Linus Gets a Drum Set

It had been three weeks since their mother brought home the drum set and Linus was still not a rock star. He couldn’t believe it, after a full twenty days of practice and everything.

In the next room over, separated by an inch of plywood, Margaret had a headache. She missed silence.

“Is this life now, Momma?” The woman continued to pour cereal into two bowls, her back turned. She could not hear her daughter. Margaret noticed her mother’s neon pink earplugs and thumped her head forward, letting it hit the granite counter with a bang.

No one in the house heard her over Linus’ drum set. With her head pressed against the cool stone, she clenched her eyes closed. It was time for a plan.

Their family computer lived in the kitchen. She was not allowed to use it while eating so she scarfed down each bite of cereal, finishing her breakfast before Linus even entered the kitchen. She ignored him when he entered the room, even though he said hi and pulled one of her pigtails.

“What’s up with her?” He asked their mother. The ear-plugged woman turned on her heel and left the kitchen without a response. He had gone unheard, as well.

Margaret cherished the silence; she even tried to type softly on the keyboard to not break its precious relief. After reading one webpage, she had a plan. While Linus tapped, tapped, tapped, on the granite counter, Margaret slid from her chair and ran down the hallway to the playroom that now acted as a music studio.

In the doorway she stood face to face with the drum set, her nemesis.

Her eyes zeroed in to the corner where her teddy sat on a wooden rocking chair. The pudgy bear was about the size of the main drum and a worthy sacrifice. She snatched him up and ran behind the instrument.

For a moment a thought hung in the air. She tightened her hand around the bear and thought how easy it would be—how simple—to lift her foot and slam it into the largest drum. She would get in trouble, sure, but she would win. Their mother would not buy a second drum set and there would be no more waking up to the blaring drum beat. But then she remembered Linus, sitting on the counter tapping his beat. She tried to recall the last time she had seen her brother so dedicated to something and pictured his heart breaking at the sight of the broken instrument. She lowered her foot.

Instead, she returned to her plan. She pushed the bear into the large space behind the drum, smushing him until he fit into the round instrument. She didn’t have long. Linus ate his cereal quickly because he liked to slurp down the milk, so Margaret raced to their art supplies box.

She grabbed tape and construction paper. After writing a message on the paper she taped it to the metal rim of the drum and stepped back to admire her handy work.  The paper wall kept teddy in his place and the message read loud and clear:

“Remove this teddy and your drum set will pay.  Love, Margaret.”

She ran from the room and returned to the computer, fingers twirling in her hair as she tried to pretend everything was normal. Linus still sat at the counter tap, tap, tapping. She held her breath when he finally pushed away from his bowl and walked to the playroom. She heard, and promptly ignored, when he called her name.

Her breath held still until she heard the drum, no longer a bang but a soft thumping beat, hardly able to penetrate the walls. It was only then that Margaret leaned back against the desk chair and smiled. Success.

Check out more Adventures with Linus and Margaret!

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Flying in Real Life

“Linus, look!”

Margaret sat by the window, bouncing with excitement.

Linus let out a groan and opened his eyes to stare at his younger sister. Her face was glued to the double-glass of the airplane window, taking in the view from thousands of feet up in the air.

“You’re blocking the window, Margaret,” Linus said, although he could hardly bring himself to look. He dug himself deeper into his chair, clenching his armrest with all the strength his eight-year-old body could muster.

Unlike his sister, Linus did not take well to the concept of flying.

“How are you still so excited?” he asked. “We’ve been in the air for over seven hours.”

“But we’re flying! Over an ocean!” answered Margaret.

Their mother hissed at both of them to ‘be quiet’, even though only Margaret was yelling.

It wasn’t fair.

“I don’t think you seem to get it, Linus.”

“Get what?”

“After hours and hours of make-believe and pretending to be superheroes, here we are,” she waved her hand around as if she were presenting the window as a work of art. “We are flying in real life.”

“With all the real-life risks too,” Linus grumbled to himself.

“And when we get to LandIce –”

“It’s Iceland, Margaret.”

“Oh, right. But when we get there, we’re going to see colors in the sky!”

“Maybe.”

“And we’re going to see snow!”

“We have snow at home.”

