Wednesday and his mother exchange a look while the child babbled something that sounded suspiciously like an affirmation. His mother sighed, and patted their Ember on the arm.
“Perhaps you would like some nice, soothing tea once we’ve cleaned these two up.”
Great gran shook her head impatiently. “Don’t patronize me, missy,” she growled. “I was doing the work of ten while you were still in diapers. I know what I saw, and I saw what I know. That creature has been here before, sure as I’m the Great Ember.” She set her jaw and glared at Wednesday’s mother with unseeing eyes.
Wednesday shuffled his feet and glanced at the child who had taken an interest in the beads and feathers hanging down from the polished knob of his great-gran’s staff of office. He grabbed him before the child could catch a particularly bright feather. Messing with the Staff of Office was not a mistake any monster child ever made twice, and it would be easier for them all if they could avoid any of that particular sort of unpleasantness.
“We are just passing through,” he said. “The Prince ordered that the child be brought to him by teatime.” He gave his mother a sheepish look. “The Lord Mayor assigned the task to me.”
His mother gave him a surprised look, but didn’t press the issue. “Very well. Do you have enough time that I could put together basket for you? You never know what mischief the roads might be up to. Better to go prepared.”
Wednesday nodded. “Yes, thanks. Just have to get the saddles.”
His mother led their Great Ember back to the house while Wednesday led Glop—he shook his head at the child’s new name—back toward the stables.
Glop followed him, alternating between hopping and skipping. All the while singing softly, “Nain, nain, nain,” as though it was a charm or a hidden delight only he could see.
Wednesday frowned. What was it about that name that made his thoughts flutter with a swirl of night-colored feathers not unlike those of the Lord Regent’s black thought? And why did he have the sinking feeling that teatime, like as not, was only going to be the beginning of his troubles, but not the end?
. . . TO BE CONTINUED . . .
© 2015 by Danyelle Leafty. All rights reserved.
Come back to the UnderWhere next Thursday to see what other complications arise. After all, it isn’t often that a child finds his way into the UnderWhere on his own–if you aren’t counting a small, stuffed bear that is more slime and stuffing than bear by this point. It isn’t by accident that a Great Ember is there to meet him either, or so we would hope.
*Author’s Note: This story of a monster and his boy in a faraway place called the UnderWhere has been the most stubborn and intractable of stories in recent storytelling. It first ambushed me nearly a year ago, and after that initial meeting refused to say a word. Being an author, I soldiered on. The Story, of course, watched with hooded eyes, smirking to itself as it watched follow false road after false road. After nearly a year of this back and forth, it either grew a sense of conscience or exasperated enough to finally start talking.
And, oh, how it has been talking. As Storyteller, I must accept the fact that I will never be able to perfectly capture each thread and texture of it. There will be bits and pieces I either fail to convey adequately or forget to tell entirely, although I shall do my best to tell the story as best as I can. But the more I trek along in this UnderWhere, the more its world and history unfolds. It isn’t often that the world itself catches my whimsy and wonder. Though the path to this point has been long, it was worth it for all that’s coming.
If this is your first time, be sure to check out the first installment. And, if you’d like, dip your toes into the other stories. On Mondays, we’re exploring the moon with an enchanted flower and her–well, that would be telling. On Tuesdays, we’re off to the Garden with Gwyn who is hopefully avoiding the wrath of the Ruby Queen, and on Wednesdays we’re meeting with Mira as she discovers her destiny to become the Queen of the Nearly Dead Fae. No zombies. Promise. 😉
Have a great weekend!