Chapter 10 Midnight at the Zoo
“Opal, wake up.” Miles is kissing my cheek. He is dressed in black jeans and a sweatshirt. I sit up, yawning, almost forgetting that we are going to the zoo. There is a rock hitting the window. Miles looks down. Its Violet and Jon letting us know they are ready. He gives them a thumbs up and points to the left to meet around front. I quickly change into my dark blue sweatshirt and jeans, and we quietly sneak down the steps and out the front door. Violet and Jon come out from under the tree in the front yard and we walk together to the zoo, staying in the dark, careful not to get under the streetlights. Miles is being very protective, but he gives Jon and I a moment, so he walks ahead with Violet.
“So, it’s ok for Miles to be in your room?” Jon whispers in my ear. He sounds very jealous. I just look up at him and shrug my shoulders. Miles has always been in my room since he comes in through the window. Maybe that’s why him being a slider fairy isn’t news to me. I’m not weirded out because he’s always been so charismatic. I’m saved by Violet tripping over the same crack I tripped on. Miles catches her in time.
When we get to the fence, I knock on it and Ty lets his trunk down to greet us. We all take turns climbing aboard and safely getting over the fence. There are fire fly’s lighting a path for us. Red is there waiting with all the elephants and a lioness she looks pregnant and a massive lion protecting her. The lioness is wearing a beautiful collar of stones around her neck. Red coughs. It seems harder for him to stop this time; he looks so tired. But maybe it’s because it’s dark. I look around for Horizon, but I don’t see him yet.
“Good, Princess you’re ready.” Red says clearing his throat. “Something terrible has happened. The animals are weak, our powers are soft and Omynora’s sky has fallen even more red.” He coughs even harder and almost falls over. Tiny jumps from the elephant’s back to his shoulders and pats his back as hard as his little hand can.
“Enough!” Red pulls himself up and slams his stick down. “Some animals are sick, Horizon being one of them.” I put my hands on my mouth, wanting to cry. Miles grabs my arm and pulls me into him, holding me there so I don’t run to Horizon. “Wait!” Red slams his stick down again. “Horizon will be fine, hmm. He is resting.” He takes a deep breath and clears his throat. “We must concentrate hmm on the stones, finding them hmm.”
I take a deep breath myself. I can taste my tears, they are sweet I lick my lips and wipe them from my cheeks. Everyone is staring at me.
“What is happening to you?” Jon steps forward he looks concerned. Miles steps back from his hold on me and wipes a tear from my face and shows me. It glows in the moonlight.
“Dryad tears glow in the moonlight.” He tells everyone. He looks at me with reassuring eyes and winks.
“Enough!” Red slams his stick again. His cough is uncontrollable. Two large apes come over to him and lay him back in a wicker like chair. He is resting and waves his stick. The great Lion walks forward.
“My wife and I are expecting soon, we will do our best to help you princess on your quest.” He nods and steps back to his wife, licking her face.
Ty the elephant steps forward. “There are enclosures with stones on the signs you might have better luck seeing them in the sunlight.” He points his trunk to the seal enclosure. “Horizon might know where they are hidden, he was so close with your fathe—.” Red slams his stick down, interrupting Ty.
“He does not, hmm your father was very secretive, hmm, just in case.” Red coughs. Poor Tiny looks so worried.
“That makes sense.” Violet chimes in. “He wouldn’t want to jeopardize the whereabouts of the amulet.” She takes out her phone and is analyzing it. “The zoo has 3 openings. One, where we can get in, and one where we can leave. But there is another opening in the back where the zoo keepers come and go. There are eight enclosure signs that have a timer on them. That speak when you walk though. They tell the story of the animal that lives there. It would make sense for him to hide them in any enclosure signs but these. That way they don’t have to be tended too as often. There are 4 signs with no timer and no voice over, if my calculations are correct, I would bet they are there.” She looks up at Red. He nods and smiles at her. “Good, hmm come visit me tomorrow, hmm Miss Vi, only you now 10:00.” She nods and gives one of my half grins and steps a few steps back.
“Boy!” Red yells at Jon. Jon is examining me, smelling my hair to see if it smells as sweet as my tears. He is fascinated by my changing. I can read his thoughts so clearly. Red slams his stick and the two large apes walk over to Jon and make him stand up straight to show his respect to their king. Jon fumbles a bit to get himself together, then says. “Yes! Sir! Red! Sir!” Switching his hands on his head to mimic a soldier.
“Boy!” Yells Red again. Jon put his arms down and just looks at Red, not knowing what he should do. “You’re so fidgety, hmm boy. Come here! Closer!” Jon takes a few steps, then a few steps more, until he is right in front of Red. Red reaches over and grabs Jon’s shirt and pulls him right down until they are face to face. He whispers something to Jon. “You in love with the princess? Hmm? You ’re too clumsy for her boy. Stand up!” Jon falls over. I can’t help but giggle. “Slider come.” Miles walks over to Red. “Protect this clumsy, hmm boy from demons, slider. He needs all the help he can get. Hmm.” The Apes are now side to side behind Red.
“Princess, hmm see you tomorrow, hmm at noon with slider and clumsy boy, the smart one will be with me.” He holds up his stick and the Apes lead him off into the darkness. The tiger and Lion nod and walk away. The elephants help us across the fence and we head home. Violet is gleaming. Jon gives her a nudgy on the head.
“You’re so smart, Vi,” he says, laughing. She breaks from his head lock and says,
“And you ’re so clumsy,” she punches him and laughs. Miles and I are walking behind.
“It will be ok, Miles. Don’t worry so much.” I say.
“You.. you can read my thoughts.” He says, surprised. He puts his arm around me.
“I can read your face.” I say. Not telling him I’m working on reading thoughts. “It’s so easy-to-read animals they hide nothing. People are much different.” I say, holding his hand that rest on my shoulder.
“I feel like I have to protect these two now.” He says. Gesturing to Jon and Violet. But I can feel his strength he doesn’t mind protecting all of us he enjoys it. I can feel Violet’s she seems proud of herself for a change. And Jon is just Jon. He doesn’t seem to feel bad that Red called him clumsy. He really isn’t clumsy he is just in love with me. And Miles is too. I grin at myself. This was a good day, a great day. Except I do not know where Mrs. Simpson is.
Tossing and turning all night, I get a little sleep. The moon is staring me in the face and I can’t stop looking at it. I can hear the animals stirring at the zoo. The bat is sound asleep, and he’s making a cute little purring noise. He’s so sweet, poor thing. I can’t help but think of Mrs. Simpson and feel horrible that she is being held captive somewhere because of me. I cry, and the bat wakes up and hops over to the edge of the bed. I pick him up and hold him.
“How are you feeling, little guy?” I ask, as I wipe away my tears.
He looks at me wide-eyed with his little nose twitching.
“I can’t move my wing,” he says as he opens his good wing while his hurt wing barely moves.
“I think you broke it.”
I try to move it, but he squints.
“I’ll find a place to take you tomorrow and get it looked at, ok? What’s your name?”
He looks up at me, and I can see a smile.
“It’s Squeak Squeak Squeak, in my language,” he says. “I don’t know what it would be in yours.”
“Hmm,” I say. “I think I’ll call you Louie.”
He smiles again.
“I like Louie. Thank you, Princess.”