“Yea, but it’s not blue like the glaciers. You told me that, Linus, so it must be true.”

“Yea, yea,” Linus conceded, hands coming up to grip his forehead. He started to agree with his mother; they all could use some quiet time. He hesitated before opening his eyes, worried still that at any moment they might plummet into the ocean.

He chose to make his baby sister a distraction, instead. “You know Iceland is really old?”

“Like Auntie Nell?” Margaret’s nose crinkled at the memory of her great Aunt, who yelled when they threw snowballs in her direction.

Linus snorted. “Way older.”

Margaret looked back out the window. “Imagine all the make-believe stories a place that old has inside it.”

“Some of the best, I imagine” Linus said.

“Tell me!” Margaret demanded. “Then you can forget how scaredy-cat you are on this plane.”

“I’m not scared.” Linus insisted.

Margaret grinned, knowing she was right. “Then, tell me.”

Linus groaned again but this time for another reason. “Well, I don’t actually know any of their stories yet, but I bet they have mountains that are really monsters and fairies that deliver snowstorms or –“

“Or magicians that turn the sky into coloring books!” Margaret added.

As they made up tales of a foreign land far away, Linus let go of his fear until the plane began its descent. After sharp drop in elevation, he reached for the armrest again.

“It’s okay, Linus, look.” Margaret pointed out the window, where the sunrise cast a glow over their newest adventure. “If we fall now, Iceland’s giants will catch us.”

Check out more Adventures with Linus and Margaret!

Boat Trip

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“Whale!” Margaret shrieked.

Linus was equally as excited but, at nine, he had to show more self-control than his younger sister. There was a book in his hands and by the time he looked up, the whale was gone.

The wind whipped his hair into his face as they captain accelerated. It made it hard to finish the chapter.

“Linus! We’re getting closer.”

“Leave me alone, Mar.”

Then, from the direction of the ocean a spray of water hit his cheek. He turned his head and, closer than he ever imagined, was an eye.

He screamed.

Margaret laughed. “See, whale.”

Written for: Warmup Wednesday

This week’s Warmup Wednesday 100 word challenge: make the first and last words of your story “whale.”

Mirissa, whale watching, blue whale

Back to School

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Linus turned the corner fast, his knee colliding with the back of his sister’s head. She was crouched on the ground, digging deep into her pink and purple backpack.

“It’s time to go, Mar,” He said, picking up his own backpack from next to the door. “Mom’s already in the car.”

Margaret rubbed her head. Linus was about to mutter an apology for the bruise when his sister turned around and looked at him with watery eyes.

This annoyed Linus because they were already late and he hadn’t even hit her that hard.

“Come on! I don’t want to be late for my first day of second grade.”

Margaret bit her lip. They had spent the summer taking on Leviathans and going on vacations, but he his little sister look so unsure and afraid. Time for some big brother action.

Linus bent to his knee. “Is there something missing in your backpack?”

Margaret shook her head.

“What is it then?”

He remembered his first day of Kindergarten. How excited he had been to be driving to school – not pre-school – for the first time. This is where big-kids went, he remembered thinking.

“I’m scared,” Margaret whispered into the backpack. “I won’t know anyone.”

“No one will. It’s the first day.”

“Yea, but –”

“You wanted to learn how to read, right? And practice coloring in the lines?”

Margaret nodded.

“That’s what Kindergarten’s for!” Linus wedged his hand under her arm and pulled them both up from the ground. “Plus, if anyone bother’s you just come find me.”

The backpack was nearly as large as Margaret when she finally pulled in onto her back. She looked up at Linus, worry growing with each minute. “You think the other kids are going to bother me?”

Linus groaned. “No. I think that wittle kindergarteners are usually pretty nice and the mean ones get put in the corner right away.”

“What about the big kids?”

Linus shrugged. He had experienced some bullying from the third graders before but he didn’t want to scare her more, plus, he wanted to get in the car already! “You won’t see them much until first grade. They keep you separate for now.”

“So how will I find you if I need you?”

Linus thought for a moment before the idea hit him. He dropped his backpack without a word and rushed back up the stairs to his bedroom. When he returned, he had two walkie-talkies in his hand. He unzipped Margaret’s backpack and threw one in.

