Tracy Thinks
You Don't Know Jack


Chapter Twelve - The Golden Telescope


Jack walked into the room and flopped down on his bed.

Magical powers?

He certainly didn’t feel either magical or powerful at this moment. He felt weak, confused, and betrayed.

And angry as all get out.

Think. I need to think.

He propped up the dingy white pillow next to the headboard and shoved it under his right elbow, resting his head on his open palm.

He did say that he already knew something had happened to me before I told them.

He replayed the conversation in his mind.

And he knew because that ring on his hand lit up, so where did the ring come from?

He said they had known about these powers my entire life. That I come from a long line of magic workers, does that mean dad and mom were magicians?

The idea was insane to him. Unthinkable.

Evidence. I need evidence. I’ve never experienced anything remotely magical before. So, why would I believe them without some kind of proof?

He ran his hand through the strands of chocolate-brown hair hanging over his eyes and pushed them across the top of his head.

Those rings.

“Ugh!” He exploded out loud.

It seems like more than a coincidence that the guy in that vision, the ship’s captain, he was pretty sure that’s who he was, was wearing a ring that was identical in every way, to uncle Earl’s, except for the color of the stone in the middle. But the stone in the ring that the man on the ship wore wasn’t glowing like Uncle Earl’s now is. So, what does that mean? That this guy was also magically connected to some other kid with magical powers?

He was getting all wound up over this now. He bolted upright and swung his legs off the bed.

That’s gotta be what this means. So, why did I see that ring? And why was I able to look out through his eyes? He wondered to himself.

What else did I see that could be important? He strained to remember all the details in the scene.

The slimy, wooden deck I was standing on…the almost black ocean with choppy gray-white waves, the sky was all cloudy, and there was rain, maybe. I didn’t see them directly, but I could tell there were some big, dirty tan-colored sails blowing in the wind above us.

He stopped as he said the word.

Us. There was someone else there with that guy, a woman.

He sat forward, placing his hands on his knees and staring into nowhere.

Who was she? He wondered as he tried to recall, more clearly, her image in his mind.

She had long, chestnut-colored hair partially put up on her head, with bangs in the front and shiny curls hanging over both shoulders. She was wearing a charcoal-gray cape tied under her chin, and I could see some fancy, golden fabric from the dress she wore underneath, almost sweeping the deck of the ship.

He paused in reflection.

And she turned and looked directly at me just before I dropped the telescope. Odd.

He stood up and paced his dank room.

So how does the telescope figure into the story?

Earlier this morning, he felt sure he was a medical emergency waiting to happen. Now? He groaned out loud, not sure which reality he would rather believe. The one that could end up with him spazzing on the floor at any moment, or the one that wasn’t even possible.

Bart. Maybe Bart can help me reason this whole thing out.

Jack went to grab for his phone, then stopped, remembering Bart would be in school.


He shoved his hand into his jeans pocket and pulled out his cell, anyway. Sliding his index finger across the screen, he located Bart’s face and wrote a text:

“I have news. Weird, bad news. I need your help. Can we meet somewhere after school? Not here. I don’t want to talk here.”

Almost immediately, after pressing send, three little bouncing dots indicated Bart was already writing his response:

“Yeah, sure. You can come to my house. Or we can grab a drink downtown or something.”

“Uhhh, how about we meet at Skidmore Fountain and walk the Waterfront? What I have to tell you is too strange to risk someone, even your parents, overhearing.” Jack replied.

“Ok, I can do that,” came the response. “3:30 work for you?” Bart suggested a moment later.

“Sounds great. I’ll check Tri-Met,” Jack responded. Switching apps, he searched for a train that could get him there on time.

“30 minutes. Great. Now I have to tell Uncle Earl and Aunt Lizzie that I’m going out. I’ll bet that goes over like a lead balloon.”

Bart responded with a laughing emoji, and Jack pushed his cell back into his pocket. Grabbing his backpack, he stood there in the middle of the room, trying to figure out what to say.

Then, with a look of resolve, he turned abruptly to the door leading to the exterior staircase and assertively grasped the knob.

“I don’t need their permission to make my own choices…” He muttered under his breath as he strode out the door, careful to close it ever-so-quietly behind him.

Buy the Book

Tracy Thinks is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

Tracy Thinks
You Don't Know Jack
Magical fiction author Tracy Partridge-Johnson reads chapters from her nine-book Middle-Grade fantasy series Jack and the Magic Hat Maker.
Listen on
Substack App
RSS Feed
Appears in episode
Tracy Partridge-Johnson