“So what’s new, Opi?” I asked, leaning close over the lines on the floor. “Any new magic powers? Can you see the leylines?”
Opi blinked, looking around the room. “Um… I think so?”
“What?!” Sam cried, looking around desperately. “I did this initiation a whole twenty four hours ago and I haven’t seen anything! What are they supposed to look like?”
“Well, look,” Opi said, pointing at a seemingly random spot of the ground. “Doesn’t that look like something?”
Sam stared at the ground where he pointed. “It looks like a shoe scuff, Opi.”
“What?” he replied. “No, beneath the shoe scuff. You don’t see that copper line?”
“No,” Sam said with a huff.
Opi gave her a weird look, then got onto his knees, brushing away the dirt that had accumulated on the rough wood floor. “Right here?” he asked, “It looks like someone spilled nail polish?”
“Looks like you’re crazy,” Sam said.
Opi frowned. “Mary, do the initiation, tell me I’m not losing it.”
I hesitated, looking at the bowl of water that sat beside me. Opi had collected way more dew than I had. Or maybe it had increased when it froze and unfroze. Everything was all set up and waiting. And yet…
“I promised Rou she could go next,” I said grudgingly. “Maybe Syra-”
Syra put up her hands. “I have to live with Rou. Let’s just wait for her.”
“Seriously, you can’t see this?” Opi said, gesturing at the ground to Sam.
“No!” she said. “Looks like you’re just making up shit.”
“Guys!” I interrupted. “Let’s go for a walk. Maybe we’ll find something clearer?”
The two grudgingly agreed and we headed out into the sunshine. Sam lived near a ravine, which we all agreed would be the most likely place to spot anything abnormal. Or at least, Sam thought that seemed likely. Opi was less convinced, claiming his leyline was pointing away from the ravine and towards downtown.
“Yeah, but you’ve already seen a leyline,” I said diplomatically. “We’re trying to find one for Sam now.” Plus the ravine was just a nicer walk, but I didn’t need to add that part. I didn’t need to see the same buildings I walked past twice a day.
Sam and Opi walked ahead, still arguing about what seemed like the most likely place to spot a ley line as Syra fell into step beside me.
“I’m still mad at you,” I grumped.
Syra’s smile fell. “For what?”
“You all left without me!”
Syra pouted. “Sorry. I was hoping if you couldn’t find us, you’d walk with Opi.”
“Well if you’d told me, I might have actually waited by his locker instead of the other end of the school.”
Syra let out a nervous giggle. “Oops.”
“Yeah oops,” I said, shoving her playfully with my shoulder.
She pushed back against me. “I guess that backfired.”
“You guys suck,” I said, but there was no bite in my words.
She smiled broadly at me. “So are you going to show me this sexy look?”
“No!” I said, a little too loudly. Opi and Sam looked back at us and I blushed.
Syra smiled broadly at me. “Lemme make it up to you,” she whispered into my ear, pushing me forward into them.
“Sam, come here,” she said in her sing-song voice. “I want to talk to you.”
Sam gave me a confused look as she slowed down, waiting for for Syra to catch up. I didn’t meet her eye as I hurried past her towards Opi’s side. Three months ago, I’d had Sam and Syra over for a sleepover. During typical girl talk, Sam had admitted to having a crush on one of the boys in our math class. And Syra had never been shy about talking about how cute the lead singer in her j-rock band was, though I always thought “Hyde” sounded like a weird name.
They’d pestered me about who I thought was cute, but I never liked crushing on some guy I’d never meet, let alone talk to. Beneath all the pressure, I’d admitted to having a small crush on Opi. Neither of them had let me live it down since, and Syra was particularly bad about trying to set us up. He certainly wasn’t as conventionally attractive as Meck from math class or Syra’s j-rocker But looking at his shaggy black hair and blue eyes, I didn’t think he was a terrible choice either.
“What was all that about?” Opi asked when I was alongside him.
“Nothing,” I said, my face burning red. “I think she just wanted to ask her about ley lines.”
“Oh,” he said, glancing back. “I wonder why she wanted Sam. She still hasn’t seen anything.”
“Did you really see one back there?” I asked shyly.
“Definitely,” he said. “It was clear as day outside of the clubhouse.”
“What did it look like?” I asked.
“Oh… Um, you know in sci-fi movies how there’s always those holograms?” Opi started. I nodded my head and he went on. “Okay, imagine something like that, where it’s sort of see-through and you can see what’s behind it. But also thatit’s what’s behind and everything else in front of it is see-through. Does that make any sense?”
“Not really,” I said honestly. “Does it like, tint things? You said it was coppery.”
“It was!” he said. “But I guess it was more orange when I got outside? I dunno.”
“Like the book cover?” I asked on a guess.
“Yeah, like that!” he said. “I thought I saw another one back there, but Sam didn’t see that one either.”
“Could it be because your aura was different?” I said, “Yours was definitely closer to orange than hers was.”
“Was it?” he said, pondering as we entered the grassy field of the ravine. “I thought hers was gold.”
“I dunno, it was more sunny than yours.” I plucked a tall blade of grass off the side of the path as we walked. “She glowed. You kinda… rippled. Like someone was trying to wrap you in ribbons of cellophane but it kept floating away.”
“That!” Opi said, pointing at me. “That’s what the ley lines looked like.”
“Like cellophane on the ground?” I asked.
“No, they aren’t really on the ground,” he said. “They’re inside the ground, only I can still see them, or something.”
“So what I’m gathering is that magic makes no sense, got it.” I said with a giggle.
“Seems that way,” Opi said, smiling.
“What about in here, have you seen anything?” I said, spreading my arms to gesture at the grassy field we were in. Milkweed pods had taken over the edge of the path. Most of them were still green and wet but a couple had gone grey, spilling floating seeds into the sky. When Sam and I were in Girl Guides, we’d learned how to identify the pods and how they were common food for monarch caterpillars. Then we’d collected some of the empty grey pods to turn into mice with googly eyes and pink felt and yarn.
Opi looked around curiously. “Um…”
“Opi, do you see it?!” Sam yelled behind us. I looked back to see her waving her arms about wildly.
“See what?” he yelled.
Sam pointed at the ground where it started to slope downwards. Opi and I both turned as Sam ran up to us, Syra following behind.
“That, you think?” Opi asked, “I guess it’s a bit sparkly. But it’s blue?”
“Just a bit, eh?” Sam said, elbowing him in the ribs. “Come on, let’s follow it.”
Sam took off running through the grass, heading towards the treeline. Opi shrugged and took off after her just as Syra caught up to me.
“So, do you see anything?” she asked, slowing down beside me. We stared after where the two of them had run off.
“Not even a little,” I admitted.