Part six of my ten part story. The boys meet Darlene...
The Dogchild's Prophecy
Harseverius woke up under the awning, the magical leather straps chafing his skin. He sat up, stretched and watched as the sun peeked its bright orange head above the horizon. The birds were chattering, and the air smelled like fresh washed sheets out on the line.
He had fallen asleep with Voldebby’s toy dragon. He vaguely remembered the events of yesterday. Sometimes, when his canine nature took over, he had memory lapses. He sniffed the green scaly toy. He sniffed the air. He could smell it faintly, coming from the north east: The smell of rotting cabbage, the smell of Voldebby. She must be somewhere close, he thought to himself.
He stretched his thin arms and yawned widely. He attempted to scratch at a flea, but he was still wearing his sneakers. He removed the right one, and lifted his leg to scratch, just behind his ear. His eyes rolled up in ecstasy as he thumped his leg against the ground in a scratching frenzy.
The amplified thumping of his younger brother’s foot against the aluminum siding roused Remmie. He got up and looked out the window at Harseverius, feeling a little guilty that he left him out last night. He also felt extremely hungry. They hadn’t eaten since yesterday morning.
After waking up Albie, Argie, Dra-ville and Ron Jr., He put on his hand-me-down clothes that had been modified to fit his bushy wolf tail. He looked in the bathroom mirror, and ran his fingers through his hirsute countenance, since there was no comb available.
Dra-ville stumbled into the bathroom, half awake. “Igudda doh neenkle,” he mumbled groggily and pushed past Remmie to get to the toilet.
Dra-ville looked up from his perch on the throne. Remmie asked him, “My hair is a mess. Do you think you can manufacture something with that fancy wand?”
“Mffhh hmffh,” he drawled, heavy lidded. He made a jerky up and down motion with the wand. “Fabrica unus hairbrush.” he yawned widely.
Remmie watched with amazement as Dra-ville conjured a hairbrush, which automatically brushed the hair on the wolf-child’s face. I could get used to this, Remmie pondered.
Albie and Argie ran out the front door, and did their morning business behind a tree. Ron Jr. padded into the kitchen, and opened the empty refrigerator. He sighed and closed the door, perhaps a little too hard.
After they were all dressed and bath roomed, each of the boys took a drink of water from the outside spigot. They set up the shopping cart, loading all the treasures from their mother’s old school trunk, and climbed inside.
They tied a discarded plastic bottle on the end of the string just in front of Harseverius’s nose. “Find food, find us some food, boy!” Remmie coddled in a high-pitched tone. The canine-esque child trembled in anticipation.
Remmie snapped the leather straps hard on his brother’s back and the cart lunged forward; Harseverius on a clandestine pursuit of the plastic bottle. They zoomed over an empty field to a suburban neighborhood, turning the corner so fast the cart nearly tipped over. They were approaching a busy intersection in town and Remmie began to panic, pulling back hard on the straps.
Harseverius suddenly stopped, sending the boys in the cart crashing into each other. The “don’t walk” sign was lit, and Harseverius knew better than to disobey the sign.
As soon as they saw the little white man light up, Harseverius took off again, accelerating so fast the boys were plastered against each other at the back of the cart. Faster and faster he ran, until the other boys cheeks were flapping around their teeth. With great effort, Dra-ville drew his wand and pointed it at the plastic bottle dangling from the string. “Abolesco solum!” he managed to squeak out between cheek flaps. The pop bottle vanished, and Harseverius slowed down, looking around confusedly.
The boys in the cart began cheering. The boy pulling the cart thought they were cheering for him, and he puffed out his chest proudly. Pride turned to disappointment as Harseverius discovered the REAL reason for their cheering. They had stopped right next to a McDonalds!
“Cool! Mickey-D’s!” shouted Albie and Argie, while the author stared in amazement that her spell checker accepted Mickey-D’s without protest.
The boys clambered out of the cart, and began running toward the familiar brown glass doors.
“Hold yer taters!” demanded Remmie. “We don’t have any money!”
Albie and Argie turned around, disappointment clearly evident in their faces.
“How do you suppose we’ll buy food with no money?” Ron Jr. asked sarcastically.
“Wemf cud maishum, Ron!” offered Dra-ville.
Ron Jr. actually understood his brother this time. “I agree, Dra-ville. Magic-ing some money is a brilliant idea!”
