Source: Lancashire Climbing and Caving Club
The Wishing Map is a full-length fantasy that is being posted episodically at this site. To read the previous episode, click here. To read the entire novel, begin here.
Gina had been trapped by the vengeful pixie Princess Feyrdú and her huge black widows “pets,” when Prince Jenblevó suddenly entered the cave…
Gina watched, still groggy from the spiders’ venom.
“This is our cave!” said Feyrdú.
“Yes, I know. That is why I knew you would be here,” replied Jenblevó. “It is where we escaped the rain when we were children. We were trapped—”
“For nearly a day, the most perfect day that ever has been!”
“We looked at cave stars for hours—”
“And gave them ridiculous names!” Feyrdú’s eyes shone.
“And we huddled together under the blanket our friends made for us.” Jenblevó tossed his lance to the cave floor and began stroking the spiders’ bellies. Their sixteen eyes rolled in ecstasy.
“We spoke of our name prophecies.” Feyrdú jumped down next to him. “You, the ‘Tower of Courage…’”
“And you, ‘The One Who Fights Beside Him.’ You were only a little girl then, a sweet, beautiful girl, yes, but now…now you are a woman who would fight and torture and kill for what is hers, and you are magnificent!”
At that moment, the immense Aviar landed at the entrance to the cave, filling its opening. Zack slid down his wing and entered, his eyes slowing adapting to the darkness. A girl was lying on the cavern floor with her hands and feet bound by silvery threads. Could it be Gina? Yes, he recognized Gina’s pink monster slippers and blue terrycloth robe. But where the top of her body should be there was a surreal aggregation: a squirrel, two huge spiders, and Prince Jenblevó passionately kissing a pixie girl!
“Gina?” Zack called.
The pink monster slippers twitched, and muffled voice answered, “Ack?!”
Once Jenblevó had cut through Gina’s spider-silk bindings, she was free, but she didn’t. Instead, she slowly rose to her feet, then collapsed to her knees. Zack tried to lift her, but she had neither strength nor will. Her eyes were clouded. She couldn’t see!
“Oh, Zacky…” Her voice went out like a snuffed candle. She held out her arms like a little girl waiting to be picked up. Zack dropped to his knees and embraced her, fully expecting her to push him away. Instead, she collapsed into him. It felt good and creepy all at the same time. Good—because for the longest time he’d missed the affection that used to exist between them. And creepy—because Gina, his big sister, had always done the comforting.
Zack patted her on the back as she sobbed, her arms around him in an awkward clench.
Jenblevó stared in disbelief. “Is this the great girl knight, J’nah?”
“The poison,” added Feyrdú, “it will drain.”
Jerking his head toward the entrance to the cave, Zack said, “Aviar will know what to do.”
“Who?” Gina slowly rose to her feet using Zack’s shoulders to steady herself. She stared in the direction Zack had nodded. “Are those trees in the cave entrance?”
Zack gently pulled her toward Aviar’s legs. Gina moved like one of Mom’s post-twilight-sleep patients leaving the dental office. “Gina, this is my friend Aviar…I mean, the Master Hunter Aviar, Servant of Uol and Lord of the Sheyar. Aviar, this is my sister Gi…uh, the Lady J’nah of Middleton.”
Confused, Gina reached between the two “trees.”
Aviar’s bedroom-sized head lowered into view. He nudged Zack with its massive beak and said, “You’re learning, manlet,” then turned a basketball-sized eye toward Gina. “Greetings in the name of Uol, Lady J’nah of Miggletom. May your nest forever be filled with fledglings.”
Right before she fainted, Gina muttered,
“Strangest rescue ever.”
Thoughts: Have you ever been, for good or for bad, at the complete mercy of others?
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