Eating Clouds

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Chapter 7: Pearmelons and Iron Water

The little elf pulled himself up by the ear of the boy, who protested loudly. Standing on the human shoulder with both his feet he looked up to the tree. The boy felt the two shoes stinging in his skin and had to bite the inside of his cheek because of the pain.

“Cover your ears, Ozzy” Eddy said, but before the boy could respond there was a loud bang. A bright light blinded the boy and there sounded a high tune in his poor ear. Stumbling back Ozzy fell on his bum in the grass. With a red face he rubbed over his ear.

“You should’ve told me sooner!” he shouted angrily. The little elf ignored him completely. Instead he disappeared between the high branches.

Angry at himself and the world, Ozzy crawled back on his feet, patting the grass off his legs. He sometimes really liked Eddy, but sometimes he wished he’d just left him in the river.

Ozzy blinked. Was that really how he felt? How cruel.

But yet again; Eddy seemed very impolite and egocentric, but sometimes his voice softened, and his eyes glimmered sadly. Especially when he spoke of his grandfather. He could nag a lot, but not about his grandfather. There was only fear and respect when they conversed about that subject.

“Shirt!” the high pitched voice sounded from high up in the tree. This time Ozzy responded right away and held his shirt in front of him, which had almost dried up in the sun. He spread his legs, standing steady on the ground, and focused on the tree top. Still, he found himself surprised by a small orange fruit coming right at him. He was a second too late to duck, and the pearmelon splashed onto his forehead. The juice dripped over his eyes and cheeks onto his shirt which he had tried so hard to keep ready.

He opened his mouth to shout at that idiot of an elf, when a drop of the pearmelon juice fell onto his tongue. An explosion of tastes spread throughout his mouth, a sensation of sour and sweet and salty. Something he’d never tasted before.

“Wow!” was all he could say. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, and immediately licked he remaining juice off. “This is amazing!”

“Wabswowutewy!” the high pitched voice sounded. The elf had stuffed himself with the fruits as well. “Hewe they come!”

It almost looked like the little elf emptied a bucket full of pearmelons. Like a waterfall they fell from the branches, and Ozzy ran around to catch as many of them in his shirt. He even caught one in his mouth, and knowing what one drop had made him feel he was excited what the effect of an entire fruit would be.

The little elf reappeared and landed onto the boy’s knee. He smiled as he saw the number they’d caught (twice the amount of the APE), and the grin on the boy’s face as he chewed on the small fruit.

“Delicious, ain’t they?”

Ozzy nodded with a mouth full. The little elf patted on the boy’s knee. “Don’t eat too much, eh? You’re gonna get a belly ache if you do.”

Ozzy nodded again, wiping his mouth. Eddy sighed as he jumped from the knee to the ground. He lay down on his back, his head resting on his hands. This was nice, he thought, as he looked up. The leaves of the tree spread out above them like an umbrella, holding the bright sunlight from shining in their eyes. Each leaf had its own bright colour, as if they’d been just painted. Every archery could be seen, the little cracks and wrinkles. The light revealed all its secrets.

A warm breeze danced through the leaf umbrella, making it tremble and ripple. All day long, Eddy had been worrying over a lot, but now he felt relaxed. He had not only obtained the right amount of pearmelons, but also his ticket to promotion; a human. A HUMAN.

He couldn’t wait to see the look on his grandfather’s face when he’d arrive with Ozzy at his side. And all the others in the village. They’d see him as a hero, instead of a failure. The soldiers of the White Order wouldn’t know what to say when the one and only Eddimus Tolkon, the little elf without wings, would bring them a human boy, which would save them from the downfall of Gilmore.

Well, that might be a bit melodramatic. It might not be the downfall of Gilmore, but more that of magic.

The little elves were the only ones to still use the original magic. They were the ones given the task to spread the word, yet it seemed less creatures were interested in the origins of magic.

For as far as Eddy knew the dwarfs had cut all ties with magic, creatures born in the dark and not immune to sunlight, like trolls, couldn’t use it at all, and dragons were extinct. The Great Elves, he knew, had their own academy, just like The Little Elves, where they would teach anyone of their own kind and other about magic. Most of the ‘other’ were human, although the last time a human studied at Gilmore’s academy was a hundred human years ago.

