Friday, July 10, 2009

The Mountain Isle (Friday Fiction)

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by Catrina Bradley @ her blog, A Work In Progress. Click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's Ramblings: Well, I tried not to take a long time-and to keep it short so folks could keep up with it. I don't know how well I did on either point, but I'll leave that up to you to decide. This was in special memory of a dear friend of mine-Dee Yoder(who has a totally fabulous blog and is super-sweet!) and also a little twist thrown in there by a suggestion from Sherry, (Sherry C.) that I couldn't resist. Please enjoy the read-and have a terrific weekend. I can't wait to hear what you think!


It almost rained this morning.

Why it didn’t, Deletha wasn’t quite sure, but she ventured a guess it had something to do with Skylar’s temper. Of course her temper wouldn’t have been a problem if Deletha hadn’t been the one to rouse it. Their tiff had caused tremors throughout their island paradise and finally, Deletha had huffed off, leaving Skylar to her own devices.

Technically, it was best for the wildlife if they were further apart. With a grimace nearing a groan, Deletha hauled herself up the last bit of the rocky hill and stumbled to her cliff perch a few feet ahead. Sinking onto the warm, flat rock, she tucked her feet up under her and stretched upwards. It felt good, much better than the soreness in her neck and shoulders, courtesy of Skylar’s nighttime grumbling. “She’d better get over this soon.” Deletha mumbled, leaning forward over the edge of the rock to root around for her special sack. From the cream-colored cloth bag, she retrieved a golden spyglass and a handful of broad, green leaves.

Scanning the horizon in hopes of a glimpse of the supply ship, she finally gave up and turned her attention to the leaves. “Paper.” She told them, firmly, smoothing her hands across the veined surface. The leaves seemed to sigh aloud before the greenery left them, turning to a smooth, faint shade of brown.

Deletha smiled when the handful was completely transformed. “Lovely.” She informed them, reaching beneath her to grab a handful of rock. It took a little more focus, but the loose handful of gravel gradually molded itself into a lumpy oval, progressing until it was a long, thin, pointed stick.
“Very good.” She congratulated it, beginning to scribble on the leaves. “You, to Skylar.” She told the first one, holding it up to the wind. “Let her know that the ship hasn’t arrived yet.” The first leaf fluttered feebly in her grasp. “Hold on-I want a reply from her.” Twining together the long stems, Deletha finally released them. “Hurry back!”

She fiddled with the spyglass, already impatient, as the leaves floated away on the island wind. Some snorts and gruffles below alerted her to the animals below and she held her breath, hoping she wouldn’t be noticed. She didn’t care to make mindless chatter with them while waiting for Skylar’s snippy reply.

In a few minutes, the animals passed and she sighed in relief. “What I really want is sweets.” She told herself, trying not to think of darker things or annoying memories. “Sweets.” She repeated. “They’re going to bring nice things I like…things that are…sweet.” Idly twirling the spyglass, she finally peered through it once more, scanning the horizon half-heartedly.

A shimmer in the distance caught her eye and she squinted harder. The ship? It might be it! Muttering to herself, Deletha called a leaf to her and had the stone pen write the message itself. “Tell Skylar to cancel the last reply, I see a ship on the horizon, I can’t tell if it’s ours though, so get ready to hide if necessary.”

The leaf darted off just as Skylar’s reply floated in. Deletha made a face as the withered leaf inched up to her. “It couldn’t have been that bad.” She blew a soft breath, reviving the yellow-brown to a pale, faint green. “Go find your tree and take a nap.” She waved it off, swinging to her feet. “You there!” She pointed to a slender, branched tree. “Put me on the shore.” She held up her arms in the air, waiting as a new, green branch grew straight out from the trunk to curl around her stomach and under her arms, lifting her from the cliff and hurling her towards the beach.

