Tuesday, January 3, 2012

21. Gnome attack

        The attack came at dusk.  I thought we were safe but hadn’t expected gnomes.  I’d gone to great trouble, with the help of my own loyal fairy, Bonnie, and together we secured the house against attack from hostile fairies, thinking airborne, and had locked all windows, repaired all the screens, inspected the roof, and thoroughly checked the attic for points of entry along the eaves.  Who would have suspected an attack from the ground, from burrowing gnomes, and their subterranean allies, the rats?  Bonnie and I were caught totally off guard.  Gnomes and rats entered the house in large numbers through the basement.  Their target was my fairy, and they waited patiently for the ideal circumstance and situation, a day and time with a minimum of humans in the house.  My brother Brian was off to play in a band concert and Mom had gone to watch.  None of my friends were over to visit, not even Westley.  And I would even have welcomed Madison’s presence.  Unfortunately, I was the only one in the house to protect Bonnie from the gnomes.
        The rats came in first, dozens of them.  Earlier that morning Gnomes had discovered an entry into the house, an exhaust vent that led to our clothes dryer in the basement.  Gnomes immediately propped the outlet open and sent for their nefarious rodent allies.  Rats were ordered into the vent and hastily scurried along inside the round plastic exhaust venting, in through the house siding and down into the basement, and all the way to the dryer, where they chewed through the plastic venting and dropped onto the cement basement floor.
        The gnomes would have followed next, but were too large and couldn’t fit, all except one, a small female with black hair that was exceptionally slender by gnomish standards.  They tied a harness to an unusually large black rat and the slender female gnome attached ropes from the harness to around her waist.  They covered her with cooking grease and by holding onto the rat’s tail, with the help of the harness, keeping her arms and legs straight, the big rat was able to pull her through the venting to their exit hole and all the way into the basement.  That was all they needed.
        Under the leadership and control of that slender greasy female gnome, a small group of most compliant rats followed her up the basement stairway and into the kitchen.  It was just bad luck on our part the basement door had been left ajar, or they would have had to hack and chew their way underneath and we might have heard them.  They made their way into the living room undetected and crossed to the large bay windows at the front of the house.  These Pella windows open and shut by turning a small knob and handle.  The slender female gnome slid open the lock, then tied ropes from the knob to the harness on her large black rat and two others.  Pushing and pulling in concert with the rats, she was able to slowly crank open the large bay window.
        More gnomes were waiting impatiently outside.  They had carried some loose bricks and a bucket, found along the side of the house, to just below the window and stacked up some temporary steps.  They slashed open the screen with a hatchet, handed in their weapons, and then chambered in one by one, I think probably another six of the squat ugly little fellows.  They were in.
        Bonnie and I were upstairs in my room lying on the floor watching TV.  She was the first to become suspicious.  Fairies are exceptionally alert by nature.  Her little head bobbed up in surprise, and the fur on the back of her head and neck stiffened.  She looked back over her shoulder towards the shut and climbed to her feet.  She uncurled her wings.
        “What’s the matter Bonnie?” I asked, as she took a few steps towards the door and rose up on the balls of her feet.  She sniffed at the air and cocked her head.
        The fairy was wearing a two-piece swimsuit and short beach robe from her Barbie Doll clothes collection.  She pulled the robe tight about her body and tied the sash.  She flapped her wings and looked ready to spring into the air.  “I hear something in the hall?” she exclaimed, and then she ran a few paces and dived forward.  She flapped her wings with fluid smooth strokes and drew herself up into the air.  She circled up until near the ceiling by the doorway.
        Then I heard it too, the sound of something skittering across the carpet in the hall just beyond the door.  I got to my feet also and put my ear to the door.  “What is it?” I whispered.
        Bonnie shook her head.  “Not know.”  She hovered near the upper corner of the shut door, motioning at me to open it.
        I glanced at the window and saw it was secure, then put my hand on the door knob.  I shook my head at the fairy.  “You stay here while I investigate.”
        The fairy furiously shook her head back at me.  “No Michael, no, Bonnie must come too.”
        “You think it might be some of your fairy fiends?”
        “No Michael, something else.”
        Slowly I turned the knob and then cracked the door open.  Bonnie hovered above my head looking out the crack.  She had her dagger out.
