The puddles of water grew oblong as they walked along, widening until, at last, they converged upon the buttery path. Bottle-green water lapped at the newly created shore, and a soft wind blew over the waters, perfuming the air with brine and the elusive scent of free, clear waters.
“Oh,” Glop sighed, his eyes wide as he dropped to his knees. He put a tentative finger into the water before Wednesday could stop him and held a glistening finger up for Gahtoof’s inspection.
“You like the water?” Wednesday murmured, coming up to kneel beside him.
Glop opened his mouth, but Wednesday firmly clamped a vermillion-scaled hand over his lips. “Remember?” he whispered.
Glop nodded vigorously in return.
Once he was sure the child would remain as quiet as could be expected, Wednesday removed his hand. He set the saddle on the ground and pulled a pair of reed pipes out of his pocket.
Then he stood and played a short tune that would be sure to bring in all the gillyhoppers who were nearby.
Glop clapped his hands—and Gahtoof—with delight and danced a little jig in time with the song.
Despite himself, Wednesday smiled. He avoided children when he could. He didn’t mind their messes so much as their noise and penchant for asking interesting questions and the most inopportune of times. That, and they reminded him of another child who had come to the UnderWhere so long ago. He, himself, had only been in middle-childhood when the other human child had visited.
Wednesday narrowed his eyes. His memories refused to focus on the little face from so long ago, but there was something altogether alarming about it . . .
“Fi-fi!” Glop whispered fiercely, tugging at his arm and gesturing to the lake before them.
Wednesday blinked away the moth-eaten memory and focused on the gillyhoppers waiting expectantly just beyond the shore.
There were three of them. They all looked like giant fish heads, and goggled at them with wide, fishy eyes, but that was only the beginning. A gillyhopper was a sort of half fish at the upper half and half sea dragon on the lower with a bit of frog in the middle. They kept their powerful tails coiled tight when they weren’t traveling. And, most strangely of all, they had a pair of irredescent dragonfly wings—gillyhopper-sized, of course—on the place where their shoulders would be if fish had shoulders.
“No,” Wednesday said as his early unease slipped away and fun took its place. “These are gillyhoppers.” He scooped up the saddle and threw it onto the back of the gillyhopper nearest to them, then he braced himself for what was coming next.
“Would you like to ride one?”
. . . TO BE CONTINUED . . .
© 2016 by Danyelle Leafty. All rights reserved.
Come back to the UnderWhere next Thursday and I’ll see if we can’t go for our first gillyhopper ride. 🙂
*Author’s Note: Apologies for posting this late. It was a combination of things, not the least of which was going through the edits for a new book that is yet to be announced. Nearly finished and excited to share!
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!