Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.
Fantasy Trope: magic
Jakob Josef-Büchel fingered the crest of his grandfather’s homeland then looked up at the piece of it that rested in the box in his lap. With his cell phone tucked between his shoulder and cheek he said, “I just got a box with a golden horn with a gold strap on it.”
Kiena Onorio said, “Sounds cheesy. Just throw it away…”
“I don’t think it’s something I can throw away.”
“Why not?” You have boat loads of junk at your house from your fancy-pants family. You must the only one who celebrates being from the smallest country on Earth.”
“I wouldn’t talk! Kiribati’s awfully small.” Kiena snorted. He knew there was no way she could argue. Instead he said, “How about we settle the argument once and for all?”
“I’ll be over in a minute,” she said. He lived across the street, on Embassy Row on the island nation of New Zealand. She scaled the wall between their compounds, waving at the security guard who watched her. She hated the fact that he thought the two of them were having sex. He wouldn’t have cooperated even if they were the last couple on Earth. He was deeply in love with…
She reached his window and said, “What do you have in mindtwo stones of red coral, one fruit of the non-tree, one old coconut, the first leaf of a seed nut, and the strong green leaf of an old tree”
“A contest,” he said, holding up the horn. She blinked in surprise. The way he’d described it made it sound like it was a cheap movie prop. But the solidity of it, even from across the room, made her feel vaguely uneasy.
She stepped back. “What are you talking about?”
He made a face then said, “What something from Kiribati that you know of that’s supposed to be magic?”
He held up the horn easily, tossed it in the air, caught it and said, “Yeah. This thing’s supposed to have magical powers. We can figure out who’s got the best country by having a magic contest.”
“I don’t believe in magic,” she replied.
“Right. Is that why you keep make all those little pictures of us together then burning them with an incense stick – because you don’t believe in magic?”
"How do you…” He lifted his chin to the telescope on the veranda of his room. She’d always assumed it was there because his mother was a world renowned amateur astronomer as well as an ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Cameroun. “You didn’t think I liked space, did you?”
She could see where the conversation was going, so she said abruptly, “There’s this old legend that involves two stones of red coral, one fruit of the non-tree, one old coconut, the first leaf of a seed nut, and the strong green leaf of an old tree.”
“Sounds like a lot of crap to me,” Jakob said, laughing.
“The Kiribati stuff is supposed to help me establish a kingdom. What’s that stupid horn supposed to do?”
“When it is blown, the way I hear the story when I was little, it will revive the Kingdom of Bohemia with me as King.”
She shrugged. “So?”
He grinned, “Maybe you’ve heard of the Third Reich, then?”
Names: ♀Kiribati; ♂ Liechtenstein