The Clearings

Glad you could join us for the next precipitous episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…

Elliot 178
Image credit: S.T. Ranscht

Blotting out the blue, the clouds darkened during breakfast, promising a cleansing soak before lunch. Most of Fen’s residents took refuge, but the refugees, Julius and Miranda, took their brood outside as soon as the shower began.

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Hormones and Harmony

Glad you could join us for the next hormonal episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…

Elliot 177
Photo/Image credit: dreamstime.com / S.T. Ranscht

Cassandra hadn’t been able to fall back to sleep after Miranda suggested she might be pregnant. Sunrise shone on her Elegance as she sat above the Lilian Pond, chasing her swirling thoughts in circles.

What if it’s true? she asked herself. What if I am expecting? How could anyone be so fortunate? Marry the love of my life and have a child come from the only night we’ve had together before Elliot had to leave? It just isn’t possible, is it? It would be like a fairy tale.

The sky was clear, but a shadow passed over her happiness, plunging her heart into despair. But in fairy tales, the Prince always dies never knowing he’s going to be a father, and the Princess has to raise their child alone.

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Reunion

Glad you could join us for the next long-awaited episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…

Elliot 176
Photo credit: Nick Garbutt

“Excuse me, Ambassador,” a member of the newly formed Alliance Guard murmured to Arturo, “troops from Bog have arrived. A Lieutenant Terrance would like to speak with you.”

Momentarily diverting his attention from the Council’s discussion about observing different funeral rituals within the Alliance Army, Arturo replied, “Show them to the staging area and bring the Lieutenant here when he’s satisfied with his troops’ accommodations.”

On Arturo’s other side, Barry asked, “Da Knights are here? Would youse be all right if I go along to see ’em? Dis seems ta be windin’ down, an’ everybody’s gonna need some sleep soon, so how’s about if I come back dis afternoon?”

“That works for me, friend.”

Barry jumped out of his seat. In two leaps, he’d caught up with the Guard. “Lead the way!” he urged.

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Forced Retirement

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Elliot 175
Photo credit: D.Parer & E. Parer-Cook

Anthony must have told him what really happened in the Freelands. Lucy’s options were few. Tensed for flight, she continued to watch alongside the General as the stingers in the hollow cleared away rubble. She took the only chance she saw. “What happened here?” she ventured.

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A Way Forward

Glad you could join us for the next redeeming episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…

Elliot 174
Photo credit: Igor Siwanowicz

In the dark of night, two of Bog’s border guards escorted Randall and Teddy to King Arnie as soon as they entered the Kingdom.

“I’m pleased to see you have your son,” the King greeted him. “Are you all right, young man?”

Teddy stared at the King’s feet and nodded while clinging to his father’s leg.

King Arnie knelt and looked into the little frog’s eyes. “If someone had taken me away from my father when I was your age, I would have been really scared. I’m sure I would have cried.”

Teddy looked at the ground and shook his head. “They would get angry if you cried and they would put you in a black room with no lights all by yourself and they would tell you you had to stay there forever because your daddy was never coming back.”

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Teddy

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Elliot 169
Photo credit: Roberto Brenes

The activity in the hollow below became a still life for three beats of dead air. The messenger shaded his eyes and laughed.

“Randall! It’s good to see you,” he called, his voice slick as lava glass. “Come in, come in!”

Slowly, Randall picked his way down the wall, slipping on loose gravel that rattled to the ground.

“Easy there, friend, or you’ll bury us all,” the Stinger joked. “It’s been so long since we last met I was afraid some misfortune had found you.”

“I’m here now, and I want to see the General,” Randall responded as he jumped the last foot and a half releasing another trickle of rocks and landing well outside the circle of Stingers.

“Of course you do. As it happens, he’s in. Follow me.” His fellow Stingers closed in behind Randall.

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Gert and Bernie

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Elliot 167
Photo credit: Igor Siwanowicz

The way found Randall sitting out the worst of the day’s heat in a narrow slice of shade beneath a mummified snag. As its shadow crept across the searing earth, he inched along with it, sorry he hadn’t let Girdliz take him to water before scaring him off by mentioning General Hai. Every dry swallow rasped down his throat.

Hunkered into the tightest ball he could hold himself, he jumped when a rain of debris showered onto his back.

“Hey!” he called to the two jittery creatures balanced on the tip of the snag, “Am I happy you happened by! Do you mind chatting with me for a few minutes?”

Each rotated a conical eye in his direction, but neither spoke.

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