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cover art by Nathan Wyckoff A publication of Silver Pen, Incorporated

Issue 10 April 2012


The Silver Pen Writers’ Association Presents a Silver Pen, Incorporated Publication

Kids'Magination Magazine Director and Publisher: Sue Babcock Fiction Editor: Kellee Kranendonk Cover Art: Nathan Wyckoff Kids’Magination Magazine is a publication of Silver Pen, Incorporation, which is a non-profit organization focused on quality writing and reading. Kids’Magination Learning Center is a division of Silver Pen dedicated to children who are eager to write stories about the fantastic flights of their imaginations. Copyright ©2011. All reights reserved. No part of this publication may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotation embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information contact sue@silverpen.org All stories herein have been compiled by Silver Pen, Incorporated under Kids’Magination Magazine. These are works of fiction. All characters and events protrayed in this book are either products of the author’s imagination or are fictitiously used.

www.kidsmagination.com

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About our Cover and Story Illustrators Nathan Wickoff. Nathan Wyckoff has been an illustrator, painter and writer on the scene for over a decade. Between gallery shows, Nathan frequently publishes illustrations and fiction in numerous magazines, recently being nominated for an AWP Intro Journal Award for his weird poetry. His online illustration portfolio can be viewed at nathanwyckoff. squarespace.com.

Rosemarie Gillen is a professional Children’s Book Illustrator who has won several awards for her illustration work. She enjoys working with authors, taking inspiration from their work and making their stories come to life. She believes in a wonderful partnership between author and illustrator who work together to create something special a child will want to read over and over. Visit her website at www.rosemariegillen. com

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Contents Contents

Shooting Skeet

1

written by Linda Burklin illustrated by Nathan Wickoff

CONJURING UP TROUBLE

6

This story has previously appeared in Characters (February 2008), Spaceports and Spidersilk (June 2008), and Stories for Children (January 2009). by George Anthony Kulz illustrated by Rosemarie Gillen

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Fiction Shooting Skeet written by Linda Burklin illustrated by Nathan Wickoff

“Wanna go shoot some skeet, little bro?” “Did Dad say it was okay?” Ben was skeptical. “Well, he said we should get all the practice we can before the competition. And Len showed me a cool game setup near here where we can shoot all the skeet we want for free.” “Len? You said he was a jerk!” “So, even a jerk knows something. After all, we just moved here and don’t know our way around yet. Get your gun and let’s get out of here.” Jon revved up his old junker and floored the accelerator. Before long Ben got his first look at the gaming program Jon had talked about. “Wow!” he said. “That’s really cool-looking! It’s round—and it’s so big! It kind of reminds me of what they had at the regional championships, only better. I mean, I’ve never seen a setup with that much water. The blue background is awesome. So where are the skeet?” “Just watch. You never know where they’re going to come from, and they’re really small. You have to be ready to shoot the instant you see one.” Ben tensed his trigger finger. “There,” said Jon, pointing to a little black dot. “It’s all yours, bro.” “It’s barely a speck!” “That’s what makes it fun. Now are you going to get it or not?” Page 1


illustration by Nathan Wyckoff

Ben shot but missed. “Don’t worry,” said Jon. “You’ll get the next one. They come up pretty often, and once you get a few, a lot more will come up. The game adjusts to your skill level.” The next one was Jon’s and he blew it away with practiced skill. Ben waited for the next one. There it was. This time he took the speed and distance into account before pulling the trigger. The target disintegrated. “Score!” he yelled. “See? I told you this was better than dad’s old machine.” Ten minutes later the boys had shot seventeen targets out of the air, though Jon was much better at it than Ben. He had twelve hits compared to Ben’s Page 2


