“James! Are we heating the whole world now? Close the door!”
The boy groaned and complied, but not before taking one last look around the back alley. He didn’t see the door latch shut behind him, but he heard its distinctive click and felt it in his gut.
I should have made a run for it, he thought.
“James! Quit daydreaming when there’s work to do!”
“Yes, Mom,” he said, but she had already moved on to other things. This nook was the only relatively quiet place in the shop, sandwiched between the bathroom and the kitchen. Here resided the old metal shelves full of cleaning supplies and a doormat saturated with a decades worth of street salt and crumbs.
Nothing magical here, which James found comforting as the only non-magical person working at Farmers Family Bakery. In that regard, he had more in common with the mop than he did with his parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even the stragglers who worked here all with talents that it was feeling like he’d never have.
But there wasn’t time to dwell on that, not two days before Christmas. Continue reading