yelling into a radio. “We’ve got to capture that thing. Where’s that helicopter with the net?”
“I have to get to him before they do,” I said.
Above us on the roof, Buddy let out a screeching howl. Then he jumped to the next building over, grabbing onto the windowsills with his claws and flapping his wings.
“Buddy!” I yelled. We started running toward the building, but the fire chief stopped us.
“Hold right there, kids!” he shouted. He put his large hand on my shoulder, preventing me from getting any farther. “Kid, did you just call out to that thing? You know where it came from?”
“Ahh, yeah.” I hesitated. I had to tell him the truth if there was going to be any hope of saving Buddy. “He’s my pet…my pet dragon.”
He paused for a moment, then sighed and rolled his eyes. “This morning, I didn’t know there was such a thing as a dragon, so I guess it doesn’t surprise me he’s a kid’s pet.”
“I need to get to him,” I said.
“No way, kid. It’s way too dangerous.”
“He’s just scared. He’ll calm down if I can talk to him.”
“No. We’ll take care of it.” The fire chief’s radio sounded and he walked away shouting to the person on the other end. “Get that helicopter here quick. He’s on the move!”
I looked up at Buddy and then to the fire. “This is all my fault.”
“What are you going to do, Drake?” Ricardo asked.
“You know what to do,” Grace said. I got out my drawing pad and started drawing. High in the air above the ground, I drew a floating cup the size of a house tipping and pouring water out. I ripped out the page and held it up toward the burning building.
Above the building, the cup unfolded into view. Immediately hundreds of gallons of water tipped out and poured onto the fire. Water flowed over the top of the building and in a few seconds, the fire was out and the water vaporized into the air.
The firemen and people below shouted cheers of astonishment and relief. “Drake, you did it!” Ricardo said. All three of us cheered.
“But what about that giant cup floating above the building?” asked Ricardo.
“There’s no time to worry about that now,” I said.
“Reeeek!” screeched Buddy as he jumped off the building side and nose-dived. I turned and saw him coming toward the crowd. Before I could run toward him, he reached down, grabbed the fire chief with his hind legs, and flew back up into the sky.
“No! Buddy come back. It’s me!” I shouted but he didn’t hear me. Buddy landed on a roof a few buildings down with the fire chief. “We’ve got to get up there!”
I still had my drawing pad in my hand. “Come on, follow me,” I said. I led us to a nearby alleyway. I flipped to a blank page. I drew three jetpacks for Grace, Ricardo, and myself. The jetpacks were shiny, bullet-looking backpacks with small hand controls. They were easy to fly and quick to put on. Once they appeared, we all put them on.
“You sure about this?” Ricardo asked nervously.
“Yes, Ric. We can do this!” I said with encouragement. “Here.” I handed Ricardo the case and drawing pad. “You fly up to the cup and put its drawing into the case and then meet us where Buddy is. On three, push the button in your left hand. One, two, three!”
We each started rocketing into the air. Surprisingly, it was easy to maneuver the jetpacks. “Drake, this is awesome!” Ricardo shouted. I was too worried about Buddy to notice just how awesome flying around in jetpacks really was.
Moments later, Grace and I found the roof where Buddy had taken the fire chief. When we landed, the man was getting back on his feet and catching his breath.
“Kids, get out of here,” he shouted.
“It’s okay,” I said.
Buddy was walking in circles on the other side of the roof. He was breathing hard and anxiously. Just then, Ricardo caught up to us. “The cup is in the case.”
I started walking toward Buddy. “Buddy, it’s me, Drake. It’s okay. There’s nothing to be afraid of. I’ve got you.”
Buddy looked at me. I could tell he recognized me. Still anxious he let out a screech and without warning, Buddy hooked my jetpack with his tail and threw me onto his back. He flapped his wings and lifted into the air. I held tight, though if I did fall off, I still had my jetpack. Buddy flew away, high in the sky. Ricardo and Grace followed behind us.
