This week's story takes us to the micro world where a pair of siblings have to confront one of their worst fears.
He was terrified of small spaces, and she knew that was what’d get them caught. Their tree had a hidden nook, but her brother had refused to go near it since his experience with the little girl.
The baying grew louder as the hunters neared. Dewdrop grabbed Bristle by the hand and fluttered off the branch they were on, tugging on his arm.
“Stop it!” he protested.
“We’ve gotta hide now, or they’re going to find us,” Dewdrop hissed. “Do you want to end up in a shoebox again?”
Bristle quit fighting and allowed her to pull him toward the top of their tree. He’d stopped fighting, but he didn’t do much more than just hover and allow himself to be pulled along either.
With the way he was acting, someone would think she was the older one. One look at the two of them would prove that notion false, though. Despite the way he acted, Bristle was a grown pixie. Dewdrop was just an adolescent of five hundred. She was almost half his size.
“Fly with your own wings,” Dewdrop whined as she strained to hurry.
“Let’s lose them in the trees,” Bristle suggested and tugged Dewdrop to the right.
She yelped as the tendons in her shoulder pulled, and she let go.
“And what?” she asked. “Do you want to lead them back home?”
Bristle’s shoulders drooped. “No.”
“You just had to go see what the humans are up to at the forest’s edge,” she continued scolding him. The dogs sounded so close, they’d see their shimmer soon. “You got caught a year ago, and even after we helped you escape, you still kept going back!”
One of the dogs howled, and it sounded like it was almost to their tree. Bristle and Dewdrop startled.
“Come hide with me, or go get yourself caught.” Dewdrop sighed. “But don’t you dare put the others in danger, and don’t expect a second rescue.”
Bristle nodded. His eyes were wide, and he trembled. But he followed Dewdrop to their hiding place on his own volition.
Once inside and settled as deep in the shadows as they could go, Dewdrop sat next to her big brother and wrapped her small hand around his larger one. He was panting, and she could feel his heartbeat hammering away in terror as they dampened their shimmer as much as they could.
They could hear the dogs under their tree now. Their paws crunched the dried leaves that’d fallen weeks before, and the snuffled around the base of the tree.
“I can’t go back to the box,” Bristle whimpered.
Dewdrop shushed him. “Just keep calm, and they’ll give up in a minute.”
Bristle nodded, but his breathing became more ragged.
“Tell me about what they’re doing,” Dewdrop said, hoping to keep him distracted. “What’s so fascinating?”
As he told her stories of mechanical marvels the humans had invented, Bristle calmed. Dewdrop’s own heartbeat and breathing leveled out too as the dogs’ led the humans far away.
Each story in this series is 500 words or less and is prompted by a first line taken either from a random first line generator like this one or reader suggestions like "Don't Forget Me." I much prefer working from reader suggestions over generators, but to do that, I need to hear from you.
If you have a prompt you'd like to see done, comment below, send it to my Tumblr asks, Tweet it at me, or leave a comment on any of the audio stories from this series. I'll screen shot it, write it, and post it for you.
A. B. England is a small business owner, mom of two, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
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