The teacher lifted his face to the sky and closed his eyes, inhaling the cool edge on the breeze. Autumn was around the corner and he still had much to do. All of the bridges lay in ruins, though only a trained eye could see that. This one, though, remained intact. With a locked door wedged at the entrance. Why? The door was obviously the work of his pupil. Again, why? He could detect traces of his other pupil, but not in any order that made sense. They’d both been here. Working together? Working against each other? He scowled at the young forest.
The trees were no help. Most were naught but overgrown saplings, distracted by each breeze and bird. He couldn’t find one in possession of the discipline to relay what had happened here. Oh, what he wouldn’t give for a nice ancient oak right about now. They were excellent secret keepers, those oaks, but the dance of language required to gain knowledge from an oak was always worth the effort, if for no better reason than enjoying the artistry of conversation. His teeth ground together.
His thoughts were disturbed by a sound. Behind him, frozen in adolescent indecision, suddenly stood a wide eyed girl. He’d seen pictures of the child, though he needn’t have, to recognize his pupil in her features. She rubbed a silver trinket in her palm with frantic speed. So then. He turned back to the door. This girl was on the wrong side of that door. And if he wasn’t mistaken, she’d been deposited by a rainbow. As if in answer, another rainbow drew her up through the trees and into the sky.
A lump formed in the old teacher’s throat. Even seeing the evidence he struggled to believe his pupil’s betrayal. She’d brought her family across. She and her family now possessed the only bridge between the worlds, and worse yet, she was teaching them the coveted secrets of world-shaping. She’d never once betrayed signs of power hunger. He’d been more worried about the other one, if truth be told. But here it was.
He felt it then. A tremor down to his toenails.
“The giants are waking,” he said to the distracted trees, knowing they wouldn’t listen. “The original world-shapers have felt the threat, and there is only one person in this whole world they’ll hold responsible. Their only pupil.”
He felt a birch leaning closer, listening, but a squabble in its branches cut the connection short.
“Good talk,” he muttered, pointing his feet westward. “Much to do,” he sighed to a chipmunk. “Much to do before they catch up to me.”
And oh, they would.
Written by W. C. McClure www.wcmcclure.com. This short story may be shared (and please do); just please be sure to share it in its entirety, unaltered (and including this fine print), with credit given to W. C. McClure. Comments are welcome at www.farsideofdreams.com. Oh, and if you want to show your support, tell your friends about this short story blog – and pick up a copy of “The Statues of Azminan” by W. C. McClure. Thanks!