        I was astonished to see two big ugly rats squatting on the carpet a short ways down the hall.  They were just sitting there staring back at me, seemingly unafraid, making no move to run for cover.  I pulled the door on open and stomped a foot towards them, to shoo them away.  They immediately fled, but only a few feet, and then stopped again to stare back at me.  I exited the room and they retreated to the top of the stairs.  I faked like I was going to rush at them and they fled and tumbled down the stairs, and then skittered around a corner and out of view.
        I looked at Bonnie in amazement.  “We have rats in the house?”  I’ve been seeing more and more of them out in the yard lately.
        Bonnie was flying up close to the ceiling, looking down the stairs after them.  She shrugged, and we started down the stairs together to investigate.  “Be careful,” she cautioned, in that little high pitched melodious voice of hers.
        I didn’t see any further sign of rats in the front hall or living room.  It seemed awfully quiet in the house.  We checked in the kitchen and didn’t see anything suspicious there either.  Then I noticed the door to the basement was ajar.  I opened the door carefully and peered into the dark.  Then I flipped on the basement light switch.  There was the sound of scurrying feet and rat claws scraping on cement flooring as the basement illuminated and they ran for cover.  I looked at Bonnie and shook my head in disgust.  Then I picked up a broom and started down the basement stairs.
        “No Michael,” the fairy cautioned, but I didn’t listen.  I just kept wondering what my mom would think to learn we had rats in the house.  Bonnie followed, flying in pace with me, only up near the ceiling.  She was staying as high as possible.
        Half way down the stairs, we came out of the stairwell enough to see the main room of the basement.  I was aghast and froze on the steps.  It looked like hundreds of them, but actually probably only dozens, swarming all about the floor, all around the main furnace, all over boxes and loose ends we had stored down in the basement.  They were coming out of the laundry room, emerging out from behind the washer and dryer.
        I shivered involuntarily and felt the hair on the back of my head stand up.  I turned around very slowly to tip toe back up the stairs, trying hard not to disturb them.  I motioned at Bonnie to retreat back up the stairs too.  The last thing I wanted was to have the rats attack us.
          Yet what should I see at the top of the basement stairwell, blocking our retreat, but a little gnome, the first I had ever seen. He was squat and ugly, and angry looking, and he held a large axe, leaning on it like a staff with the head on the floor.  I wasn’t sure whether to be alarmed or amused.
        This gnome, as my fairy later told me they were called, was half again as tall as the largest of the warrior fairies we saw in the woods, probably a foot to a foot and a half tall, and he must have weighed three to four times the weight of the slender fairies, he was so squat and heavy.  He had heavy coarse gray hair, and a voluminous gray beard that was braided in front of his chest.  His eyes were beady and angry and his forehead knit in furious concentration.  He wore fur clothing with hard turtle shells on his shoulders, back and chest, for armor.  His arms were thick and muscular and he had on armlets adorned with turquoise stones, matching the stones embedded in the helmet on his head, which actually had horns like you might expect from a Viking helmet.  He had heavy brown boots on his overly large feet.  His axe was massive and the blade was almost as tall as half his body.  He hefted it into a ready position as I took a trepid step back up the stairs towards him, and he seem to grin, as if relishing the chance for a fight.
        I looked back into the basement at the rats, and was alarmed to see several of them massing at the bottom of the stairs, as if preparing themselves to rush at me in a mass.  I stomped a foot in their direction and shook my broom at them and they scattered, but soon recollected themselves.  I screwed the head of the broom off and threw the head down at the rats, causing them to scatter a little more thoroughly.  Then I pointed the stick at the gnome barring my way, and then raised it over my head to threaten him.  He only grinned more broadly and swung his axe around in response, challenging me.
        “What is it?” I asked my fairly.  He wasn’t big enough to really be afraid of, but that axe looked awful sharp and his self-confidence was unnerving.
        “A gnome, one of Knutr’s clan ,” Bonnie responded.  “These are bad gnomes, led by a fierce couple, Jarl and Gyda Knutr.”
        “What do you think they want?”
        Bonnie hovered down before my face.  “They’ve come to take revenge on me!” she cried, her face torn with fright.  “They want their hammer.  Don’t give it to them.”
        “The hammer, the hammer we found in the woods?”
         Bonnie nodded.   “They need it to work their magic and re-open the portal into the realm of fairies.  Don’t give it to them, no matter what.  They are bad.  Gnomes are enemies to fairies.  They will end my life if they can.”
        The rats were massing at the foot of the stairs again, and I knew we couldn’t stay there long.  A couple of them started climbing up the first steps, so I swung my broom stick at them again and scared them back into the basement.
