Note: this is a first draft. The only editing done is for typos/spelling errors.
The sun blazed down from a cloudless sky. In the fields and hedges nothing stirred. Even the liveliest woodland critter had succumbed to the heat.
The silence was broken by heavy footsteps and the tinkling of chains. Round a bend in the road came what at first glance appeared to be an occult jewellery display on legs. Closer inspection however revealed a slim dark haired girl dressed from head to toe in black. At least, what was visible under the silver had definite midnight tones. Alongside her gambled a large grey wolf. Occasionally it would pause, sniff hopefully at the bushes, then continue on, seemingly disappointed. “I’m afraid it’s too hot for happy little bunny rabbits to be hopping around for you to chase,” said the dark figure, who was evidently the animals owner. “I’m sure Angel will let you have a nice run around in her garden. Plenty of things to chase up trees there.”
Not a leaf stirred as LD strolled under the arch into Angel’s neighbourhood and up the drive to the first house. She hoped her friend would be awake. Still, it was after noon and even Angel had been known to rise early if it was hot enough.
She gave the knocker a few good thumps. She barely had time to step back before the door opened and something wet and gloopy was flung at her.
“Well, that’s not a very nice way to greet your best friend.”
Angel blinked. Then recognition dawned.
“Ah. Er… Sorry… I thought it was someone else,” she said sheepishly. “Hang on a sec.” She turned and routed around on a table just behind her, producing a role of parchment which she held up for LD to read.
“Blimey! Are they allowed to do that?”
“According to them. Anyway, this says someone would be coming round to ‘discuss’ the matter with me, so when I heard the knocking I sort of assumed it was them.” “And you thought you’d open negociations by throwing the remains of your breakfast over them?” inquired LD. Angel gave her a look.
“Who said anything about negociating? Nobody’s building any road over my back garden.”
“Well it’s not actually the entire garden.”
“That’s not the point. It’s still mine. And I like it.”
LD glanced over her shoulder.
“I think that’s them coming now. I’ll just nip out the back and clean up in the pond and um… leave you to it.”
She left Angel looking round for a suitable porridge substitute with which to surprise the visitor and ambled through the kitchen into the garden, Sheena following eagerly. A frog gave her a curious stare as she slid into the water, before hopping off to do whatever it was frogs did in their spare time. Voices drifted to her from the open windows. Well, so far so good, there was no shouting yet, at least.
LD could see why her friend was rather severely miffed at the thought of possibly losing all this. Angel was a great believer in leaving nature to do it’s thing, and here at least, that seemed to have worked marvelously. Around her frogs went lazily about their froggy business. On the opposite side of the pond, a row of ducks lay stretched out, heads under their wings, contentedly sunbathing. Flowers grew randomly and chaoticly around the endge of the lawn. The whole thing gave you the feeling of being in some forest glade somewhere. LD half expected a deer to come wandering out of the bushes.
The tranquility was shattered by the sound of smashing glasswear from the house, followed by a stream of amazingly colourful language. LD whistled. She hadn’t heard Angel use those words in a long while. “Should we…” she began uncertainly. Sheena whined, got up and made her way round to the far side of the pond where she cowered behind a bush. “Probably best to let them sort it out themselves,” LD agreed.
As LD had expected, this didn’t take long. Two rather noisy minutes later the audience ended with a graphic warning about what would happen if the visiter had the blanking nerve to show his face hear again, followed by the slamming of a door.
Only then did LD rise to go back into the house. She was still dripping, but at least it was only water now.
Angel was busy clearing up broken crockery. “One of these days you’re actually going to hit someone,” LD remarked. “And then you’ll be seriously buggered.” Angel grunted and tossed the remains of several plates into the bin.
“Fancy a drink?”
“Why not. Then you can tell me all the why and how.”
Soon they were both back outside, while Sheena splashed around happily in the pond. “So what’s it all about,” prompted LD. Angel shrugged.
“Haven’t the faintest. Well, that letter gave the usual garbage about ‘progress’ and ‘improving infrastructure’ and what have you. But there’s absolutely no reason why they can’t just put their blessed road around this neighbourhood.”
She glared at the wall.
“If you ask me it’s just an excuse to get rid of us.”
“But why you? I mean, everybody knows you’re human.”
“Search me. Perhaps they thought I’d be more than happy to take their compensation and bugger off out of here. Or maybe they’re too scared to tackle anyone else and hoped I’d do it for them. Or something.”
There was a silence, broken only by contented splashing and the occasional indignant quack. “Well at least you can be sure they won’t get very far,” said LD. “You know what your neighbours are like.”
Angel didn’t reply. It was true. She could certainly turn violent when roused, but that was a picnic compared to the rest of them. And that was what was worrying her. If the plans really went as far as she had been given to understand, then the elders would soon have a wholesale uprising on their hands. And when a bunch of highly strung undead got rowdy, the gods only knew how things would end. Quite probably withpitchforks and wooden steaks.
Angel stiffened as she heard knocking. Surely not…
Glaring daggers, she strode into the kitchen, grabbing a frying pan as she went past. “Hey, steady,” said LD nervously behind her. “It’s a lot harder to missaim with one of those, you know.”
Tommy, who had just ambled into the hall, took a step back on seeing Angel, frying pan raised.
“Er… Is this a bad time?”
Mutely, Angel handed him the letter she had shown LD. He whistled.
“In that case you’re definitely not going to like my news.”
High priest Joshua glared around the circle of worried faces.
“And you’re just going to give up?”
Their was some shifting and clearing of throats. “Well…” an elder began. “It’s perfectly feasible to just go around…” The high priest sighed. “As I have already explained,” he said with icy patience, “That is exactly what they want. For us to cower in fear and bend over backwards not to disturb their haven of evil.”
“Well that’s a bit strong,” said someone. “They’ve never given us any trouble. And anyway, we’d hardly be bending over backwards if we…”
“That’s not the point! Just because they haven’t yet caused harm, doesn’t mean they are not planning who knows what horrors.”
There was another pause. “Yes well,” said someone else. “I’ve never heard of… their sort ever unleashing any horrors anywhere.” “Ah, but are there any other of their sort anywhere else?” asked the priest. Yet more shifting.
“Well, er… No.”
“Exactly! So how can you be so sure that no trouble will come?”
“They want what!”
“‘Fraid so. I’m afraid I didn’t really listen very well after the first bit, ‘cause I was too busy being bloody furious. But it sounds like it’s not just my garden that’s in danger.”
Sergai gave Angel a helpless look.
“But… Why? I mean, we’re sticking to our side of the agreement. We don’t go round stealing chickens and biting innocent people, and they don’t go round with pitchforks and silver arrows.”
“Well, I’m afraid you’re going to have to sort it out without me. We’ve been summoned to see the king urgently. That usually means some imminent catastrophe needs averting somewhere.”
“Don’t you worry,“ said Toya. “Nobody’s flattening this neighbourhood, however legal it might be.”
“Yes, well, talking of legal. Just make sure you don’t go reverting to steriotype. I know what you’re like.”
Sergai made a face. “Yeah right, as if wearing evening dress and talking vis a stupid accent will scare anyone.”
“I mean the other steriotype and you know it.”
“Relax, It’ll be fine.
But as LD, Tommy and Angel set off for the capital, Angel couldn’t help wondering if it would be fine. Still, nothing she could do about it now. Missions came first, any personal worries would just have to wait.
Copyright © Rainbow