CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED AND NINETY-TWO
“I have to go potty,” Paddie whispered to Katy.
Katy nodded. She had to go potty too. They were trapped in a small compartment by mean fairies in the crypt of an ancient church on the Isle of Man. The mean fairies were actually terrifying skeletons that wanted to take Paddie’s sword, the Sword of Truth, away from him. Katy had been given a big knife, that was a sword for a small child, called the “Vanquisher.” Now, the fairies wanted that blade too!
Katy and Paddie had retreated into this box to rest for a while. Paddie had hoped that Katy would come up with a plan, but Katy was fresh out of great ideas.
She was scared that she’d never see her Mommy and Daddy and brothers again. She didn’t want Paddie to know that she was scared so she didn’t say anything.
Now, Paddie had to go potty.
When they were the last time, Paddie had worn a diaper because he’d been taken from his bed. Going potty wasn’t a problem, last time. This time, they were older and weren’t wearing diapers.
“Ask the…” Paddie gestured to the ancient adult-sized long knife in Katy’s hands.
“Where can Paddie go potty?” Katy asked.
“And not get caught by the scary fairy bones?” Paddie asked.
Katy glanced at Paddie and then nodded. A light appeared on the wall at their feet. They were lying in a rectangular box, possibly a coffin or a storage container. They were small children but the space was tight. Katy pushed with her feet.
The small end of the rectangular box opened to a passage way that was not on the map that hung above Paddie’s bed. From where they lay, they could see that the entire passageway was made out of crystal. It was a circular tunnel with a slight squared place for people to walk.
Paddie skootched his way out of the box and then helped Katy down.
“You have the sword?” Katy asked.
“Do you have…” Paddie started to ask. Seeing a dot on the ground in front of them. “Oh.”
They followed the dot to an ancient latrine. Katy turned her back so that Paddie could go potty. He turned his back so that she could go. When they were done, they looked around for a place to wash their hands.
“We need water!” Katy said.
Two plastic water bottles filled with water appeared next to them. They used one to wash their hands and drank the second.
“Your sword is pretty neat,” Paddie said with a nod. “It’s perfect for you ’cuz you have powers and just need help sometimes.”
Looking around, Katy nodded. She turned to look at Paddie.
“I would be lost without you, Paddie,” Katy said. “You’re the best friend I could have ever hoped for.”
Overwhelmed, Paddie hugged Katy. The children had been through so much together than their bond was deep and true.
“Do you want my sword?” Katy asked.
Paddie thought for a long moment.
“Having a sword is a big responsibility,” Paddie said. “I don’t think I can handle more than one.”
“Do you not want your sword?” Paddie asked. “It’s shiny and beautiful. Helpful too.”
Paddie nodded to the latrine and water. Katy nodded.
“No,” Katy said. “I’m okay to keep it. It just… if you wanted it, you could have it.”
Overwhelmed with emotion, Paddie hugged Katy. They hugged each other for a long moment. Katy shifted away to look around.
“Where are we?” Katy asked.
A light shone from her sword and a map appeared on the ground. The children bent over to look at the ground. They looked up at the ceiling.
They seemed to be under a house.
Someone else’s house.
Someone they didn’t know.
While certainly animated fairy skeletons were scary, the idea of going into someone’s house that they didn’t know was too much for the young children. Katy looked down the tunnel. The box they’d hidden in was actually a long way away. They could go back, but that would take them closer to the scary fairy skeletons that wanted to harm them.
Katy threw her arms around Paddie. Shaking with fear, they held each other in the crystal tunnel.
“Maughold!” Jacob called out as he and Sarah ran toward the figure ahead of them wearing dark robes.
The figure spun in place.
“Keenan!” Jacob said. “What a pleasure to see you!”
Keenan gave a little chuckle. The monk held out his arms and Jacob hugged him tight.
“How are you here?” Jacob asked.
“How are you?” Keenan said. “Áthas’s fairies want the Sword of Truth and decided that they could get it from Paddie before he’d attached to the sword.”
“That brought you back?” Jacob asked with a rueful shake of his head.
“I know,” Keenan said. “Crazy, right?”
