A very average train pulled up next to the platform at Penn Station. The breaks squealed and hissed like a real train. The horn sounded just like a real train. The muddy sounds from the overhead speakers warned people to step back like a real train. Maya was confused. She was completely and utterly confused. Maya and the sisters were holding magical tickets to the Spirit Train which was not a cheerleading term. A Spirit Train ticket was an extra rare magical artifact. Maya kind of expected a secret train platform or at least a secret door or something. Instead here was the same ol Penn Station. Not that there was anything wrong with that. It was just a little disappointing.
“Don’t just stand there. All aboard, Maya!” China called out and reached down from the train and pulled Maya in by her armpit. Ivy was already standing nearby and smiling but China moved so she was blocking the view. “Earth to Maya! Are you with us?” China said.
“I am. Yeah. I thought we were riding the Spirit Train.” Maya mumbled, steadying her self against China and stepping back.
“Aww! Were you expecting a big, colorful magic choo choo?” China asked with a playful flip of her hair and a wicked grin. China was so punchable sometimes. Maya narrowed her eyes and let out an exasperated sigh.
“Take it easy, sis.” Ivy said. “Just because you knew what’s going on doesn’t mean you get to tease her.” She pushed past her sister to give Maya a friendly hug. Ivy had been nice the whole time and Maya really appreciated that. She hugged her back.
“But I don’t know what’s going on. That’s very true. Does somebody want to fill me in?” Maya asked. These sisters obviously had a different magical education and those differences could be annoying. Magic was a wide and varied field of study that was mostly exclusive to people with the natural talent to perform spells. Now that magic was public some without the talent were gaining knowlege but they were miles behind. The fact that the sisters knew how the Spirit Train works put them in strange and important company. Maya wondered about that but more immediate was her need to know how the train worked.
“There’s no time. Here comes the ticket taker already!” China said urgently in a stage whisper. She promptly vanished into thin air. Invisibility was a real neat trick among the adept but Maya knew it often created a rippling and crackling feeling when those spells were activated. There was nothing like that this time.
“Listen, Maya, just focus your will into the ticket. That’s all you have to do. It’s simple.” Ivy said, pressing a ticket into Maya’s palm which Maya nearly dropped but she mangaged to awkwardly grasp it.
“Wait but I usually don’t do that. I was taught never to do that.” Maya tried to mutter.
“Just do it!” Ivy spat and then she vanished into thin air too.
Maya hesitated, looking at the grayish silver ticket and then she looked up at the rapidly approaching, smartly dressed ticket taker. She shut her eyes and focused with everything she had in her and, if she thought about it, she would realize that came from panic. She felt the mental and emotional feeling of her magic flow down her arm and into the ticket. It flowed like a river after a rainstorm and smashed into the ticket.
“Um, you can open your eyes.” China said softly. There was something like concern in her voice.
Maya slowly opened her eyes and was shocked to watch the ticket woman walk through her body. She felt panic spasm her body before she realized what was happening and she started to breathe evenly again. The life of an Ishim was strange and full of surprises. She brushed herself off even though there was nothing to brush off but the tension.
“I’m sorry I snapped at you. You have to learn to trust us, Maya. If we’re working together for now then it’s absolutely necessary.” Ivy said.
“I know it’s just that when Coyote trained me he said to never just channel my magic into an object without knowing how it works. That’s how he lost most of his arm.” Maya said.
“I’m sorry I didn’t explain the ticket, Maya.” Ivy said. “We’re sorry, right?” She looked at her sister.
“Sure.” China said and Maya believed her even though it looked like China was trying to act like it was no big deal. Maya nodded back at them and waved it off.
“It takes a month to weave all of the spells in the ticket. They eventually set in the materials like ink drying and they’re examined for any flaws. The ticket phases the user into another plane of existence very close to our own. It allows us to hitch a ride without paying. That’s important because we don’t actually know where we’re going. At any moment we could disappear from this train and appear in a bus or really anything. We’ll keep switching vehicles until we’re dumped at our destination.” Ivy explained.
“Wow, um, thanks for the explanation.” Maya was grateful to know what exactly was happening but it didn’t make the knowledge less intimidating. That was one hell of a spell.
“Speaking of the ticket. Make sure you don’t drop it. If you do, you might be flung out of a moving vehicle and I bet that’s not pretty.” Ivy said.
Maya reached for the ticket and her fingers were so sure and then she panicked. The ticket was gone. She looked up at the sisters who both looked at her and then at each other.