The Adventures of Flash Jackson

The Adventures of Flash Jackson by William Kowalski

Book: The Adventures of Flash Jackson by William Kowalski Read Free Book Online
Authors: William Kowalski
Maybe they’d get some real answers then.
    And then I thought, why not try it myself?
    It was one of those ideas that seems so crazy you almost toss it out the window right away, but you stop at the last minute and kind of examine it like a weird fossil or something, because it’s too damn interesting to get rid of. Try it myself? Well, maybe I could. I’d seen her do it—Grandma, that is. I thought I knew what to do. There were lots of little steps involved, and I wasn’t sure I remembered all of them, but the important part was having the feeling, or the seeing, or the knowing—being able to look behind the Veil. And that I was pretty sure I had.
    The Veil, in case you don’t know, means the covering that lies over everything we don’t know or understand, everything that isn’t right in front of our noses. There were probably a bunch of different ways to lift it, but I’d only seen it done one way before, and that was Grandma’s way. Before I knew what I was doing, I was out of bed and poling along into the kitchen, where I got a pot out from under the sink and filled it most of the way with water. I set it on the table and pulled the curtains shut. Then I took a little hand mirror out of the bathroom and propped it up against some books in front of the pot, so that when I looked into the mirror I could see the reflection of the water. That was the real secret—you had to have two doors into the other dimension, one opening right into the other. I remembered Grandma saying something about that, a long time ago. Or at least I thought I remembered it. I didn’t have any dope to burn, but my first time out I wouldn’t worry about that. I wasn’t seriously expecting it to work anyway. I mean, I had a feeling that it could work, but I didn’t assume it would .
    It was good and dim in the kitchen now. I lit a candle and set it next to the mirror, so it kind of made everything glow. Then I setmyself down in a chair and leaned over it, positioning myself just right so I could see the glare of the candle of the water, and I asked myself: Where is Frankie?
    All this was just stuff I’d seen my grandmother do before, but that was the outside stuff. What I didn’t know was what to do inside—what to think about. I had to wing it. So I just cleared my mind and tried not to think about anything, which is a lot harder than it sounds. Everything distracted me—the ruffles my breath made on the water, the throbbing in my leg, some damn bird chirping his head off right outside the window. But after a few minutes I kind of got into it, and next thing I knew the world around me went black and all I could see was the water like it was a screen, and there on the water was an image: a bunch of sunflowers.
    For about a second it was as plain as a hog in a dress, and then it was gone. I sat bolt upright, feeling mighty shocked. Sunflowers? I thought. What the hell is that all about? What did that have to do with Frankie?
    Nothing , I thought— a misfire. Just a bunch of stupid flowers.
    But then I started feeling a little warm glow, because I’d done it —I’d seen something. It wasn’t much, maybe not even accurate, but it was something. And it seemed like it happened right away, too. I couldn’t have been sitting there longer than ten minutes. That was pretty good.
    Call me an optimist, I guess.
    I kept staring into the water. Right , I thought. Think. Sunflowers. What do those mean?
    Suddenly I heard the pickup truck come crunching into the driveway, and Mother came up the back steps and into the kitchen. I didn’t have time to move, I was so surprised.
    She was surprised, too—more than a little. She came in the door and stopped and stared at me like I’d sprouted horns.
    â€œForget something?” I asked.
    â€œHaley Bombauer, what are you doing?” she whispered.
    Well, there was no need to answer that, so I just

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