“I did it!” Missy clutched the leaf in her raised fist. “I caught a leaf while it was falling!”
Ben shrugged. “So?”
“So I get a wish.” Missy held her hand in front of her face and opened her fist. The leaf uncurled in slow motion. “Cousin Sara said so.”
“Really?” Ben looked around. He dove for a nearby leaf. It fell inches from his fingertips. He darted after another, and then another. Each time, he just missed the falling leaf.
“It’s harder than you think” Missy said. “You’ll see. It took me days to catch one. It’s worth it though. Now I can have a wish.” Missy closed her hand around her leaf and smiled a smug sort of smile.
Ben stopped chasing falling leaves and instead turned to look at Missy. “What are you going to wish for, then?”
“Why? What would you wish for?”
“I don’t know.” Ben reached for another leaf and missed again. “I guess I’d be a pirate. I’d like to find buried treasure.”
“That’s not what pirates do, really.” Missy looked up from examining her leaf. “Pirates hide treasure that they stole from people. Then they dig it up again when they think the police aren’t chasing them anymore. They’re just robbers who ride around in boats instead of cars.”
Ben folded his arms across his chest with a scowl. “Then who just hunts for treasures? Only pirates do.”
“Archaeologists.” Missy looked back down at her leaf. She poked at it with her finger. “I wonder how to make the wishing work. Cousin Sara didn’t say. Does it happen if you wish while you catch it? Or do you have to do something else?”
“So, what are you wishing for?”
Missy frowned. “If I tell you, maybe it won’t come true.”
Ben looked around. “How will you know when it happens?”
Missy sighed and put the leaf in her pocket. She held up both hands at arms length, palms out facing Ben. Ben vanished.
A chilly wind blew down the sidewalk, chasing a few more leaves. Missy reached out a hand, fingers separate, and raked at the breeze trying to catch the leaves as they blew past. She didn’t catch any of them.
“Ah well. It was worth a try.” Missy adjusted the straps on her backpack and skipped home.
“Welcome home,” her mom called from the kitchen. “Do you have any homework?”
“Nope.” Missy dropped her backpack in front of the closet and took her shoes off. She made a face when she saw her older brother’s shoes already by the door. It wasn’t fair that he always got home first.
She walked into the kitchen. Her brother, Martin, was reaching for the last cookie. Missy raised her hands, palms out, facing Martin. Martin vanished.
Her mom looked up from her mixing bowl. “Oh good, Martin left you a cookie. He was just in here a moment ago. I hope he went to do his homework.” She tasted the batter. “Needs salt. Where did I put that teaspoon?”
Missy took the last cookie and bit into it. It was oatmeal raisin. Her favorite. She smiled, and a cool breeze blew through the open window. The curtains fluttered in the breeze like ghosts.
Missy left the kitchen, and felt in her pocket for the leaf. When she took it out, she was disappointed to see that it was ripped in a few places. Perhaps her pocket wasn’t the best place for it.
Just then, her fluffy gray cat, Fishface, batted at her ankles, and Missy dropped the leaf. The cat pounced on it. “Fishface, no!” Missy yelled. She reached down to pick up her cat, palms down, facing Fishface. The cat vanished.
A breeze blew through the window behind her, swirling away the remains of her magic leaf. Missy looked down at her hands. How had this happened? It must be a terrible mistake.
The phone rang. Martin thundered down the stairs to answer it. He held the phone out to Missy. “It’s for you. What? Why are you looking at me weird?” Missy took the phone, glaring at her brother as he pushed past her on his way into the kitchen.
“Hello?” she said.
“Hello,” Ben’s voice answered. “Missy, how did you send me home? Was it your wish? What a waste. You should have wished for laser beam eyes or to fly or for super strength…”
Ben continued listing super powers. Missy looked around the living room. Fishface peeked around the couch. Missy pinned the phone to her ear with her shoulder and held out her hands, palms out facing the cat. Nothing happened.
Ben was still listing super powers. “…and healing. That’s not so bad. But flying’s better. Invisibility is good…”
“It doesn’t work any more anyway,” Missy interrupted. “I don’t know if it only works three times or if it’s because the leaf broke, but it stopped working. I can’t send anyone anywhere anymore.”
“Oh.” Ben didn’t say anything for a moment. “That’s still cool, though. We should catch more leaves and experiment. What kinds of super powers does an archaeologist have?”
“Archaeologists don’t need super powers,” Missy said.
“It couldn’t hurt,” Ben said. “X-ray vision could help with treasure hunting. But flying would be better. When I catch a leaf tomorrow, you’ll see. I’m the best wisher ever.”
“It’s harder than you think,” Missy said. “You’ll see.” A cool breeze blew through the room once more.