“Buddy, where are you going? It’s okay. You can relax. No one will get you. I found a way to keep you safe.”
I pulled myself farther up his neck and got closer to his ear. “Buddy, you’re alright.” I could hear his breathing slow down. “I won’t let anything happen to you. You are a gift to the world, but they are not ready for you. I don’t know why, but I’ve got this drawing power that the world is not ready for either. Let’s help each other, okay? Let’s go back to the cave. Remember the cave? Back to the cave, Buddy.”
Buddy slowed his flight and then turned left until he pointed in the direction of the field where I drew the cave.
We made a soft landing next to the cave and I jumped off his back. Ricardo and Grace landed with their jetpacks a safe distance from us.
I walked in front of Buddy and faced him as he bowed his head. We locked eyes. I put my hand on his nose. “Buddy, you’re safe now.”
Ricardo and Grace walked up behind me and smiled at Buddy.
“Buddy, you changed my life, but you can’t stay in the cave or on buildings anymore.”
Ricardo still had the case and drawing pad. He handed them to me. I flipped to the drawing of Buddy. He looked down at it with curiosity. Then he turned and looked at the cave and back at me as if he were telling me he was going to stay there.
“I’m sorry Buddy. It’s not safe for you here even in this cave.” I showed him the Imago’s case. “You’ll be safe here with my other drawings.”
He lay down in front of me and rested his head against my legs. “I’ll take you out again someday. We can fly together again, I promise.”
I kneeled and rested the drawing on his nose. Grace took the case from me and opened it. Ricardo put his hand on Buddy’s snout. “Bye, Buddy,” he said.
I held the drawing over the case and looked at Buddy. “Goodbye, Buddy. I’ll see you soon.” I let go of the drawing and it fell into the case. A moment later, Buddy folded up before us and disappeared.
As I reached for my drawing pad and flipped to the drawing of the cave to put it in the case, Grace stopped me. “Leave the cave. It’s like a monument.”
After we put the jetpacks drawing into the case, the three of us started the walk back to our houses, quietly contemplating the adventure we just shared.
“What a week,” I said.
“Yeah,” Ricardo said, “I still can’t believe all the things you drew. The rocket packs were by far the coolest. And Buddy, of course.”
“Grace, how do you do it?” I asked.
“Be an Imago without making a mess of things. I haven’t even told you guys what I did with a vacuum I drew. How do I draw anything now? I must be able to draw for school or whatever without it coming to life. In geography, I have a map of Belize to draw. How do I do that without the country of Belize flattening the entire city?”
“You learn to control it. When I don’t want a drawing to come to life, I focus on it staying on the paper. As long as I focus on it being only a drawing, it stays that way.”
“I think I can do that.”
“I’ll teach you,” said Grace. “Better to practice, of course, on little things before drawing any countries.”
“Right!” I laughed. “Grace, we’ve only seen you on the street and at the park. Where are you staying?”
“I drew myself a house,” Grace humbly stated.
“What? No way!” exclaimed Ricardo. “Tell me you drew a basketball court inside!”
We all laughed.
The next week in geography class my group met to work on our Belize project. I pulled out my drawing of the map. The others looked it over. They had no idea what I had been through or how I could have brought to life the entire country of Belize if I wanted to.
After class, I saw Rachel in the hallway. I pulled out my drawing pad and as quickly as I could drew a daisy flower. When I finished, I covered my hand with the drawing pad and a moment later I held a live daisy.
I walked over to Rachel. I was a little embarrassed doing this in front of her friends. “Hey, Rachel,” I said.
“Hi, Drake. How are you?”
“Good, thanks.” I held out the flower. “I thought I would do better than a drawing and give you a real flower.”
“Thanks, Drake. That’s so sweet!”
“Sure. Well, maybe I’ll see you at lunch.” I left Rachel and her friends smiling as I continued down the hallway.
Ricardo caught up with me. “Drake, basketball after school?”
“Yeah, but I have to warn you about my shoes!”