five. As Jon had promised, the game adapted. Swarms of targets were thrown into the air and the brothers had their hands full trying to shoot them down. Ben was so focused on the challenge that he barely noticed how much he was sweating. “This is intense!” he said. “Are you sure it’s free?” “I know. I tried to tell you! And the more you shoot, the more it sends up!” After an hour, Ben was tired and feeling a little jumpy. Surely it wasn’t normal for so many skeet to burst into flames like that? They should just break up when hit. “I hear my supper calling me, Jon. Let’s go home.” “Yeah, me too. I’m just gonna get these last two, okay?” He got the first one and was tracking the second when they heard Dad’s voice coming from the onboard communicator. The “you’re in big trouble” voice. “What in the world do you boys think you’re doing?” “We’re shooting skeet, Dad!” said Ben. “Have you seen this game? It’s incredible!” “It’s incredible, all right,” said Dad as he pulled up beside them. “Don’t you know that’s an inhabited planet? Who told you it was okay to shoot here?” “Len told me about it,” said Jon. “It can’t be inhabited, Dad. It’s too small.” “There are plenty of sentient life forms that are tiny by our standards, boys. Remember the Goropin back in the Yarch sector? They were practically microscopic, but they had a fully-functioning technological society.” Ben did remember them. They were kind of cute. Dad continued, “I’m telling you, you’ve been shooting down manned aircraft. And Len most certainly knows that.” “Manned aircraft? With people inside?” Ben’s stomach churned. “Of course with people inside! I think Len’s dad and I need to have a little talk. You boys better go home before they send up something that could take out your cloaking device. And plan on being grounded for a long time. You could have wiped out the civilization I came here to study!” Jon turned his creaking clunker around and drove back to their space yacht Page 3


which was moored behind the largest planet in the system, the one with the big red storm on one side. “I’m so sorry, Ben,” he said. “I honestly thought it was a game. I had no idea.” “We’re murderers, Jon! We must have killed dozens of people if all those craft were manned! Now I’m kind of glad I missed so many.” “How do you think I feel? I’m not sure I even want to compete anymore. And Len is so much worse than a jerk. Just wait till our dad talks to his dad!”

###

Colonel Jane Flynn knocked on the door of the conference room at Strategic Command before entering. “What is it, Flynn?” asked General Peters. All the brass in the room turned to look at her. “Do we have any answers?” “Uh, no sir. Commercial and military jets from eighteen countries were shot down in the last two days.” “How many in total?” “Two hundred and sixty-three, sir.” “Were they all from NATO nations?” “No, sir. They were from all over the globe.” “What kind of madman would target so many nations at once?” “Sir, I did email you a report stating that several of the surviving pilots claim the deadly fire came from space.” “Well, that’s ridiculous. Nobody’s got that kind of firepower in space, and if they did we would have detected it.” “What kind of statement do you want me to release to the press, then, sir?” “I guess we’ll have to say that this is a new, broad-based terror attack by a Page 4


group that hasn’t identified itself yet. But we’re going to get them no matter what it takes.” “Yes, sir.” “And let’s hope they’re out of ammunition!” “Yes, sir.”

AUTHOR BIO: Linda Burklin started telling stories to her brothers in grade school, and later progressed to writing them down. A teacher and mother of seven children, she grew up in Central Africa before settling in the piney woods of East Texas, where she lives with her family and three odd cats.

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Fiction CONJURING UP TROUBLE This story has previously appeared in Characters (February 2008), Spaceports and Spidersilk (June 2008), and Stories for Children (January 2009). by George Anthony Kulz illustrated by Rosemarie Gillen

