MoboReader > Fantasy > The Adventures of Larson and Garrett - The Sleeping Tree

   Chapter 3 No.3

The Adventures of Larson and Garrett - The Sleeping Tree By AaronDennis Characters: 5072

Updated: 2017-12-28 12:04

"I dreamt of a tree, " Larson said.

"Excitin', " the young man replied, sardonically.

"It was trying to eat me, I think, but you woke me up."

Largo looked at his brother. His long hair was disheveled, but he looked happy or relieved to be awake.

"Glad I could be of service. Now, get yourself ready."

Largo insisted again upon bringing the boy to school. Naturally, Larson argued, but his brother's mind had been made up. No sooner had they stepped off the bridge that the brothers exchanged a look. Outside the schoolhouse, they saw that parents had all brought their kids, or at the least the parents of the younger children had done so.

Inside, Larson sat down at his table with his books and looked around. Everyone—Mrs. Graham, the older kids, and the younger ones—looked nervous. He also noted some kids were late. Class started, but they never showed. Larson was too preoccupied with the possibility of an adventure to pay attention in school that day, and likewise, everyone there seemed too preoccupied to care that no one was paying attention. Twice, Mrs. Graham lost her place in her lectures; an older boy, Michael, had to step in. Before the day ended, when it was time for questions, Larson stood.

"What's happening to the missing kids?"

The room grew silent. Mrs. Graham's smile flickered.

"That's not for young boys to worry over, Larson. Go home, everyone, and study your books, " she fretted.

Larson frowned. When he left the building, he saw all the parents were waiting for their kids, but his brother wasn't there, so Larson went to Mr. Thatcher's house. It was on the way home anyway. He knocked on the door, and old Mr. Thatcher answered. He was wearing a leather tunic that hung loosely on his timeworn body. White whiskers grew over his upper lip, and his short but scruffy beard gave the look of someone with very little patience.

"You're Mathew's boy, the little one, " he smiled a gap-toothed grin.


"Right, " Thatcher breathed. "What're ya' doin' here?"

"You told my brother kids were disappearing, and you said my dad was a soldier."

Thatcher rubbed the white scruff on his chin and looked off at the tributary. "You should go home, " he finally said. "It ain't safe no more."

They stared at each other for a moment then Thatcher figured it was only proper to walk Larson home since Largo wasn't around. Strolling past the sparse, thin pines out of town east to the farms, the two looked at the crops. Corn, beans, and greens were coming in nicely.

Then, Thatcher left the boy at his door.

As the old man turned to leave he looked over his shoulder and spoke. "Keep your wits about you."

Larson, his brow furrowed, watched the old man amble off; it was the disjointed gate of a man in refusal of his old age. He finally disappeared behind rows of corn. The boy went inside, ate, got cleaned up, and waited around for his brother, who showed up just after the sun set.

"Where've you been?"

"Out, " Largo answered and tossed a short sword, still in its sheath, onto the table with a clamor.

Larson had only seen that sword once. He looked at it then at the worrisome, young man.

"You went out to look for the kids, " Larson said in surprise.

Largo winced and vacillated before replying, "Yes, but there ain't nothin' out there."

"Everyone's scared…Thatcher even walked me home."

"I should've been there for you…it won't happen again, " Largo sighed.

"Don't be silly, " Larson howled. "These people are farmers, not soldiers like dad, and you know how to fight, don't you?"

"Don't worry about that…besides, they got hunters in town. Those fellas' can track better than I can."

"What are they tracking?"

Largo remained silent. He looked his brother over for a moment then grabbed something eat and a bottle of wine.

"You're not supposed to drink that, " Larson snipped.

"Well, Da's not here to say so, so shut up, " Largo joked.

"He's not coming home, is he, " Larson whispered and looked back at the sword.

"Sure he is…he's just held up or somethin'."

"You know something."

"No, " Largo sighed, "and that's what bothers me."

"Can we go to Half Pine tomorrow?"

"And who'll look after the house?"

They both grew quiet. Hours went by. Larson had never seen his brother so impassive. There was a look on his face he'd never before witnessed; it was like a curious mixture of confusion and determination. Once Larson started to nod off, a knock on the door rallied his attention. Even Largo jumped. He then hopped nimbly from a chair to answer the door. Larson trotted behind.

"Go upstairs, oh who am I kiddin', " Largo said and opened the door. It was Thatcher again. "What is it?"

The old man came in and everyone sat down at the table. "Another child gone missin', " the old man started with a trembling voice. "The Gettys girl; her older brother saw her wander off towards the woods to the north. He ran in after her, but couldn't find her." Thatcher grew quiet and fought to hold back tears. "This ain't normal."

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