The Magic Quill #164: The Pocket Elephant

by Robbie Fischer

Contest winner: cv675

Spanky’s jaw dropped. Beside him, Ilona stiffened. Behind them, Endora gasped. Sadie growled. Sir Lionel said, “Er.”

Harvey faced them from the end of a blind alley in the fast-growing yew maze Sadie had planted (seeds courtesy of her friend Miles O’Roughage). Not just one Harvey, nor even both of him. Three Harveys confronted them. But that wasn’t what made Spanky gape. It was partly the menacing way each Harvey’s wand was pointed at them. And, partly, it was the third Harvey’s outstretched hand.

“Give me the ring,” he said coolly.

“Was this your racket all along?” Spanky asked.

“Don’t let’s have a fuss,” said Harvey 1. “It’s only a wee bauble. You’ll come to no harm.”

“What do you want with it?” Ilona demanded.

“How will I use it, you mean?” said Harvey 2. “Would you believe me if I said that I would never use it?”

“Indeed,” added Harvey 3, “that I would make sure nobody ever used it again?”

Ilona looked at Spanky. Spanky turned toward Harvey again and said, “No.”

“He,” Sadie shouted, then corrected herself: “They must be working with Il Comte and Lee Shore. How else…”

“…would I be here when you were expecting them?” Harvey 3 shrugged. “I’m afraid I can’t answer all your burning questions.”

“At least,” added Harvey 2, “not at present. Please to hand over the ring.”

“You’ve really gone through time’s mangle, haven’t you?” Sir Lionel’s voice carried an undertone of laughter. “You’ve messed things up properly. I wonder what you think absolute power over other people can do to sort out your, er…”

“Problem?” said Harvey 1. “I see no problem. I’ve seen the end of the world. I’ve seen its beginning. If older and wiser heads had been in charge…”

“…and, well,” said Harvey 2 with an immodest air of modesty, “I’m as old and wise as they come…”

“…a lot of things might have turned out differently.” Harvey 3 nodded. “Better.”

“You’re mad,” Endora said shakily. “You can’t go about history changing things. You of all people would know, if you hand’t changed yourself…”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” scoffed Harvey 2. “I’m the same as ever.”

“Haven’t you noticed,” Sadie said venomously, “you ought to be saying ‘we,’ not ‘I’?”

Harvey looked at each other, then back at the prisoners who had been his friends. “I’m sorry?” Harvey 1 said. “Am I missing something?”

“Only that there are three of you,” Sadie yelled.

Harvey looked around themself again. For a moment, he seemed bewildered. At that moment, Spanky struck.

Petrificus totalis,” he muttered with a flick of his right wand. “Incarcerous,” he added quickly, waving his left wand. Ilona’s voice cut across his, hissing: “Expelliarmus!

None of these spells had any effect. Harvey looked back at them with a mildly surprised expression on his three faces. Surprised and hurt.

“I say,” he said.

The five wizards at bay immediately began pelting him with jinxes. None of them found their target. Sizzling jets of light zoomed toward Harvey’s chests, then dissipated as if nothing was there. They didn’t seem to be hitting a shield.

“Come, Rumbo,” said Harvey 2, tugging on a leash that snaked around his legs.

An elephant walked into view from behind Harvey 2’s legs, where it seemed to have been hiding. It was about the size of a well-fed beagle, and it had a wand gripped in its curling trunk.

“Meet my friend Rumbo,” said Harvey 1. “Once, when I had a lot of time on my hands – say, eighty years or so – I trained him to remember jinxes and their counterspells.”

Harvey 3 added, “He’s very good to have with one when one is surrounded by hair-trigger witches and wizards.”

“Only look how he’s shrunk,” said Harvey 2 sadly. “Unfortunate side effect, it always happens. He was the size of a standard schnauzer a few minutes ago.”

“Eventually the poor chap will grow so small, I won’t be able to care for him,” said Harvey 1.

“Alas,” said Harvey 3, “it’s the price we have to pay…”

We?” Sadie challenged.

Harvey 3 blinked at her. “Yes, of course,” he said. “Rumbo and I.”

Sadie stared back. “You’ve lost your marbles, mate.”

Harvey 2 and 3 simply smiled. Harvey 1 cheerfully said, “Right. Now, the ring. Unless any of you is harboring a pocket elephant, I would urge you to give it up promptly.”

Spanky opened his mouth to ask a question, but Harvey 2 answered it first: “I’ve still got a few spells Rumbo hasn’t seen.”

When no one moved for a long beat, Harvey 3 anxiously added: “They’ll hurt. A lot.”

Sadie shook with fury as she stepped forward, clutching the ring in her fist.

“That’s better,” said Harvey 3.

+++ DOUBLE CHALLENGE FOR TMQ #166 +++

You can help decide what happens next in The Magic Quill! Simply leave a brief comment (up to 150 words) answering the following Survey and Contest. The survey answer with the most votes, and the contest answer that Robbie likes best, will turn up in the chapter after next.

SURVEY: Harvey is working (A) on his own. (B) for Bobs the Reality Wizard. (C) for il Comte. (D) for Uncle or Aunt Leslie. (E) for ______ (write-in candidate).

CONTEST: Describe a magical machine and what it does. The more whimsical, the better!

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