Chapter 2:

TWO – The Invisible Train.

The Girl With A Secret

The girl had named the fox Todd. He refused to leave her side. The boy’s name was Maki. All three of them made it safely to the neighbouring town. They had to be watchful. Men in uniforms were searching for them. They had made sketches of the girl and were asking around about her. The people were displeased by the sudden appearance of soldiers in their town. The girl, the boy and the fox were hiding behind a house, away from the town’s market. The food they had left was only a slice of bread and some jam. The girl convinced the boy to let her go and get some groceries. The fox accompanied her.

“Be careful not to catch the attention of the soldiers. If anything happens, blow the whistle and I will come to you. We will meet again in an hour.”

The girl remembered the words of the boy. The black whistle had some words engraved on it. It was in a language the girl could not read. The boy had made the girl wear it as a necklace. The fox was wagging his tail at the sight of berries and other fruits. Men and women were selling, trading and negotiating prices. The air was filled with all kinds of different flavours; salty, sweet, spicy and more. The girl steadily filled up her basket with various items. It was time to head back. The boy was quite fascinating. He was able to make things appear out of thin air. Like the woven basket and the pocket watch he had given to the girl. The girl swiftly walked past the people and the houses. The fox noticed some men in uniforms around the corner and pulled her dress to make her aware of them. The girl held her breath and waited for them to walk away. She heard them talking to someone. The two soldiers were harassing another person.

“I hate the likes of you. You creep me out.”

It was a man with a monocle and a big orange moustache. He was wearing a funny-looking, purple hat. The soldiers were kicking him and trying to take away what he was holding in his hands.

“Please let me go. I have not done anything wrong.”

The people walking past were pretending not to have seen anything and ignored the poor man who was crying for help. The girl told the fox to jump on her shoulder. She walked out of her hiding spot. The soldiers recognised her and immediately ran after her, leaving the man behind. The girl felt bad for not listening to the boy, but she felt her actions were justified. She hopped through the nearby walls and took the man with the monocle with her.

“Thank you, m’lady. You have saved my life. My name is Theodore and I am in your debt.”

The girl arrived on time, but the boy was not happy to see a stranger with her. He stood in front of the girl, placing himself between her and the man. The girl explained the situation and the man verified her story. He invited both of them to his house. The boy reluctantly accepted his offer as they did not have anywhere else to stay. The soldiers were on their guards as well, now that they have seen her with their own eyes. The man showed the girl what he was protecting from the soldiers. It was a little baby bird with a broken wing. He was attending to it when the soldiers arrived and accused him of witchcraft. The man with the moustache was tall but very timid. After arriving at his house, the man gave the baby bird a green liquid. According to him it was a healing potion. That meant that the man with the funny-looking, purple hat was the same as the boy. They were people who could use magic. The man specialized in making potions from unusual ingredients. His house was full of colourful trinkets and dubious-looking knickknacks. The girl made dinner for the entire group. She gave the fox some blackberries and raspberries. The man showed them the room where the girl, the boy and the fox could sleep for the night. One particular thing caught the girl’s attention. It was a black shadow standing in the corner of the room. The eyes were made out of big glass beads and one of its long ears was folded over. It had a gaping hole in the middle of its chest. A crystal heart was residing in it. It was taller than the girl, but she could still reach its heart. She placed her hand on it. Cracks and scratches marked the crystal heart.

“It is a toy that was thrown out after being treated horrendously. I tried to make it come alive, but it did not work.”

The girl felt the loneliness and sadness radiating from the toy’s heart. She wanted to apologise to it for being treated so badly. Noiseless, the toy raised its arms and embraced the girl. Its crystal heart was twinkling. The man was astounded and immediately understood who the girl was. The boy asked the man a favour. He meant to leave with the girl the next morning. Night came and so did the silence between the girl and the boy.

“Don’t you have any questions for me?”

“I do. But, for some reason, I am puzzled but at the same time I feel like I understand everything that is happening around me. If you want to tell me, you can but why does it feel like it is difficult for you to talk about it?”

The toy was nameless. Therefore, the girl gave it the name Mr Button. The fox and the toy fell asleep on the floor, next to the bed.

“It is but I owe you the truth. By now, you have realised that magic is real. It is something that only some of us can acquire. Mainly it being gifted to one. Given down generations and generations. No one knows how it really came to be. How magic was born. But every wizard, witch and magic user knows about one tale. It talks about a gem. Some call it the philosophers’ stone. It was supposed to have all the answers. There was no evidence that such an object existed. But the story goes that it was born out of a girl’s pure, selfless heart. It could make any wish come true. Be it good or bad. Powerful people desired it for selfish and despicable reasons. But what they did not know was, that it was a fragile and fickle object. It would taint the user by putting a curse on them. Darkness had swallowed it. It was thought that the gem was lost between time and history. That is not true. Hana, you have the gem. It is within you.”

