"I was simply offering to shake the boy's hand," the man insisted while attempting to grasp Criss' hand again.
"I said back up, ya freak!" Dimitra pressed the pistol against his face and prepared to fire.
The man looked startled at first, but after he realized what was going on, his face seemed relaxed and even a bit amused.
"No, Mother! Don't shoot!" Criss bellowed with tears in his eyes. His mascara was beginning to run.
Dimitra wouldn't look away from the man's smug face. She is really going to do it, Criss thought.
No one else in the pub seemed to be giving them any attention whatsoever.
Why isn’t anyone helping us!? Criss wanted so badly to pull his mother back, but it felt as if his feet were glued to the floor.
Suddenly, he turned his head to see J.D. shove the man onto the floor just before Dimitra fired.
She missed by a long-shot. The bullet made impact with one man’s full glass of beer, soaking most of the customers at the bar. Now everyone seemed to gain interest.
"Let's get her out of here!" J.D. shouted while tugging his mother toward the door.
"I can’t! This is my only chance!" Criss refused to leave and tried to help the man up from the floor.
"Don't touch 'im, Honey, he's filth!" Dimitra took another shot and missed, this time shattering a large, glass bottle of Stout behind the counter. The bartender frantically raced to the back room. J.D. snatched the gun from his mother, shoved her out the door, and dragged Criss out of the pub. By this time, he was blubbering like a baby and banging on the floor. “LET ME GO, YOU MINDLESS BUFFOON!”
* * *
"You boys are just lucky I was there with ya, or ya'd both be locked in that freak's basement, or where eva it is he keeps his victims," Dimitra said with her toothbrush in her mouth. She spit the toothpaste into the clean, marble sink, gargled a glass of water, and clicked off the lights. "Rememba we're leavin' tomorrow. I've got a feelin' that freak'll try and hunt us down or somethin'. Gawd, if I could'a understood that little bellboy when he was givin' me the cops’ numba-"
"Can we please just go to sleep, Mom?" J.D. snapped at her. He and Criss were bunking on the pullout couch together. Criss had held bitter silence since the incident at the pub. He even refused to perform a few card tricks for J.D. when he was asked to. This was not a usual occurrence.
“Sure we can, butcha neva gonna use that tone of voice with me again, ya undastand?”
J.D. rolled his eyes and turned over in the bed.
Criss buried his face in his pillow as Dimitra and J.D. drifted to sleep. I’ll never become a master magician now, He thought as his mother began to snore.
He tossed and turned in the bed for hours, thinking about how incredible the magic school would have been. About how his skills would have grown, and how he could have become even greater than Harry Houdini himself.
He then popped his wrist with a black rubber band he was wearing and noted that Houdini was the god of all things magical. Becoming greater than he, himself, would only be insult to his illustrious name.
Perhaps I just need some fresh air, He thought to himself as he rose from the bed. He didn’t even have to bother with being quiet, because if J.D. could sleep through his mother’s snoring, he could sleep through anything. He made his way toward the balcony door, but before he reached it, it quietly swung open.
“Mind freak…” he whispered while proudly fluttering his hands. He was astonished that he’d performed the trick without even thinking about it.
Suddenly, a hooded figure stepped through the doors. Criss gasped, and froze where he was.
“Criss Angel…” the figure whispered softly. It turned around, and gracefully walked outside onto the balcony. Criss followed cautiously and closed the door behind him.
“Wh- Who are you?” Criss asked. The figure removed its hood, but Criss still couldn’t make out its face. As he attempted to get a closer look, the balcony’s motion-sensing lights flicked on.
“Mind freak!” Criss whispered again, almost forgetting how scared he was. He pretended to flutter his hands again, but they were really just trembling.
“Criss Angel?” the figure said again after turning to face him. It was the same man from the pub.
“It’s you!” Criss replied, “The Ministry magician from the Leaky Cauldron!”
“And you’re Criss Angel? The same chap I saw there?”
Criss was confused at first. “Oh- yeah. I, uh, I look a little different without my makeup on..”
“Indeed you do, my boy…” the man starred at Criss, confused, but with sympathy. “Well, I’m Charles Plutker, how d’ya do?” He grabbed Criss’ hand and shook it, but his grip was too firm so Criss
yanked it away.
“Ahem. Anyhow, I’ve been sent here on a mission by the ministry. And that mission is to get you to Hogwarts safe and sound.” He warmly smiled and winked at Criss.
“And you’re really a magician?” Criss asked him.
“A wizard, you mean?” before Criss could respond the question, Charles flicked his wand at a mosquito buzzing by.
“Expulso,” a small jet of scarlet light emerged from the wand’s tip, and the insect exploded. Bug guts splattered on Criss’ face.
“Eww!” he quickly wiped the guts off, trying his hardest to look unimpressed. “Where did you learn that trick?”
“Trick? Why, there’s nothing tricky about that spell... But that’s something to discuss another time. They’ll teach you all about that at Hogwarts.” Charles smiled again
Criss ignored the smile this time. “Well, let me just go wake up my mother and let her-“
“Oh no!” A look of terror took his face, “That won’t be necessary. We’ll send a team of armed ministry officials over to explain everything to her and your brother.” The man sighed with relief. “Oh, and we won’t have enough room for you to bring all of your things, because we’re traveling on broom, but you could probably hold a couple of things in either hand. Anything you really need to bring?”
Criss thought about it for a second. “Oh yes!” He tiptoed back into the hotel room and gathered his makeup bag. That was a must-have. He looked over at the corner where his school supplies sat. Neh, makeup is more important, he assured himself. He found his suitcase and began rummaging through it, thinking of something else he could bring. His deck of cards with various skulls printed on the back of them… The hair straightenor J.D. had gotten him last Christmas… His customized, black fur jewelry box… (The fur was fake, of course, since he was a die-hard animal lover.)
Oh! How could I forget? he looked above the pullout couch.
There, taped to the ceiling, was a limited edition, XXL sized poster of The Cure, his favorite band. It was impossible for him to sleep unless it was taped directly above the bed he was in.
So, he hopped up onto the pullout couch where J.D. was still sleeping, and leaped as high up as he could. With must precision, he curled his long, black-painted fingernail under the tape to peal it off, and repeated this process until all of the tape was gone, and the poster gracefully descended from the ceiling. Most people would find this challenge quite impossible, but he had a lot of practice.
By this time, J.D.’s unconscious body had toppled onto the floor.
Criss leaned down to make sure he was still asleep. He seemed completely undisturbed.
Dang. Light sleeper…
After making sure he had everything he needed, he snuck over to his snoring mother and kissed her on the forehead. “Goodbye, Mother. I’ll see you soon,” He whispered.
“It’s okay, Criss, just go back to sleep…” she grumbled before beginning to snore again.
Criss shut the balcony door silently behind him and told Charles that he was ready.
He mounted his broom and invited Criss to do the same, but he simply froze and glared hesitantly.
“We will be flying on that thing?” Criss asked skeptically.
“Of course!” Charles replied, “I’ve had this broom since I was your age!”
Criss didn’t move, “I would rather take some other way of transportation.”
Charles chuckled, “Well, I s’pose we could always walk?”
Criss rolled his eyes and mounted the broom as he was told. And with that, they took off.