The Elves of Wyndewood Forest

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Summary

Global warming has made the Earth unlivable. Canada has taken a bold step in providing its citizens with the option of traveling to a new planet where they may begin life anew. Waking up after a hundred years of hypersleep, they find themselves on a planet where winter is year round and the trees gigantic. This is a story of one group of Canadian space travellers settling into their new home where all is not as it seems to be.

Genre:
Scifi / Fantasy
Author:
Jeffrey Lauzon
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
2
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
13+

CHAPTER TWO - THE ELVES OF WYNDEWOOD FOREST

IT WAS A CUTE LITTLE THING that cried real tears and wailed in such a way that you couldn't help but fall in love with it the second you saw it. It actually wasn't that small - about four feet eleven inches tall - with matted white fur all over it, and the saddest, roundest black eyes you ever laid eyes on.

It let me walk right up to it and sit down beside it, then accepted my offer to place a consoling arm around its wee little shoulders. "What's wrong?" I asked it gently. "Are you okay? Where's your mama?"

I almost felt it could understand what I was saying, because it buried its tearful face into my chest, and started pointing downwards to the ground, looking frantic and weathered.

"Oh, gosh!" I exclaimed. "I hope she's okay. Is she nearby? Show me."

As if on queue, it stood up, grabbed my hand and led me over to the edge of the walkway, then pointed down again. It tried to communicate something to me, then collapsed into another pile of tears, at which point, I quickly grabbed my tent and two drones from inside the cabin. Clipping the tent onto one of the drones, I fired it up and motioned for the little guy to climb in beside me, which he did a little tentatively, and off we went.

The whirr of the drones bothered him a lot less than when we slowly lifted up off the branch and began moving forward. "It's okay!" I reassured him and swiftly held up a restraining arm when it looked as though he was going to jump out. "You're perfectly safe."

He looked at me tentatively a moment then relaxed beside me with giant sigh.

"It looks as though I'm going to need to call you something," I announced as I steered our way over and under the enormous branches surrounding us with my remote control board. "How about if I call you Aurora?" I considered, looking at him directly. "Where I come from originally, Aurora Borealis refers to Northern Lights, or pretty green lights in the sky resulting from solar wind that disrupts the magnetosphere every so often. I can't really say that you look like a Northern Light, but it's the best I can come up with under the circumstances."

Just then, a lump of snow from one of the branches over us clipped the side of the tent and burst into a cloud of white powder. The tent leaned sideways a little then righted itself, but you would've thought we were aboard the Titanic just as it was about to sink. My little friend let out a terrified bark then wrapped his arms around my neck and buried his face into my hair, shivering uncontrollably.

"Ah, ah!" I warned him. "I wouldn't do that." I grabbed a tuft of my shoulder-length brown hair, which was rather stringy and greasy to say the least, and smelled it. "Yep, not good," I muttered.

Nonetheless, Aurora inhaled a long, frightened breath, stopped suddenly, then started sputtering and muttering gibberish for awhile after he propelled himself away from me and carefully sniffed his own fur.

"Sorry 'bout that," I exhaled regretfully. "I haven't showered or washed my hair in a goodly while, I'm afraid. Ohh, here then! I don't smell that bad, do I?"

Apparently, my hair was a tad too aromatic for the little pooch; he burped and grunted, and you could hear he was struggling with something internal for a moment. Then, all at once, great gobs of green goop splashed against the trunk of a tree we were just passing. Rolling themselves up into a large ball as one fell into the other, the whole mess landed on the head of a curious critter that had just poked its head out of a hole to see what was going on.

"Now look what you did," I chastised him, rolling my eyes in disgust. "Can't you just sit there and stop being such a pain in the you know what?" It was so cathartic to be able to say whatever I wanted to him, knowing he didn't understand a word of it. "Look, just show me what you were pointing at earlier."

We were getting much closer to the ground now, although we were still had about a hundred and fifty feet to go, when I spotted a large pile in the snow off to our right. Aurora (whose breath suddenly smelled extremely acidic - my kingdom for a breath mint!) immediately started to whimper sadly, evidently spotting it too, and it wasn't long before I lowered us down onto a soft, snowy patch nearby. We were at the edge of a wide clearing that could've been called a greenbelt if Wyndewood Forest boasted more than just one season. It was obviously well traveled by regional wildlife for all the many kinds of paw prints left by animals which had pounded the snow into ice all along the clearing.

The second we landed, Aurora jumped to his feet and rushed over to a much larger clone of himself, except that this one, his mama I'm assuming, was injured. There were deep gashes on her arms and a particularly large one on her neck, indicating quite clearly that something had viciously attacked her.

I approached her slowly and cautiously, for these were the fabled Muttah I was telling you about earlier, the very reason we had decided to build our entire community up in the treetops. You could see her smile weakly but caringly at her son, who stood over her whimpering tearfully, but as soon as she spotted me, her expression transformed into something truly hideous and she threw a frightening growl at me.

At this, Aurora spoke a few words to her in a clearly foreign language then grabbed my hand and placed it against his face. In turn, I stooped down slowly just out of reach, and held out my hand to her. Aurora wrapped his little paw around my waist, and spoke to her again. It sounded as though he was pleading with her to trust me, that I was there to help.

