Pull, Don’t Push

This story was inspired by another picture prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.  It was too much fun to write it!


4a1de0fa057b323b5a7ff50550604667Henry stepped over to the edge of the grass and frowned at the thing in the middle of the sidewalk.  “Is that…” he trailed off, his mind refusing to put the object into words.

Lyall finished the thought for him.  “A giant zipper,” he said, nodding.

“Let’s open it,” a familiar voice said.

Henry spun on his heel and sighed.  “I’m not sure that’s a good idea, Lucy,” he said, shaking his head.  His brows furrowed.  “I mean… we don’t know what it’s closing.  We could… there might be lava or something under there.”

“Lava would melt a metal zipper,” Lyall said.  He stifled a laugh when Lucy grabbed the zipper pull and began tugging on it.  Then, he blinked.  As she pulled the zipper up the walk, it was leaving sealed blocks in its wake.

“The other way,” he said, catching her arm.  He pointed.  “To open a zipper, you pull it toward the narrow end.  Pulling towards the wider end closes it.”

“So then… it’s already opened,” Henry said, blinking.  At Lyall’s nod, he said, “Then why did you stop her?”

“I want to see what’s inside,” Lyall said, shrugging.  He frowned when Lucy began pushing on the zipper.  “Pull, Lucy,” he said, bringing her around to the flat blocks of the sidewalk.  “Pull, don’t push.”

Together, they tugged on the zipper and, to Lyall’s surprise, it worked.  A gap opened in the sidewalk.  Henry peered into the gap and then screamed when someone popped up out of it.  His scream was met with laughter – familiar laughter.

“Orion?” Lyall breathed.  He grinned when he saw his friend climbing out of the gap.  “What is this?  Did you make it?”

“Professor Schmidt helped,” Orion said, nodding.  He looked up the sidewalk and then grinned at Lucy.  “Thanks for opening it.  I sort of put the pull on the wrong side.”  He turned and looked down into the gap.  “Professor, it worked!”

A tawny-haired man popped up from the gap and grinned.  “Brilliant work, Orion,” he said.  Then, he nodded at Lyall and Henry.  Looking back at Orion, he said, “Once you get the bit with the zipper figured out, it’ll be a dead useful charm, my boy.”

“Bit surreal,” Henry said, shaking his head.  Then, he sighed and threw his arms around Orion’s shoulder.  “Great seeing you, though!”

“We’ve missed you,” Lyall said, nodding.  He looked at the professor and frowned.  “How long can you visit for?”

“A few hours, anyway,” the man replied, climbing out of the gap.  “We have to be back for supper or the headmistress will have my ears.”


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