“There,” he said. “Now you’ll be able to reach me if you need me.”

Margaret’s face lit up.

“But only if you really, really, really, need my help,” he warned. “Or else you risk the teacher taking it away.”

Margaret nodded repeatedly, “I won’t lose it.”

She was smiling now and Linus pushed her out the door, locking it with his very own copy of the front door key. Their mother had given it to him this morning because he was a big kid now.

Margaret waited behind him, swaying on her feet. “I wonder if I’ll get Ms. Callahan like you or someone else.”

“Ms. Callahan was nice but I hear Mr. Broody brings snacks every morning.”

“Ooh, I love snacks! When do you think I’ll learn how to read? Right away? It takes a while right? You didn’t really learn until last year but I’m smarter than you so…”

He listened as the excitement grew in his sister’s voice. When they approached the car their mother sent him a small smile and asked, “Everybody ready?”

They cheered as she pulled out of the drive-way.


Inspired by Write Anything Wednesday!

Ancient Ruins of Centuries Past

Where did they go?” Margaret asked, one hand pointing towards the ancient ruins and the other clutching her brother’s hand.

“They didn’t go anywhere,” Linus shrugged. “They died.”

“Died?”

“Yea, years ago.”

“Like, before Grand-pappy died?”

“Centuries before.”

“What’s a century?”

Linus chewed on his lip. “One hundred years, I think.”

Margaret reached out to touch the crumbling stone. The corner flaked off and fell to the ground.

“I think I broke it,” she whispered.

Linus tugged her hand, pulling her from the wall. “We’re not supposed to touch.”

“Why not?” Margaret asked. “They don’t care, they’ve been dead for a centuries.”

“A century.” Linus corrected. “And they don’t care, but that man does.”

Margaret followed her brother’s pointed finger towards the guard posted near the entrance. His eyes were on the two children.

“It’s okay, Guard!” Margaret yelled. “They’re not coming back home, they’ve been dead for a century!”


For more Adventures of Linus and Margaret


Monday’s Finish the Story:

Ruins - © 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

Finish the story begins with:  “Where did they go?”

Wicked Witch!

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“Margaret!” Her brother’s voice bellowed up the stairs, “Auntie Nell is here.”

Deep in the corner of her closet, hidden behind hanging clothes, Margaret was safe. Only Linus knew this spot and her brother wouldn’t come here unless – the doorknob to her room turned – mom asked him too.

Linus slid open the closet door. Margaret could make out his silhouette, hands on his hips. “Come on, she’s not that bad.”

Margaret curled into her knees. “She pinches my cheeks. Hard. And she smells bad.”

Linus snorted. “She’s Grandpa’s sister, you have to come and say hi.”

“She’s like the Wicked Witch! She yelled at me last time for tearing wrapping paper!”

Linus’ hand appeared between the clothes. “So, she likes to recycle. You like to recycle.”

Margaret bit her lip, eyes blurring. “What’s recycle?”

“Never mind, just grab my hand.”

Margaret did because the one thing she hated more than anything else in the world was angering her brother.

As they padded down the stairs Margaret could hear her Great-Aunt’s voice mixing in with her mother’s. Her Aunt laughed, an evil laugh that stopped Margaret’s steps.

“She’s only here for the afternoon.” Linus reminded.

“My cheeks hurt just from thinking about it.”

Linus hugged his sister, right there on the steps, her forehead pressing against his shoulder. He was a big boy now, nearly seven, and it was his job to protect his sister.

“I have a plan.”

Margaret looked up, tears in her eyes. “The Wicked Witch melts if we pour water on her.”

“We’re not going to pour water on her – mom would have to punish us, then.”

“Then what?” Margaret asked.

“Just follow me.”

Linus pulled his sister down the steps and towards the front door. They dashed past the living room but their mother spotted them.

“What are you two up too?” She asked from the sofa. “Come here and say hi to your Aunt.”

“We will,” Linus assured. “We just have to go out and get –” He let the sentence trail off, pulling his sister out the front door and into the snowy driveway.

“Come back here!”

“We’re going to make a snowman for Auntie Nell!” Linus yelled back towards their house, thinking quickly. He whispered towards Margret, “She won’t come out here it’s too cold.”

