Title: Elf-Writing, Part 1
Theme: Out on a Limb
Author's Notes: The two parts of this story are technically a fusion between the two challenges I regretfully missed this year. This one I signed up for but didn't get the inspiration for until last night, when I found the etymological connection between "beech" and "book"...
Summary: A young boy on the run takes a risk to save something important.
Word Count: 266
1. September 22, 1929 F.A.
He had only borrowed the book, he told himself at the time. He was planning on returning it, so it couldn’t have been theft. And besides, Teacher wanted him to learn how to read better, so Teacher couldn’t have minded.
But there was no school anymore, and no Teacher anymore, so he couldn’t return it. That’s why he was running.
But the Scary Folk running after him had longer legs. He didn’t know what they could want with him, but he’d seen what they’d done to the school, and Mummy and Daddy had hidden Home well and he knew if he came Home the Scary Folk would come Home, too.
He found a beech tree, with a big crack running down its bole. It had kept him safe once, when there were Dogs loose. Maybe this time…
He paused. He could hear footsteps behind him. Staying any longer was risky, but he knew they’d catch him if he kept running.
The crack was too big for him now. He should keep running. But all the other books were gone now, and the Scary Folk didn’t care for them. In a moment of decision he slipped the book into the crack.
He should keep running. But what if the book was lost in there forever? That wouldn’t do either! He drew his knife, and jabbed his initials into one root. He could see a form coming at him through the trees. Time was running out.
But if he was caught the book was safe and maybe someone would find it.