Wednesday let out a breath and his muscles relaxed. He didn’t like going to the meetings the Lord Mayor liked to hold. Too many speeches about everything and nothing with too little to show for it. Not to mention that the more metropolitan areas of the UnderWhere relied on the wisps for light which meant that, at least part of the time, the bigger cities relied on torches to keep the night at bay. And torches with their greasy red light could hardly compete with the clear milky illumination of his village’s star lamps.
It was good to be home.
Or it would be if he could sneak in and out without alerting any more of his clan.
He just needed to ease the side door open to the storage shed where they kept the spare spare saddles and—
“Wednesday, are you back so soon?” his mother’s voice filled the small area he’d been crouching in. “The Ember said you would be home sooner than later, but you know how vague your great-gran’s prophesies have been of late.”
Gritting his teeth together he turned around, stashing the child behind him as he moved.
To his regret, his great-gran in question was standing next to his mother and leaning on her arm and holding the staff of her office with her gnarled hand. She had been the clan’s Ember for as long as he could remember, and despite the white film covering her eyes and how each year saw her a little more frail, it appeared she’d be the Ember for a good many years more.
Age hadn’t broken her, it had merely shrunk her a little.
“Humph,” the Ember said, scowling, though that couldn’t be taken personally. Scowling came as naturally to their Ember as breathing. “You try getting sense out of the Fates. Flighty things. They’d rather speak to oracles than those who have steeped a few years in wisdom. You’re lucky they speak in riddles—when they speak at all.”
“Mother,” Wednesday said, then bowing. “Great-Gran.”
“That’s Great Ember to you, lad. And will be so long as I have anything to say about it.” She tugged her shawl around her bony shoulders to hide the smile tucked into the very corner of her mouth.
His mother gave him a worried look. “What happened and what—“ she asked with wide eyes as the child, tired of being shoved, shoved back hard enough to send himself spinning around to Wednesday’s other side where he sprawled out at their feet with a mighty yowl—“is that?”
. . . 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!