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

   Chapter 4 No.4

The Adventures of Larson and Garrett - The Sleeping Tree By AaronDennis Characters: 5490

Updated: 2017-12-28 12:04


"Vanishin' kids is never normal, " Largo corrected.

"I mean, these kids ain't bein' takin', they're wanderin' off on purpose!"

"Anyone find anythin'?"

"No, but they're talkin' about gatherin' everyone at the schoolhouse with Mrs. Graham an' a few townsfolk keepin' guard over the children. I volunteered to help at that end."

"What's the plan, " Largo asked.

Thatcher sighed and rubbed his scruff before saying, "While the children are kept together an' safe, the hunters are going to go out to track the girl. They won't come back until they find somethin'."

"And you want me to go with them, " Largo surmised.

Thatcher's gaze pierced the young man's eyes. "People need you. Children need you. At the rate we're goin', whatever's out there's gonna destroy this town."

"Whatever's out there?" Largo howled, argumentatively. "There's no more monsters, dammit."

"Who're you to make that call?"

Largo was stunned. "But…but there can't be."

"Well, this ain't men, or orcs, or dwarves, is it? Somethin's lurin' these kids away into the forest…an' short of burnin' it down to the ground, we don't know what else to do. Strangely enough, whatever this is don't seem to pose a threat to adults, so you should be safe."

"You've got to go, " Larson interrupted. "Dad would go."

Largo clenched his jaw a few times. Larson cocked an eyebrow.

"I'll get my books, you get your sword, and we'll go to the schoolhouse, " Larson stated.

At that moment, the boy looked just like their dad. Largo smiled involuntarily. Larson's jaw was smaller, and he was a pint sized duckling by comparison, but the eyes were the same; fierce, resolved, even though it wasn't him going out to fight.

"Dad says when people ask you for help, you've got to do it because one day you or someone you love will need help, and you'll wish everyone would get together to help you, " Larson said.

Largo turned back to Thatcher and nodded. "Alright."

The three readied themselves, and in the middle of the night, they marched to the schoolhouse. Even before arriving, they noticed the light shining through the school's windows. Moonlight revealed several people gathered just outside the building; some bore torches.

"Go inside, " Largo told his brother.

The boy maintained a stiff upper lip and passed the adults. Within the school's walls, Larson saw the multitude of children. There were almost two dozen ranging in ages from infants to perhaps thirteen. The oldest child who had disappeared was only nine, but no one wanted to take any chances, so everyone old enough to grab a sword, dagger, axe, or bow claimed a weapon and journeyed into the forest.

"Larson, " a boy called.

Michael, one of the older boys in Mrs. G

raham's class was sitting at the tables. Larson joined him. They glanced at the other kids and the few older adults. Some of the women had apparently joined the hunting party, leaving only six adults in the schoolhouse, including Mrs. Graham.

"Don't be scared, " Michael finally said.

"I'm not, " Larson whispered. "I want to help."

"When you're older, " the boy smiled.

Michael was slender with long, dark hair. His clothes looked like they had belonged to someone else, but he was firm and nice.

"Listen up, children, " Mrs. Graham announced. "There's no reason to fret. To keep our minds busy, we'll go ahead and start on Monday's lesson plan."

Groans followed suit. She then instructed those who had their books to open to a certain page. Most of the children had to share as they had come unprepared. It didn't really matter. While Mrs. Graham haphazardly started teaching, most of the boys tried to listen to the other adults. Standing by the back wall, they were speculating about goblins, and orcs, or ogres—the common, child eating monsters. Someone suggested it was a troll because they only hunt at night.

"Sunlight turns 'em ta' stone, " an old man said.

"It don't turn 'em to stone, " Mr. Thatcher argued. "That's an old wives' tale!"

Before long, since it was getting late, some of the children placed their heads on folded arms and drifted off. The slow progression of time was grueling. Larson was antsy, but he was also tired. He rifled through the pages of a large book with a green, leather cover. He wasn't quite able to make out the title.

"Leon's Tr-treeump, " he asked with a scrunched face.

"Leon's Triumph, " Mrs. Graham corrected in a whisper. Larson looked up at her, and she smiled, providing that safe feeling. "It's about a brave knight who defeated an army of the undead for his king."

"Undead, " Larson asked. "Like skeletons?"

"Like skeletons, " Mrs. Graham acknowledged.

"Can you read it to us?"

She smiled again and vacillated. Then, she called the children to sit on the floor around her. She took a wooden chair and sat facing them to read the story. It had a slow beginning about the history of an evil wizard named Lorknar. Larson was sprawled out on the floor and asleep before the story got interesting.

Words were just background noise like the sounds of flickering torches, or the swirling river. From the blackness of sleep, he heard a melodious sound. It was unknown to him, but somehow reeked of home, of sweetness. It was something like a woman's voice, but there were no words spoken. The sound then morphed into shapeless colors, and eventually it solidified into the image of a tree, a great, old tree with the bark cracked and the limbs bare.

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