The girl patiently listened to what the boy had to say to her. He explained that they had to go to a faraway place. The place where the gem was born. To then destroy it. He could not guarantee the girl’s safety, but the boy promised her that he would protect her and stay by her side. The girl felt relieved and her heart was at ease. She finally knew what she had to do. The moon was glistening. The girl fell asleep while thinking about her family. Her parents must have been worried sick.

The boy’s goal for the next day was to sneak in the girl and himself into the invisible train without getting noticed by anyone. The boy showed the girl a neat little trick. He teleported himself and the girl to different locations, like houses and buildings by the means of opening and closing doors. They simply had to walk through them. The toy who decided to tag along, made it difficult to move around the town without getting spotted by the soldiers. The group of friends made it to the train station by the sea without any hassle. The man called Theodore was eagerly waiting for them. He gave Mr Button a big, yellow raincoat as a gift. People were coming in and out. Trains were whistling to each other. The boy held the girl’s hand and led the way to the back entrance of the train station. Theodore quickly handed the girl some tickets. They were four in total, indicating the man was not going with them.

“Once Maki opens the door, I will no longer be able to accompany you. I wish you well and will pray for your safe return.”

The girl embraced the man and gave him a hug. The fox and the toy copied her. The boy took out a silver key and unlocked the rusty, metal door. It was like a mirror image of the same train station. Different kinds of people and magical creatures were walking around. They were getting on and off trains. Some were sending off others. The girl was amazed by the sight of trains running on top of the sea’s surface. The fresh, cold air was making her skin tingle. The sea looked picturesque. The water was crystal clear. Gentle waves were rocking the pretty fishes back and forth. The fox had climbed on the girls’ shoulder and the toy stayed very close to her. It seemed to be uncomfortable. The boy helped them get on the last carriage of the train. He had told her that for normal people the train was invisible to their eyes and touch. The girl looked back to the shore as she was carried away. She sat down on a wooden bench. The boy sat down next to her. The toy was staring outside the window. They were lucky that the train was not carrying many passengers. Spirits with bizarre-looking masks were traversing on the same carriage as the group. The boy reassured the girl that they were safe. The spirits were blind. As the day was passing, more and more passengers entered the carriage whenever the train stopped at a station. The sea seemed endless to the girl. Night had fallen and the girl nearly dazed off when she saw something sparkling in the distance. The girl thought at first that they were small, blue fireflies but soon realised that they were turning into something else as they were getting closer. The moving train’s whistle was blown, signalling that they were going to stop at another train station. The girl walked over to the carriage’s back door and opened it. The refreshing night air flew in. The boy swiftly pushed the girl back and closed the door. The spirits had huddled on the opposite side of the carriage.

“The Cursed Enchantress has sent her nasty minions.”

The small fireflies had become big, furry moths. They were crawling around on top of the train. Their black eyes were empty and their claws sharp. They were trying to get in through the windows, but the boy drew a circle with some foreign symbols on the floor and had cast a spell to protect everyone in the carriage.

“Is there anything that I can help with? Can’t we talk to them and convince them to go away?”

“They only listen to the Cursed Enchantress as a spell has been cast over them. They are bound by a contract to only obey her. But you can lead the spirits out of this carriage into the next one. I don’t want any by-standers to get involved or hurt.”

The girl did as she was told. She led the spirits into the next carriage and apologised for inconveniencing their travel. The other passengers got curious about what was happening.

“Will they disappear if we leave the train?”

The boy nodded his head. They only had a couple of minutes left until the train would arrive at the next station. The girl told the fox and the toy to catch hold of her. She grabbed the boy by his clothes and wished they would not be in the train anymore. The carriage lit up in a bright, white light and surely the group of friends had vanished from the train. The girl had teleported everyone onto the train tracks. The drenched boy watched as the train disappeared into the horizon. They had no choice but to walk the rest of the way. After some time had passed, a family of giant, red-dotted frogs jumped past them. The girl ran after them.

“Excuse me! Could you please take us with you?”

The frogs came to a halt and one of them leaped closer to the girl.

“No. Why would we mighty frogs carry some mere humans? You have two legs and are capable of carrying yourself.”

The girl took some juicy fruits out of her backpack. The fox howled and the girl gave him some grapes. The frog seemed to want some of it. The girl held out her hand and convinced the frog to taste the fruit. The frog was delighted and agreed to carry them to their destination. They sat down on its back and were leaping through the air as the frog jumped up and down. The boy was quite surprised.

“Usually, these frogs are pompous and don’t like to help or listen to others at all. They tend to mind their own business.”

The frogs said their goodbyes at the entrance to the magical city. The group of friends were standing on some stairs that were emerging from the sea. The boy pointed into the sky above the city. The sun was rising from the horizon. Buildings were floating in the air. And behind them, there was a rundown castle. It was their goal.