“She’d freeze.” Margaret smiled.

Linus nodded. “Then melt.”

Margret laughed. “And they all lived happily ever after.”


Inspirartion drawn from: Tale Weaver # 25 – When the Wicked Witch Visits.

Superhero Theater

Adventures of Linus and Margaret


“The team employed the use of Nightshade to get the information they wanted from their captive,” Linus read, solemnly, to the empty living room. Nothing else followed.

“Nightshade,” Linus whispered towards the hallway. “That’s your cue.”

Margaret, who had been waiting in her homemade sunflower costume, jumped as far as her legs could take her. “I am Nightshade. Defender of Truth, Master of Inter-, what was it again?”

Linus sighed. “Interrogation.”

“Master of Interrogation.” Margaret froze, hand clawed, waiting to attack.

Linus picked the book back up. “Nightshade had the power to pull the truth out of anyone.”

“Roar,” said Margaret.

“You’re not an animal, you’re a superhero! This isn’t going to work.”

“No!” Margaret beseeched her brother. “I can do it.”

With fists drawn, she approached her brother. “See?” She administered a one-two-punch onto Linus’ eye.

“Ouch Margaret! You’re supposed to attack people with your investigation skills, not fists. Forget it!”

“No! Wait!”

But Linus was already pulling at her costume. “No, I’ll be Nightshade.”


Mondays Finish the Story:

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

Finish the story begins with:  “The team employed the use of Nightshade to get the information they wanted from their captive.”

Leviathans in the Living Room

“Leviathan straight ahead! Charge!”

“We can’t charge, Linus, we’re in sailboats.”

Linus stepped one of his untied sneakers onto couch’s armrest. “Maybe your sailboat can’t charge, but I’m going to flatten them!”

Margaret plucked her thumb from her mouth. “So there is more than one Leviathan?”

The boy sighed, a deep, exasperated sigh that he had learned from their father. “They travel in packs. It’s their strategy. One will hiss and scare us and the other can use its tentacle to grab our spears. ”

Margaret stood on the recliner, balancing her weight as it shook under her feet. After a count of three she jumped from the recliner to the sofa that Linus captained. The recliner wobbled after Margaret, sending a spray of imaginary water over the hilt and onto Linus’ face.

“Hey! We need an army, not a single ship,” he said as he wiped the water off his forehead.

“But I’m scared,” Margaret admitted.

“Well I’ll be dogged if we don’t get this monster!”

“Dogged? Do you want me to get Chuck?”

“We don’t need a chihuahua, Mar! Just grab a spear. It’s coming!”

Linus threw an imaginary spear at the ottoman.

“Did you get it?” Margaret asked.

“We have to hit it with more frequency,” Linus yelled over his shoulder.

Margaret looked around. “Where do I find frequency?”

Linus rolled his eyes, swaying on the arm of the couch from the waves. “Are you trying to annoy me to death?”

Margaret laughed. “If I wanted that, I’d just knock you off the sailboat. Aren’t we under attack?”

“Yes! Now throw the spear.”

The siblings threw their spears towards the pack of Leviathan’s that inhabited the living room rug. After a moment Linus covered his ears and screamed.

“What is it?” Margaret asked, taking careful steps towards her brother.

“The roar of the Leviathan, they make ears ring.”

Margaret immediately covered her own ears as if she too was experiencing tinnitus.

Their eyes met. “The last roar before their final attack.”

Margaret nodded at her brother’s solemn words before grabbing the invisible spear and throwing it towards the rug. “I got it!”

“You did?”

“Look at all its innards falling out.”

Linus, not to be outdone by his sister, threw another spear. He cheered after a moment.

“Mar! We did it!”

They hugged in the middle of the sailboat, swaying back and forth on the couch because of the waves. Linus pulled back. “Now you stay here, I have to swim out there and get their intestines before the blood coagulates.”

Margaret looked towards the bathroom, confused again. “You want me to go get the Colgate?”

Linus groaned and jumped off the couch. Splash!


Wordle asked for a story that included ten of the following words:

Flatten;  CephalicCoagulate; Innards; Frequency; Hiss; Tinnitus; Spear; Spray; Radial;  Leviathan; Dogged