Tumbling to her feet, Deletha stood, dusting her dress off in the wind as she waited for the ship to arrive. Her stomach rumbled in happy anticipation at the possible treats on board. She hopped and skipped a few circles, unable to keep the happy to herself as the ship slowly drifted closer and then cast anchor. “Yes!” She pumped a fist in the air, waiting.

Captain Filler was the first to arrive, along with a fancily dressed young man and two aides beside him. The crewman rowing them inland were scowling and grumbling amongst themselves, something that quieted the moment they spotted their host. With wavy hair flowing behind her, the black color contrasted neatly with a tan-colored dress, blowing out behind her.

A faint rumble seemed to be underground, but Deletha ignore that, there was too much going on inside her head to pay attention to a lowly disgruntled rumble. “You’d better be quiet, Skylar.” She trotted down and into the cool water.

“Ahoy, Capt’n!” Deletha waved, cheerily, hurrying forward to grab one of the lines and help haul the rowboat ashore. She threw the end into the sand, focusing to let the rope work its way deep into the ground, assuring that the boat would not leave without her knowing.

“Good day.” Captain Filler greeted her. “Lovely to see you, as always my dear.”

Deletha shrugged. “You did bring my pudding, didn’t you?” She craned her neck to see the packages carried out by the sailors. “I’ve been dreaming of banana pudding, positively dreaming of it. Cold, sweet…and with ginger snaps crumbled on top. Mmm!” She smiled, appreciatively.

A few grunts of agreement reached her ears as the scruffy sailor next to her offered a medium-sized parcel. “Tha puddin’ powder, ma’am…miss.” He corrected, thrusting it towards her. “Here you go.”

“oooh!” Deletha hugged it to her chest, sniffing the paper. She smiled. “I might be persuaded to share, Captain…sailor.” She nodded towards the fellow. “Very tiny helpings, but I might care to share my good fortune.” She turned inland. “Come along, I’ll get the place set up for you, if Skylar hasn’t done it herself yet. Tell me, since when do you take on passengers like that?” She jerked a thumb towards the young man in ceremonial garb as Captain Filler fell into step beside her. In spite of his fancy appearance, there seemed to be a shroud of darkness around him. It gave her the creeps.

“Since he insisted on seeing you.” He said, quietly. “Is it too many for you to put up with?”

Deletha darted a glance back over her shoulder, she did a quick head count and then turned back, mumbling to herself. “No.” She said finally. “I should be able to swing it. Just know that you’re not getting paid for their fare either.” She wrinkled her nose. “And maybe I won’t share half of my pudding.”

With the precious package safe in hand, Deletha hurried to her camp where Skylar had been setting up. It didn’t take long to get the few things she’d ordered sorted out and most of them already halfway used in preparing for her guests. When she finally had finished serving a dinner of fried fish and grilled fruit, she worked on the special pudding. “So tell me, Captain.” She nodded towards the sea. “What’s got you all so jittery?”

Another rumble sounded, this time accompanied by a tremor. Deletha stumbled, grabbing awkwardly at the sailor beside her instead of grabbing the hot pot suspended over the fire. A fierce blush stained her cheeks as she struggled to her feet. “Skylar!” Her voice rang angrily out in the night air. “Quit that! I hear you already!”

Captain Filler seemed amused. “I haven’t seen her all evening…I was wondering-”

“Then stop.” She interrupted. “She has issues. I don’t. We’re not talking right now.”

“So what was that?” He gestured towards the towering mountain, outlined by the fading light of day.

“That is her throwing a temper tantrum. I am not paying attention to her temper tantrum, because that’s what she wants me to do, however, if she disturbs you, we have an agreement-which will end with her doing all my chores for a month.” She frowned. “Or is it two months? I forget.”

“You have chores on this wretched excuse of an island?” The young man demanded.