        “We need to get outside,” Bonnie cried.  “We need to get out in the open.”
        Looking back at the gnome at the top of the stairs, I saw movement on one side of the doorway.   There were one or more gnomes waiting just out of sight to ambush us.  “I’ll knock him aside and we’ll make a dash for the back door,” I whispered.  “You stay up near the ceiling.”
        Then I charged at the gray bearded gnome and swung the broom stick down hard at his head.  I wasn’t worried at this point, because of my size I had a distinct advantage in reach and strength.  So I didn’t put all my strength into the blow, I didn’t want to kill the little gnome, he wasn’t much over a foot and a half tall, but perhaps I should have.  The little warrior planted the foot of his axe on the floor, stooped under the head of the axe, and caught my descending stick on the top of his axe, blocking my blow.  Immediately another gnome jumped out from next to the doorway.  This one also had a gray beard and was armed with a big stone sledge hammer, which he brought down onto my stick, breaking it clean in two.  I fell forward onto the steps right in front of them.  Immediately the axe wielding gnome leapt to the side, pulled his axe free, and swung his axe around and would have chopped me in the nose, if it hadn’t of  been for my fairy.
        Bonnie had flown into the kitchen well above the heads of the gnomes.  Then, seeing my predicament had dived down onto the back of the gray gnome and thrust her little dagger into his shoulder.  He howled in pain and dropped his battle axe enough so that the blade passed just under my nose, pretty much between my lips.  It was that close.  I pushed myself backwards and slid down the steps on my stomach, all the way to the bottom.  Worried about the rats and sharp little teeth, I frantically leaped back to my feet, jumping up and down in case any were trying to bite me, and raced part way back up the stairs.
        I heard Bonnie scream and looked up to see her just dodge an arrow.  Two more gnomes had appeared banishing cross bows.  These two had red hair, a male and female, the male with a red beard to match, and these had long pikes stuck in holsters on their back, and carried cross bows in their arms.  They each took another shot at Bonnie, which she narrowly dodged, working with all her might to gain altitude in a swerving spiral.  I howled at the gnomes in rage and charged up the stairs.  To my horror, the gray bearded gnomes slammed the door shut in my face, but before it closed I saw my fairy take an arrow in the stomach and fall, dropping like a dead bird.
        I lowered my shoulder and hit into the door, but the handle had clicked secure into the frame latch and the door held firm against me.  Ignoring a searing pain in my shoulder, I turned the door handle and flung open the door.  The gnomes tried to hold the door shut against me, but I was too strong for them, and shoved them back until I had two of them squashed into the wall, where they roared with rage and shouted warnings to their fellows.
        Across the kitchen I was alarmed to see a large muscular blonde- headed female gnome had stuffed my fairy into a large burlap bag and was dragging her out of the kitchen and into the living room.   I charged after them, but they had been warned, and a group of four gnomes formed a skirmish line at the doorway between the kitchen and the living room to block me, while the muscular blonde female gnome continued with Bonnie across the living room.
        I skidded to a halt and was evaluating my chances leaping over their skirmish line.  I didn’t think I would have much chance charging through, especially not since the two red gnomes had dropped their cross-bows and were positioned at either end of the skirmish line, with those wicked looking pikes.  In the middle of the skirmish line was the biggest of the gnomes I had seen thus far, a large blonde gnome with massive beard and a one sided axe that looked more like a scythe.  Next to him was a skinny black female haired gnome, who was proportioned similar to a human, but was the same height as the other gnomes and dressed in similar garb.  She was all covered in grease and had a long sword and was swinging in back and forth as if spoiling for a fight.  They were soon joined by their fellows who had fought me at the top of the stairs, the gray bearded gnomes.  The one with the hammer had lost his helmet and, although he had a wonderfully full gray beard and giant mustache that curled up above his eyes, was totally bald.
        The six of them had me blocked, no way could I fight through with those menacing weapons, and the seventh was dragging Bonnie away and was almost to the large bay windows clear across the living room.  I was about to charge anyway, in a vain rush, when I had a sudden idea.  Bonnie had said they wanted their hammer.  I snatched the keychain out of my pocket and held up to their view.  There was a collective sign from the gnomes when they saw the hammer, followed immediately by a torrent of grunts and curses.  I removed the hammer from my key chain, it was attached by the leather tongs, and dangled it in front of their eyes.  “You want this, little people, you come and get it.”
