The Magic Boy

Shannon Marks, Staff writer

Cally stood at the edge of the ocean. The waves rolled over her toes and feet. Every time the waves crawled onto the sandy beaches, a chill ran through her body. But she didn’t care to notice, for she was distracted by the many thoughts that seemed to take control of her. Out of the eight billion people, Cally was the one and only girl who resided there. She held herself to a higher standard, but she also followed rules she created herself; she wanted that sense of normality. She never asked for what she knew she couldn’t have, she never asked for what she could never afford or pay back, and she definitely never spoke out of place. She lived a relatively simple life where every day was a repeat of the day beforehand. She would wake up and think the same thought every morning. Another day of school. With that thought, she’d start her day. She went to school and suffered through the hardships that it offered and did everything she was supposed to do. She listened to every word no matter if they were helpful or discouraging. She’d been pushed around enough to not react when someone tried to break her down. She walked alone, only accompanied by her thoughts as she followed the same path home. Even when she opened the door to her house, she was alone; her parents were never there. Well, never when she was.  Although she was alone and had free range of the house; she still did her school work, and walked the beach afterwards. 

She was at the beach now. Every day she wondered if she should do something different.

“You do the same thing every day.” People tell her. “Don’t you ever wonder what else you could do?” they ask. She only shakes her head and walks away from the question.

She wonders every now and then what she would do instead. Would she do something creative? Would she smile for once? She knew she’d never know because every day she comes and goes as if every day was different.

“You’re at this beach every day at this exact time. I’ve watched you for fifteen years.” Someone called from behind her.

She turned to them. It was an elderly man. He was balding and had blue eyes that sparkled in the sunlight. His clothing was what you’d see on an elderly role on TV, and he wasn’t wearing shoes.

“What is your name?” He asked.

“Cally.” She replied quietly. 

“Cally.” The man repeated, smiling softly. “Such a kind and elegant name.” He said. He walked over and sat on a log on the sand. “Why have you come here every day, Cally?” He asked.

Cally thought about it. She never had a reason. She’d just done it without giving it another thought. 

“I don’t know.” She admitted.

“You have such a pretty voice. Do you use it often?” The man asked.

Cally shook her head.

“Shame. You really have a lovely voice.” 

He sat there, staring out at the ocean like she had done. She stared at it but never looked for anything at all. He seemed to look for something that was hidden. His eyes were searching the waters quickly. 

“Cally, you should try something new from time to time. The ocean is beautiful and has its own magic to it, but there are so many other things that could mean so much more for you.” he said.

“What do you mean?” Cally asked.

“You come here every day and stand in the same spot for hours without moving a muscle. You’re worried about something.” The man explained.

“I think I’m okay.”

“Do what you must.” He said, looking back out at the sea.

“What is your name?” Cally asked.

“Whatever you want it to be.” He answered, looking her in the eyes and smiling.

Cally turned back to the ocean. She never was once told to do what she wanted. She looked back at him but he suddenly wasn’t there. Cally searched around. There wasn’t a single footprint in the sand or a trace of where he could have gone. It was as if he’d disappeared. She looked back out at the ocean.


The next day:

The sun began to rise, declaring it a new day; but for Cally, her day was filled with repetition. The same school, homework, isolation, and walk to the beach. The beach never had any people visiting it, besides herself. She went to the same spot as the previous years and looked out at the waters. She thought of the elderly man that she’d met yesterday. He described the ocean as beautiful and magical. She could see it a little bit. The way the sun hit the water’s surface was whimsical in a way. 

Now, her attention was trained on something else. It was of a dog barking.

“No! Doggy, come back!” A little boy yelled.

Cally saw a small puppy rushing towards her. She bent down and picked it up. It stopped barking and started to lick her face.

 She walked over to the panting little boy who had to be only six. His hair was messy and he had blue eyes. He was wearing an abomination of clothing combinations that only a child his age could make look okay. He wasn’t wearing any shoes though.

