Jun 21
fiction 0 comments challenge: Elves

A Gap in the Hedge

Thomas was awoken by the sun streaming through his curtains and a knock at the door. He rose and forced himself to answer. 

    “Oh, hey, Julia,” He said as he rubbed his eyes. 

    “Hey!” she said, bouncing on her feet. She reached up to fix his messy hair, “Let’s go, I’ve got something cool to show you!”

    “Can I brush my teeth first? You woke me up.”

    “There’s no time, I’m not sure how long it’ll be clear!”

    “What? What’s clear?”

    “I’ll explain on the way, I’ll get Beau and you get some shoes!” she said, pushing Thomas back inside his house and inviting herself in. 

    She ran through the hallway and to the backyard where she found Beau, Thomas’s German Shepard, drinking from his bowl. He jumped up on her as soon as she stepped on the grass, she held him still and somehow managed to clip his leash on. They ran through the house to find Thomas sitting on the front steps still lacing his shoes. 

    “Let’s go!” she said, running down the stairs just behind Beau. 

    Thomas stumbled after her trying not to trip over his half tied laces. “Would you tell me what’s going on now?” 

    “Down by the gates of town, there’s a gap in the hedge. People say it’s radiating something. They think it’s magic.” 

    “And you believe it?” Thomas said with doubt in his friend.

    “You don’t?” 

    “No, of course I don’t,” Julia stopped walking, and looked at Thomas, he turned to her, “Julia, You can’t be serious, magic’s fake. It’s all an allusion. Card tricks and lucky guesses, that’s all it is.” 

    “We’re not talking about sleight of hand here, Thomas. The hedge that hasn’t been cut in years suddenly has a gap in it. People are scared, and they're hopeful, and they're all over the place really.”

    “So what? The hedge needed a trim. Long overdue if you ask me or anyone else.”

    Julia grabbed Thomas’s hand and pulled him, “No, you know what? We’re going to the hedge, we’re seeing the magic, and I’m proving you wrong.”

    “Fine, I’ll humour you.”

    They walked through their small town and passed many panic-stricken walkers, a few giddy children, and one distressed man dressed head to toe in green speaking softly to a small sleeping boy in his arms. 

    When they arrived at the gates they could see small beams of light throw the holes in the hedge, “Ready to be proved wrong?” Julia asked.

    “We’ll see.” Thomas said, rolling his eyes and walking through the gap. Julia followed close behind Thomas, and Beau stayed close to her. They walked for a half an hour and saw no signs of magic. No magical particles, no strange unicorns, not even a rock out of place. 

    “You know… I’m not seeing any magic. Still think you’re going to prove me wrong?” Thomas teased,
    “Just wait. There’s gotta be something.”

    “Face it, you’ve been duped.”

    “No, Thomas, half the town is already talking about it, there’s no way they just made it up.” Julia peered through some branches and kneeled next to a tree stump, “we’re just missing it.”

    “Give it up, there’s no magic here,” Julia got closer to the ground and flipped over rocks, “Julia, get up, it’s okay to be wrong. I think we should get out of here, I still need to brush my teeth.” 

    “No, something’s not right.” Julia shook her head, got back up, and turned toward Thomas, who had moved his hands to his hips and was looking at her with worried eyes. 

    “Julia, it’s fine, let’s just go, okay?” 

    “Thomas, I really think-”

    “What do you want? Isn’t it a good thing that there’s no magic?”

    “No, Thomas, this isn’t-”

    “Julia, please, we can go back into town, watch a movie, whatever you want, I just want to leave.”

    Julia inhaled sharply, “Thomas…” she slowed her voice and took a step back.

    “Yeah?”

    “No, Thomas-” she took another step back,

    “Julia,  you’re scaring me.”

    “Thomas!” She screamed and grabbed his wrists pulling him closer and turning him to look where he once stood. There was a tall and skinny man dressed in green glaring at them. 

    “What are you two doing here? It’s not safe.” the man said in a hurried whisper.

    “We were just- we just- we heard there was-” Julia stammered,

    “Magic?” the man looked unimpressed, “Yeah secret’s out but you two need to leave. Now.”

    “Why?” Thomas asked, “What’s wrong? Who are you?”

    “I’m Silas, I’m an elf. Our sister species; the Goblins and the Fairies; are going to war.” 

    “What? Why? Why did you open the hedge?” Julia took a step back, still gripping Thomas’s wrists. 

    “Goblins and Fairies have never gotten along. The war was inevitable, we just didn’t think it would happen this year. We’re trying to get our children out. They don’t need this.” Silas clenched his jaw and made fists, “You need to leave, have your beast carry you out,” He pointed to Beau.

    “Beast? He’s a dog, he can’t carry us.” Thomas said, taking the leash from Julia. 

    “What’s the point of a beast if it can’t carry you when you need help?” Silas stared down at Beau.

    “Well for starters, I love him, and he’s my best friend.” Julia said

    “And he’s not even her dog.” Thomas chimed in.

    “We haven’t time for this. You can take mine.” Silas gently tapped his toe twice and a huge Rhino stepped out from behind a tree that was somehow concealing him. “This is Grey. He’ll drop you at the hedge and all you have to do is point him back the direction you came. He knows the way from there.” He pulled a leaver on the Rhino’s saddle and a ladder unfolded, “Climb up and point. Do not forget to send him back. As you said about your dog, he’s my best friend and I love him. He also happens to be useful.” 

    Julia and Thomas climbed up the ladder and Silas lifted Beau up to them.

    “He’s a ball of fluff, I see why you like him,” Silas turned away but quickly spun to face them again, “Oh, and on your way here, did you see anyone dressed like me?” he asked, gesturing to his outfit.

    “Now that you mention it, I think we did,” Julia said, recalling the man in green.

    “Was he holding a child?”

    “Yeah, I think.” 

    “And were they okay?” Silas clasped his hands together tight.

    “The man looked stressed, but the boy was asleep.”

“But they were safe?” he asked, raising his eyebrows.

“Yeah, it looked like it.”

His eyes softened and he exhaled, “Thank you,” Silas said, “That’s my husband, Jonah, and my son, Seth. It means the world to know they’re safe.” He tapped his toe once, pointed, and Grey took off running with Julia, Thomas, and Beau on his back. In the distance they could just make out the rumble of hundreds of elf children running after them, trying to escape.