Fiction Fridays #16: The AJ Story, Chapter 15


OH MY GOODNESS, I’m so sorry, guys!! I forgot to post yesterday’s Fiction Friday! Anyway, here it is. I’m leaving out the table of contents this time, since it’s pretty easy to find the other ones with that search bar up there. ^^^

~~~

“Wait!”
The voice made them all jump. There was no one in the room with them except Peck and Crashing. It sounded like there was someone downstairs. A familiar someone.
Flora, Juniper, and Lucky, respectively, ran down the stairs and back into the large banquet room.
“Greely?”
“I need to speak with Peck.”
They moved over as the massive wolf went up the crystalline stairs. The light reflecting off of the walls hit his stormy gray fur and made him appear to glow.
“Greely? May I ask what you are doing in my palace?” said Peck with a hint of a challenge. Peck was one of the most dangerous warriors in Jamaa: her pretty, small outward appearance belied her belligerent temperament. She wasn’t a Lucky, but she was an absolutely incredible warrior when she had to be.
Five minutes later, they came down, accompanied by Crashing Cutestar.
“What is it?” said Juniper nervously. She was too soon relieved for any more bad news.
“Juniper, Flora, Lucky!” squealed Crashing. “I get to stay with you!”
“She is dear to me,” said Peck, a half-smile on her lips. “But I think it is for the best that she stays with the ones she loves.”
“You have my permission, as well,” said Greely. “Normally, I wouldn’t allow anything other than a wolf to stay with my servants, but…”
“Greely, you’re getting soft,” said Lucky with a grin. “Thanks, you two. We were gonna miss her a lot.”
“Our pleasure,” said Peck graciously.
Scooter and Fauna had stayed down in the banquet room, making sure the leftovers didn’t go to waste. Fauna, it turned out, had a taste for garlic bread.
“Scooter!” called Peck. “You can stay with me. I’ll tell your parents. They’ll be overjoyed that their little Bravescout is safe and sound again.”
Scooter said a quick goodbye to Fauna, then hopped over to where her Alpha was standing.
“Ready to go, Fauna?” said Flora.
“Ready,” said the little penguin cheerfully.
“There’s something odd about that one,” muttered Greely to Peck. “Those eyes…”

Flora, Juniper, Lucky, Crashing, and Fauna began their walk back home. Coral Canyons, where Peck’s palace was, wasn’t too close to their home, so it was a bit of a walk. They walked along the edge of Sarepia Forest, which led directly to their home.
“Crashing, what do you want to do when we get home?” said Fauna eagerly. “You can still play with me!”
Crashing and Fauna chatted vivaciously all the way to the residential side of Jamaa. They talked about everything they’d do together, now that they were staying for good. Fauna had no idea who her parents were, and sometime she’d have to either be adopted by a penguin or sent to Marco, but in the meantime she’d be staying with the wolves.
Juniper’s brow was creased as they neared their house.
“What?” said Lucky. “You look nervous.”
“Do you smell smoke?” said Juniper.
“I don’t smell anything,” said Fauna, tapping her beak. “Birds can’t smell.” Crashing giggled.
“No, I’m serious.”
“How much?” said Flora. “It could be a campfire, or it could be serious.”
“I don’t know. But there’s smoke.” Juniper looked around for any signs of a fire. “We need to hurry up and get home. It might be something bad, and we need to make sure it’s not a housefire.”
They jogged all the way to their house. “Look!” gasped Juniper.
Smoke was rising from the edge of Sarepia Forest. A bright flickering light was coming from the trees.
“Okay, there’s fire,” said Juniper, trying to sound as calm as possible. “We need to get down by the stream, but first we have to make sure everyone’s safe.”
“Everyone’s here,” said Lucky.
“Not everyone,” said Flora, her eyes wide. “It’s nearly midnight. Sparkle’s probably asleep.”
“You guys hurry down to the stream,” said Lucky. “I’ll get Sparkle.”
“Be safe,” said Juniper in a trembling voice as her golden sister ran down to the little cottage next to theirs.
“Do you think we’ll be okay?” said Fauna.
“We’ll be fine, honey,” Flora reassured her. “We’ll get down to the stream, and we’ll all be safe while we try to keep it back.”
“Do you see Lucky yet?” said Juniper once they were at the creek. She squinted. It was very dark.
“There!” A tall, fluffy black-and-green shape was following a smaller, lither gold one.
“Hurry!” called the blue wolf.
They all sat down on the bank of the river. Sparkle was shaking. Lucky didn’t look scared at all. She was shooting narrow glances at the encroaching light and fidgeting in the mud.
“We can’t just sit here!” she burst out after hardly thirty seconds.
“What can we do?” said Flora.
“Sparkle’s got a massive garden. Surely there’s a water hose somewhere!”
“There’s two on the back of the house,” said Sparkle timidly. “But be careful!”
“Careful is for cowards!” shouted Lucky, who was already halfway to Sparkle’s cottage.
“And that’s why my sister’s going to die young,” said Flora with a mix between fear and exasperation in her voice.
The fire was getting very close now. Lucky grabbed the end of the hose and ran toward the flames. She wasn’t going to let the fire get her neighbor’s house.
“Alright, guys, just stay here,” muttered Juniper. “Especially you, Crashing. And – FAUNA!”
The penguin had run away from the stream bank and was going toward where Lucky was blasting a hole in the wall of heat.
“Great Zios, Fauna! You’re going to get yourself killed!” Juniper screamed.
“Come on!” said Flora. “If an eight-year-old can stop it, we can, too. Sparkle, you stay here and watch Crashing.”
“With my life,” said Sparkle.
Flora and Juniper ran to join their sister. Flora grabbed the other hose, and Juniper grabbed the penguin.
“You are going to die if you try that!” said Juniper. “Come on. You’re going back with Sparkle and Crashing.”
“No! I want to help!”
“Fine, then! Go get your tail feathers burned off!” Of course, Fauna kept going.
“Lucky! Let me help!” Lucky tossed the water hose to Fauna, who caught it expertly and sprayed it at the fire.
“It’s too big,” said Flora. “We need help!”
Luckily for them, others had begun to notice the smoke rising from the forest. They could hear others shouting, see them pouring buckets of water onto the fire. “They’re getting it!” said Flora in relief.
The slight pause was all the heat needed. It surged forward and touched the side of Sparkle’s house.
“No!”
“Run!” cried Juniper. Even Lucky obeyed.
The four firefighters fled the scene as the fire engulfed the arctic wolf’s cottage. Flora looked behind her to make sure everyone had made it. Lucky, Juniper, and Fauna were running behind as fast as they could.
Let’s just hope it’s fast enough, prayed Flora.
“Ugh!”
“No! Fauna!” screamed Juniper.
Fauna tripped and fell, her face a picture of panic as she struggled to her feet. Juniper, Flora, and Lucky ran back to help their friend.
But it was too late.
Just as they began to run for the fallen animal, the flames surged forward and caught Fauna on the tail.

~~~

Thanks for reading!! So sorry I didn’t post this yesterday!!

Summer

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