Chapter Six: The Magic (The Adventures of Jolean and the Magic Eraser)


Katelyn Styborski, Writer/Designer

The giant lizards smacked their jaws at the child and eraser, moving closer and closer. 

“Uh oh…” Smiley and Jolean groaned. 

Face to face with the alligator, Jolean could smell his horrid breath – like rotten fish and soggy flesh. She gagged, covering her mouth with her hands. She felt Smiley press up against her back, trying to distance himself from the huge, sharp teeth – teeth that could easily puncture the rubber of a pink eraser—even a magic one.

They were surrounded.

Taking a deep breath, Jolean fiercely grabbed Smiley, holding him close to her chest, and dove under the water. The current propelled her out of the whirlpool, and they shot through the water like a torpedo, away from the alligator’s claws. 

Naturally, the creatures gave chase. 

Bubbles of air swarmed out of Jolean’s nose as she swam. She kicked frantically, scooping her free hand through the water as fast as she could. The deep blue of the stream hurt her eyes, the crushing pressure of the water throbbed in her ears, and her lungs burned with the effort of holding her breath. She held Smiley as tightly as she could. Anguished, Jolean turned to look behind her, only to realize that the alligators had stopped—they were floating stiffly at the surface, their nostrils held above the water.

Breaking through the surface of the water, Jolean gasped for air. She held onto the muddy walls of the ditch as best she could, but the dirt crumbled beneath her fingers. 

“Oh, Smiley, we’re doomed!” Jolean wailed, mashing her cheek into his. “I can’t keep swimming, I just can’t! And the walls are too unstable for me to climb.”

“Don’t give up now,” Smiley reassured her. “You just need to swim a little farther, trust me.”

Jolean stared at him with both confusion and disgust. “Swim a little farther? There are alligators chasing us! Giant ones! And who knows how long it’ll take for them to start swimming again? They’ll catch us for sure!”

A tear slipped down her cheek, dripping into the water. It sent a ripple across the surface, lapping gently over Smiley. 


She looked down at him.

“There’s a trapdoor just around the bend. If we can get to it, we can escape the alligators.”

Jolean wiped her tears with her elbow. “A trapdoor?”

“Yes. And you can get us there!”

“No I can’t,” she sniffled.

“Jolean,” Smiley said again. He stared at her earnestly, “Do you trust me?”

“I don’t know, Smiley. I only met you yesterday.”

“Does time pass so slowly for you?”

Jolean frowned. “Of course it does,” she scolded. “Time passes the same everywhere. And one day isn’t very long to have known a person. Besides, how would you know about the trapdoor anyway? You’ve never even seen this river!”

Smiley grimaced. “Jolean, I- Look out!”

Jolean turned her head sharply, only to see the sleek bodies of the alligators crashing towards them. She dove under at the last second – one of the creatures collided with the wall, sending a layer of dirt cascading into the water. The two friends sped away from the alligators, concealed by the cloud of dust.

Kicking wildly, with Smiley safely secured in a tangle of her hair, Jolean sped away from the bank. Concentrating, she squinted through the stinging water. Her lungs ached, begging for release, but she ignored it. There was no way she’d let them catch her. Not yet. However, she knew she’d eventually have to rise for air. 

Gritting her teeth, Jolean continued through the water. Just around the bend, she encouraged herself. Just around the bend! Her chest screamed, her arms and legs burned from the effort of swimming, but she could not give up! 

She felt a tug on her hair. Smiley was pulling her towards the surface.

The two emerged in a fit of coughing. Hidden behind a large rock, Jolean wailed helplessly, “I can’t hold my breath any longer!” She massaged her throat, gulping in air.

Despite himself, Smiley laughed, “Jolean! Your face is purple!”

“Smiley-!” Her enraged shout was cut short with a blast of yellow light. 

Jolean covered her eyes. She wiped her wet hair from her forehead, only to find webbing between her fingers. She gasped, pressing up against the rock behind her. A pink, scaled fish tail was where her legs once were. It glistened in the sunlight, reflecting a speckling of light onto her face. 

“Smiley, I’m-”

“A mermaid,” Smiley giggled, grinning wide. “Now you can breathe underwater!”

Jolean felt her neck, where papery gills had suddenly appeared! She stared down at the eraser floating on top of the water. “You- You really are magic!”

“What gave it away?”

She launched herself at him, her tail flapping against the surface of the water, pulling him into a tight hug. “Oh, thank you, Smiley! Now we can finally show those alligators who’s the boss!” Her eyes glittered with adrenaline.

The friends sped out from behind the rock. The alligators were congregated together in a circle, seemingly confused as to where the delicious-looking pair had disappeared to. Jolean whistled loudly, and the giant monsters snapped their heads towards her. 

“Hey you green beasts! Come and get us!”

The lizards hissed and immediately came tearing towards them.

“Uh, Jolean?” Smiley’s voice wavered from behind her shoulder. “Shouldn’t you be swimming away?”

“Nope,” she grinned. 

Jolean whipped her tail around, sending it crashing down on an alligator’s head. It reeled back in a dizzying spiral. Another came at her from the side, its jaws narrowly missing her sparkly tail, which she swung around and knocked him square in the back. It let out a squeal, fearfully scrambling back to the others. The three remaining gators looked at her, their slit-eyes trained on hers. 

She made a motion towards them, and they all went squalling off to where they came from, their tails propelling them forward.

“HahaHA!” Smiley exclaimed, doing a flip in the water. “That was amazing! Jolean, you’re incredible.” He stared up at her; two more white blotches had appeared in his drawn eyes – making them shine even brighter.

She blushed, “Aw, it was nothing. Besides, you were the one who gave me this awesome tail! Without you, I would’ve given up for sure.”

“Well, it’s the least I can do for you.”

“Are you this nice to all your friends?” She asked, cupping him in the palms of her hands.


“Wait just a minute!” Jolean’s face scrunched up into a scowl, “ ‘All I can do is float,’ huh?” 

“Uh… about that…”

“You awful little liar!” She poked him in the stomach.

“Don’t! That tickles!”

“Ooooh, you imp! How could you?” She smiled, chasing him around in the water.

Smiley stuck out his tongue at her, floating just out of reach. “Who was the one just thanking me?”

“Smiley, I’m serious. Why did you lie to me?” She frowned humorously, her arms crossed over her chest.

“There’s a time and a place for things, my dear. I can’t reveal too much – it might put you in danger.”

“I can handle danger.” She protested.

“Oh yeah?”

“Uh, how about a ‘Oh, thank you, Jolean, for getting rid of those pesky alligators that would have eaten us!’ ”

“Okay, okay. I’m sorry for lying to you. And,” he said, nestling into the crook of her neck, “Thank you for ‘getting rid of those pesky alligators.’ ”

Jolean huffed, blowing her bangs away from her face. “Alright, I forgive you. But no more lies. Got it?”

“Pinky promise!”

“You don’t have pinkies, Smiley.”

“You caught that, huh?”

The two continued to joke with each other, leisurely swimming to their promised destination around the bend – like lemmings to the cliffs.