She tossed another dark gaze at me before, grimacing, she lifted herself up on one elbow and looked at me curiously. Immediately, I grabbed my pup tent and bunched it up into a kind of tourniquet that she let me wrap under her arms. To each end of the tent, I hooked on one drone, then gently slapped her shoulder reassuringly as I remotely powered them up and she began to lift off the ground.

As she did, a horrendous howl came from further down the clearing, and something emerged through the trees onto the trail. I'd never seen anything like it: four legs in back, two stumpy legs in front holding up a thick neck that curved down almost to the ground. It's head was like a giant buffalo with huge, pointy horns - the source of Mama Muttah's wounds obviously. Whatever it was, it was big and dark and ugly and filled with rage. Without a word, I snatched up Aurora into my arms and speeded into the forest. I cast my eyes behind me to make sure Mama Muttah was at a safe elevation, then looked around for some tracks. Twenty feet away, I spotted some.

"Hold still," I told Aurora as I frantically snapped the wheels of my backpack into them, and pressed the button.

I didn't want to focus on the monster that was chasing after us, because we barely had time to escape with our lives. I didn't want to emphasize Aurora getting away from me twice or me needing to chase after him while the whatever it was started crashing through the trees after us. I tried not to fly into a panic when I couldn't locate the On button for my backpack right away, and had to lift my legs up to avoid being gored by the monster as it slammed into the tree and we went sailing up the trunk of it, my arms tightly wrapped around Aurora's waist.

As for Mama Muttah, I remote-guided her up to beside the walkway, where she hovered quietly beside us as we stumped our way towards town. We made quite a stir when we reached Whitegarde Lane. What a spectacle it must've been for kids waking to the sight of Mama Muttah floating past their bedroom windows. The main street was still slumbering except for a few business owners and their employees getting ready for another busy day, and the majority of those came stumbling outside to see what was going on.

Happily, that included Lare Holling, the vet, who quickly arranged to have the creature lowered onto a trampoline just outside his clinic. I gave him the low-down on what had happened, and he agreed to dress the creature's wounds and arrange to provide some food for her while she was convalescing. It was already obvious that the Muttah subsisted on Evergreen cones, especially when she grabbed a sackful a Cone Collector was walking by with and greedily emptied its contents down her throat. From what Dr. Holling told me, the poor creature was staring down the blunt end of at least week's R and R to give her time to heal and regain her strength.

For me, a huge sigh of relief was in order, because that meant little Aurora would want to stay with his mother, and I would be off the hook as far as looking after him went.

Not so, unfortunately. The second I took one step away from Aurora and the trampoline we were standing beside, he lunged at my hand with a frightened wail, and I kinda knew he would be coming along. To make matters worse, Mama Muttah, looking quite comfy and relaxed, grunted contentedly and waved us both away, indicating her consent in allowing Aurora to tag along with me.

As we were leaving, a window flew open above us and Rachel MacGuire's angry face leaned out of it. "Jonley Jones!" she shouted down. "We need to have a word, you and I!"

I pretended not to hear and doubled my pace into a brisk walk that had Aurora puffing behind me, until we reached Wyndewood Walk. Then I stopped. I had forgotten my tent and two drones.

Looking back, I was happy to see that Rachel's head had disappeared and the window had closed with a slam, so I went back. Within a few minutes, I had recovered the tent and two drones, and was just lifting up into the air, Aurora by my side, when Rachel's hostile voice, demanding I stop, came sailing out her front door and moved towards us.

"Oh, hi, Rachel,"I grinned absently. "Watch you keep your distance, now. This is a dangerous animal I've got beside me."

My tent flew higher almost in direct proportion to the anger inflected in Rachel's voice. "Mrs. Fast Fingers Karfuffle, as you know, was at last night's Shindig, wearing a necklace I remember placing around my dear mother's neck after she died! The only way she would've had access to it is through you! I want an explanation, and I want one now!"

"Was she at the funeral? Does she own a duplicate?" I threw behind me nonchalantly. "Instead of throwing out blind punches, maybe you should ask and find out," I suggested, which merrily took the wind right out of her sail, particularly when she turned around and spotted, with a gasp, Mama Muttah up on her elbows baring a set of snarling, dangerous looking fangs in her direction.

Aurora remained by my side for most of the day. When the milkman arrived, I found out he liked milk, and lots of it, in addition to evergreen cones that hung from the trees everywhere. I prepared several pouches of ground coffee and delivered them without incident, fed the huskies without any hostilities from Aurora, then we flew off to Let's Eat and spent the rest of the day until closing with Aurora perched on a wooden barstool watching TV, completely blind to any patrons who happened to wander in.

Back at home, the little guy quickly solved the problem of where he was going to sleep by climbing up into a nearby evergreen tree and folding some of the smaller branches into a makeshift bed. This he did quietly and without any fanfare, and the last time I looked before heading inside myself for the night he was fast asleep beneath a darkening sky.