“You got my doggy! Thank you!” He said, smiling at the puppy.

Cally handed it back to him.

“Thank you! What’s your name?” The little boy asked.

“Cally. You have a very nice and sweet puppy.” Cally said.

“I like your name! It sounds very cool! Doggy is very sweet.” The boy said.

“What is your name?” Cally asked.

“I can never remember. You decide.” He said.

“What about the puppy?” Cally asked.

“I don’t know. I’ve always just called her ‘Doggy’.” He commented kindly, putting the puppy down.

The puppy immediately started to try and climb onto Cally. She picked up the puppy and held it, then looked at the boy. His eyes were fixed on the ocean with a look of determination. Like he too was looking for something.

“Can you keep Doggy for me? And give her a proper name?” The boy asked.

Cally looked at the ocean. “Keep your puppy? But it’s your dog.” Cally answered, returning her gaze back at the boy.

This occurrence was similar to yesterday where she had met that elderly man. Not a trace of where he’d gone. All she had now was the little puppy. She put it down to see if it would try to find the boy, but it only went and played in the water. It seemed so happy, froclicking about in the water.

“He wasn’t kidding. He wanted me to keep you.” Cally muttered to the puppy. “I guess you need a name then.” She began to think of one off the top of her head. “What about Marine?” Cally asked.

The puppy instantly responded to her and walked over.

“Okay then. You’re now Marine.” Cally decided, stroking through Marine’s fur.


The next week:

Marine had become Cally’s emotional support service dog at school now. Marine loved anyone who was ever kind to Cally, but for those who wronged her, Marine had simply threatened them with a growl. Cally loved Marine. Her parents didn’t care if Marine was anywhere or existed at all so Marine lived in Cally’s room. Now, Marine accompanied Cally to the beach. Considering she never walked alone, this was far better. From the sandy beaches, Cally observed her dog prance about; she had snapped at the incoming water like she was protecting the sand from incoming threats. Curiosity had gotten the best of her. Using her phone, Cally began to look at specific breeds that share the same characteristics as Marine. After some time, she had come to the conclusion that Marine was a mix between a Jack Russell Terrier and a Labrador Retriever. She had beautiful Hazel colored eyes and soft, slick fur that rarely shed. It was her dream dog.

“Marine.” Cally whispered while Marine was playing in the water.

Marine immediately stopped and looked at Cally. 

“Come here, girl.” Cally said, lifting up one of her arms for Marine to climb under.

She happily obeyed and snuggled with Cally.

“Such a fine breed of dog.” Someone had called out from behind.

Cally looked around giving a quick scan of the area until she had laid eyes upon a man who appeared to be in his late thirties. He had stringy hair and blue eyes that the light made look almost unnatural. His clothing was baggy but it fit him well. Like the others, he wasn’t wearing shoes. It continued to puzzle Cally but she didn’t give it any further thought.

“Thank you.” She said.

“Hey, I’ve seen you at this beach before. You come here a lot, don’t you?” He asked.

“Yes, I do.” Cally responded.

“I’ve not seen you with your dog before. Is she new?” He asked.

“Yes, she is.”

The man smiled and sat down next to her. “You don’t mind, right?” He asked.

“No, not at all.” Cally smiled, scooting over so he had a better spot to sit.

He looked out at the ocean. His hair whipped around as the breeze grabbed a hold of it. He surveyed the sea, watching the waves roll in. He appeared as if he was yearning for something..

“The waves look kind of magical, don’t they?” He questioned Cally. He never gave her a glance; he was still fixed on the water.

Cally looked out too. “Yeah. they do.”

“What’s your name?” He asked her.

“Cally. What about you?” 

“That’s not very important anymore. You can give me a name if ya want.”

Unlike the other questions this stranger had asked her; she had fallen silent; she didn’t utter a word. 

“Cally, Have you ever tried doing something you didn’t know you wanted to do? Explored outside of what you know?” The man asked.

