The following is the first 514 words of
HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT.
“I’m not going to sit here locked in a closet all day.” Magellan pulled away from his mother, leaving his whimpering brothers and sisters clinging to her skirts.
“Magellan, come back here.”
“No. I wanna hear Dad’s speech.” He brushed back a few stray blonde hairs from his eyes and pressed his forehead against a large crack in the old-fashioned wooden door to peek through. Sconces lit the long stone hallway that led to the auditorium. Their light flickered softly, casting shadows along the empty corridor. Magellan wondered why anyone would use flames to light a passageway. It seemed so archaic.
Magellan gasped as a metal bar entered his field of view. It crashed against the door, buckling the degraded wood, slamming it into his face.
“Get back mine scum!” a gruff voice ordered.
Magellan fell backward and rubbed his brow. “Ouch! Jerk.”
The guard stomped away, and Magellan’s mother dabbed his forehead with the edge of her dress. “Gellan, your father said…”
“I know what he said.” Magellan turned from her, and placed his hand on the door. “Right before they locked us in here.” He flicked a spider the size of his hand from the damp stone wall beside him. “I’m not a baby anymore. I want to help.”
It had to be mid-morning by now, and his father would be well into his speech. They’d arrived on planet Castillia just before sunrise, but within minutes everyone but his father was locked in this holding cell. His father said to stay put, but they’d been there for nearly three hours. Magellan had never been very good at sitting still.
“I need to get out of here,” he whispered, running his fingers gently across the door’s locking plate. The metal shimmered at his touch, and flashed with swirling flames. Magellan pulled his hand back, and the vision disappeared. What was that? He glanced over his shoulder. Nothing in the room could have made such a reflection. Magellan reached for the lock again, but it fell right into his hand. He stared at it, gaping. He hadn’t even touched it.
A creak drew his eyes up from the lock, as the door slowly opened of its own accord. Magellan gasped. “Did anyone else see that?”
His mother grabbed his shoulder. “Stay back. Something’s not right.”
He pushed her away. “No. Maybe it’s Dad.” He placed his hand on the doorframe and leaned his head out as his mother held back his younger siblings. The spider scurried out the door and crawled up the far wall, dodging drips of water that rolled down the stonework. The creature disappeared into a crack, leaving the section of the hallway quiet and lifeless.
“Magellan Talbot, don’t you dare,” his mother whispered.
“It’s open, Mom. I’m going.”
“What if you run into the King?”
Magellan laughed. “Yeah, like that’s going to happen.”
Taking advantage of the shadows, he slipped through the door and leaned against the cold stone walls. Slow steps inched him forward, until a crash and raised voices jolted him into the darkest nook he could find.