“Halt! Who are you?”
“A messenger from southern Pylos, My lord. I have a letter for the king.”
“You may proceed but let your men stay here. My men shall escort you within the palace.”
The messenger left his horse in the hands of the stable boy and followed the guard through the palace doors.
His name and station were announced as he was brought before the king.
“What news do you bring?” The voice from the throne was strong and clear.
“Good tidings your Grace…..”
In the audience a man nudged his neighbor, “That’s my little boy up there.”
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She scrunched her eyes shut and chanted the rhyme they’d taught her.
She felt something flutter past her bare leg and was tempted to open her eyes. Remembering how the old lady had stressed on the rules she covered her eyes with her hands as insurance.
She could hear the crickets calling out to one another under the full moon sky. A frog croaked in the distance. The wind whistled a merry tune through the chimes that hung outside her window.
She opened her eyes and saw tiny flickering lights flying over the lawn.
She bought the red balloon. It was round and bigger than the others.
7 year old Sheila raced home with her balloon.
She reached the centre of the garden, closed her eyes, held the balloon tightly and said the magic words. Thrice, just like her brother had told her to.
She was still standing..
Maybe it was like a kite and she needed to run to take off.
She ran down the garden as fast as she could but it didn’t help.
Her brother couldn’t have lied.
Maybe the balloon was too small.
Tomorrow she would buy a bigger balloon.