**

Morning came with me awakening to a keen little face lying on the pillow beside me, eagerly waiting for me to open my eyes.

"Good morning, Aurora," I mumbled sleepily. "Is it that time already?"

It occurred to me that my young alien charge was anxious to be escorted back to town to check on his mama, and I couldn't really blame him. All it took was one whimper, and I knew that's what he wanted.

"I hear you," I responded, rising and hastily changing into my day-clothes. Yes, Reader, I wore pajamas. I love pajamas. They help me sleep better and it's alot easier washing pajamas than it is all the bedsheets once a week. I also wore socks to bed. Would you care to lie down while I call for a paramedic, Reader?

I had actually anticipated him wanting to head in to town first thing, so I managed to prepare all of my coffee deliveries the evening before so I could take care of two birds with one stone. Also, I needed to pick up more pet food, so after feeding the pooches, I hooked them up to my sled, got Aurora snuggled in beside me, and off we went.

Along the way, Aurora ate breakfast just by reaching out and grabbing some low-hanging evergreen cones, and man! Could he fart!! It just about bowled me over.

"Do you have to do that here?" I objected, but he didn't seem to understand and kept eating away. Suddenly getting an experimental idea, I brought out my Earth-lighter, held it up in the air and flicked it. Not expecting much to happen, imagine my surprise when a giant fireball exploded behind us and a trail of lit methane came zooming towards the sled. "Stop farting!" I yelled frantically. "Stop farting!"

Instead, I received a blank look and some extra puffs that floated up and exploded into another fireball before another tunnel of fire came barreling at us from behind.

I urged the huskies to step up their pace and swerved to one side to avoid the oncoming flames, which suddenly started jumping from one little puff to another in the air behind us. It looked as though it was fizzling out, until yet another fireball detonated mid-air, rose up to ignite some kind of flying insect, which in turn flew forward into another sulphuric cloud, and the tunnel of flames resumed curling towards us.

"Oh, my God!" I shouted. "Are you for real?"

Beneath his blanket, I heard a few pops and sputters as we sped down walkway for our very lives. Aurora seemed to have no clue as to the danger he was in, for he would've exploded himself if that little funnel of flames ever caught up to his suddenly psychotic butt. Luckily, however, the sled clipped the side of a tree, causing a shower of snow to fall from somewhere over us, completely halting the flames once and for all.

I breathed out a huge sigh of relief, then looked over at Aurora, who was still eating in complete oblivion, and I suddenly had to fight the urge to punch his lights out.

When we spilled into Whitegarde Lane, which was practically vacant at this time of day, he jumped out of the sled as soon as he spotted his mama and ran over to her. She looked happy and well-rested, and I noticed that several wounds on her arms had been stitched and wrapped up by the good doctor. They seemed able to communicate in an unintelligible language, so I left them there while I made my deliveries and he was so bored by the time I got back, he was tickling his poor mama into a frenzy and biting her toes just to hear her scream.

"Do you have to do that?" I frowned at him. "I mean, honestly. There's a kabillion and one other things you can do besides riling up your own mother. I mean, isn't there? People are sleeping - you're waking them up, and they're not going to blame you; they're going to blame me."

He gazed at me quizzically while I spoke, so I knew he hadn't understood a single word, so with a sigh I loaded him back on the sled with his cozy blanket pulled up tight around his shoulders, and we headed back the way we came.

At home, I grabbed some veggies from the greenhouse and made a quick salad, along with some orange juice and an apple. Then we headed out to Let's Eat, by air this time, where we mimicked the same activities we did the day before.

One of my regular patrons came stumbling in shortly after opening time, took a giant whiff, and cried out, "Gimme some o' those egg sandwiches! Gimme some o' those egg sandwiches!"

I looked at him in dire confusion. "What egg sandwiches?"

"Didn't you make any?" he asked, perplexed.

"Not for awhile," I responded.

"Then what's that smell?" he queried wonderingly, and we both glanced over at Aurora sitting quietly in the corner, and just knew what and where that particular smell had originated.

Other than that, he seemed to be getting more animated as the day progressed, and wanted to do more than just sit there, so I handed him a shovel, showed him how to shovel snow, and off he went up onto the roof.

What a mistake that was!

I heard him jamming the shovel into the snow a few times followed by a giant rumble before the entire restaurant went dark. However much snow had collected on the roof was now piled up against the windows and main door, and I had to exit out the back way, come around to the front (where Aurora was scratching his head), and take over.

It took me the better part of an hour and a half clearing away the snow. With great relief, I didn't have to turn away any customers. In fact, a short time later, a half dozen townsfolk turned up - all minors - and kept me busy for the rest of the morning before heading next door to Wyndewood Church for their biweekly choir practice. I loved to listen to them sing as did Aurora, who fell asleep by the window for a good hour or so before it was time for us to leave for the day.

We returned to his mama's side in town, so he wouldn't need to worry the night away about her, and Aurora ended up playing fetch with a couple of the choir boys who had visited Let's Eat that morning. He hugged his mama goodbye and goodnight in the sweetest way you could imagine and we lifted slowly off the platform towards home underneath twilight golden clouds, our day nearing completion.
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