A pair of disdainful eyes bored into him with painful accuracy. “This is not a self-cleaning or existing island.” Her voice was cold. “It is between me and Skylar. We keep it running. We keep it floating. And we also keep track of the wildlife-such as the fish you have just consumed. None of it, and I repeat, none of it happens by itself.” She smiled, tightly. “But do tell me, sir, since we haven’t been introduced yet, if you do happen to know of way to make it happen by itself, do tell me. I hate never having enough time to get everything done the way I like it.”

“Ah, just a moment.” Captain Filler shifted to his feet. “I’ve been trying to get around to this point, but sometimes it takes awhile. This is his magistrate’s son, Veelar, his father is the head of the Fulson corporation. You would know them, Deletha, they uh…manufacture pre-packaged goods…like your pudding powder. We’re on our way to Carubahn…transporting him, he insisted on bringing his uh…associates.”

“It.” Deletha scowled, turning away. “And you’re telling me this, because…?”

“It what?”

“It.” Deletha rolled her eyes. “You called him a ‘his’ and a ‘he’ and he is an it.”

“I beg your pardon!” Veelar thundered. “How dare you-!”

“She is the reference to my dear, late master, no longer living within our realms.” Deletha forced a smile. “He refers to the creator and the two men who created her. You, sir…are an it, as far as I’m concerned. Captain Filler was suggesting I might be able to help him. I do not help your kind. I’m sorry, you’ll have to think things over a bit.” She scowled at the pudding. “Oh bother that!”

“What?”

“Help yourselves.” Deletha shoved the crude wooden spoon inside the pot. “It’s burnt on the bottom.”

The faces circling ‘round the pot fell at once.

“Ginger snaps?” Captain Filler ventured.

Deletha glared at him as another, louder rumble sounded through the air, this time accompanied by a tremor that knocked those standing to the ground. “Owww!” The whine filtered through the air. “That wasn’t funny!”

“In case you haven’t noticed, no one’s laughing.” Captain Filler hauled her up. “You okay?

“It’s that witchling brat!” Veelar mocked. “You thought you’d make double the wage, eh? Transport me out to the Carubahn courts and also do a little pick and drop on the side, just a little crate and it’d make you a few extra coins-”

“Sokar, shut him up.” Captain Filler said quietly, turning away as the husky sailor immediately headed for the source of annoyance. “Delathea?”

“If you’re going to mangle my name, at least do it properly.” Deletha grumbled. “There’s no ‘thea’ at the end and it’s ‘dela’ it’s Deletha!”

“Deletha.” He repeated, painstakingly. “I am mostly here for two reasons and ahh!” A yell was jerked from his lips as another tremor rocked the ground, this time with a visible ripple in the ground beneath them. “Earthquake!” The warning was too late.

Various clumps of vegetation mixed with splinters of stone rained down on the makeshift camp and across the island. When the terror had passed, Deletha cautiously stood up. She gingerly brushed sand from her hair and grimaced when she felt it inside her shirt. “Bother you, Skylar.” She growled, nudging Captain Filler with her foot. “Captain? Are you all right?” She wriggled around, hopping on one foot to rid herself of the pesky sandy dirt.

Captain Filler stirred, he moved stiffly as she had, a grimace registering on his face as he attempted to brush the debris off his velvet jacket. “Should have worn cotton.”

“Not your fault.” Deletha tilted her head to the side, tapping it with her knuckles. “Ugh. I hate sand.”

“I thought you loved all dirt.”

“I don’t love dirt. I love plants. Sand is not dirt…sand is…bothersome. Like other things. We can talk in the morning, Captain. I need some sleep.” And without another word, she walked off.

The Captain stared after her in puzzlement and then finally returned to the camp. The men groused a bit, but eventually everyone settled down for the night. Time dragged slowly by for the alert Captain, who couldn’t quite fit his mind around something that wasn’t quite right. When the daylight broke through, relief spread quickly through him, in spite of the lack of sleep.