        The big one in the middle of the skirmish line stepped forward, obviously their leader.  He grunted at me in some type of guttural language and pointed at the hammer, then opened his palm as if he expect me to hand it over.  I shook my head and pointed at Bonnie, squirming in the burlap bag, now being held on the ground under one foot of that muscular blonde female gnome.  My refusal seemed to enrage the leader gnome, for he grew red in the face and began blustering and shouting at me all the more in that guttural tongue of his.  I wasn’t going to have any of that, so I opened my mouth, tipped my head back, and held the hammer right above my mouth, as if about to swallow their precious hammer.  This started them all to yammering something terrible.  But they knew what I wanted, and the leader quieted the others and then shouted at the blonde female gnome and she took her fat foot off Bonnie.
        I was relieved to see my fairy struggle out of the burlap bag and shakily get to her feet.  Assessing the situation, Bonnie took a few running steps and launched herself into the air.  I was afraid she might have an arrow sticking out of her, I had seen her get shot in the stomach, but she appeared unhurt.
        A trade is a trade.  I waited until Bonnie was up near the ceiling and then I tossed the ugly fellow his stupid hammer.  Only I threw it in a high arch just over their heads, and when all the gnomes reached up and jumped to try and catch it, I immediately darted for the back door, assuming Bonnie would follow and we could escape outside.
        Unfortunately my valiant fairy had other ideas.  She swooped down from the ceiling and intercepted the hammer in mid-air, snatching it just beyond their fingertips.  They howled and howled as Bonnie ascended to the ceiling with their precious hammer, now well out of their reach once more.  The gnomes were in a frenzy of rage and shouted and screamed in the most horrible way imaginable.  The two red gnomes fumbled to load their cross bows and soon were launching arrows at Bonnie, trying to shoot her down again.  She circled the ceiling and then darted up the stairwell towards higher elevation, and got herself safely out of range around a corner and disappeared upstairs.  The gnomes scrambled for the foot of the stairs to give pursuit.
        Not willing to abandon my fairy to the gnomes, I reversed myself and high stepped back through and over the startled gnomes and raced up the stairs after Bonnie.  This drew the attention of the cross bow gnomes and I took several hits, two in the side, one in the shoulder, and one on my left cheek.  The cross bow arrows bounced me, and I realized they had padded the tips of their arrows, probably wanting to take Bonnie alive, but the one that hit me in the cheek worse than a bee sting.
        I chased down the hall after the fairy, into my bedroom, and flung the door shut.  “Bonnie, why didn’t you just let them have the stupid hammer?”
        “Gnomes not get hammer,” she responded.  “Gnomes bad.”
        “But it’s their hammer, give it back to them.”
        “Not good, Michael,” Bonnie argued.  “If gnomes get sacred hammer, gnomes can open portal to the fairy realm, which is also the homeland of the gnomes.”
        I listened to the howling and shouting of the gnomes as they climbed their way up the stairs after us.  They were coming, we didn’t have a moment to spare.  I raced over to the window and flung it wide open.  Then I quickly removed to screen.  I had one foot out the window, when Bonnie cried, “Michael, you cannot fly!”
        The gnomes reached our bedroom door at that moment and we soon heard them grunting and straining at the bottom of the door trying to push it open.  The door handle held, but I jumped back over to the door and pushed on it just in case.  Soon we heard the sound of axes and pikes smiting at the bottom of the door.  There was the sound of rats out there too.  The gnomes were determined to cut their way in after us, and from the sound of the splitting and splintering wood, I didn’t think we would more than a moment or two before they were upon us.
        I raced back to the window.  “I’m going to jump,” I cried, then Bonnie flew in my face.
        “No look,” she cried, pointing out the window.
        I saw movement in the grass below.  There were more of the squat little gnomish creatures outside.  I counted another squad of eight, out in the yard hiding, among the bushes and in the garden.  Some of them had cross-bows too, and soon arrows came flying up at us, forcing me back into the room.
        I raced back to the door and violently kicked the bottom of it, which gave them pause for a moment, but only for a moment, and then they back at the door with renewed fury.
        “Bonnie, do you think you could avoid their arrows once you got outside?”
        “Yes Michael, of course, I fly high.  They not hit Bonnie.  But if you jump down, they will kill you.”
        “Don’t worry about me,” I said.  “You escape out the window and I’ll lock myself in the closet.  Make sure they know you have the hammer.  Maybe they’ll leave off trying to attack me once they see the hammer’s gone.”
