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Ran put the tablet down. “Where is she?” He crawled under the chaise lounge, but there was no author hiding under it or the bed.
Melinda was a tiny thing. Maybe a stiff breeze blew her away? Ran rushed over to the sliding glass door and peered out. Seeing only brick buildings with little to recommend them, his shoulders slumped.
Where was their author? He had important tales to tell and she was not here to listen. The author was supposed to be here writing, not out galavanting around or worse, having her own ad-ven-tures.
“Authors aren’t allowed to have ad-ven-tures.“ Ran worried the edge of a crocheted afghan.
A stuffed bear regarded Ran from the far side of the portal, but its button eyes held only concern.
“You know don’t you?” Ran stalked over to the portal and poked his best friend’s furry belly. Still Bear stayed silent. Not a flicker of movement crossed his stitched lips.
“What are you doing?” Papa asked right before he reached through the portal and picked Ran up with strong, comforting arms.
“Looking for our author. Melinda’s not here and if she’s not here, then she’s not writing. If she’s not writing, then we’re not having ad-ven-tures.” Ran poked Papa’s chest because it was broad and it invited poking.
Ran’s finger pushed through Papa and touched fur because Papa wasn’t really there. Melinda left Papa in the middle of a scene being chased by bad things. So Papa was stuck there unable to save himself until Melinda finished the scene. Why was she not here writing? What had torn her away? Authors were supposed to write. They weren’t supposed to do an-y-thing else.
Bear hugged Ran and the illusion collapsed. Ran wiped tears from his eyes and watched the portal shrink down to a point of light then flitter off. Now it was gone too.
“Where’d the portal go?” Ran picked at the scarred wood of the table.
Bear held its peace, but his stuffed toy knew something. The glint in its button gave it away.
“Maybe you scared it away with your review,” Uncle Miren said as he finally picked his head up from his book and turned his teenage angst on Ran. “Get off the table. It’s not a chair.” Miren swatted his nephew.
Ran slid down a table leg with Bear riding his shoulders. Uncle Miren paid them no mind and either went back to his interrupted nap or resumed his homework.
The air shimmered. Bear flopped into Ran’s arms and he squeezed his stuffed friend. Had the author taken up her story?
“Are you back?” Ran whispered mindful of his irascible uncle. In answer, a purple butterfly made of light and wishes fluttered around the cave’s ceiling.
Find out next week. Have a wonderful weekend!