Wednesday nodded companionably, understanding perfectly that the child didn’t actually want to converse with him so much as he simply wanted someone to listen and make affirming grunts in all the right places.
Well did he know the feeling.
But as they walked along, Wednesday’s tooth started to tingle. Not the one that told the story of his tribe, nor the one that gave a brief history of the UnderWhere itself. No, it was his own personal tooth that was jangling in such a way as to make the fur on his face and arms stand up.
The child was completely foreign, and yet somehow familiar. And why had the Lord Mayor, out of all the UnderWherians he might have chosen, chosen him?
Beneath their feet, the path unwound in a litter of peculiar goldenrod-colored bricks and stones. At first, he’d been so preoccupied with the child that he hadn’t noticed, but now he squinted suspiciously down at the path.
Yellow was a color he rarely set foot on. In fact, there had only been one other time that he’d walked the yellow road . . .
Wednesday shook his head. Surely the Great Under knew what he was doing, and if this was the path he’d chosen for Wednesday and the child, then this was the best path to get the job done.
Even so, he started a mental tally of landmarks should he need to reverse their course quickly. For behind them, as did all the paths in the UnderWhere, the yellow road had crumbled back to anonymous moss and dirt and pebbles. For what, the Great Under had reasoned, was the good of having a permanent path that always led to the very same place? Not every UnderWherian needed or wanted to go to the same destination. Was it not better to have the world itself create a unique path for each individual so that you got where you wanted to go when you wanted to go there?
No one had disagreed with him. No one had dared.
And so it was, and always would be.
Beside him, the child tugged at his hand. “Nain?” he asked hopefully, pointing ahead.
Wednesday followed the lad’s finger, and a smile broke out on his face despite himself. “No. That’s not a nain. That’s a homeland. A clanlock. That’s family, is what that is.”
True to its master, the yellow road had led them straight to his village with nary a meander and not a single double back. Perhaps he’d been worried over nothing. Yellow didn’t have to mean danger and quests and extended journeys.
Perhaps yellow sometimes simply meant home.
“Who goes there?” a bass voice intoned as they drew closer to the welcoming gate.
. . . TO BE CONTINUED . . .
© 2015 by Danyelle Leafty. All rights reserved.
Come back to the UnderWhere next Thursday to see who’s waiting for them.
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!