“What’s crazy is that you’re so grown up!” Jacob said. “It was just a year or so ago that you were living with us!”
“It’s fairy stuff,” Keenan said. “Magic allowed me to relive my childhood in a loving family. But I lived in this time. It will always be my home timeline, even though I’m thirteen in the future.”
“I will tell you,” Keenan leaned forward to Jacob. “This body is uncomfortable. Poor Maughold truly suffered at the hands of Patrick.”
“Brutal,” Jacob said.
“You here for Paddie and Katy?” Keenan as Maughold asked.
He knelt down to pet Sarah.
“I guess so,” Jacob said. “I was brought here.”
“To fight the fairies?” Maughold asked.
“Is that what’s happening?” Jacob asked.
“Áthas’s fairies were buried in the crypt,” Maughold said. “They’ve reanimated and chased Katy and Paddie around.”
Jacob winced. He knew how terrified Katy must be.
“Where are the kids now?” Jacob asked.
“They escaped the fairies in my workshop,” Maughold said. “They hid for a while, but are now in a crystal tunnel about… here.”
Maughold pointed down. Jacob looked down at the ground and then up. They were standing just off the front yard of a historic mansion.
“Crystal tunnel?” Jacob asked.
“Exactly,” Maughold said. “No fairy can get through crystal, so they are safe but…”
“Dare I ask why there’s a crystal tunnel that connects this house to your crypt?” Jacob asked.
“Under Queen Elizabeth I, Catholics were persecuted in Britain,” Maughold said. “While the Isle of Man was tolerant to religious groups, we were still under the threat from Britain. The large mansions built ‘priest holes’ to hide visiting priests. Almost every building near the church has a tunnel back to the church so that priests can come and go at will.”
“Why didn’t they destroy the church?” Jacob asked.
“There was this guy named Maughold.” Keenan’s smile broke across Maughold’s face.
“They were quite afraid of me,” Maughold said.
“Rightly so,” Jacob said. “You are terrifying!”
“Katy and Paddie are below us?” Jacob asked. “In a priest hole?”
Maughold nodded. Jacob touched Maughold’s arm.
“Wish me luck,” Jacob said.
“You do not need luck, Jacob Marlowe,” Maughold said. “Go. Be the stupid American.”
“Shoe fits,” Jacob said with a grin.
He walked up the walk and the stairs to the front door of the house. He took a breath and knocked. A few minutes later, the door opened to show a tall, light skinned elderly man with a shock of white hair. The man was dressed as if he was the home owner not hired help. Jacob put his biggest smile on his face.
“I’m so sorry to bother you,” Jacob said. “I’m Jacob Marlowe and this is Sarah. We’re visiting from America.”
“Sir,” the man who answered said.
“I don’t know how to say this but my daughter and her best friend are stuck in your priest hole,” Jacob said.
“They are?” the man asked. His accent was so similar to Fin’s that Jacob smiled. “How did they get there?”
“They were playing at the church and…” Jacob said. He shook his head. “Honestly, I have no idea. One minute, they were there and the next they’d disappeared.”
“That’s how it is, isn’t it?” The man laughed.
“I’m sure it won’t be the last time,” Jacob said with a sigh. “Would you mind if I took a look?”
“Of course,” the man said. “Of course.”
They walked down a long hallway to an enormous fireplace. The man went to the bookcase and moved a book. There was a click and the mantle of the fireplace rotated back.
“My son loved playing down there,” the man said.
The man walked to the fireplace. He swung the mantle open and reached in for a piece of the tiled panel. The man swung the panel back to find a ladder. Without thinking, Jacob swung his leg over and started down the ladder.
He had only gone a few rungs when the panel closed with a click.
The man had locked him into the priest hole.
“Sarah,” Jacob said softly. He heard the dog bark above him. “Shit.”
“Daddy?” Katy called from below.
“Hi honey,” Jacob said.
“What are you doing here?” Katy asked.
“Trying to rescue you,” Jacob said. “Looks like I just got trapped with you.”
He climbed down the ladder until he reached the bottom. He hugged Katy and Paddie to him. He knelt down to Katy and Paddie. He checked their bodies and kissed their foreheads.
