“Home already?” Mama asked.
Kit made a noncommittal noise as he checked his watch. “Kinda.” He looked up and saw his family sitting in the living room. Helena was reading from a schoolbook on the couch, Carmela and his mother were watching something on the TV while his dad was already on the verge of falling asleep in the large armchair they had all bought him for his birthday last year. This looked like any other weekend afternoon. Somehow, it made him more terrified.
He could do this. Kit tried to speak but he mumbled something incomprehensible.
Mama turned the volume down. She looked at him, suddenly concerned.
Kit remembered how Nita had managed to tell her family the truth. The thrill of taking her parents to the Moon and showing them what wizardry was all about. But time was running out and Dairine was out there without anyone looking out for her.
Find the courage, he told himself. Ponch appeared from somewhere and pressed his cold nose into Kit’s hand, steadying Kit.
“Are you telling them?” Ponch asked in a low whine.
“I’m really sorry about dropping this,” Kit said slowly, searching for the words as his family noticed his growing apprehension. Carmela nudged Helena to put down her book. Pop was now awake. “Anyway, I’m a wizard. Nita’s sister is in trouble and I’m going to help bring her home.”
Silence. Pop rose from his armchair. “Is this one of those role-playing games?”
“I call being the bard!” said Carmela. Helena rolled her eyes.
Mama said, “But I thought you wanted to play Catan after dinner?”
“Why can’t we just play Battleship?” his dad complained.
The dog sighed.
Kit clapped his hands together and said the first few words of a spell he knew by heart. There was the slight implosion of air as his manual tumbled from out of nowhere and into his hands. Without wasting any time, he flipped to the page he needed. “Tell Tom I’ll be there soon, please.”
“Message sent,” the manual said, voice posh.
“I swear I’m going to explain this all better when I get home,” he said, moving around the living room and kitchen for the supplies he needed. Kit kicked his shoes off and replaced them with a pair he used for gym class. He grabbed a lunchbox and started throwing some food inside at random. It was never good to do a spell on an empty stomach. “But Dairine is in so much trouble and I promised Nita that I’ll be there soon. Tom is coming over to help and where is my jacket? Mama?”
Mama, with her face so pale, seemed unable to speak.
Helena pointed to the hook on the back of the kitchen door.
“Do it again!” Carmela asked as his dad started to shout at the same time: “You’re a what?”
Kit unhooked his jacket and slipped it on. He searched his pockets for his house keys. He found a half-broken dog treat and fed it to Ponch.
“I want to be a wizard! Oh my god, oh my god, is Hogwarts real? Are you going to battle evil wizards? Is Nita a witch?”
“How are you doing this?” Mama demanded, finally speaking. “Christopher, will you stop moving and just tell us—”
Pop’s voice rose above hers, speaking in a rapid-fire string of Spanish.
“Love you all!” Kit said and dropped an obligatory kiss on his mother’s cheek. “I’ll be home as quickly as possible.”
“Right, you should call Nita’s parents. They’ll help.” He rubbed Ponch’s head and his dog made a sorrowful sound. He gave his family one last look before reaching for the door. “Again, I’m really, really sorry but there is so much going on and I should be on the Moon by now.”
“La Luna? Christopher—”
Kit vanished in a clap of sound.