Deletha appeared shortly, lugging more food from her precious store to make an edible breakfast for them. She could easily survive on the strange fruits and roots of the island, needing little more, but her one pleasure, the pudding powder mix. He sighed. She was scowling at the camp in shambles.
“Bother you again, Skylar.” She sighed, loudly.

“Skylar didn’t do this.” Captain Filler said, quietly. “That’s what I was hoping to get around to telling you. That crate we brought ashore? There’s a little girl in it, her name is Greta. It’s…a rather delicate situation, but we were supposed to bring her to the Hybrel Institution for the Gifted, but halfway through the trip, she crawled in there and refused to come out. She hasn’t said a word since and well…she’s making the men uneasy.”

“Uneasy? How so? She’s just a kid.”

“Says the one who hasn’t seen her.” He frowned. “She looks like a kid, but I’m not entirely sure. See, things have been happening ever since she got in that box, storms at sea in a perfectly clear sky, then of course there’s been all the earthquakes every port we visit.”

“Earthquakes?” Deletha leveled him with a gaze. “Exactly what kind of kid are we talking about?”

“The crate’s ashore, Sokar was guarding it, Veelar thinks she’s dangerous and his uh…associates attempted to rid themselves of her, however they were caught and now subsequently, will also be on trial alongside him-er-Veelar, when we reach Carubahn.”

“I see.” Deletha sighed. “Okay, fine.”

It took her a moment to return to the scattered camp and a little longer to find the crate. When she opened it a pixie-faced, blonde stared up at her with wide eyes, the color of the palest blue-white. “Hi.” She said, stiffly. “I’m Deletha…did you just do that?”

The eyes blinked once and the ground rumbled again. Deletha grabbed the edge of the crate. “Talk! Don’t do that!” She closed her eyes until the tremor subsided. “Don’t do that again! That isn’t nice! Just because you have the power to control earth doesn’t mean that you can just use it whenever you like…and if you keep on doing that-!” A yelp escaped as the ground rocked viciously beneath her feet. The yells and screams of the crewmen just yards away made her skin crawl. “Stop it!” She hissed at the little girl. “Stop right now or I’ll… Skylar!” Her voice rang out. “If you know what’s good for you, you’re going to get down here right now and-”

The ground rumbled again, then gradually a wet patch appeared beside the crate. A few gasps came from those still standing as the wet patch turned to a puddle, then the puddle began spew a fountain, that built up until a tall pillar of dirt was standing before them.

Deletha stuck out her tongue. “Show off.”

A laugh seemed to come from within the pillar as the ground dried up beneath it and the dirt began to mold itself. It took on the shape and form of a slender young woman, a yellow glow flashed briefly and when it faded, she wore a simple tanned skirt and a short, snug tank-top, the green pouch hanging from the golden chain about her waist matched the golden cuffs on the tall spear in her hand. “Deletha.” The girl mirrored the artificial smile directed at her, pausing to fluff her dark chocolate hair, cut short to her chin. “What seems to be the problem?”

“That!” Deletha pointed. “He said her name is Greta?”

“He?” Skylar smirked. “We’re getting technical?”

“Not that he-that one!” She jerked a finger at Captain Filler. “Get rid of this or make it stop!”

“Get rid of it?” Veelar exclaimed. “Of course…then again, you wouldn’t want me to make your lives miserable for it, would you?”

“What?” Both girls chorused, turning to face him as one.

He blinked in surprise. “Well, uh…certainly you know the rules.” He licked his lips. “My father told me about you…you two.” He tried to smile, but the effort seemed to be too much as he leaned against a tree for support. “Everyone knows when a master of a gift finds a new student, until a teacher can be located, they must teach them to keep their…gift under control.”

“Ah, right.” Deletha lifted her chin. “Of course…and I suppose you’re the new advocate for this uh…what did you call her a minute ago, a witchling?”

Veelar’s expression darkened. “Why you impudent little-”

“Does he just go mouthing off randomly like that?” Skylar asked, yawning.

