“It’s none of your beeswax.” He stood, straightened his cloak, grabbed his pouch, and took a step forward. But something made him turn around. Tippy still crouched where he’d placed her. Even in the dark he could sense her pout. Her outline in the dimness looked small, even vulnerable.
He stared beyond her dark form and noticed from where they stood he could hardly see the oak tree that held their home.
“Come on, now.” He pulled Tippy to her feet and half dragged her home.
On the walk home, his little sister in one hand, Jules wondered about that bright flash. But as they were about to enter their front porch an acorn fell, missing his head by a hair’s breadth. He leapt back and turned to check on Tippy.
“That was close,” she said. The acorn was of normal size, yet it measured about half of Jules’s height and weighed probably twice as much.
Jules always found issue with his inconvenient stature. And even though those of his race, the Fairy Elves, or Elfies as they were more commonly called, had suffered the effects of the curse for centuries and had adapted to their surroundings, he always regretted his size more than anyone he knew. If only I could reverse this curse!
Inside his home Jules quietly shut the front door and placed his cloak exactly as he’d found it on the peg. Reaching into one of his pockets he brought out a tattered booklet, the size of his palm. The thought of placing it back where he’d found it earlier crossed his mind, but he felt Tippy’s eyes watching his every move. It wouldn’t do if his mother found it.
“Bed now, Tippy.” He pointed to the narrow staircase that led to her attic bedroom, where his two other younger sisters slept. But Tippy just blinked at him. So, he slid the booklet back into the cloak pocket. He trudged to the hearth and hid his pouch of stones behind a loose brick to the right of the hearth. “And don’t tell Mom about me, either, or I’ll snitch on how you went out all by yourself.”
Tippy yawned and slunk up to the attic room she shared with her two slightly older sisters. Before she climbed the first rung, she turned and faced
Jules. “Will you be here tomorrow?”
“Go—to—sleep,” Jules said.
“Promise?” She padded up the spindly steps.
“Go.” But he smiled at her.
As he stood by the window and watched the night sky, the blonde hair on the nape of his neck suddenly prickled. A shadow sifted past the bough above his window and a soft whoosh made him step back.
What was that light? That glow in the sky? A bomb? Lightning?
He gripped the rough window sill and leaned out to see what could have caused the shadows to move, but he saw nothing suspicious. If Grandpa was here he could’ve asked the old man, but that was out of the question now. And his mother never had the right answers. Even his father could have helped him, but that too was out of the question.
Jules climbed the stairs to the attic and to his bed on the upper bunk, cautious not to rouse his brother, Ralston, below, who, fortunately for Jules, could sleep through a tornado.
If I can convince Mom to let us outside tomorrow, I can find answers to that strange light. Some had rumored that the war was coming closer.
Outside in the cool, breezy night a pair of eyes spied on the Blaze home. Through the open window he saw the candle flickering on the dining table but no boy. Whisperer glided from branch to branch, a swirl of darkness hiding a face with a beaked nose and twisted lips, and landed on the lowest branch on Jules’s tree.
“If you can lure them out I can check out the place,” a muffled voice said.
“Beta, you’d better pass this test.” Whisperer weaved himself in and out of the foliage around Beta, but Beta didn’t move or show signs of fear.
“I’ll get it one way or another, but you must be patient.”
The leaves on the oak rustled softly and a couple of late fall acorns already loosened by the season dropped as Beta swung from the tip of the branch to an adjacent tree.
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Genre - Young Adult Adventure Fantasy
Rating – G