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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20. On the Run

         Over the next few days, Christi set about cleaning the entire house. Carl was rather surprised at her productiveness, but he couldn’t reward her with anything but she only insisted on candy. With a bit of effort, he dug up some dark chocolate he had stored in the basement - a one pound bar that he had saved for a special occasion. He broke off pieces for her whenever she requested payment.
         With this process, the entire house became spotless. When he asked her why she liked cleaning so much, she simply answered that a clean room didn’t have many places to hide tiny micophones in. He didn’t have a logical reply, so he simply agreed.
         During these days, neither of them left the house for much. Carl went out once to buy food with his savings and put together a small meal twice a day. They didn’t make much noise, but he had a feeling the neighbors were starting to notice. He wasn’t sure if they knew about his confinement in the Institute, but it was better safe than sorry.
          “So whatta we do now?” Christi asked that evening over dinner. She spooned herself another bowl of tomato soup and dipped some bread in it.
          “Well, if people start noticing, we’ll have to leave soon,” he explained. “But after we find that bird, we won’t have to worry about anything ever again.”
         She looked at him, her eyes gaping. “Whatta’ya talkin’ about?”
         He frowned. This was the reason he was sent to the Institution in the first place. Thinking for a moment, he finally decided it was best to just come out with his.
          “Whatever I say right now is gonna make you think I’m crazy, so humor me, okay?” he said, crossing his arms and leaning back on the chair.
         She looked back at her soup and stuffed a piece of tomato-soaked break in her mouth. “M’kay.”
          “Pay attention. This is important,” he grunted. She looked up, the spoon still in her mouth. She withdrew it slowly and blinked at him. “I had a bird that was magic. A magic bird,” he explained, watching for her reaction. She didn’t move, so he continued. “It’s the reason people think I’m crazy. I can hear birds and understand them because I wished I could and this magic bird made it happen. All I had to do was toss a coin into a liquid source and whatever I wished would come true.”
         She spit up some soup in surprise. He could tell she was holding back a laugh. He face was getting more and more red by the second. Finally, he sighed.
          “Go ahead,” he said, rolling his eyes.
         She let out a guffaw and held her stomach, the laughter rolling out like jelly from a jar. After she was finally done, she sat up and wiped her eyes. Carl sat, watching her, his expression grim.
          “Wait, yer serious?” she said, still chuckling.
          “I told you t’humor me, didn’t I?” he said gruffly.
          “Fine, but y’gotta explain a bit more,” she suggested, wiping her eyes once more.

          “A while back,” Carl began, “I caught a hummingbird. I don’t usually catch hummingbirds, but I was lookin’ for something different in my shop.”
          “Y’know that’s illegal, right?” she cut in before lifting the bowl to finish the last of her soup.
          “Shush! Anyway, I caught this hummingbird and I found it grants wishes.” He looked at Christi, expecting her to say something, but she just blinked at him in intense interest. “So I took it to the trade show in the park and made a bunch of money getting people what they wanted.
          “What kinda things?” she asked, putting her chin in her hands.
          “Well, the first was a boy that wanted a puppy, and another guy paid me $1000 to get him his favorite car. But some lady wanted to buy the bird off me, and I wouldn’t sell.”
          “So why d’people think yer crazy?” Christi’s eyes were so wide that Carl was worried they might pop out of her head.
          “I was annoyed with the birds screaming at me one night, so I wished I could understand them, and some stuff happened before I could reverse it,” he explained, putting his elbows on the table and leaning on them.
          “Where’d all yer birds go?”
          “Tch, probably flew away that night they committed mutiny,” he huffed, amused by his own idea.
          “Mut’ny!” she exclaimed, slamming her palm on the table. “We gotta get ‘em back! I bet they been plannin’ that fer ages!”
          “I don’t think they’re smart enough for that,” Carl razzed.
          “They could be planning their next attack,” she gasped. With an expression of shock, she looked at him. “They must be working with the FBI to capture us!”
          “Alright, Christi,” he said, putting his hands up to indicate that she needed to calm down. “I think it’s time you get some sleep.”
          “Alright, but t’morrow, I’ll help y’find the mutinous birds!” she declared with a nod.
         As she made her way to the extra bedroom, Carl put a hand on his forehead. Maybe bringing her alone was a mistake. She was driving him crazy. He shook his head and stood up to clean the dishes when a familar sound made him jump.
         The sound of a police siren broke through the drizzle outside. He froze, hoping the siren dissappeared, but it began to draw slowly closer. His heart left to his throat and he nearly dropped the dishes on the floor. Racing them over to the sink, he shouted down the hall.
          “Christi! Get up! We need to get outta here!”
         She hadn’t even laid down yet. She peered out of the hallway, her shoulders bare. “What! I was gonna take a shower!”
         He skidded to a stop in front of his bedroom door. “Get your clothes back on. The police are coming!”
         Scrambling back into her clothes, he heard a thump and an exclaimation of pain, but he didn’t have time. He threw as much clothes as he could into a suitcase and grabbed a second one.
          “Pack light,” he called to her.
          “Ow, ow ow…!” came the reply.
          “What happened?” he called, reluctant to peer in at her if she was naked.
          “Twisted ankle…ow!”
         He grunted in anxiety, racing to the fridge. He quickly packed a Ziploc of ice cubes and tossed it into her.
          “Thanks,” she stated, grabbing the leather suitcase in the hall. He heard her shuffle around, hopefully getting dressed.
         They were out the door in ten minutes, tossing the suitcases in the covered truck bed. Christi hissed in pain a few times, but took off her white tennis shoes (Institution regulation) and applied the ice bag to her socked foot.
         She was asleep the minute they hit I-480 East.

