"ELENA!," my little sister's voice booms through the room.
I take off my headphones. "Geez, Audry, you didn't have to be so loud,"
"Yes, I did. I've been trying to get your attention for an hour!" she responds.
I raise an eyebrow. "An hour?"
"Yes! I started at 9:38, and now it's 9:41!," Audry snaps. I sigh.
Audry is five, and doesn't know much about anything. She claims she knows everything there is to know about time, though, because she has this little pink digital watch. Therefore, I know it's useless to correct her.
“Okay, then. What is this incredibly important reason that you pulled me away from the best part of my book?”
“I can’t find Houdini!” Audry whines.
“She’ll turn up,” I say dismissively, and return to my book.
“Mommyyyy!” Audry squeals.
“Help your sister find her cat,” I hear my mom’s voice command. I groan.
“Let’s go, Audry,” I say.
She pauses only to smirk and shout, “Catch me if you can!”, and then she’s off. Tearing out of the apartment and through the streets after her, I start to wonder whether this is really a good idea.
I catch up with Audry at the park. “What were you doing? You could have gotten lost, you could have been hurt, you could have-”
Audry shushes me. “Look,” she whispers, pointing to a figure on a tree branch.
“So what? It’s a squirrel. I can think of so many other things you could be doing other than staring at a squirrel. Such as maybe finding your cat,” I scold. Once again, I am shushed by my little sister.
“No, not the squirrel, look underneath,” she says. I look.
“Holy cow,” I breathe. A ton of pictures of our cat are scattered underneath the tree, and joining them are pictures of her namesake, Harry Houdini.
“And look,” Audry calls from a nearby tree. Once again, pictures of Harry Houdini lay at the bottom, but instead of Houdini the cat accompanying them, there were pictures of a hamster.
“Weird,” Audry says.
We walk among hundreds of trees, and next to each one are pictures of America’s most famous magician and a pet. Dogs, chinchillas, and even fish’s photographs pass our vision as we hike along the park.
Eventually, we see a kid kneeling at a tree.
“Excuse me,” my sister calls. “Have you-”
“Shhh,” I hiss, and try to steer her away.
“Oh no, it’s quite alright,” says a kind voice. I turn around and see that the girl has stood up.
“Anyway,” Audry says. “As I was saying before I was rudely interrupted, have you seen my cat? She’s an orange longhair with green eyes. Her name’s Houdini…” The girl sighed sadly.
“I’m afraid she must have been stolen by the terrible witch Xia, who detests anything to do with Harry Houdini. I can help you find your cat, but it will be difficult.”
“First things first,” I tell her. “What’s your name?”
“Oh, I’m April, who are you?”
“My name is Elena, and this is Audry.” Audry grinned and did jazz hands.
“I want your help,” she chimes in.
“Great!” April says. “Come on!”
Audry races after her, and I reluctantly follow.
After hours of trudging along, we come to a huge cave.
“Don’t tell me we’re going in there,” I groan, and for once, my sister agrees with me.
“Yeah, April, don’t make us go in there.” April sighs.
“Well, if you don’t want to find your cat…”
“Okay, okay, we’ll go in, but can we at least rest first?” Audry asked.
“We can rest when we get there,” April declares.
With a sigh, we keep going.
When we get into the cave, April seems to get taller. That’s ridiculous, I think. It’s just the short ceiling. But still, something seems off.
As we keep trudging forward, it gets gradually darker, until we can’t see anything.
“Hey April,” I hear my sister call. “Are you still here?” There was no answer.
“April?” I ask into the darkness. “AAAPRIIILLL!”
We both start calling her name. Suddenly, I become aware that Audry has stopped yelling.
“Audry?” Suddenly, I feel something grab me from behind. I scream as I’m dragged away.
I am pulled to a boiling hot, bright cavern. I soon see the source of the heat; a giant field of fire! Audry falls to the ground, moments before I do.
“Audry! Thank goodness you’re okay!” I yell, and run to hug her. “Do you know who took us?”
“No,” she admits. “But look!”
I look to where her outstretched arm is pointing, and see a woman standing in a corner, watching us.
“Who are you?” I demand. The woman grins crookedly.
“You already know me,” she says. “But by a different name. I am Xia.”
“No…,” I breathe.
“Yes,” the woman replies simply.
“What did you do to our cat?” Audry asked. “And what did you do to April?”
“To your cat? Well, you’ll find out. To April? Well, child, I am April.”
We both gasp.
“You can’t be…”
Xia laughs, a cold, cruel laugh. Suddenly, we hear a loud bark. A dog runs through the entryway, along with about 50 other pets. Animals that can’t walk are on top of other animal’s backs. Xia screams.
“No! Get back in your cages!” The pets keep running, and Xia’s eyes widen. They stampede her, and she is driven towards the field of fire.
Her last words as she is pushed into the fiery abyss are; “I may be gone for a while, but I’ll be baaaaack!”
We all cheer.
“Good job, anonymous dog,” I joke.
“Elena, I found Houdini!” Audry calls. At the word “Houdini”, all the animals look at her.
“Umm… Audry, I think they’re all called Houdini,” I replied.
Our cat rubbed against me.
“But that is our Houdini.”
The walk home is crazy, what with finding all the Houdini’s homes, and then finding ours, but we get home okay. When we do come home, we find our mom in the kitchen, talking to a policeman.
“Are these the girls?” he asks her.
“Yes!” she cries, pulling us into a hug. “Where were you?”
“Finding Houdini,” Audry replied. “And we were gone a whole 10 minutes!”