Finny forced his shoulders to relax, a little trick he and Joe had learned at camp when the older boys tried to scare them. It had convinced most of the kids that they weren’t afraid. The trembling in his body eased. Zeuflin’s padding absorbed the rest. The words helped, to, he settled down and found his seat easier to maintain. If his grandmother came along, then Finny knew things would be alright. Besides, the tone of her voice hinted that she’d done this before.
Everything appeared under control, then dark swirled in and heat built. It grew and spread like what had happened with the license plate on the shed when he and Mama Jack passed on the way in.
“Take it easy,” Mama Jack whispered.
It didn’t seem possible, but somehow he did, even when the dark got darker. Wind grew and with it a sense of lifting off the ground. Fear that Finny had succeeded in overcoming threatened to return.
This’ll be over soon. Mama Jack understood and that comforted him as much as the strength in her arms.
Flying to who knew where, Finny dug his fingers in. Where are we going? He was glad they were using mindtalk, because he didn’t think he could forced words out of his mouth.
Near and far. You will see soon enough. Remain calm, Misty whinnied. There is someone you need to meet.
Do as Msty says and we’ll be there soon, said Mama Jack
Yes Ma’am. This time when he relaxed, Finny felt a growing awareness of what was going on. Dark lightened to a soft twilight, but the wind grew hotter.
Finny’s cheeks began to burn. “Mama Jack?”
Shhhhhh. Don’t bring attention to us. Use your ability.
Meow, Raskee’s soft thoughts rubbed in Finny’s mind. You don’t have to say out loud what you want to share. We can understand better when you aim your thoughts.
Where had he come from? Finny didn’t remember seeing the cat since they got inside the shed. Aren’t larger animals afraid of cats.
Oh no. My family prowls the stables of all the winged ones. Some of the lucky ones, like me, also get to serve those of Misty’s kind.
Serve unicorns? But you live with me.
Well, yes, but before I got that assignment I lived in the stalls of all the great ones. That’s where I grew up.
We are all servants, said Mama Jack.
Why else would we be here. Now it’s your turn.
Before Finny could ask what she meant, dark turned to light and the scene before him robbed him of all words. They had arrived in a cavern. A magnificent fountain of molten lava flowed up to a roof that Finny guessed had to be at least three stories above. When the lava touched the ceiling it spread out and dripped into a pool of brilliant heat and light that encircled the base of the fountain. Once more he thought of the license plate on the shed. Beyond the pond an even more spectacular vision filled the back wall.
It’s a castle. Wow.