        Bonnie wrung her hands.  “Oh Michael, I don’t know.”
        There was a loud splitting noise and a rat squeezed under the door, under the space they created with their axes, and emerged fully into my room.  He saw us and scurried across the room to hide under the bed.  Another rat poked his head through but drew it back.   The axes begin swinging again and there was more wood splitting.  “Just do it,” I shouted at Bonnie, and leaped into the closet, pulling the door shut and holding it tight.  The closet door in my room is made of folding slats, not nearly as secure as the bedroom door, which they had hacked their way through, and I knew it would not hold them back for long.  There was more splitting of wood and the leader of the gnomes came crawling into the room.  Bonnie finally followed my directions, and with a cry of dismay darted out the window with the hammer.  The gnome leader howled in renewed rage.  Then the wood at the bottom of the door gave way and all the gnomes and a good dozen rats poured into the room.  They looked in my direction and could see me standing there through the slats.   The older bald one with the big hammer shouted an angry war cry and charged at me.  He swung his hammer at the bottom of closet door and delivered a mighty blow.  I kicked my side of the door in response and he cursed and hit the door with his hammer again.  Several of his fellows moved to assist him.
        Then a glorious sight.  Suddenly streaming in through the window came a squad of warrior fairies and all the pixies, including my Bonnie.  Teutorigos, my man, deployed his warriors to the right and left and they circled the ceiling, raining arrows down on the gnomes and rats.  This forced the gnomes into an immediate retreat and the rats to scatter for cover, either back out the door or under my bed.  The gnomes got out their cross bows and sent arrows winging back at the fairies, disrupting their formation.
        A huge battle then commenced, such a one as you never might have imagined outside of some fantasy storybook.  The gnomes were bigger and stronger, but the fairies had the advantage of speed and airborne mobility.  Assisting the gnomes were dozens of rats, but they were of little help other than adding to the bedlam and scaring any fairies from alighting on the ground.  Four big crows followed the fairies into the room and these were flapping their wings and circling about the ceiling making all kinds of racket with their awful cawing cries.  Unfortunately they weren’t of much help either, other than in frightening the rats.
        The gnomes erected a barricade and got behind my gym bag and heaped up odd clothes I had left scattered about the floor, but not before several were injured and the blonde muscular female gnome looked about ready to drop from pain and exhaustion.  The fairies could not engage them in hand to hand combat though, for whenever a fairy warrior drew close, the superior reach of the gnomes only put them in danger of those heavy gnomish hammers and axes and pikes.  I was surprised to notice the tips of the fairy arrows were also covered and blunted.  The only blood I had seen spilt was downstairs when Bonnie stabbed the gray axe gnome in the shoulder.
        Bonnie was circling speedily about the ceiling with the rest of the fairies, swinging the gnome’s hammer in great arcs and shouting taunts at the gnomes.  Then Teutorigos ordered her out of the way.  She flew off to the bookshelves near the ceiling, where she joined the other two pixies to watch and shout encouragement to their fellows from the safety of their perch.  I saw one fairy, Elisedd the one renowned for archery, take a hit and go down, and immediately the rats were upon her.  One of the gnomes beat them off and they drug her behind their barricade.
        Another fairy, Drust the largest male fairy, got nicked in the leg by an arrow, but didn’t fall.   The fairies had the gnomes pinned down, but it looked like a battle of attrition was developing, one which the fairies would lose in time.  There were only six fairy warriors, and one was down already, and only four worthless crows to help.  There were seven gnomes and a huge host of rats arrayed against them.  Time was on the gnome’s side.  The gnomes were shouting and taunting the fairies now, trying to get them to expend their arrows.
        To make matters worse, I noticed one of the gnomes had snuck across the room, unobserved by the fairy warriors, and made her way under the bed without being seen.  It was the slender female gnome all covered in grease, the one that looked proportionally similar to a miniature human.  She had black hair and looked a lot like Xena in that old TV show, Xena the Warrior Princess, only not so pretty.  I watched in horror as she shed her armor and threw her weapons down.  Pulling herself up by the sheets, she climbed up onto the bed in a feat of skill that would have made any human mountain climber proud.  The she clambered up onto the headboard and took hold of the cord that ran to a lamp up on the shelf where Bonnie and the other two pixies were huddled together safeguarding the hammer.
