In the Orchard


It's been a while but this place is feeling really good right now.

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The swinging gate transformed. First, two broad arms uncurled from within the wooden slats. They stretched past us and scooped Riddy and me into a crushing bear hug. Then, when I was still seeing stars from our heads knocking together the wood grain took to life and formed fine brown hair. It tickled my nose but I was gripped so tightly I couldn't inhale to sneeze. And finally, it spoke in a booming voice that descended on us like a downpour.

"Who are the two who dare trespass on the orchard?"

"Let us go! We'll leave!" Riddy broke free of his daze.


I interrupted before Riddy could start yelling again. "We are Riddy and Squiff!"

"What is your purpose here?"

"We were hungry!" Riddy again.

"WHAT IS-" it wasn't good enough. The guardian tightened its arms around us.

"We're running from the Master!" I blurted.

"The Master?" The guardian abruptly dropped us on the dirt. He turned to the direction we came from. "They're after you. Quick come in side."


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