It has been a while. I hope you're all doing well and feeling fine.
I pulled out some notes for the Max Hamby series from 2015 and reworked them. They were notes to let me know how Max got his stone/magic and thought I'd share. I hope you like them.
They moved closer to the bassinet in the center of the room. Esther picked the baby up and held him close. “Hello, little one.” She gently ran her hand over the top of his head. “He’s so small and pink.” The baby opened his eyes. “Just like your father.” She planted a kiss on his forehead. “I don’t think we should do this. Annora was adamant the child remain untouched.”
“Esther, put him down. We must hurry,” said Griselda.
Petunia Pitt laid a hand on Esther’s arm and leaned in to get a better look. Green eyes flecked with gold blinked up at her. “They are coming, ladies.”
Esther placed the baby back in his bassinet. “Annora should be here.”
Griselda blew out a breath and raised a hand. “I understand your concerns, dear sister, but Annora would never understand.”
Petunia put her hand into the front pocket of her coat. Her thin eyebrows came together. Wrinkles deepened across her forehead. “I know I put it in here.” She felt the outside of her coat, then jammed her hands into the side pockets.
“We are putting the child in danger,” said Esther, crossing her arms.
Petunia Pitt snapped her fingers and reached into a pocket in the inside of her coat. “It is the only way,” she said, pulling her hand out. She held a blood-red diamond up to the light, turning it this way and that. “Beautiful,” she said, placing it in Griselda’s outstretched hand.
“Griselda, are you sure this is safe? Are there side effects?” asked Esther, wringing her hands.
“Esther, stop worrying. He won’t feel a thing,” said Griselda. She rotated her hand above her head. The door to the nursery closed and locked itself. The viewing window frosted over. The baby giggled. She leaned over his bassinet and caressed his cheek with a finger. “We will meet again, Max.” She placed the diamond on his chest and stepped back. Her eyebrows shot halfway up her forehead when it started to glow. She held her hands out, then nodded to the other two ladies and waited as they did the same.
“Enemies abound that we can see. Protector of the stone you shall be. What is out, is now in. Upon your chest a mark begins. As we be, you walk in light. A prophecy fulfilled. We stand and fight.” They chanted twice more before stepping back.
Petunia clasped her hands together in anticipation. Esther held her breath. Griselda concentrated on the stone. It sparked and crackled. The child had fallen asleep some time during the chant. With one final flash, the stone sunk into his chest; a pink diamond-shaped birthmark was the only evidence of where the blood-red diamond had been seconds before.
“It is done,” whispered Griselda.
Esther shook her head. “What have we done? What if Isolde’s minions track him down?”
“Not to worry, sister. The stone will remain dormant until he is sixteen years old. By then, he should be capable, mentally and physically, of handling such power. Let us hope that the evil that walks the earth now is long gone and the boy can learn on his own time.” She gently stroked the top of his head, then looked up. Esther and Petunia stared at her with eyebrows raised. She yanked her hand and straightened her cape.
“What if Annora were to discover what we have done?” asked Esther, barely above a whisper.
“She will not. The birthmark will remain a birthmark and that is all she will see. Besides, Annora is better off not knowing anything.”
Petunia whipped around. “Ladies, Annora is the least of our worries.” The doorknob to the nursery turned and clicked, but did not open. Voices argued softly on the other side. The night nurse’s shadow danced across the frosted viewing window, then disappeared in the opposite direction. Four bulky shadows appeared. Petunia grabbed Griselda’s arm. “We must do something or they will kill us all, including the child.”
“Summon the children.”
Esther nodded and chanted softly. “My Nightling friends, I call to thee. Your help is needed. Come to me.”
They waited and watched for movement. It did not take long. Thick, dark mist poured into the room from under the door, the vent near the ceiling and even from a large crack in the wall.
Petunia Pitt turned round and round, hopping from one foot to the other. “What are they?” she asked, swiping at her leg.
“Petunia, do not fear them. They are merely shadows of children who lost their way. They were unable to make it to the other side,” explained Griselda.
Esther leaned a cheek into one of the larger shadows. “They are my friends. I protect them and keep them safe in my garden.”
“Tell them to shield the boy. We are running out of time,” said Griselda.
Esther whispered to the shadow. It flew around the room, in and out of the others. A dark cloud swirled around the bassinet. It turned faster and faster until the Nightlings and the child disappeared.
Heavy footsteps pounded down the hall outside the nursery. “We cannot go back the way we came. Do we stand and fight?” asked Petunia.
The Nightlings gathered around Griselda’s feet. She shifted uncomfortably and swiped at them. “Sister, tell your friends to stop. This is no time to play.”
The largest shadow rose up beside Esther. She leaned in and listened. “They are not playing, Griselda. They intend to shield us, too.” She moved the other two ladies to the viewing window. “Stay still and don’t make a sound.” The Nightlings swirled around their feet and up their bodies.
Petunia Pitt gasped. “Oh, my,” she whispered, as her legs disappeared.
The Nightlings had just reached the top of their heads when the nursery door burst open. Three goblins rushed in and stopped in the center of the room. A fourth goblin stood in the doorway and sniffed the air. He was bigger than the others with a scar running down his left cheek and a permanent scowl.
“Were they here?” asked one of the other goblins.
The larger goblin slowly walked around the room. “I can almost feel them.”
Griselda, Esther and Petunia held their breath as the goblin walked right through the spot where the bassinet stood moments before. Thankfully, the child remained out of sight. The women hurried out the door and down the hall where they disappeared into the utility closet.
“They were here just recently. Their stink is heavy,” said the goblin. He scrunched up his face in disgust. It was no secret that he hated being around humans. They were vile, disgusting creatures. He’d much rather be back in his village sipping on a pint of swamp juice rather than working for the most disgusting human of them all. “We’d better head back.”
“I’d sure hate to be the one to tell the boss we lost ‘em,” said the shortest goblin of the group.
The larger troll raised an eyebrow. A smirk spread across his thin gray lips. “Oh, but you will be the one to tell him. It is your fault they are not dead yet. I do not intend to lose my head this eve, but you...” He wagged a finger in the air. “You will most certainly lose yours.” The shorter goblin’s eyes grew wide and he swallowed hard.
One by one, the goblins disappeared with a pop. The larger goblin was the last to leave. He turned and stared at the spot where the Nightlings concealed the child. For a second, he thought he saw a shimmer in the air. He rubbed his eyes and looked again. Nothing. The humans had been driving him batty for centuries. The world would be a sweeter place without them. “Sweeter smelling anyway. Time for a new line of work,” he said, then popped out of sight.
Until next time. . .
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