“But Dad...” Eric whined. “Sorry, Son,” Eric’s father said. “You’re too young to attend the wizards’ meeting.” Eric looked to his mother for help, but she shook her head. “Not until you’re old enough. Besides, you still have to do your chores.” Eric’s mother kissed his forehead. “Now mind your Aunt Jenny while we’re gone. We’ll be home before supper. And remember...” “No magic,” Eric finished. His parents disappeared in a puff of smoke. Eric sighed. From behind him came the sounds of snoring. Boy, is Aunt Jenny loud! he thought. It never failed. Every time his parents asked her to baby-sit him, she did nothing but sleep. And he wasn’t a baby. He was almost eleven years old! Unfortunately, eleven was the cutoff age to be able to attend the meeting, which meant that Eric’s friends Andrew and Tyler, who were both twelve, could attend the meeting. Eric, on the other hand, had to stay home. Hey, I have an idea, Eric thought. The spell Dad had spoken seemed simple enough. Teleportus impromptus Point Benefico. A wave of his hand. Piece of cake! I could easily cast that spell and travel there myself. Page 6


illustration by Rosemarie Gillen

But what if Mom and Dad found out? Eric thought further. I’d be in a heap of trouble. Worse, they wouldn’t trust me the next time they needed to go somewhere. And when he was old enough, which would only be two months from now, would they let him go with them? I’ll go there for just a few minutes, long enough to find out what it’s about but not long enough to get caught by Aunt Jenny. That way, I’ll be back in plenty of time to do my chores. Besides, nothing would wake that woman up anyway, so how would she know? Page 7


Eric waved his hands in front of him and spoke the words. As the last of the words rang out, a pile of dirty dishes disappeared. Frowning, he tried again. This time, as he repeated the spell, something brushed against his leg. He looked down and saw Blackie the cat disappear! Panicked, he tried again, and again. Before long, his mother’s potholders and a rug from the hallway had vanished. On several attempts, nothing at all happened. I need to focus, Eric thought. At least Aunt Jenny’s horrible snoring stopped. Maybe now I can concentrate. This time when he cast the spell, he found himself standing at the back of a large auditorium. He ducked behind an empty chair. Across the aisle, Eric heard a loud snore. He couldn’t believe anyone snored louder than Aunt Jenny did! Behind the snorer was Blackie, curled up in a ball. Eric reversed the spell, waved his hands, and sent Blackie back home. He looked around and spied the rug draped over an empty chair and the potholders hooked on a hat rack. He found the dirty dishes sitting on a windowsill in the back of the room. Looking at his watch, he was startled to see that hours had passed since he first tried to teleport himself to the meeting. I’d better get out of here so I can get my chores done, he thought. Disappointed, he used the spell to send himself back. When Eric’s parents appeared later that afternoon, Eric was asleep on the couch. “Eric, wake up.” Eric sat up. “How’d everything go?” his father asked. “Oh, um, fine, Dad. I got all my chores done, see?” He smiled. “I’m very proud of you. I guess we can trust you while we’re gone. How about we go out and celebrate?” Eric’s smile faltered a bit. “Sounds great, Dad,” he said in a small voice. “Great. Go wake up Aunt Jenny and we’ll be off.” Eric walked down the hall but paused outside of Aunt Jenny’s bedroom. Page 8


I can’t let them take me out, he thought. I don’t deserve it. I have to tell them. He turned to his parents and said, “I can’t go.” “Why not?” his mother asked. “Because... I did use magic while you were gone. See, I wanted to go to the meeting, so I figured if I teleported there and back before you got home, you’d never know I was gone. Only, I had a little trouble with the spell.” “Is that why my favorite towels are no longer hanging on the stove?” his mother asked. Eric nodded. “And why, when I went to hang my coat on the coat rack, it wasn’t there in the front hall?” his father asked. Eric hung his head. “Son, I’m very disappointed with you for using magic,” his mother said. “However, you did a responsible thing by owning up to your behavior. So for that reason, I won’t add any extra punishment.” She marched up the hallway and faced him. “However, since you were under Aunt Jenny’s care, I’ll leave your punishment up to her.” Eric’s mother grinned as she pushed open Aunt Jenny’s bedroom door to reveal her rumpled but empty bed. “That is, as soon as you retrieve her from the conference hall.”

BIO: George Anthony Kulz is a software engineer by day, a freelance writer by night. He’s a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature and the Gotham Writers’ Workshop and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. He resides in Rhode Island with his wife and kids.

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Issue 10