Deletha scowled. “Mostly.” Her attention returned to little Greta. “He’s right. I mean, Veelar’s right.” She corrected. “We can’t just…” She shrugged.

“I’m not teaching her. She can stay in that box and travel all the rest of the way to that institution.” Skylar prodded the cover with the butt of her spear. “Don’t you dare think of it otherwise.”

Captain Filler coughed. “Actually, Veelar…the slime that he is…”

“Hey!” Veelar protested. “I’m the Magistrate’s son of-”

“Sokar? Thank you.” Captain Filler deliberately obscured their line of sight, as he addressed the two girls. “He is correct, and as I am the nearest faculty of the academy, I would be forced to see to your…cooperation.”

“What?” The exclamation was made by both girls who exchanged a look, then sighed as one.

“Um, look…I’m barely more…we’re barely more, than kids ourselves, we just run this place because-”

“Captain-look out!”

The warning was late yet again, this time by no fault of the Captain. Julius, the second mate had cried out the moment he saw Veelar move forward, throwing the sliver of silver through the air with deadly accuracy.

“Skylar!” The scream left Deletha’s lips as the knife hurtled through the air and straight into the back of Captain Filler.

Skylar whirled in slow-motion as time seemed to freeze around them. The ground rumbled beneath them and walls of dirt shot straight up, enveloping each man. The knife slammed harmlessly into the dirt shield, falling to the ground as the walls closed over to form a capsule over each new ‘prisoner’.

“What did you do?” Deletha struggled for a breath. “Skylar, what did you do!”

“They were attacking each other and would have done the same to us.” Skylar returned, calmly. “I’m just saving them the trouble of the trip back home-unless of course, you’d rather join them?” She turned to the quivering child in the crate beside her. “I’ll leave this one to you-I’d just as soon-”

“Not have a child’s blood on your conscience?” Deletha snapped. “You can’t kill them, Skylar! Suffocating to death is not a pleasant way to-”

Skylar rolled her eyes, sauntering forward she pierced the side of each mud capsule to allow a bit of air to flow in. “There? Happy?”

“No!”

“Smart girl.” Skylar grinned, she held a hand out in the direction of the shore. “Look out!” A wave of blueness streaked through the air, in a contained thread as Skylar walked from capsule to capsule, directing it inside the holes.

“You’re drowning them!” Greta screeched, the first words she’d dared to say.

Two heads swiveled towards her. “You can talk?” Deletha said, stupidly. “I mean, oh-never mind. This is bad. This is a bad dream. This is a very, very bad dream.”

“No. I’m. Not.” Skylar scowled. “Don’t talk about what you don’t understand, kid.”

“Her name’s Greta and she has a point.” Deletha said, dryly. “Since when do you drown the Captain?”

Skylar winced. “Oops.” She streaked forward, slashing at one, then another. A drenched Captain Filler tumbled out along with Sokar. A few others were freed, essential crewmen. Skylar wrinkled her nose. “Take them back to the ship, Del, show ‘em wherever they’re supposed to go.”

Deletha started forward and stopped when the men crashed through the underbrush, running as fast as they dared in their hyper-state. Her gaze shifted back towards Greta and she hesitated. “Skylar? The others…?”

“I’m almost done with them.” Skylar sucked in a breath and let it out. A satisfied smirk registered. “There we go, all done. You, Deletha, get the privilege of cleaning up.” She flashed a smile.

There was no answer.

“Deletha!”

Silence remained, pierced once by Greta’s squeaky sniffle.

“Would you quit that?”

“She probably would-” A new voice rasped, then coughed, followed by a scuffle in the underbrush.

Something solid slammed into another object, followed by the sound of something falling to the ground.

“Deletha?” Skylar’s grip tightened on the spear as she turned, uneasily. “This isn’t funny-ah!” She jumped backwards as Deletha’s body lay sprawled out beside her, awkwardly. As she stared at it, the body began to lose form, turning into a shapeless mass of brown until it melted completely into the island ground. A half-sputter of relief came from her lips, as her fingers tensed, then relaxed. “Deletha?”

