On the run

Quercia has to move to Australia after her dad is made redundant. She thinks her life is really plain until she meets Fuoco and Sirena. This suddenly throws her into a time of secrecy and magic...

Includes an ending chapter about the history of Paganism and the meaning of some keywords.


10. Danger!

As I lie in bed, I think how the sleepover went so well and how mum and dad finally got to talk to each other properly. I think about Eric's toothy grin and his faint white scar.

Suddenly, I hear a tapping on the window that gradually grows louder until I jump out of bed to see what it is. Fuoco is sitting on the thick branch that stretches across my window. "What are you doing here, it's the middle of the night!" He rolls his eyes, jokily. 

"Exactly... nice pyjamas, by the way." He teases and grabs my hand, pulling me onto the branch. "Come with me."

I follow him to the centre of the tree and scale down to drop the last few metres onto the ground where Fuoco steadies me. He must have noticed me shivering because he slung his denim jacket round my shoulders and I was too cold to protest. It was the middle of January, after all. 

We come to the woods where we walk for about fifteen minutes till we come to a clearing, which is when I notice him wearing the fire pendant I gave him after the sleepover. He is also wearing a bag across his chest. He turns and we sit down on the crispy leaves after he put his bag gently on the floor. This is when I really start to get curious. He takes a neatly wrapped parcel out and places it on the ground in front of me. 

"I got you something in exchange for this," He touches the flame charm around his neck. " you can wear it now if you like."

I pull the gift closer to me and start to unwrap it. I wonder what it is. I see a glimpse of dark green and take off the rest of the wrapping. A silk, green dress stares back at me. I hold the top and stand up to see the whole thing. "It looks just like my mums, thank you so much!"

"Put it on, if you like." He gestures to a nearby bush. "I won't look, I promise!"

I walk reluctantly over to the bush and go behind it before hanging the dress across a fairly clean branch and slipping off my pyjamas. I pull the gown over me and look at the swirling leaf patterns across the chest as I run my hands down the loose lower part. The top section is slightly stretchy and has long slim sleeves, fitting perfectly to my arm. I grab my pyjamas and step out from behind the bush, into Fuoco's line of sight. He stares at me and finally says "You are the most beautiful earth witch I have ever met!"

I feel myself blushing and rush to say something. "How did you know it would fit?" But he just smiles and taps the side of nose with a wink.

"Wait. Just two more things."He pulls something black out the bag. As he holds it out, I realise it's a hooded cloak with a golden threaded pentagram on the back! He steps behind me and puts it on me, his arms reaching round my shoulders to fix the catch at the front. Then he goes back to the bag and takes out a pair of black slip-on shoes with tiny patterns of thread around the sides and a small black bow at the front. He bends down and slides them onto my feet before standing up and marvelling at me. I surprise him by leaning forward and giving him a friendly kiss on the cheek. For the first time, I see his face go slightly crimson and he starts to lead the way back to my house. 

I follow him and snuggle into my warm cloak. Then, I notice Fuoco is swaying slightly and I think nothing of it. He must just be tired. Then he collapses on the ground!

"Fuoco!" I run towards him and even before I get to him I notice his breathing is too shallow. I'm about three steps away from him when my head starts spinning. I lose my balance and fall on the floor, struggling to breath. Through my hazy vision, I see three figures running towards me shouting something. But then, everything blacks out...

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