The Beastlings

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Chapter 4

The snores came from the girl within minutes as he knew it would. Honey tea could help anyone have a deep night’s sleep. The old man sat in his rocking chair facing away from the fire now facing the bookcase. He said the words he had said everyday for the last sixty years.

“You can come out now, please be quiet we don’t want to wake our guest.” He spoke to the old tea-pot on the highest shelf. It rattled a little before its top popped off to sit beside it. Then three balls of light hurtled out the teapot which rattled again then became still. The balls of light proceeded to fly round the room at top speed, a slight buzzing noise could be heard.

“Yes, it is her,” said the old man as if he could understand the buzzing as words and not just noise.

“Yes, it is time, I don’t want to leave you either but she will be a good keeper. I have seen the pureness of her heart and the courage of her soul. She will do things with you I could never have dreamed of. She is a bright spark and she needs you as much as you will need her. She is alone, just like I was when we first all met.”

The balls of light slowed down as he talked before coming to land on the table before him.

“My little beastlings” he said stroking each one with gentle fingers.

“You will need to take care of her till she can take care of herself. Then she will protect you with all that she has and all that she is. It’s her, she is the one, my little friends.” The purple beastling, a cat with dragon wings moved in close and rubbed its furry body up and down his arm. A little mewling sound leaving its cat faced lips.

“I know it will be hard to begin with but unlike you I can’t live forever, so like me before her, life has brought her forth to play her role as keeper.”

The blue beastling stayed where it was and watched as the red beastling, an alligator with three sets of tiny wings that hummed in the wind. Moved in close buzzing the old man a few times before settling in his wispy hair. That was two he had won over but he knew the hardest to convince would be Blue. He had always just called them by their colours their real names were beyond pronunciation.

“Blue, Blue, don’t be like that,” he said when the little beastling no bigger than his fist turned away from him in protest at his words.

“Blue, you always knew I would die one day and it’s my job to find the keeper and well in fact she found me. If it wasn’t for the girl I would still be out in the snow slowly dying. Now because of her I can die in peace in my home. I am at peace knowing I found the next keeper and my job is done. Blue you know I love you more than anything, all of you, she will be a good keeper she risked her life for me today, a total stranger. Imagine how much she will love you once she gets to know you. Please Blue, you know I can’t live forever, you knew a new keeper was coming when I dreamt my death. Didn’t we talk about this?” He reached out a finger and thumb and tugged gently on Blue’s handsome horse-tail. It took a moment but Blue turned around and stepped into the old man’s hand which he rose to eye level.

“Have I ever lied to you Blue?” he said looking the miniature winged horse in the eye.

The tiny beastling shook its mane acknowledging the old man’s truth. With that it flew off his hand and went to perch in his hair with its sibling leaving only Purple the winged cat still rubbing itself up and down his other arm. He reached out and stroked it gently before it too took flight and landed as number three in the old man’s hair. The old man reached into a draw built into his little table for two and pulled out his paper and a quill pen. Then as the candles burnt down around him, the fire threw flickers on the walls, the old man wrote his will.

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