The two brothers embraced in their new communication, leaving Remmie staring, mouth agape.
“Partum viaticum!” Dra-ville incanted, drawing an invisible dollar sign with the borrowed wand. The boys felt a heaviness in their pants, and found they each had one-hundred U.S. one- dollar bills, deep in their front pockets.
They practically flew toward the doors, crowding around them, trying to get in at the same time. Finally Remmie pushed through, and they flowed in like blood cells directly to the counter.
Harseverius sat outside, still hitched to the cart, whining pitifully. It wasn’t fair. He had money too, and he was hungry. He began chewing on the straps that connected him to the cart.
Just then a vagrant staggered by, eyeing the extra-large cart with lust. He glanced at the unusual looking child, gazing back at the shopping basket. The vagrant licked his parched lips and took a noisy sip from a bottle in a brown bag. The vagrant belched; a low, phlegm rattling growl that smelled as bad as it sounded. Harseverius passed out from the stench, and the vagrant took out a dull kitchen knife, wasting no time sawing away at the leather straps.
The boys swarmed around the counter, each shouting an order at a sour looking woman in a burgundy uniform shirt. She wore a badge that said “Hi, I’m Darlene.”
“ONE at a time, you little sh…!” Darlene stopped short of swearing. She closed her eyes in a dramatic effort to calm herself. “Please form a single-file line,” she forced a pleasant tone through gritted teeth.
The boys lined up as ordered. They were mildly afraid of Darlene. It took the better part of thirty minutes for the five boys to order their various meal combos. They exited the restaurant carrying several heavy bags of food, Remmie managing a teetering stack of soft drinks in gray cardboard carriers.
“Wait a minute, what about Hars?” Ron Jr. protested, stopping just outside the restaurant doors. “He’s been pulling that heavy cart for us, he needs food too!”
“Owl geddud, Ron,” Dra-ville offered, and gave his two bags of food to Albie and Argie before facing Darlene.
“Get ON with it then!” Remmie snorted.
They waited another fifteen minutes, the sweat from the soft drink cups soaking the fur on Remmies arms. His muscles shook under the strain of holding them so long. He was annoyed. The food was going to be cold, and the drinks were going to be warm. Finally, Dra-ville emerged, holding another three bags of food, looking rather sheepish.
“Awwuzungry!” he said defensively, as his starving brothers gave him murderous looks. They proceeded toward the cart, and stopped half way across the parking lot. Two of the soft drink holders tumbled off the stack, splattering melting ice and pop on the creosote reeking asphalt. The cart was not there.
Harseverius lay unconscious under the small shade tree, the severed straps trailing behind his limp body. The boys managed to get to him without dropping any more food or pop.
“Refero conscientia!” Dra-ville whispered tremulously. He waved his mother’s wand over his brothers lifeless form, gradually bringing him to wakefulness.
Harseverius blinked slowly and sat up, his head swimming. The concerned faces of his five brothers came into focus. Ron Jr. unwrapped a cheese burger and offered it to him. He took a bite, wiping bitter tears from his face.
“Tell us what happened, Hars,” Ron Jr. asked in a fatherly tone.
Harseverius was never much on words, but he “spilled his guts” to his brothers in his speech impediment wracked voice. “Bad vagwant… Big knife… Weally stinky buwp…”
“Buwp?” asked Remmie, trying to understand.
Dra-ville rolled his eyes. “He meant burp, you half-wit!” the blond wizard boy clamped his hands over his mouth, like he had sworn his worst profanity. He looked panic stricken at his brothers, who just stared at him in disbelief.
Twenty yards away, behind an overstuffed brown dumpster, a roughshod vagabond cackled softly to himself. He pulled out a thin willow wand, pointing to the shopping cart. Currus minor! He whispered in a wine graveled voice. The cart shrank to the size of a small mouse, and the man put it in his pocket.
He looked at the collection of items, half thinking about leaving them, then thinking wholly different. He put the taxidermy cat, the knee socks, the tie and the broom in a pile on the ground, shrank them magically, and stuffed them in his handkerchief.
The vagabond pointed the wand at his face. Verto visio! He whispered. His face morphed like melting wax, re-arranging itself rather painfully. Transformation complete, the man ran his long thin fingers through his white-blond hair. That was almost too easy, he hissed sibilantly.