I think it’s just us now. I sent everyone away. (This is Ran, by the way, your official newsletter host. I’m the son of Sarn, the curse breaker in the Curse Breaker books.)
Since this newsletter is character-run, other characters drop in from time to time, but this newsletter is *mine!* It’s also a spoiler-free zone. At least, it’s supposed to be. That’s why I sent everyone else away.
I paused with my finger hovering over the screen as a voice interrupted my musings.
“What are you doing under here?” Papa lifted the blanket that formed my comfy little niche and peered at me. His green eyes filled the hollow with green light.
I held a hand up to stop him from completely dismantling my fort. “I’m taking us back to the adventure-in-progress. Hold please while we transition between stories.”
“What adventure?” Papa gave me a curious look.
“Our holiday adventure. It kind of got sidetracked when Thing showed up.” I raised my finger dramatically to push the button on the phone and engage the engines of fantasy once more.
“What does this adventure entail?” Uncle Miren peered around Papa at me.
“Saving you and our Scribe.” I lowered my finger to press the flashing button, but a big hand stopped me. I scowled at Papa. He was supposed to provide adventures, not interfere with them.
“Why do I need saving?” Uncle Miren elbowed Papa out of the way, but Papa held tight to the phone, so did I.
“Because you fell down a big hole when the parking lot collapsed.” I tugged the phone toward me, but it didn’t budge. Papa’s grip was like the stones his magic liked so much. I couldn’t break it.
Papa and Uncle Miren exchanged a look. They don’t look much alike because Papa looks like the parent they don’t have in common. They were a team to be reckoned with when they agreed on something, and they’d just come to some kind agreement. I probably wouldn’t like what they’d decided. Uncle Miren was ten years older than me, and Papa was six years older than him. But they were often of one mind about yours truly. Lucky me.
“Can we get back to the rescue-in-progress? Please?” I put my best puppy dog face on, sad eyes and all.
Papa caved; he always does, and his grip loosened on the phone, but Uncle Miren was made of sterner stuff. He withstood the concentrated weight of my pleading look and brushed it off like it was nothing. He also swiped the phone from Papa, that meanie, before I could!
“Don’t you want us to save you?” I let my lower lip quiver just a little, and a tear slid down my cheek. Uncle Miren unbent enough to wipe it away.
“I want to save you!” I let loose a sob and launched myself into his arms. Uncle Miren dropped the phone and caught me. He hugged me hard and sighed. He was slowly caving in, but I needed to speed that up.
In the real world, where our newsletter adventures take place, a version of my beloved Uncle was in mortal peril. What of Uncle Miren died in the real world? Would this alternative version of him die here too?
He’s often my rival, but it wasn’t his fault Papa raised us both from the cradle. Besides, I thoroughly enjoyed our rivalry. I didn’t want to lose him to some silly paradox when I could avoid it by pressing that button. I just had to get my hands on that phone.
I pulled back and looked right into his dark brown eyes. “Please, Uncle Miren, can we go save you now?”
“Yeah, I suppose we should.” Uncle Miren squeezed me again then let me go.
Papa handed me the phone. I looked at the big red button with white letters on it. It read: ‘click to return to our holiday adventure.’ I tapped the button, and the world went red and streaky. We were on our way back to where we’d been a few issues ago.
Holiday Troubles, Part 5
The glowing rope thingy in Papa’s hand jerked. It was made of magic. Hopefully, Auntie Sovvan was still clinging to the other end. I peered over the edge and the arm Papa threw out to stop me from tumbling into the crevasse, but I couldn’t see Uncle Miren or my Auntie.
“Did she catch Uncle Miren?”
“I hope so.”
“I’ve got you,” Auntie Sovvan said presumably to my Uncle. Her voice came from a long way down, but it confirmed Uncle Miren wouldn’t keep falling until he hit something hard. “Okay, bro, pull us up.” Auntie Sovvan tugged on the rope.
“I’ll help too.” I reached for the magical rope, but Papa was already on it.
“That’s okay. I’ve got this. Hang on down there.” Papa looped the rope around himself and walked backward reeling it in.
I peered over the edge again and got a face full of magic when a green sparkly wall sprang up in front of me and shooed me away from the edge. I glared at it. How was I supposed to see what was going on from ten feet away?
I pushed on that magical wall, and it gave a little but only because Papa was distracted and working a lot of magic. He couldn’t keep a sharp enough eye on me, which meant there might be away around his magical interference. I felt along the sparkly wall, looking for weaknesses. One section was more flexible than the rest, and I pushed on it, bowing it outward until I could see into the crevasse again.
“You’re hurt.” I pointed at the cut bleeding freely on Uncle Miren’s scalp as he and my aunt inched their way upward.
But Uncle Miren waved my concern away. “It’s not bad. I’m okay, little mouse.”
I scowled at the use of the nickname I despised. So what if I liked cheese a little more than the orphans I knew? That didn’t make me a mouse, just a smart kid. Cheese had good stuff in it for your bones, and I wanted big, strong bones like Papa, so I could be just as tall and magical one day. Speaking of cheese, I could really use a nice slice or three right now with some sweet berries, but all the adults in my life were busy saving people, so I kept quiet about that.
“What about our Scribe? We have to save her too.” I didn’t have a hand free to point at the sleigh fading from sight, but I kept both eyes on it since Papa had the saving Uncle Miren part of the plan covered. Someone had to see where that sleigh went, and that sounded like a perfect job for his sidekick (me).
Papa just nodded and kept his gaze fixed on the ground, which was coming apart under us faster than his magic could stitch it back together. Soon, we’d have nowhere to stand. It was all breaking apart. At least the shaking had stopped.
“We can’t save anyone if we were not safe.” Uncle Miren reached up and grabbed the edge to hoist himself out of the deep hole.
“That’s true, but we’re not going to be safe for awhile, and that just gives that evil lady more time to escape with our Scribe.” She was almost gone from sight now, so I looked at my toes. I didn’t know what else to do.
“Agreed.” Auntie Sovvan held tight to the magical rope and to my Uncle as he climbed out of the crevasse.
I grabbed his arm, and Papa grabbed the back of his tunic and together we hauled Uncle Miren onto the crumbling cliff that had once been a boring parking lot. It wasn’t anymore.
I bit my lip. Where could we go? All around us, the ground was collapsing in on itself.
Stay tuned for more. This adventure continues next week assuming no more characters try to hijack *my* newsletter.
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