Wish Carriers

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Liffon Foxglove, the youngest in the Foxglove line, travels to Greenbrook to become a Wish Carrier. Upon arriving, he finds his father, the famous Fens Foxglove, has gone missing on a very important mission. Where has he gone? It's up to the young hummingbird and his new friend Lissa Gentian to find out what's going on. What they find may even be a threat to the Carriers, let alone Greenbrook and perhaps all of Herald itself.

Please feel free to comment. I have divided the chapters up according to basic word count, so they are rather long. When I totally finish everything, it will probably look a bit nicer.

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8. Carmen's Desire

          The day progressed at a snail’s pace, much to Fens’ dismay. Various people stopped at the booth, at first skeptical, but soon a long line was forming at the now popular “Carl’s Magic Birds” stand. From pet parrots to cold cures, the wishes kept coming.

          One woman, upset that her father still hated her husband, came forward and wished for them to get along. She turned around to find the two men hugging and was elated, then proceeded to tell everyone else about it. Another woman complained about a cockroach problem and was answered by a text from her husband saying all of the cockroaches in the basement had suddenly fled in a huge stampede. And finally, a young man with a horrible head cold came by and wished it away. He was immediately cured.

          The talk got the attention of a wealthy woman that was wandering the fair that day. While she normally would just send her butler Jeeves to find anything interesting about, but today she felt like getting out herself. Carmen wasn’t as fancy as someone with a butler would normally appear, but her 8-carat diamond wedding ring said differently. They matched her enormous diamond-studded earrings as Jeeves (who also happened to be her bodyguard) looked around.

          “What is this magic bird people keep speaking of?” she asked Jeeves, turning her hand so the ring caught the light.

          “I believe, Miss Carmen, that a new booth has appeared today,” Jeeves explained. “A man says that his bird grants wishes, and it appears to be true.”

          “Let us go see this bird,” Carmen said with a nod.

          The line was around the entire park by now. Carmen’s face remained unemotional as she watched from the sidelines as people wished for simple things like their favorite novel or a bouquet of flowers. She wondered why they were not wishing for anything really large when she spotted the rules the man had posted.

          No extravagant wishes, no wishes that could harm Carl Jenkins or his Magic Bird, no wishes that will cause major natural disasters or likewise. One wish per customer, pay upfront. $10 per wish.

          “Extravagant wishes?” she said only loud enough for Jeeves to hear, then hissed. “He doesn’t know potential when he sees it!”

          One man approached the booth where Carl sat, his face flush with nervousness. Carmen raised an eyebrow curiously.

          “H-hello,” the nervous man said, his voice cracking. “I’ve always wanted this car model that I cannot get ahold of. It’s so rare....”

          Carl held up a hand to stop him. “I’m sorry, sir. Can’t grant you any extravagent wishes. The paper says so,” he said, pointing at the paper.

          “I can pay well,” the man begged. “I really want this car. I’ve been looking for it for ages.”

          “I don’t know,” Carl said, unsurley.

          “What if I write you a check right here for $2000?” the man asked quietly.

          Carl raised his eyebrows. “Right now?”

          The man puleld out a checkbook and began to write out the check. Some shouting and protesting began near the back of the line. The pair of men ignored it as the nervous one tore the check out. “Do we have a deal?”

          “Alright,” Carl said quietly, “but keep this under the table. I don’t want people harrassing me day and night for crazy wishes!”

          “You have my word,” the nervous man replied.

          Carl nodded. “The car will be next to the big tree at the edge of the first grass parking lot.”

          “Thank you,” the nervous man said, shaking Carl’s hand vigorously. “Thank you! Thank you!” he shouted, dashing away from the booth. More angry and impatient shouting came from the line.

          “Move it along, now!” Carl shouted. “Next, please!”

          Carmen gasped. This was a tragedy. With this bird she could get whatever her heart desired. She crossed her arms. “I must have this bird, Jeeves.”

          “Perhaps we can persuade him with a large check?” her butler suggested.

          Without a reply, Carmen pushed past the people in the front amid growls of protests. Various “wait your turn lady!” and similar shouts met her actions, but she ignored them.

          “I must buy your bird,” she announced to Carl, slamming her hand on the table like an overexcited saleswoman.

          “Sorry, miss. The bird is not on the market,” Carl frowned. “And niether am I,” he added with a smirk.

          “I’m not interested in you, old man,” she scowled. “I want to buy your bird.”

          Shouts of annoyance began growing from the line. People were growing impatient. Carmen ignored them and focussed all her attention on Carl. But again, the man shook his head.

          “Lady, I told you. It’s not for sale.”

          “I’ll write you a check right here for $5,000,” she offered.

          “No thanks, lady.”

          “Please, call me Carmen. Now how about $10,000?”

          “I told you, Miss Carmen. He’s not for sale!” Carl was growing angry now, as were the shouts from the line. “Please move along; the customers are getting upset.”

          “$15,000!”

          “Lady, move it! He said he;s not sellin’!”

          “$20,000 - my final offer!”

          “Carmen, please move. I’m sorry but the bird is not for sale.”

          “Don’t I have any say in this?” Fens chirped.

          Carl frowned at him, but said nothing. He looked back at Carmen and shook his head.

          Carmen squealed angrily and stomped her high-healed and pedicured foot, then stormed off. A few comments floated from the line, which made Carmen even more angry. Jeeves raised his eyebrows as she stomped back to the limo that waited for the pair of them.