While this question is something that had been asked more than once; she didn’t put that much thought into it, but passively dismissed it. “No, I’ve never thought about it at all.” She admitted.

“Well maybe tomorrow you can try something outside of what you do normally. Something small.” He suggested.

“Like what?” The sun began to set. It now appeared as if it were resting against the ocean.

“You know what you want to do. So does your dog.” The man told her before gesturing down towards Marine.

“Marine knows?” Cally asked.

Marine’s head perked up at her name. This resulted in the canine starting to squirm in her hands; once free the dog started to roam near the water.

“Yes. Marine knows.” He had assured her. “But you do the most. You know what is best for you.” He added.

Cally watched Marine. She looked so happy in the water but Cally noticed her looking at the rest of the beach. At this point, the only thing Cally could assume was that the man disappeared. To calm her suspicion she eyed the landscape, searching for the man, but he was no longer there. Just like the two considerably questionable folk, they were gone. Within the second she had redirected her attention back to Marine. They were like ghosts. She knew that she was never going to see them again. They were never going to show up in front of her or behind her again. She was beginning to think that she had just made them all up. She was alone for so long her consciousness could’ve made up for the lack of socialization with imaginary friends; they all shared similar characteristics anyways so her speculation wouldn’t have been too far off..

“Marine?” Once again, she had called out to her dog to get her attention.  “Do you think we should do something different tomorrow?” She questioned the dog even though she couldn’t give her an actual answer to her question. Yet this substituted the fact that she wasn’t talking to herself.

The canine disregarded anything she had said; instead she continued to play in the water. For her obsession with it, Cally thought her dog was a reincarnated marine animal, but at least she was spending her time wisely and spent the duration of it in the water. She wanted some sort of sign from the canine. Maybe it could help answer her question that she yearned for. 

She thought of the different people who had come to her in the past weeks. The old man, the little boy, and the man. They all weren’t wearing shoes, they all didn’t have a name, and they all had ocean blue eyes. That, and they told her to give them a name. What name though? She never was asked for anything but here she was. She was asked to have the little boy’s dog and now she had it. She was asked if she ever used her voice and here she was using it more often. What about a name though? What name ever appealed to her? What did she like? 

Her mind trailed off. She’d never thought about this before. What did she personally like? What did she want to do?

“Marine. Come.” Cally commanded, starting to stand up.

Marine listened but started to trail off and walk the beach.

“Marine.” Cally said sternly. 

Marine didn’t listen and started to run along the beach.

“Marine!” Cally yelled, running after her.

Marine ran faster. What had gotten into her? She loved Cally and never wanted to be apart from her but now she was dashing away! Cally tried to keep up with her but she kept outrunning her. She didn’t know what to do. Cally stopped running to catch her breath. When she looked up again, though, there was someone walking over to her with Marine in their hands. It was a boy with longish, brown hair and blue eyes. 

“Is this your dog?” He asked.

Cally was a little surprised. “Yeah.” She said.

“She’s a cute dog.”

Cally took Marine back. “Thank you so much.” 

“No problem. Do I know you from school?” He asked.

The question took Cally off guard. “What?”

“You’re Cally G., right?” He inquired.

“Yeah, how’d you know my name?” Cally replied, confused.

“Well I saw you for the first time in fifth grade and I knew the name ever since.” He explained.

“Oh. Sorry. I’ve never paid attention to anything other than classes when I go to school.” Cally admitted.

“Well it seems now that you’re the attention of the whole school. Everyone’s talking about you and your dog.” He shrugged his shoulders; he was surprised she didn’t know, given that she was now the center of attention.

“Really? That’s odd.” Being told this, she couldn’t help but smile. She now felt popular, she didn’t feel overlooked like she had been before.

“Woah. You have a really pretty smile.” He complimented.

“Oh… Thank you. What’s your name?” There was a moment where her cheeks had turned a light red, for she wasn’t used to this attention.

