Fortunately, Wednesday’s family were the curious sort that were always wondering about the next hill over. They’d found a tribe of gillyhoppers in a forgotten spring in the center of a forgotten forest of stone. They went and visited the gillyhoppers every so often, but never let on they were doing anything more than casual adventuring in the name of curiosity.
That was the other thing Wednesday’s family was very good at: keeping secrets.
He stood next to the child and grinned at him in the most welcoming way he knew how. That is, to say, he bared his teeth so the child could see that he came from a good, if not particularly extraordinary family of a little less than average means. The stories were carved there on his teeth for all the world to see, and the child seemed to be studying them with interest.
Another ripple of unease washed through Wednesday. There was something a little more than alarming about the familiarity the human child made him feel. He would have sworn on his right fang—the one that told the story of his great-grandmother and how she’d been the first to pin a star in the dark Underwherian sky—that he’d never seen, much less talked to this particular human before.
But there was something about the child’s eyes and the ragged bear he had coated with slime.
But no matter how hard Wednesday tried to remember, all he saw was a short creature in striped pajamas reading his teeth and absentmindedly slapping at the puddle of goo he sat in.
“How lucky you are,” Wednesday said, “to be invited to the castle on such very short notice.”
The child burbled at him and dragged the bear under his arm so he could cuddle it.
“Shall we go see the prince?”
“Nain,” the child said with a gravity that hinted that Wednesday ought to understand what he was saying very quickly or there was likely to be a scene.
Wednesday bent down a little closer. “I’m sorry?”
“Nain,” the child insisted. “Nain.”
“I don’t know what a nain is,” Wednesday said, fidgeting uncomfortably, “but do you like lakes?”
The child just stared at him and rubbed at his eyes.
“Lakes. You know, like water.”
“Wa wa?” the child said, brightening?”
“Water,” Wednesday agreed. “I know of a very special place you would like. Will you come with me and I’ll introduce you to my friends?”
Wednesday nodded, and the child stood with a glorious squelch and held out his grimy little hand. He took it without thought. Coming from a long line of adventurers inured one against goop and grime and dirty claws.
They walked companionably for a time, the child’s gait rapid, if somewhat bowlegged.
“Nain,” he tried again.
“First the lake, then the castle. Then, once the Crown Prince has grown bored, we shall set out to find a nain together,” Wednesday promised. To his relief, the child accepted this as a natural course of things, and babbled something in a secret language while he pointed at the path ahead of them.
. . . TO BE CONTINUED . . .
© 2015 by Danyelle Leafty. All rights reserved
Ah, gillyhoppers. When you want to travel quickly, nothing beats a gillyhopper. As for Nain, well, you’ll be making its acquaintance very shortly. Little does Wednesday know . . .
Come back to the UnderWhere next Thursday to see how Wednesday fares with the child.
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!