        I tried to shout a warning but the squawking of the crows the shouting of the gnomes drowned out any chance of Bonnie hearing me.  Xena began to hoist herself up the cord and climbed it hand over hand, her feet wrapped around the cord for leverage and support.  She reached the bookshelf and got clear up on the shelf before the pixies noticed her.
        The little pixies screamed with alarm and shrank back, but then bravely rose to face Xena, who cracked her knuckles and smacked a fist into the palm of one hand.  Xena the gnome was about twice their height and her body was rippling with lean sinewy muscles.  Jennie rushed at the gnome first, but Xena smacked the little pixie on the side of the head with the back of her hand, causing Bonnie’s little friend to tumble off the shelf unconscious, and drop all the way to the floor.  Bonnie laid the hammer down, then she and Courtney rushed at Xena together.  Xena stiff-armed my Bonnie and knocked her off the shelf too, but Bonnie deployed her wings and caught herself in mid-air and flew back at the gnome.  Meanwhile Courtney punched Xena in the stomach, but it didn’t seem to faze the gnome.  Then Bonnie swooped in and lit on Xena’s back, then she grabbed Xena by the hair and tried to pull her head back, wings flapping to give added muscle to the effort.  Courtney immediately grabbed Xena around the legs and pulled, trying hard to upend the gnome. 
        Suddenly I heard the sound of the garage door opening.  My room is directly over the garage.  Mom and Brian were back.  What would Mom think of all this bedlam?  Gnomes and rats tearing about her house in an all out battle against fairies and crows.  She would go crazy.  But that didn’t matter, Bonnie was in trouble.  I couldn’t just stand there in the closet watching while my little fairy was fighting for her life against the giant Xena gnome.
        I burst out the closet and pointed at the battle on the bookshelf.  “Up there!” I shouted.  The fairy warriors turned to see their danger.  Teutorigos cried a command and Seisyll, the champion of fairyland, flew to the immediate assistance of the pixies.  This caused the gnomes on the ground to shout in frustration and mount a charge out from behind their barricade.  Since I was the only one with my feet on the ground, and hence the only one they could attack, the two red gnomes and the bald gray gnome rushed at me.  Fortunately the fairies interjected, as Teutorigos led Judocus and Drust to intercept and they landed in front of the gnomes and fought them to a standstill, with Cadeyrn shooting arrows from the air to keep the others at bay.
        That gave me a moments respite, but now I could hear car doors shutting in the garage below.  I leaped up onto my bed, flicked the Xena Gnome off the bookshelf just as she and the fairy Seisyll punched each other in the face, and I snatched up the hammer myself.  “Hey look what I got,” I screamed.  “You guys want the hammer, you go and get it!”  Then I flung the hammer out the window as hard as I could.
        Immediately all conflict ceased and everyone froze in apparent horror.  They looked at me, then they looked at each other, then they looked out the window at the disappearing hammer.  Teutorigos shouted an order in fairy language and immediately Seisyll and Cadeyrn sped out the window in pursuit to try and beat the outside gnomes to the hammer.  The leader of the gnomes began shouting at his squad, and they began an immediate retreat, all the while yelling what I took to be gnomish obscenities at me.  The large brutish blonde haired gnome leader, paused over the muscular female blonde gnome, and in a surprising act of empathy, took up his dazed partner, draped her arm over his shoulder, and helped her hobbling from the room.  The fairies did not molest them in their retreat, but instead looked to their own wounded.  Both Jennie and Elisedd had fallen.  Drust picked up the fallen pixie by himself and lifted up into the air and left out the window.  Teutorigos shot me an angry stare, then he and Judocus lifted up the unconscious Elisedd, each taking an arm and wrapping a leg around her opposing legs, they rose into the air as a group and also flew out the window.  The remaining pixie, Courtney, followed, but not before making a face at Bonnie.
        Only my fairy stayed behind.  Bonnie sat herself on the bookshelf, legs dangling, trying to catch her breath, but looking none too worse for the wear, so I slammed the window shut and collapsed onto my bed.
        A cry downstairs from Mom brought me back to a sitting position.  I heard Mom shouting, “Where did all these rat droppings come from?  We have rats in the house!!”  I smiled and fell back onto the bed.  Thank goodness that was all we had in the house now.
        Bonnie flew over to me and landed on my chest, where she curled up and we just lay in silence, trying to absorb what had happened and recover from the battle. We were safe.  For now.

      December 23, 2012
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