“You don’t seem hurt,” Jacob said, almost to himself.
“We’re okay,” Katy said. “A little hungry.”
“Katy has a sword that will bring her whatever she needs,” Paddie said.
“Really?” Jacob asked. “Can it tell me why that guy locked us in?”
“Why are we locked in?” Katy asked the sword.
As if it were a movie projector, a video came out of the end of the sword and projected on the wall.
The first image was of Jacob coming to the door. The man laughed and took Jacob to the priest hole entrance. Jacob had just started down the ladder when there was another knock on the man’s door. The man looked after Jacob. He scowled and started toward the door.
He got across the room and went back to the priest hole. He closed up the priest hole. The jogged when the person knocked again.
Fairy soldiers were standing at the door.
“Ugh! I hate those fairies!” Paddie said.
The man looked through the peep hole to see fairies clad in armor carrying weapons. He glanced to where Jacob had gone. Shaking his head, he locked the dead bolt on the door and ran to the back door. The man locked the back door.
The fairies knocked on both doors.
“He needs our help,” Jacob said. “Those doors won’t hold forever.”
“We’re ready, Daddy,” Katy said.
“How do we get out?” Jacob asked.
“Can we get to the man?” Katy asked the knife like sword in her hand.
The Vanquisher didn’t respond for a moment. Then the sword showed Jacob climbing up the ladder. At the top, he uses his psychokinetic skill to reopen the priest hole. Katy and Paddie join him in the man’s living room.
“Better than sitting here, I guess,” Jacob said. “Here goes nothing.”
He climbed back up the ladder. At the top, he tried to visualize the book on the shelf. There was a click from the mantle. He moved the mantle and the panel.
“No, no, Mr. Marlowe, stay below,” the man yelled down to them.
“We will not leave you undefended,” Jacob said.
He came through the fireplace. Katy and Paddie joined him in the living room. The man shook his head, but Jacob went to the door.
The fairy warriors took a step back.
“You know who I am?” Jacob asked.
The fairy warriors nodded slowly.
“Would you bring this message to Áthas?” Jacob said. He pointed at the fairies. “You tell Áthas that my friends, my family — we are coming for her.”
The fairy warriors yelped when he pointed his finger at them. Without fanfare, they turned in place and ran away.
Jacob closed that door.
“That was easier than I thought,” the man said. “I don’t believe that I’ve introduced myself. I was so surprised to see you. You look so much like my son.”
Jacob smiled at the man.
“I am also a Marlowe,” the man said with a wide grin. “My name is Joseph. My family has been here since the days of Manannán. I never knew that we had an American branch.”
“Nice to meet you,” Jacob said. “This is my daughter, Katy, and her friend, Paddie.”
“Are you fairies?” Joseph asked.
“Human,” Jacob said. “Mostly. You?”
“Likely the same,” Joseph said. “How about some tea?”
“We’re hungry,” Paddie said.
“I bet you are,” Joseph said. “Come with me.”
They followed Joseph to his kitchen. For the next two hours, they laughed and talked to this Joseph Marlowe. At one point, Jacob put a video call through on his cell phone to his father and let them men talk to each other. After a moment or two, it was determined that they were, in fact, family.
They shared a delightful meal. When Katy began to fall asleep, Jacob made his excuses. With promises to visit again, they left the man’s house and ran into Maughold.
“Did I tell you that you have family here?” Maughold asked with a laugh.
“We’re going home,” Jacob said. He hugged Maughold tight. “Be well.”
“Thank you, Jacob,” Maughold said. “Bye bye, Princess Katy and her Knight Paddie.”
“Bye bye Keenan!” Katy said.
With Katy and Paddie in his arms and a hand on Sarah’s collar, Jacob jumped back to the cabin in Dillon. They arrived on the mountain where Jacob and Sarah had been running. Katy and Paddie were sound asleep in Jacob’s arms. Jacob carried the children back to the cabin.
Once he’d settled the children, he called Jill.
“Katy’s here,” Jacob said. “Paddie too. They are safe from the fairies.”
Unable to speak, Jill began to cry.
Denver Cereal continues next week…
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