Greta peeked over the top of her crate, her tear-stained face now streaked with dirt from her sand. A barely imperceptible movement was the flicker of her ears. Skylar gaped. “You’re a wind child-aren’t you!”

The golden head bobbed the negative, then the pale blue-white eyes popped open wide in fear, one little fist traveling to her mouth.

“That wasn’t very funny, Skylar.” Deletha growled, dusting off a stained red tunic over black leggings and brown boots. Her hair was disheveled and her arms were covered with a variety of tattoos in various trees and leaves. The expression on her lovely face was most decidedly dark.

Skylar scrambled to her feet, lifting her chin. “Well, excuse me, you’re the one that started something that could’ve been-”

“A clayfer, Skylar?” Deletha kicked a spray of dirt to where her ‘double’ had melted a few minutes ago, stabbed by a branch in her back. “What’s the matter? You couldn’t function without a shred of me somewhere nearby? Oh wait, you tried, but it wouldn’t have convinced Captain Filler, would it?”

“You’re so touchy-feely!” Skylar snapped back. “You were parading around as if you were all that. Mountains can’t have adventures, that’s because they’re stationary. Mountains can’t-”

“I did not say that.” Deletha lurched forward. “I said that-”

“I don’t want to hear what you said!”

“Yes, you do!”

“No, I don’t!”

“You’re going to hear it anyway!”

“No. I’m. Not.” Skylar whirled around and gasped. “Look what you made me do!” She sputtered.

“I didn’t make you do anything!” Deletha rolled her eyes. “You just weren’t paying attention…don’t just stand there! Bust them out!”

Skylar muttered to herself, slashing open the earthen capsules to release the men inside, she also shattered the remaining ones of the crews to reveal the partially formed clayfers inside. “There! You’re lucky.” She scowled at Veelar and company. “and you will be dead when this reaches the courtroom.”

“He’s practically dead already!” Deletha snapped, she moved over, bending to kneel beside him. She placed a hand on his chest and pressed lightly. Sprigs of greenery sprang to life, circling his neck, wrists and ankles before curling into a knot around his waist. “And he’s reviving…now!” She snapped her fingers in front of his face, he jerked, then gasped, as the movement caused the vines around his neck to tighten.

“What did you do to me!” He rasped. “You wretched little-!”

Skylar scooped up a handful of dirt and thrust it into his mouth with a solemn face. Deletha darted a look sideways. “Thanks. I forgot how much I hate listening to liars. I wonder what he did that they need a Clayfer to confirm.” Skylar sniffed. Deletha sighed. “Okay, so we’re not on speaking terms. You should have thought of that before you locked me in one of those stupid tombs and buried me three inches away from your schizophrenic lava!”

Skylar glared at her, already beginning to drag the wet bodies to form a rough pile.

“Don’t you dare tell me it isn’t schizophrenic!” Deletha snapped. “They were whispering in my head! More than one voice-constantly! What you did almost cost you-me! I came this close to hating the very thing I love just about as much as my life! This close!” Tears sprang to her eyes. “Do know what you did to me!” There was no answer from her sister-like companion as she methodically caught the arms of Veelar and began tugging towards the pile. “Don’t! He’s leashed to the ground.” Deletha focused, heaving up several uneven chunks of dirt when she mentally lifted and dropped him near the pile. “Why don’t you try betrayal for awhile?” She flung the words over her shoulder. “You just might like it!”

Skylar’s head snapped up just as Deletha’s vines grabbed her. The rising hiss of steam was immediately overpowered by the muffled yells as the vines curled completely around their victim, dragging her down into the dirt and below.