“Um…” He started.

“Ya know what, scratch that. I’m going to call you The Magic Boy.” Cally cut him off, she had learned the other times that she wasn’t going to get the answer she wanted.

He smiled. “My name’s Markus, but I’ll accept ‘The Magic Boy’.” Markus grinned.

“Okay.” She had done her best to hide the surprised look on her face. He had a name!

“Nice, then. I’ll see you around, Cally.” Markus smiled as he began to take his leave.

“Yeah. You too, Magic Boy.” That was going to be his new nickname, Magic Boy. She wasn’t sure if he had preferred that over his original name, but Cally settled with that. 

Now, Markus turned on his heels and started to journey down the beach. She kept a keen eye on him and the tracks that he had left on the sand, though once he was out of view her gaze had shifted back to her dog.

“Marine. You knew about him, didn’t you?” While she didn’t expect an answer back, she still couldn’t help but question her little companion.

Marine snuggled in her arms. Cally smiled and held her as she walked home. The strangers that she found on the beaches had opened her eyes. This had given her a different perspective, a better perspective she had about this world that had only broadened her curiosity about it.

Now, she had made it back to her house where she, once inside, set down Marine before closing the door and locking it behind her.

“Cally?” She heard a voice, similar to hers, ask.

Cally turned and saw her mother. She was standing in the middle of the hallway in her work clothing and heels that made her almost a full foot taller.

 “Mom?” Cally asked. “Why are you not at work?” Cally asked.

“Because I realized that you left your lunch at home.” Cally’s mother answered, clearly trying to make an excuse. 

“School ended two hours ago.” Cally replied, confused.

“Cally, I’ve missed you so much over the past years.” Her mother said, starting to gather glittering tears that ran slowly down her face.

Cally felt like she’d been hit in the chest. She started crying too. “Mom, I’ve missed you too!” Cally sighed, rushing over to her mother to hug her. 

She couldn’t remember a time that she had felt her mother’s hands around her.

“Where’s Dad?” Cally asked.

“He’s coming.” Her mother said quietly, stroking through Cally’s hair. “He told me that one of his coworkers had met a girl at the beach the other day and that the girl sounded very nice. Dad thought of you when he heard that and immediately called me.” Her mother explained. “It was one of Dad’s elderly friends that asks a lot of questions.” Her mother chuckled to herself.

Cally eased her breathing and let her tears roll slowly down her face. It had been so long since she had felt her mothers loving hands that gave her a sense of security. Something had happened to make her mother realize she was there but she had her now; that’s all that she cared about anymore.


The following day:

Cally was now at school. She’d brought her lunch this time and was sharing it with Marine. She’d been trying to be a little more social, but it was difficult to present herself as outgoing and social after being the polar opposite all her life. More people had been talking to her though, and she’d reply with more in-depth answers.

“Hey, Cally!” Someone yelled over the mess of people.

Cally looked up and saw someone waving at her. It was Markus. She waved back.

He came up to her with movements that gave her an indication that he was about to tell her something that could either be important or a quick comment. “Hey, I have a funny story to tell you.” He said, sitting next to her on the bench she was on.

“Really?” Cally asked.

“Yeah. So apparently, when I came home, my Dad asked where I’d been and I told him that I was running the beach and then ran into you. Then my little brother came in and asked if it was a girl. That punk. Anyways, I said yes and that her name was Cally. Then my grandpa came in and started going over this whole thing about how he’d met you a couple days ago.” Markus explained, smiling a little bit, probably thinking that his grandfather was getting a bit loony.

Cally was shocked. There was no way that this was the same elderly man that he was speaking about, right?

“Funny, though.” Markus said.

“Yeah. Funny.” Cally smiled with a little uncertainty.

“Yep. Anyways, how has it been with you?” He asked.

“Well… It’s been… Magical, let’s say.” Cally said, petting Marine’s silky fur and smiling as if she’d always been the happy way she is now.