          The driver watched, sending Jeeves a questioning look. Jeeves shook his head and the driver grinned. Carmen was an excellent employer, but she had her moments. She sat with her legs crossed and her handbag on her lap. Jeeves offered her a bottled water, which most often calmed her down, and thankfully, had the desired effect this time as well.

          “Rough day, Miss?” the driver asked, looking at her in the rearview mirror.

          “Correct,” she replied. “I was denied the purchase of something rather valuable.”

          “Don’t worry, Miss,” she encouraged her employer. “I’m sure they will sell to you. After all, you are Carmen Montoya. Everyone folds for you.”

          Jeeves rolled his eyes, but Carmen was pleased. “You’re right,” she said. “Thank you, Deeves.” She chuckled at Deeves’ name, wondering if anyone else was as luck as her to have a Jeeves and Deeves under the same roof.

          “Katrina, take us past the lake,” Jeeves suggested.

          “That’s a good idea,” Carmen agreed. Deeves nodded, and turned the next right.

          The rich woman crossed her arms, thinking. “There has to be a way to get that bird.”

          “We can call in a favor,” Jeeves suggested.

          “I’m not sure Celadon would appreciate us delving into his contacts,” Carmen said with a sideways frown.

          “That is what I wanted to speak to you about, Miss Carmen,” Jeeves said, not even indicating concern. “Mister Celedon Montoya will not be returning tonight after all. He says that he got held up in New York, working a deal with Mister Richardson.”

          “Oh,” Carmen replied plainly. “Well, that’s better for us, then,” she added, trying to sound calm, but her voice cracked, betraying her. “He’s probably too busy flirting with Robinson’s wife,” she added under her breath.

          An awkward silence hung in the air like a cloud. Carmen was always sensitive when Celedon sent word of a few extra days on business. Jeeves cleared his throat as Carmen sighed.

          “Well,” she said, thinking better of it. “Perhaps this is a good thing. Call Darian. I believe he owes us a favor.”

 

          The black SUV pulled up to the house just as the moon was at its zenith. The clock read 12:37am. Darian, dressed in black from head to toe, stepped out, unsure of what to expect. The back door of the shop, where Carl usually came in, was of course locked. He should have expected that. The windows, too, didn’t budge, no matter what trick Darian tried.

          Pacing around the house, he finally spotted a small cellar window. It had a simple lock - one that he managed to open in a matter of seconds. No one ever checked the basement windows. It was a tight squeeze, but with a bit of wiggling, the master thief managed to get through. He landed with a sploosh! in something wet. He tried not to think about it as he turned on his flashlight.

          The basement was rather disgusting, to say the least. The puddle of water, as he hoped it was, stretched through half the cellar, while the dry part housed a water heater and furnace. Taking large steps, he made his way to the stairs, grimacing against the cold.

          The door was unlocked, as expected. Darian grinned, shooting the light around the room. It was devoid of people, which again pleased him. A kitchen lead off to his right - he headed off that way. His quick study of the house layout gave him this information; the birds were just through there.

 

          “Just a bit more,” Fens encouraged himself. Sparty watched as he wiggled the pin in the lock, which was not an easy task for the small hummingbird. Finally, the lock clicked, and he whispered a celebration. Sparty launched off the door, knocking Fens over. She went about unlocking the other cages, waking some of the birds that were unaware of the plan.

          Fens caught himself, lugging the now heavy bag containing at least six bottles of wish energy.

          “Deez locks are tricky,” the kestrel commented. “Even hahduh in the dahk.”

          “Well, finish what you can. If we’re going to escape, we have to do it fast,” Fens whispered.

          “W-wot’s g-goin’ on?” Rory stuttered a little too loudly. He was promptly hushed by the entire room. “Oi mean wot’s goin’ on?” he repeated, much quieter.

          “On my signal, fly out that door,” Fens explained, hanging on Rory’s cage. “We’re going to pry it open.”

          “Ya mean I will,” Sparty corrected.

          But the kestrel didn’t have to lift a feather. The door swung open as if on command. Fens was about to give the signal when a dark figure came through, shining a light into his eyes. He cried out on confusion, and the next thing that happened was a complete mess.

          Sparty launched herself with a cry at the intruder shouting “now!”, which caused all the other birds to copy her. The intruder yelped in surprise and fell over, the flashlight rolling on the floor. Fens blinked, trying to regain his composure, and when his eyes readjusted, he saw a heap on the floor of noisy birds attacking the figure. The noise was loud enough to wake the dead, so of course a light came on behind the commotion.

          “What is going on?” Carl groaned, opening his bedroom door. He stopped dead at the pile of man and birds came into view. At that second, all the birds changed target and leaped toward their captor. Carl fell over, allowing the intruder time to escape, which he promptly took.

          “What is with you birds?” Carl barked, waving his arms around.

          “Now’s y’chance!” Sparty hissed at Fens.

          “I owe you,” he told his new friend. “I will repay you someday.”

          “Jess git outta heeyah,” she grinned, then shot back into the fray. Carl was now growling and flailing, trying to make his way out of the mess that was the rage of at least 20 birds showing their true feelings about an old man’s livelihood.

          The night was cold; it leaked through the doorway, left ajar after the intruder’s escape. His SUV was bumbling down the driveway as fast as it could go. Fens fluffed up his feathers against the wind and fluttered his way out the door. The chaos had died down in the house, so he had to get as far away from here as he could before Carl realized he was gone.

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