Kids Adventure

Albert stared at his feet, dangling in the air and hitting the wall with his heels. His friend, Oscar, stood next to him, arms outstretched to balance himself while he walked the same wall Albert was sitting on.

“My dad said there’s no such thing,” Albert said, watching ants crawl up the vertical concrete wall. “That it only exists in fairy tales.”

“Yeah,” agreed Oscar, “my dad’s the same. He doesn’t believe in it either. But my mom tells me it’s all around us if we only pay enough attention to it.”

“Do you think so too?”

“Nah, that’d be way too easy. If you ask me, it’s gotta be very specific.”

Albert pondered his friend’s words. A five-year-old, pondering about life, on top of a wall.

“I think you’re right. If it were everywhere, then everyone would know how to use it and the world wouldn’t be so dull. And I don’t think it’s possible not to notice it. I mean, who’d be so blind?”

Oscar laughed. “Yeah. You’d have to be pretty blind to miss it!”

Albert smiled, then scratched his chin. The ants were getting closer to his feet.

“But we haven’t seen it yet, either.”

“That’s because it’s so rare,” said Oscar. When he reached the end of the wall he turned and began walking back towards Albert.

Albert nodded. His friend was right. It’s rare, super rare, that’s all. They’re not blind.

“Wanna go and search for it?”


“Where should we try first?” 

Oscar stopped on the wall and placed his hands on his hips, a thing he did when thinking intently.

“How about Mr. Jacobs shack?”

Albert felt chills run down his spine. “But we’re not allowed anywhere near there. He’d skin us alive if he caught us!”

Oscar smiled. “That’s exactly why it’s worth taking a look! Adults never tell you not to do something unless there’s something they don’t want you to know!”

Albert thought about it. His friend did make sense, after all.

“Alright,” he said, determined not to be the one to chicken out. “Let’ do it.”


“Albert Alabama Samson,” his mother proclaimed. Albert cringed. Who would want his middle name to represent a whole state?

“I cannot believe what you and your friend did! I am very disappointed with you mister!” She seemed angry. Her forehead was all wrinkled up and eyes big and white. Very angry.

“You’re in trouble, pal,” his dad whispered next to him.

Albert smiled nervously.

“Don’t encourage him, David! He broke in Mr. Jacobs’s garage! Like some criminal! I bet it’s that no good Collins’s boy he’s hanging up with!”

Well, it was Oscar’s idea, to be fair…

Albert sought refuge with his dad, who simply smiled at the whole situation. Of course, he wasn’t chased after by Mr. Jacobs himself, so he didn’t experience the old man’s wrath. ‘I’ll skin ya alive, ya hear?’ Albert could still hear the man screaming as he ran after them.

“No, there has to be a consequence for this! Albert, you are grounded! A week without TV!”

“But mom…”

“No buts!”

He giggled. He made her say ‘butts’. And the no TV wasn’t even that bad since he rarely watched it anyway. 

After the punishment was delivered, his mom stormed out on the balcony to smoke. Albert and his dad exchanged looks of relief.

“You got it good, pal,” his dad said and bumped Albert’s shoulder. “If I’d be as mad as her, I’d tell you to stop hanging with that kid, Oscar. Good thing I’m not, huh?”

Albert nodded. Dad’s punishments were usually more severe. He seemed to know with spooky precision what Albert valued most. Unlike mom, who chose the first option that came to her mind.

“Well, best not let her fume alone,” his dad said and searched his pockets for cigarettes. “Wish me luck, pal. If I don’t come back, you’re the man of the house.” He winked and went out on the balcony to smoke with his wife.

Albert watched them through the glass door. After ten or so minutes they both came back, laughing. His dad was telling a story to mom and she laughed. They both smelled awful but seemed happy. Even mom, who was so upset just a few minutes ago.

Albert could never understand how something so small and so smelly as a pack of cigarettes, had the power to make such a difference. And at that moment, a lightbulb turned on in his mind. It was so obvious! How could he not see it before?


“Are you sure, though? 100% percent?” Oscar’s face was skeptical, but his eyes betrayed he wanted to believe him.

“Well I’m not 100 sure, but it seems like the real deal to me! Your dad smokes too, right?”


“Have you ever observed him do it?”

Oscar thought. “Not on purpose, no.”

“Well, my mom was very angry with me, when she learned we broke into Mr. Jacobs garage. She grounded me, that's why I haven’t come out in a week. But after she smoked, she wasn’t angry anymore! She was laughing!”

“I find that hard to believe,” Oscar said, arms crossed.

“Think about it,” said Albert. “In ten minutes, it changed my mom’s mood from one extreme to the other. Grown-ups keep them for themselves, they don’t smoke near us because they say it’s bad for kids. But I think they’re hiding something. I think that’s it, Oscar! It’s gotta be!”

“Alright,” his friend said, working through the logic, growing more convinced. “See if you manage to get some and then we can try it out! See if it works!”

“Good idea!”

“Just be careful,” Oscar said. “My older brother, Jason? He’s fifteen. Mom found him hiding a pack in his room, under the socks in the drawer and it wasn’t pretty. Grownups seem very touchy about that stuff.” He paused. “Then it must be real, I guess.”


It was late in the afternoon and Albert’s mom had been called on duty. There was an emergency at the hospital and they needed her attention, even though she just came home from a twelve-hour shift. 

Albert felt sorry for her, she really seemed tired. But when he saw that she forgot her pack of cigarettes on the balcony table, leaving in a hurry after a quick smoke, he knew this was his chance. Mom kissed him on the forehead and rushed out of the house. Dad was taking a shower, he too returned from work not long ago.

Albert waited until he heard the car drive off and then listened for the sound of running water in the bathroom. When he heard both, he stepped out on the balcony.