“Right” the little elf sighed, and crawled up. Placing his hands on his round hips he looked at the boy, who sat leaning back against a tree, his face still covered in juice. “That’s enough resting. I’m gonna take a look up there to figure out where we are. It probably ain’t that far anymore.

Ozzy licked his fingers. “But earlier you said we were off course. How can you know it’s not that far?”

“I…just know” the little elf answered, then his wings appeared and he was gone. The loud bang gave the boy goosebumps.

“You forgot to warn again!” he shouted into the tree, but there was no response. Sometimes he really didn’t like the little man who was supposed to be a little elf.

He might just not be. Firstly, he didn’t look like the pictures in the book. Well, the only thing that did were the colours of his clothes, but that could be just coincidence. Little elves were supposed to be thin, pretty, with beautiful hair and almond-like eyes. Eddy had none of that. He was round, his hair was messy and his eyes looked like two black marbles.

Secondly, Eddy didn’t seem as nice a person as the books described a little elf to be. The description said they were peace loving, cared for nature more than anything and adored magic more than anything. If Ozzy were to believe what the little man told him, the little elves were currently at war with the gnomes (that’s why he hates them so much) and used magic to grow fruits.

Lastly, and this was the thing which bothered Ozzy the most, was the fact that Eddy made his wings appear through magic. The book he’d read didn’t say anything about that. It said the wings were attached to his back and they could spread them out whenever they wanted.

In Eddy’s case his wings also looked very different from the pictures, maybe even prettier, yet it just didn’t add up. Maybe Ozzy should ask him about it.

Despite his uncertainties Ozzy trusted the little man so far. He’d told him many facts which did add up with the books, but also new ones that seemed logical in his ears and seemed to have connections to the information Ozzy had. And he seemed to really care for his village, although he seemed to hate The White Order, the guards of the Lord.

And above all that; Eddy was his first and only way to get to the elf village. He couldn’t imagine having to run around again, looking for clues.

Ozzy gathered the remaining pearmelons from the ground and put them in his shirt, which still served as a sack. In the meantime the cotton was covered in juice stains from smashed fruits. He sure hoped it wasn’t far to the village, because he wouldn’t be able to hold up his shirt the whole way.

He sat down in the grass again, and decided to wait for the little elf to say something, or maybe appear again, telling him it was time to go.

Leaning against the trunk of a tree, he suddenly felt a sting in his right shoulder. As if someone poked him with a pointy stick.

He sat up, rubbing over the sour spot. He tried to look under his shirt at the skin, but there wasn’t anything odd to be seen. He frowned.

A second later, the same stingy feeling was in his upper arm. He grunted of pain as this lasted longer. A little scared he stared at the skin, but nothing happened, only the pain.

It moved down to his lower arm, to his hand. Ozzy bit on his lip, trying not to scream. What was happening?

He kept staring at his hand, tried to move his fingers one by one. Something was terribly wrong.

The boy felt panic burning up inside of him. Desperately he opened his mouth to call out to the little elf, but his voice failed him. The only think a person with good ears would hear was a soft wheeze.

A horrific cold shiver went through the boy’s body. It felt like a dagger made of ice sliced his back open alongside his spine.

And still, he couldn’t scream.

Ozzy had his eyes wide open as he trembled spastically. His head thrown back, all he could do was look up. There, a shadow black as the night crossed the sky. As soon as it touched Ozzy’s foot, all the air was pushed out of his lungs.

He coughed and let out a soft cry. His throat felt dry and sour, drool dripped down from the corners of his mouth.

There was another shiver, even more intense than the previous one. The boy had his mouth wide open in a silent scream and could only spit. Every cough was a knife through his throat.

His hand was warm. When the shocks stopped, he took that time to raise it. Holding it in front of his face, his eyes widened.

Red.

The shadow crossed again. Iron water filled up in Ozzy’s mouth and almost blocked his airways, as if his own body tried to drown him. He lunged forward and a stream of red painted the grass, mixing with the orange pearmelon juice.

Shocked, Ozzy stared at the colours dancing before his eyes. His breathing fastened as he waited for the next blow. The corners of his eyes filled themselves with tears and he tried to scream one desperate time again.


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