Chapter 3: The Flight
At first, Walter did not dare to move. What could possibly be causing those shadows and where was that sound coming from? Walter had to see what it was, he just had to. He slowly got out of bed and crept to the window. When he looked up into the sky, his eyes widened in astonishment and disbelief when he saw owls, hawks, fays, and many other strange flying creatures soaring above him. One, as large as Walter, resembled a hammerkop, a medium bird with a hammer shaped head: it was white as a ghost and emitting lighting from its wings as it flew away. Walter had heard about them Alden. Walter was awed by the large flock; it was beautiful yet frightening.
Where were they going and why? he wondered.
It didn’t end there. When he looked to his right he saw another drove of creatures heading in the same direction as the flying birds. He could make out an elusive parandrus, a large caribou-like beast that could change the color of its fur for camouflage. A small unicorn the size of a Shetland pony was among the group along with mice, squirrels, dogs, cats, and fury of creatures scurrying off to an unknown destination.
A brownie that wasn’t Jacobi was prodding them to hurry up. Jacobi, had been a brownie Walter met the year the crocotta attacked the town. He looked like Jacobi, small stature, a pointed hat, black boots and overalls, but it wasn’t him. This brownie was dressed differently than Jacobi. In the jumble, a baby rabbit straggled behind, trying to avoid being trampled by the larger animals. The brownie rushes to protect the kit from the trampling hooves of some does. He picked up and carried the young rabbit as he kept driving the animals to safety. The stampede quickly sped past with the brownie trailing behind. All that was left were their muddy footprints on the wet ground.
What is going on? Walter thought. What had scared them?
He had never seen anything like it. He needed to tell Archibal; maybe he knew what was going on. He grabbed the Odyssey ring and was about transport himself when he heard footsteps approaching his room. Walter quickly dove under the covers and closed his eyes.
The door opened and Aunt Edith stuck her head in. “Don’t you look peaceful when you sleep,” she muttered. “I didn’t get to say goodnight. I’ll see you in the morning. Sweet dreams,” she said, closing the door quietly.
Before any more thoughts could cross his mind, slumber fell over him. Whatever was going on had to wait.
In the morning, nobody seemed to have noticed the large drove of animals fleeing in the middle of the previous night. Still alarmed by the episode, Walter went to inspect the muddy prints, but the rained had washed them away. He wondered if it had been a dream. If the hunters had seen such a sight they would have kept such recondite episode a secret.