Before I could answer Francisco’s question, a little girl with shiny blonde hair in a cornflower blue and sage green dress appeared near the large tree in my backyard.
FLOATED toward me in a shimmer of rainbow sparkles.
What the hell was going on?
“I believe you wished to give something to me,” she said. Her tinkling bell voice calmed my pounding heart.
I tossed Wish Book at her feet. “Here! Take it. I don’t want it anymore.”
Zelda rushed to the little girl, sitting next to her. “I’m so glad you’re here,” she cried. “You can save us from that nasty thing in our kitchen!”
I had no idea what Zelda was babbling about. How could this strange girl save us from our grandmother?
The girl pushed Zelda’s shoulders back so she could gaze into her eyes. “What thing, child?”
Zelda pointed to our large back window. Gran was rolling out pastry on our kitchen table.
“Oh, Great Guardian,” the little girl whispered, standing up. “Brenden. Show yourself.”
All of a sudden, golden sparkles swirled around Wish Book until a blinding light shot out of it.
Then light exploded, shimmering all around us.
A person arose where Wish Book once sat. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Before me stood a dude who looked about my age and was all decked out for a Renaissance play. He was very handsome with bright golden eyes, dimpled chin, and wide smile.
“Athena,” he said, bowing deeply at my feet. “I’m forever in your service. Thank you for saving me from the nuisance of being that odious Wish Book.”
My breath caught. “W-Who are you?”
“I am Brenden, the Cursed,” he said as if he’d just announced his knighthood.
“But the queen will have to give me a new title, now won’t she?” he added. I could see a slight smile twinge at the corners of his lips.
The girl rolled her eyes. “That is the least of our worries, Brenden. Look there! In the kitchen. That creature in a thin shroud.”
Glancing up, he said, “Heavens! You’re right, Lenora.”
Brenden snapped his fingers at us. “All of you, listen to Lenora, Fairy of Essence. Come quickly.”
I gripped the rubber of my wheels. “I’m not going anywhere until someone explains a few things.”
Francisco walked to my side and glared. “Yeah. Why should we go with you?”
Holly yelled, “Guys! I think we better leave. Something’s up with Granny!”
“Come here, dear ones,” my grandmother called from the back porch.
Pulling a translucent veil off of her body, she transformed into a scary blue skinned witch.
“Oh God, oh God,” I said, feeling like centipedes were crawling up my back. I pulled at Zelda’s shirt to follow. “Yes, we’ll go with you.”
Brenden huddled us around us, saying, “Hold hands.” Clasping mine with a smile, he went to grab another hand. It was Francisco’s.
He snarled then flicked his fingers away as if he touched something disgusting.
Francisco grinned and moved to my other side.
The witch must have figured out Brenden’s plan. “In the name of the Under Realm, you’ll not take her from me!” she screeched.
Glowing orbs appeared in her hands and she spoke some strange words.
A shower of icicles shot through the air, pinning us into a frozen prison.
Lenora breathed deeply, closing her eyes. “Do not give into her threats. Concentrate on me, no matter what she does. She cannot do anything to us that we do not allow. This is not her realm. As it is not mine.”
Lenora caught me with her eyes. “Athena. We need you now. Brenden?”
“Blast,” Brenden grumbled as he ditched my hand.
In an explosion of light, he transformed back into Wish Book. Lenora placed him on my lap along with the pencil that I’d flicked in the flower bed only moments before.
The witch cackled. “Athena, my dearest granddaughter. What is that half-pint fairy telling you? They’re lies. Me powers are indeed very strong in this realm as she knows. The rampart protecting this world is crumbling.” She scurried close to the frozen prison bars. I could smell her breath—it was like a decaying skunk on the side of the road.
“That’s why I’m here. Come with Granny, Athena, and I’ll show you what your power was really chosen for. You have a gift. Casteen, queen of the Under Realm, has seen that your time has come and allowed me to go to you.” She beckoned me, outstretching her blue, gnarled hand. “Come, dear child.”
“Ignore her,” Lenora whispered. “Wish us to my realm where we’ll be safe. A fairy kingdom with a castle, flower gardens with animal topiaries and two enormous guardian unicorns at the entrance.”
“But why can’t you snap your fingers and get us there? Aren’t you a fairy? Use your pixie dust or something.” I whispered back, freaking out. I wondered where the hell my parents were? Did that witch do something awful to them? My body trembled at those terrible thoughts.
“No, Athena! My powers are limited in this realm. You must do it! With Wish Book. Hurry!”
I didn’t know what else to do but obey this strange fairy girl. Anything was better than listening to that horrifying witch.
I pictured us on the grounds of a beautiful white castle with lots of flowers and trees surrounding it. Gigantic ivory unicorns guarded the large castle entrance with green topiaries of elephants and other animals dotting the landscape within its plush grounds.
Readying my pencil, rainbow sparkles crept up my hand. I pulled back, saying, “I can do it by myself, Brenden.”
Hurriedly, he whispered, “I’m only going to speed you along, but I need you to not resist.”
The witch hissed, “Very well. If you won’t listen, Athena, then I will stop you. You leave Granny no choice.”
The witch spoke some words and it felt like a sickening cold shackle clamped down on my throat and my writing hand. I didn’t know which would happen first, either I’d pass out from the blood not reaching my head, or I’d lose all sensation in my hand. My head pounded as my heart leaped out of control. Tears threatened. I couldn’t do this.
“I can’t,” I gasped, struggling to breathe.
“Athena,” Lenora whispered. “She isn’t more powerful than you. This is your realm. Use the Wish Book against her. Fight.”
Sparkles flew before my eyes and then I drifted into a dream of shadowy voices, melting into one another. Gradually, my focus returned. Soft grass poked my cheek. I’d somehow fallen over and now was sprawled on the ground, magically out of the ice prison.
The witch cried, “It’s over, Lenora. Go tell yer fairy queen to give up. The time of the Over Realm, Middle Realm, and Under Realm truce is finished. Convey to Queen Oria that when the new moon rises, our armies will have already overtaken your world.”
Lenora laughed, her voice like pleasant chimes. “Hogswallow, Sidheag. You and your kind can never penetrate our magic. It was ordained by the Great Guardian as was The Wishcaster.” She motioned toward my body. I closed my eyes to pretend I was still knocked out. “This move was all in vain as are your hollow threats.”
While Lenora talked, I spotted Wish Book lying next to me and the pencil close by. My heart pounded in my ears. I still had a chance.
Inching my hand toward Wish Book, I went to grasp it.
Lenora spotted me and went on with her speech even more forcefully. “And furthermore,” she said, marching to her left so the old woman would put her back to me, “once Queen Oria hears of your wicked plot, she will be ready for you. What a globstroppet idea to tell us of your plan, Sidheag. What on Middle Realm were you thinking?”
The rainbow sparkles whipped around my hand as my pencil raced across one of Wish Book’s pages.
Once I’d finished the last image, a giggle bubbled up and surrounded me, pounding against my head as if a thousand fairies were laughing in my ears. The sound whirred around and around, making me feel dizzy.
Flashes dazzled before my eyes and then they went blank like I’d passed out again and fallen into a deep black hole. But before I twinkled out, I thought I’d heard Lenora’s voice in the distance, “Do you think she’s the true Wishcaster?”
And then Brenden’s soft low voice answered, “I’ve known it all along, Lenora. Without a doubt. She’s the one.”
SO, next update Wednesday, November 14th.