We ran the rest of the way to my house, which didn’t take more than a minute. Once we were inside, Soy started to make a snack from the fridge. This was despite the fact that ever since the “Midnight Sleepover Snack Incident of 2012”, Soy was only allowed to take food from a special drawer labeled: FOOD THIEF.
My mom had woken up that fateful morning to find our kitchen in shambles. At first she blamed my dad, then what she estimated must have been fifteen raccoons, and then, finally, Soy. He was sprawled out on a pile of containers and wrappers (and not nearly enough napkins) when my mother came for him. “Worth it,” was all he had the energy to say.
Afterwards, my parents and Soy’s made an arrangement to give Soy his own drawer and only stock healthy food inside. That’s also the reason that I never once saw him open it. Sometimes I ate from it to help cover for him.
“Soy, now’s not the time for food,” I said, shutting the fridge.
“No, it’s all right,” said Deli. "Soy, I want you to gather as much food as you can carry inside both of your backpacks and then bring them upstairs. Anything you want, okay?”
Soy was too shocked to speak. It was like she had just asked if he would mind testing every toy in the toy store. He nodded (and drooled a little).
I picked up Deli and ran up the stairs to my room. “Okay, we’re here. Now what?” I asked.
“Now we get ready for liftoff,” she said. “Open that window as far as it will go.”
“Got it,” I said.
I ran over to the window across from my bed and dresser, pulled up the blinds and lifted the glass as high as I could manage.
“That won’t do it,” she told me, “get it higher.”
I used a baseball bat to get an extra two feet and built a base out of three books and an empty glass to hold it up. Deli gave me a little frog nod.
I ran back over to her and asked, “What else do you need for, wait… liftoff?”
Soy had to drag the backpacks into my room. By the time he got to us, his smile looked like it hurt.
“Great work, Soy!” Deli said. “Now lift them up onto the bed.”
As Soy heaved the bags up one at a time, I heard crinkles and clinking and sloshing. My guess was that Soy must’ve taken absolutely everything in the kitchen except for the contents of his drawer.
"Do you have a smartphone?" Deli asked me.
I opened my desk drawer and pulled out a dark blue smartphone. It was a birthday gift from my mom. The cover was custom-made with a picture of me at three years old with spaghetti all over my face. I was pretty positive she had glued it on.
Even though I had the phone, my parents didn’t really let me use it much. They told me it was only for emergencies, and they made sure to check the bill every month. On top of that, they looked at my text message history every week, just to be sure I wasn’t using it improperly. Once, I used it to vote for my favorite singer on a reality show. When my parents found out, they grounded me for three weeks. They let me off the hook after two weeks, but I never got to see the finale.
“Now, hop on the bed,” said Deli.
All three of us sat in a row facing the window, with Soy in the back with our bags, Deli in the center, and me at the foot of the bed.
“What do we do now?” Soy asked.
“We’ve got to fly this bed out of the room,” she answered.
Soy was silent for a moment. “I decided I’m not asking any more questions,” he said.
“How are you going to make a bed fly?” I asked her.
“I won’t,” she said, “you will.”
“Me?” I asked with a squeak. “But I’m… I can’t even drive yet!”
“Listen, your bed already has the magic that you need to make it fly,” she explained.
“I’ve slept in this bed every night, and it’s never once flown,” I rebutted quickly, before Soy could accuse me of holding out on him.
Deli explained, “There is a magic in the stories your parents read to you when you were younger, and the ones you read to yourself. It’s a form of magic called lore. Most of it goes to you and helps fuel your dreams. Some of it, though, falls around you, building up inside your bed.”
Soy was staring at her blankly.
She continued, "Imagine a single flower in a field of dry grass. If you watered that flower every single day, not only would the flower bloom and grow, but the grass surrounding it would become green and strong, as well. Your bed has been sprinkled with lore, growing stronger every night. Now it’s time to use it.”
I had never heard of lore before and, from the look on his face, neither had Soy. He shook his head as he opened a bag of chips.
“Nope. Nope. Nope. What you’re looking for is an airplane. This is a bed.” He took a bite and made a loud crunch. “I do sleep on both of them, though,” he said to himself.
I put my hand on top of the blanket for a moment. Maybe it was time that I started to trust Deli. She had warned us that Mr. Ream was a dragon, and there was no denying that now. She had helped us escape and had risked her own skin more than once. If she said my bed could fly, maybe she was right.
“Okay, what do I need to do?” I inquired.
“Wharffs??” Soy said with a mouth full of chips.
“Excellent!” Deli responded, “First things first, pick your steering wheel. It can be anything you’d like.”
I picked up the smallest pillow on my bed. It was one that my grandfather had made for me when I was little. It was dark grey with an apple tree sewn onto the front of it.
“Got it,” I said.
“Place it in front of you,” she told me.
I put both my hands on the pillow in front of me, acting like it was a steering wheel. Without a noise, I felt it lock into place. I could rotate it around, but when I pushed or pulled it too far, it snapped back into position. When I let go, it hung midair. It was like it was held in place by invisible rubber bands.
“Whoa,” I said, turning back to Soy, “are you seeing this?” He nodded with wide eyes.
“That will do nicely. Items with meaning tend to absorb more lore,” she told me. Soy was starting to creep up to watch more closely.
“Now, place your phone down,” she instructed me.
I put the phone down on the bed to my left, next to the steering wheel, and it stuck there. The smartphone glowed orange, and the screen began to change. There were all sorts of gauges and levels on the screen that I had never seen before. Most prominent, were five buttons:
and the largest, LIFTOFF.
I was so nervous and excited that I didn’t realize my mom had come home until I heard the door slam shut.
“What are you two doing here?” she yelled upstairs. “Was it a half-day today?”
She had seen the books from our backpacks that were emptied onto the kitchen floor when Soy made room for the food.
Deli started to speak faster. “Do you see the LIFTOFF button? Press it now.”
I pushed the button and the mattress immediately began to shake. And then, slowly, it lifted itself up into the air. It was only a few inches off of the frame when it stopped shaking and hovered smoothly. My face gave way to an involuntary smile. Of all the things that I had seen and experienced that day, this was the most amazing. We were flying!
My smile was cut short when we heard the sound of cabinet doors opening and closing with loud bangs.
“He did it again!” she yelled. “He ate it all!”
My mom immediately started storming up the stairs, speaking to herself. “This time Soy’s going to replace everything he took! How did he even… No, I don’t care how! He’s going to be punished!”
“We don’t have time for proper instructions,” Deli panicked. "Push the brown button and tilt the steering wheel forward.”
“Okay, but it -” I began to say.
My mom knocked angrily on my door and then started to turn the knob.
“There’s no time, just do it!” Deli shouted.
I pushed my finger down hard onto the brown button, labeled: SQUEEZE.
The sides of the bed shot up towards our heads, wrapping us up. The door started to swing open. I had just enough room to push my hands forward on the pillow. In the blink of an eye, we shot straight ahead, pushed through the window, knocking the bat away, and popping us out the other side as it shut.
I could barely hear my mom shouting when she opened the door to an empty room. “Beds?!? He’s taking beds now?!”