This week’s #blogbattle theme word is duplicitous. #Blogbattle is a weekly event hosted by the wonderful Racheal Ritchey over at the new #Blogbattle site. Take a look at her website and books as well. It’s worth it 🙂
Winter stared at the book. The light above it cast it in an eerie glow. Her mind was going mad wondering what was inside, yet she didn’t want to know.
The Queen walked to the book. “This is the greatest treasure that my Clan, and perhaps the whole fairy world, possesses. It contains knowledge passed down from generation to generation.”
Birch stepped forward, following in the Queen’s footsteps. Winter wanted to draw him back, yet she couldn’t explain the instinct. “What kind of knowledge does it contain?” he asked.
“All kinds of things.” The Queen turned, so that the light cast her shadow towards Winter.
“Like magic?” he asked, still moving forward, step by slow step.
“Yes. Magical knowledge is in there.”
Flame leaned to Winter and spoke in an almost-whisper. “Maybe it could tell us more about our powers, why we’re here, why we’ve been given them.”
“Yes,” the Queen said, focusing her gaze on Flame. “That is exactly what I think it will tell us.”
Winter’s heart felt full of foreboding and bad feeling. But she kept silent.
The Queen stepped aside, and indicated the book again with her hand. “Would you like to read it?”
Birch was the closest. He moved up to the pillar it sat on. “Oh, yes, yes I would.”
Something was wrong here, Winter could feel it. She turned around to ask Spring what this was really about. But he was gone. Only Tango and Indian stood behind her.
“What’s wrong?” Tango frowned.
Winter shook her head. She couldn’t put any of this into words.
Indian stepped past Winter. “I want to see too,” she said. She rushed forward, so that she was behind Birch.
Flame started to move forward too, but Winter laid a hand on his arm, stopping him.
He gave her a questioning look. All she could do was shake her head, but he stayed with her.
The Queen said, “No one else?”
“I’m sure Birch and Indian can tell us what it says,” Flame said, his tone not inviting any contradictions.
There was a hint of a frown on the Queen’s face, but all she said was, “Very well then.”
She opened the book, and the light above grew brighter. Winter’s eyes took a moment to adjust. She blinked a few times, clearing bright spots from her vision.
Birch and Indian were bent over the book as page after page turned. It was as if they were engrossed in an enthralling story. Winter had seen Layla do the same with some of her books.
“Why don’t you come over?” the Queen said, her voice smooth, enticing.
Winter felt an urge to do as she was asked, but a stronger sense of fear made her feet stick to the ground. And from somewhere, words came to her lips. “Where’s Spring?”
Anger flashed in the Queen’s eyes. “He’s no doubt doing something important somewhere. Come on, come and see what knowledge you could gain.”
Again, Flame made to walk forward, but again, Winter stopped him. She knew it was wrong yet still had no idea why.
Flame looked down at her. “Winter, don’t you think you’re being-”
The pages stopped turning and Birch and Tango stood up straight.
Fear took hold of Winter.
They turned around, and she knew why. Their faces were glazed over, and they walked forward as if they were asleep, yet with eyes open.
The Queen said smoothly, “Bring them over to the book.”
Winter’s stomach turned over and she felt sick. Movement came back to her. She walked backwards, forcing her feet over the earthen ground.
Birch and Indian advanced, staring in their direction, yet their eyes focused on some distant horizon.
“Oh my stars…” Flame breathed.
“Run,” Winter said.
Her, Flame, and Tango, did just that. Tango’s face was pale, her eyes wide with fear. “What’s happened to them?” she asked.
Flame shook his head. “We’ll work that out when we’re not in danger of turning out the same.”
Winter followed him back down the tunnel and out into the cavern. “Spring,” she said, knowing he would know something about this. “We have to find him.”
Flame looked at her, and a decision was made. “You two run, get somewhere safe. I’ll bring him to you.”
Winter wanted to argue, but fear and instinct made her nod, and say, “Okay.”
She took hold of Tango’s hand and pulled her with her as she ran away.