Europa’s appearance was originally in Part 4, but the break didn’t fit. This installment is a little shorter, but my action sequences always are. You’ll see more of that next week once ‘Cursed Hearts’ is commercially available.
Editing of Proof Copy this weekend. Shall I come back to Logres & Europa? Move onto something else? I get many ‘Likes,’ but comments & quesions are very welcome, too!
Carefully, so as to not spill her burden, Georgie slowly turned about. A young man seeming a bit older than Logres was standing no more than five paces away. Clad in a dark – leather, Logres learned the word – garb from his neck to his ankles. From his back, two brown-as-black small, leathery (useful word, he thought!) wings still extended out. When not airborne, his little sister’s wings were not present. Why was this one different? And, more importantly…
“I am Logres.”
The other smirked.
“Is it your habit, Logres, to make beasts of burden of us? While you are obviously not a Slow One, you act like an exploiter.”
Even amongst Europa’s words, he did not understand.
“He is my older brother, stupid bat,” Georgie spoke heatedly from below him. “Even were he not constrained to avoid the wall I’d have carried him, if it had been his wish!”
Logres was surprised she spoke with such intensity. She’d not before. She turned her head in an odd manner to look up at him.
“Their home, beyond the wall, is a lie,” she began. “There isn’t even cake there. I cannot ask the stupid bat what his airspeed is without him fudging the numbers. Are you really sure you love that girl from here? Chirp?”
That was much, fast. Fortunately, playing on the beach made him older.
“Yes, Georgie-sister, I do. She called their home a ‘wilderness of mirrors…” He let his left hand slowly rest on his little sister’s head. “That is as true as what you – ”
There was a squeal of metal-on-metal to their right. Their bat-like adversary took a few nervous steps backward, just to the edge of the wall. Carefully rotating his head, Logres saw a rectangular section of the top of the wall pushed up, then away. One slender hand, then another reached upward.
“Do not move, Logres-brother. Inertia!”
He forced himself to stillness.
“Hee-upp!” He heard her voice echo. However she has made it this far up, there seemed to be no easy way out. Her elbows were followed immediately by her shoulders, onto which she rolled, standing and facing the leathery other.
“What is it this time, Flittermouse?” Europa asked, seemingly unaware of just who was behind her left.
“Chirp!” Georgie couldn’t help herself.
“Huh?” Europa turned towards the unexpected sound –
“LOGRES!” She exclaimed. She took a great step with her arms opening, but froze, seeing his predicament.
Trying to be still, he did what he could.
“Europa. This is my sister, Georgie! She helped me – ”
“Flittermouse!” Georgie yelled. That bat-like older boy scowled.
“That is not my name!” He shouted.
“It isn’t?” was the mutter from Europa.
“Stupid-flittermouse is even better than stupid bat!” There was a mocking, sing-song tone to his little sister’s voice. “What’s our airspeed now, stupid-flittermouse?”
With a rush of his dark wings, he was in front of her. With a sharp push of his hands, she was out from under Logres and off the wall.
(… no mass!) …Oh.
He fell straight down. Both of his feet hit the top of the wall with an uncomfortably loud, echoing thud. He saw Europa shudder. Not knowing what might come next, he held out his right hand to her.
“Europa! To me!”
Logres saw the anguish in her eyes, but also her right arm move. Yes! They could –
The crack in the wall formed just between Logres’s feet. Louder than he thought he could imagine, it split all the way to the ground. All at once he heard the cry of sirens: no, they are called air-raid sirens. Is-this-not-a-drill? The entire wall swayed, pitching him backwards.
“Logres!” Europa screamed, jumping to try to catch him, but he was already plummeting head-first toward the ground. Now two times: to see her, only to lose her a cycle later. Could he be unmade once to the ground…?
There was no particular source of information. Sometimes, he could hear (“takes forever to get home this way; worse, dragging him”), only every now and then a glimpse through his eyes (muted sunlight through the tops of trees, who was pulling him?), and at last, feeling: cold, as something bore him on the water… wave after wave… across the sea… across… Euro….
He sat up. The tall chalk cliff towered behind him. Georgie was just a little to his left and Joey to his right. It was darker than he’d ever seen before. Joey noticed him first.
“Beloved sister, he is awake.”
“Chirp?” Her eyelids opened slowly. “Welcome home, Logres-brother.”
He’d thought to ask what happened, but had his suspicions. There was an odd tension, here.
“Thank you for saving me.”
“And you, brother,” he said to Joey. The lad turned his head toward the sea.
“Now, then. As soon as I can, I shall need to – ”
“No, brother.” Georgie spoke very softly.
“Have you not seen the darkness? The Slow Ones creep closer to the dissolution of us all. Enabled,” she stared without blinking, “by your selfish mistake.”
“I do not understand.”
Joey snorted like a seal.
“We, older brother,” Georgie said, “have been around the world more than you. Please grow older with us!”
Joey looked back to him, trying to smile.
The tension seemed to dissipate. At little.
“Will I… never see her, again?”
His family’s eyes fell. It was quiet. And still.
“Who can say?” Georgie breathed.