This had been a pleasant place to walk a few moments before, the street filled with curious, old-fashioned buildings. Now they began to change shape, to move -- and to grow. Buildings, when they move, make a grating sound; rock against rock, that sounds so wrong you can't help but react. I could even see little mushroom creatures running for cover.
The area behind us was already closed off.
"Windows!" Davis shouted, sprinting towards a building, but before he could even reach the wall, the windows disappeared beneath a covering of brick.
I turned and saw the same happening to all the other buildings. We had crowded together into the very center now, and they came closer and closer on all sides as they grew taller.
"Maggie, fly out of here," I said.
She looked at me, her wings fluttering slightly against her back.
She shook her head and instead stamped the staff she carried once on the ground. Everything shook around us, and I'm not sure it was better for it. However, it did mean she had some power
"Stop!" she shouted in a voice that I thought should have stopped the world from moving. Power leapt from her and spread out in all directions, forming a new wall around us. This one glowed with power and sparkled with magic, but even so, it looked insubstantial and she was panting as though she'd run a marathon. "Can -- can hold for a while. Need to think how to get out of this."
He nodded, grim-faced even with this little reprieve. Edmond and Lord Snow were both prowling in circles, making cat noises. I kept quiet. I had nothing to offer to this conversation.
We could still hear the grinding of stone beyond the wall of magic. Maggie's defense only rose a few feet taller than us, and I realized the buildings had grown by a couple floors and were starting to lean inward above us. Would they fall and crush us? Or just wait for Maggie's magic to die off and complete the work?
"Yeah, we see," Davis said as he put a hand on my shoulder, drawing my attention from the scene above. "They're not reasoning beings, these houses. Someone is moving them, but that doesn't help us much."
"Maggie needs to go before she can't fly out," I said. Maggie shook her head. But Davis gave a nod, which didn't surprise me.
"He's right. I can hold your magic for a while. You are the only one who can get out and find us help, Maggie."
"I can't -- I can't just leave you --"
"Go," I said softly and put a hand on her arm. "You're the only hope we have."
I didn't really believe those words, but if it helped to get her out of here, I'd say anything at all.
"I can take one of you -- get the next -- carry you --"
"You're wings won't handle the weight, not straight up like this," Davis said. "For the love of the gods, go now before it's too late!"
"Take Edmond," I said, which got a startled meow out of the cat. "He's light. Get him out."
She bent and swept him up in her arms, holding him tight. Edmond looked at me, eyes blinking. I nodded. He understood that I didn't expect to see either of them again.
Then Edmond did something odd. He stared off into nothing for a moment and I realized he was having another vision. I hoped it helped. However, whatever he saw didn't seem to be an immediate answer to our problems.
"Teach him, Davis," Edmond said.
Maggie unfurled her wings, looked back at us one more time, and then gave another stamp of the staff on the ground. It reinforced the walls, but also seemed to give her an extra little push. They went upwards, the wings beating hard as she tried to gain height. I didn't think she would make it.
"I don't have much in power," Lord Snow said softly. "But I think this might help."
He lifted his head and blew upwards; a cold hard wind brushed against me and swept up, caught Maggie's wings, and lifted her and Edmond up over the top of the buildings. They disappeared.
I looked back at Davis. Maggie's protection was already starting to weaken.I knew Maggie wouldn't find help anywhere near because we'd found very little help so far. Davis frowned, looked at the magic and up at the buildings, and then back at me.
"Time for a magic lesson," he said.
I was going to protest, but did we have anything better to do? No. And maybe I could help a little.
"We are going to do something dangerous and darking, my friend," he said. He had put both his hands together, palm against palm. "Normally, someone coming into power would be taken to a quiet place and given months, if not years, of training before they were allowed to do more than rudimentary magic. I'm going to do something different. I'm going to implant knowledge of magic in you so that you can help me hold these walls in place."
"Good," I said. The buildings were leaning so closer over the top of us that I could barely see the sky now."
"This is dangerous."
"I figured that part," I said. "But we don't have a lot of choice and no time."
He nodded. "Stand very still."
He bowed over his hands, his long hair falling across his face, so he looked like a surfer dude meditating. I waited, trying not to fidget while the buildings kept creeping closer. Lord Snow at beside us, his head bowed as well. I thought he might be meditating, too.
Davis looked up, gave one nod and then reached out and put both his hands on the sides of my head, just above me ears.
I didn't even have time to take a deep breath before everything went crazy.
Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here:
And don't miss out on
for more fantastic quick reads
for more fantastic quick reads