         The sound of her own stomach woke Christi just as the sun was coming up. She gasped, forgetting where she was for a minute, but slowly everything came back to her.
         Carl glanced at her, but only briefly. “You okay over there, princess?”
         She smacked her lips. Her tounge was dry. “Can we stop fer sommin’?”
         Her companion glanced at the “next exit” sign. It displayed a local diner with a big red logo. Without answering her, he pulled off the interstate.
         The woman yawned and stretched, sitting up a bit straighter. “Did’ja check th’ truck fer bugs?”
         At first, Carl wasn’t sure what she meant, then he remembered her obsession with being watched.
          “Yes, I did,” he replied simply.
         He pulled into the diner and found a spot in the back. His past experience taught him this was a better option, especially since they were trying to lay low.
         The waitress was annoyingly perky. Maybe he should have considered some place not called Perkins. Perky was just in the name.
         Christi took one glance at the menu and ordered one pancake, nine sausages, and a pickle. The waitress gave her a surprised look, but took the order anyway.
          “Can’t you order something more normal?” he murmered to her, keeping his eyes on the menu. He shifted in the booth seat. It was made of that loud plastic that sticks to skin. He frowned and looked at the waitress. “I’ll just have some toast,” he stated, handing her the menu. “Rye. And some coffee.”
         She nodded and offered to take Christi’s menu, but Christi refused to give it up. She was intent on staring at the pictures.
          “Don’t worry about her. She’s easily distracted,” Carl assured the confused waitress. The perky woman shuffled off and clipped the order to the chef’s order line, which was simply a clothesline with order slips clothepinned to it. 
         Every time the cook - who was a thin, fit, and young man with black hair and a hairnet - filled an order, he placed it on the sill between the register and the kitchen and rang the bell. But when he saw Christi’s order, Carl heard him ask if it was correct, and the waitress replied that it was. He must have shrugged, because he disappeared into the kitchen again and the sizzle of something on the grill followed.
          “See, you’re drawing attention to us,” Carl hissed, pulling the menu down from Christi’s face.
          “It’s jus’ one pancake, nine sausages, and a pickle,” she said, rolling her eyes. “I don’ see what th’ big deal is.”
         Carl grumbled and crossed his arms on the table.
         When the food came, she devoured it almost immediatly. The perky waitress blinked as she watched her unusual customer stuff half a pancake in her mouth while she was still standing there.
          “Can we get the check?” Carl asked with an unsurprised frown. The waitress nodded, trying to keep her perkiness. An awkward frown slipped through.
          “Wot wa tha’ abou’?” she asked through a mouthful of pork sausage.
          “Shut up and eat your food, princess,” he growled. But he let a small grin slip through and she smiled like a hamster, its cheeks full of seeds.

         Without aim, Carl drove on. They only stopped once more for a bathroom break, but a few hours later, they found themselves in Pittsburgh. Unsure of what to do, he pulled into the nearest hotel and decided to set it up as a temporary base of operation. They parked the truck and lugged the suitcases in, hoping for a decent room.
          “I love th’ city!” Christi exclaimed, throwing her hands in the air with enthusiasm as they walked into the Red Roof Inn. Carl hissed at her to be more quiet, putting a finger over his lips. “I love th’ city!” she whispered, but repeated her actions.
          “Is this your first time in Pittsburgh?” the hotel receptionist asked.
         At first Carl didn’t answer. He was unsure if it was even safe to share, but after a bit of thought, he figured it didn’t matter.
          “Yeah. We’re looking - or rather she’s lookin’ - for something exciting to do,” he replied, pointing his thumb at Christi.
          “Well, there’s lots of things to do,” the receptionist explained, pushing a magazine across the desk. “May I suggest the National Aviary? It’s a great place if you love birds.”
         Carl’s eyes widened at the man’s suggestion. He quickly noticed how strange his expression may have seemed, so he corrected himself and cleared his throat.
          “Birds? This guy loves birds!” Christi cut in.
          “Quiet!” he hissed at her.
          “Oh that wassa secret?”
          “No worries,” the receptionist chuckled. “Hope you enjoy your stay,” he added, sliding the key-cards across the desk with a smile.
         Carl nodded and grabbed Christi by the wrist, dragging her off. She blinked, but followed willingly. The receptionist watched them go, almost as confused as her.
         The room was average; nothing special. Two beds - Carl had made sure the specify - a large TV, a mini-fridge stocked with drinks, and a rather large bathroom.
          “Don’t drink anything in the fridge. They charge you five bucks for a water,” Carl instructed. But as he turned to his companion, she was already downing one of the apple juices. He facepalmed and she held out the bottle as if offering it to him would remedy the extra charge they would receive.
         “You heard what ‘e said ‘bout th’ aviary,” she commented.
          “Yeah, well the bird I’m looking for might not even be there,” Carl grumbled. He heaved his suitcase onto one of the beds and opened it up. Picking out a sun hat and some shades, he closed it and tucked it under the bed.
         Christi simply thunked her suitcase at the end of the bed. If they hadn’t been on the ground floor, Carl would have had a conniption and lectured her about trying to not draw attention to themselves. The good news was that they were in a different state, so they didn’t have to worry so much.
          “It cain’t hurt t’try,” she offered. “Plus that guy said it’d be fun.”
         Having no argument for it, he grunted. “Alright, I guess it can’t,” he admitted

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