That awful smell immediately hit his nostrils, causing him to cringe. The ashtray was filled with orange remnants of previous paper sticks. And next to the tray, there lay a box. It was white, with golden trim and serious-looking letters, also written in gold, spelling a word he couldn’t quite read.

Mal… Malbor… Marlbr...

He pretended he was observing the view from the balcony. Looking left and right, and back towards the kitchen, he made sure no one was watching him.

The box lay right there. A simple-looking, a bit crumpled and tattered on the edges, sitting there, waiting. What secrets did it hold?

Albert felt his palms begin to sweat. Before he could chicken himself out, he grabbed the box and dashed inside.

His heart was racing, but nothing supernatural happened. Dad was still in the shower, mom did not come back all of a sudden, to see him do it. Albert smiled. The excitement was too great to wait for tomorrow.

He ran outside and to his friend’s house.


“Wow, you have it?”

Albert nodded vigorously. “They’re my moms!”

Oscar winced. “Not so loud!” He looked over his shoulder, inside the house. “Wait here. It’s dinner time. I’ll be out in a sec.”

Albert nodded, but couldn’t hold still. He paced up and down the porch of his friend’s house, waiting for him to finish eating. He figured that Oscar would have a hard time eating anything if he was at least half as excited as Albert was.

Then, after what seemed like so much time, Oscar finally came out.

“Let’s go someplace safe,” he said and they walked to the abandoned construction site, their usual playground and meeting place. It was far enough and you had to duck under a fence to get to it, so they were pretty sure their parents wouldn’t follow them there.

“So,” Oscar said, tension in his words, “do you know how it works?”

“Yes,” nodded Albert, equally nervous. “You place it in your mouth, the orange bit first, and light the other ends with a lighter. Then all you do is breathe in and blow out smoke. I watched mom and dad do it plenty.”

Oscar nodded. “You go first.”

Albert’s hands suddenly felt numb like frozen chicken. His heart was pounding and he felt so nervous. What if they find out? What if it won’t work? What if that smell stays with him forever?

But there was no turning back now, his friend was counting on him. And Albert was counting on himself too.

He opened the box.

There were a dozen paper sticks inside and a lighter tucked neatly where the other ones were missing.

Albert took one out and placed it in his mouth, biting down the orange tip. Just doing this, he already felt like a grown-up. Then he took the lighter and tried to light the cigarette. But he was too nervous to do it, his hand kept shaking.

“Let’s try it another way,” said Oscar. He took the lighter and pressed the flint, producing a flame, while Albert held the cigarette over the flame with both hands. The paper stick took fire and a grey trail of smoke rose from the tip. With it, that awful smell.

“Okay,” Albert said and took a deep breath. “Here goes magic.”

He placed the orange end in his mouth again, eyes fixed on the other end of the cigarette, which burned brightly like a match. He didn’t feel anything different immediately and it made him panic. The flame was burning up the cigarette fast and it was getting closer to his lips.

Albert thought of imitating his parents and took a deep breath. His lungs filled with smoke, his nostrils filled with the smell, his eyes watered. He spat the cigarette out, coughing like he was drowning. His throat burned and it tasted like he ate a handful of ash. 

Oscar’s eyes went wide and he stomped the cigarette as soon as it hit the ground.

“Are you okay? Albert?”

Albert kept coughing, reeling over. He felt sick. His insides wanted to jump out. He spat some ick.

“Albert? Should I get you some water?”

Albert shook his head and took more deep breaths. Slowly, his coughing receded enough for him to speak.

Oscar stared at him, full of anticipation. “Well? Is it magic?”

Albert shook his head again. “No,” he said, face and eyes red. “It’s just awful.”

Oscar’s face slackened. “But your mom… The way it changed her mood...”

“I don’t know,” Albert said. “Maybe it only works on grown-ups… I don’t know.”

“So cigarettes are not it. They’re not magic.”

“No,” Albert said, spitting, trying to get the taste out of his mouth. “No, they sure aren’t.”

For a long time, they just stood there, pondering, listening to Albert cough from time to time. They wallowed in their disappointment as the sun began to set. Knowing that their parents would soon start to call for them, they turned and headed back home.

As they walked, Oscar tapped his friend on the back.

“Well, we’ll just have to keep looking, that’s all. Magic is out there somewhere. I know it is.”

Albert nodded. “You’re right.” He looked at his friend. “But next time, you’re going first.”

May 29, 2020 18:40

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Emma Lin
23:22 Jun 05, 2020

Man those five-year-olds were little rebels! lol Great story!


Harken Void
08:25 Jun 06, 2020

Thank you, Emma! Just two boys, trying to understand life ;)


Emma Lin
08:40 Jun 06, 2020

Hehe :)


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Blueberry Elf
05:00 Jun 04, 2020

Hello Harken, I just posted a new story and would really appreciate any feedback you might have. Would you be willing to read through it? Thank you, -Blueberry Elf


Harken Void
08:14 Jun 04, 2020

Well, since you asked so nicely, I'd be happy to :)


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A. Y. R
09:40 Jun 03, 2020

You've prefectly captured the thoughts of a child with your tone! Just brilliantly written! And I love how you kept the mystery throughout the entire story, even with a topic that they are very familiar with, and it takes a lot of skill to execute something like that!


Harken Void
10:10 Jun 03, 2020

Thanks, Ace! I'm flattered you say that :) I wanted to make an ordinary object appear as something magical and mysterious.


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Blueberry Elf
17:08 May 30, 2020

also I loved the line "who would want their middle name to be an entire state!" Great work!


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Blueberry Elf
17:07 May 30, 2020

Lovely story! I loved the characters and how well you wrote them. Their age really shone through their words. Great idea for the magic box.


Harken Void
17:59 May 30, 2020

Thanks, Blueberry! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)


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