Deletha hovered over the hole for a moment, staring down into it. “That’s how it felt, Skylar.” She said quietly, brushing away the tears from her eyes. “Except I’ll be nicer than you about it. I’ll leave the top open, so you can see the light, I won’t even pour a fraction of one-tenth of one-millionth of my power into it. I’ll leave it easy enough for you to escape-even though you couldn’t do the same for me.” Her hands curled into fists. “I’m taking our ‘guests’ back to my father’s ship, if you feel like apologizing-I’ll be there. Leave Greta alone!”

With renewed speed and energy, the disheveled silhouette flashed a brilliant shade of green, then rolled her shoulders back. Her appearance neatened, head held high, she walked over to the pile and frowned. “And up you go!” She snapped her fingers.

New vines snaked down from the trees weaving into a net. “No, no nets.” Deletha smiled. “It’d be easier if you just grabbed them and tossed them down there one at a time. Father’s waiting, I’m sure.”

And so the trees obeyed.

Deletha herself launched into the air, using her gifts to carry her swiftly to the shore where Captain Filler was waiting on the deck of the Shaman Parvey checking his pocket watch. She smiled affectionately, landing lightly on the sand and surging back upwards to her feet. “Papa!” She called out.

He turned, a wide smile on his face. “Thea! My little girl!” His arms were held open as she threw herself into the air and straight to his arms, closing the gap of sand and sea between them. “What was all that back there?”

“That depends…did you bring extra pudding powder?”

“Deletha.”

She sighed. “Me and Skylar had a fight. She buried me and also made a Clayfer so when you arrived, she could keep her charade while I was being…”

“You were being what?”

“Roasted?” Deletha shrugged. “Never mind, it’s all right now.”

Captain Filler shook his head. “And still I do not believe you.” He said, mildly, while the crewmen ferried Veeler and the others to the boat. “I should have known with all that 'it' business. You two are dangerous-to yourselves and each other!”

“We’re friends, Papa.” She shrugged. “Sometimes friends can stomp too loudly on the wrong things and tread a raw nerve until it bleeds.”

“And you did which? The stomping or the treading?” He wanted to know.

Deletha hid a smile. “We are sisters, Papa. More or less, she is my mountain and I am her guardian. We must live…and we will survive, just fine…as we have done all these years past.”

“and part of that living includes nearly killing each other? She tried to roast you this time? Honestly, daughter, it’s not you two I’m worried so much about as little Greta. You’d better be careful with her. I’ll be back in four years-I don’t want to hear a report before then!”

“Thank you for bringing her, Papa. I’ll do my best to be a good teacher. The best teacher. You won’t hear from me-er-us, for at least the then…at least until your ship returns. You will send others now…because of Greta?”

“You’ll both do your best.” He said, gruffly. “Of course they’ll be other ships, just ones that carry a certain package of something called pudding powder.” He hugged her. “Take care.”

“The trial.” Deletha caught hold of his shoulder, climbing up onto the railing. “Will they get Veelar?”

“They will now, thanks to your Clayfer. The Listeners will read his mind and all of those also with a Clayfer to them, and the trial will be child’s play to sort out.”

“What did he do?”

“Killed people.” His head bowed. “Lots of them. And because they didn’t have a voice against one like his, they died…and were left.”

“Left?”

“Another time, Deletha. Go now, I must be off. We must be off.”

“Yes, Papa.” She turned, kissing his cheek. “Take care, please. I don’t want to hear of you for the next four years.” She teased. “No reports of accidents, missing crewmen and that sort of thing.” She called to the wind reaching into her powers of nature. “And eat your peas and corn-they are good for you!”

With those last words, the wind reached out and took her, gently. She flew through the air to the perch on the cliff, her favorite spot on the island. She waved as long as she could and even after she couldn’t see the ship in the spyglass anymore.

“You wouldn’t have died.” Skylar said quietly, she sat on the edge of the cliff beside her.

“I could’ve.”

“You wouldn’t have.”

“Why not?”

“You knew Greta was coming.”

“Oh. Right…point.”

“I didn’t meant to…for it to…you know. I was just…angry.”

“Over what, I don’t know.” Deletha leaned sideways, resting her head on Skylar’s shoulder. “All I said was it wasn’t fair that stationary mountains couldn’t go on adventures. I didn’t say that they couldn’t, just that it wasn’t far.”

“They can too!”

“Hush up.” She sighed. “You’re not listening to me again, we were reading the news. A newspaper weeks old! You’re such a blockhead sometimes.”

“Am not!”

“Are too!”

Skylar huffed, crossing her arms over her chest.

Deletha rolled her eyes. “Skylar…you’re really losing it. You don’t get it do you? I wasn’t talking about you! I was talking about other mountains-and other guardians, how it wasn’t fair. You’re not a stationary mountain! Or haven’t you figured that out yet?”

Her jaw dropped open and Skylar stared at her. “I’m not…stationary?” Her voice cracked.

“Would I lie about something like that?”

“No.”

“Haven’t you ever wondered how you can just form into a Clayfer and literally pour yourself into you, as if you were a real person-like me? And that you can walk around and do things and even eat my pudding! Just like real person? Stationary mountains can’t do that, Sky. They can’t!” Deletha raised her head up, then caught hold of Skylar’s hand. “Why do you think I wanted an apprentice? So I could go off on my own? Form a one-girl show? I only have you, Skylar, only you. I live for this island, as do you. You know how we’re connected and it hurts sometimes the things we say and do to each other, but deep down…we’re still here. We’re still here, sitting beside each other and talking about it.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Apology accepted." There was a wide voice of silence and Deletha sighed. "Okay, I’m sorry…too.”

“You didn’t really do anything…just give me a taste of my own sour medicine.” Skylar pulled her hand away. “Speaking of which, if we don’t rescue your little cherub-fact brat, she might catch a cold down there and we’d have to get some actual medicine.”

“She’s not a brat.”

“Says you. Have you felt the tremors she’s made?”

“Thanks to them, I managed to get free! She isn’t a brat.”

“Just wait ‘till you meet her. She doesn’t talk.”

“I noticed.”

“Deletha.”

“Skylar!”

They sighed in unison. “Race you to the crate.” Deletha muttered.

“Last one there has to find a place for her to sleep.” Skylar smirked. “and I’m so not working another cave into the base of myself-so you’d better start planning what kind of tree house you want to build for her.”

“I’m not letting her sleep in a tree house.”

“Deletha?”

“What?”

"She's an earth type, like you."

"So?"

"So! You were a flightly little...budget!"

"Budget? Good grief, Sky, we've got to work on your comebacks."

"I have comebacks?"

"If she's floating in the air, then we'll just have to...to ground her!"

"Grounding Greta. Now there's an idea!"

"Skylar?"

"What?"

“Go!”

© Sara Harricharan
KEY:
Wind Child-someone who controls storm elements and of course, the power of wind.
Earth Child-Deletha, usually a metal or mountain guardian, who can maniuplate plants and/or Mountains.
Clayfer-a temporary replica of any person/alien, with limited consciouness allowing thoughts to be read by an outside authority.

5 comments:

Dee Yoder said...

Wow--I wish my life were half as adventurous and fun! Still seems strange to see my name in there--but boy, what a cool life "Deletha" has-LOL! And thanks for the key at the bottom--I referred to it a few times while I read--hee hee. As usual, your creative mind blows me away! Glad I could be a part of it this time. (:

Yvonne Blake said...

Very interesting! Your imaginations astounds me, Sara!

Joanne Sher said...

Superb as usual, sweet Sawa! What great adventure and characterization. Good stuff!

The Surrendered Scribe said...

So creative and action packed. I love what you do!

BethL said...

Wow, Sawa! :) I almost had to stop reading and look for pudding and gingersnaps :). Your characters are so complex. I enjoyed the fantasy-ness of this!