I found these buried in the back of your closet and just had to send them to you. I remember when you would run about the neighborhood wearing these. Scared some of the neighbors senseless!
You’ve grown so much Emily, and I’m very proud of you. You may not wear these anymore, and you may have stopped being so standoff-ish, but I’ll always think of you as my little fighting rebel.
With great love,
P.S. You should wear them on your next visit to the elflands just to spook your grandfather.
Emily smiled and set the letter down before opening the accompanying package. The cardboard box was about 3 and half feet long and 2 feet wide with about two feet of depth to it. The flaps on the top of the box were taped down liberally and took several minutes to free.
“Honestly Gran,” Emily muttered as she reached for her pocket knife. “I need a machete to get into your packages.”
“Purrrup?” Umbra fluffed out his feathers and blinked. The black and yellow Owl-like animal tilted his head to the side, then to the other, before jumping down off of his perch. The Thump of his landing was masked by the loud ripping pop! of the last of the tape coming off the box.
Emily started at the contents of the box. Torn shirts, belts and numberless bandannas were all folded neatly inside. There was a pair of deep brown combat boots, well worn, and a black leather jacket that had more than a few scuffs on it. Several pairs of cargo pants, with the one army style pair, nested a weighty steel bat that was far too dented to be used in baseball. Emily didn’t need to dig past the darkly colored undershirts to know that there would be a smaller box inside filled with protection charms and magical amplifiers.
Umbra, caught mid peek, jumped awkwardly as Emily burst into laughter. “Squarkiki!” Umbra scolded.
“Sorry bud, but I haven’t seen these in what feels like forever!” Emily rubbed Umbra’s head in apology. “ I’m surprised Gran didn’t just throw them out.”
Umbra cocked his head.
“She hated seeing me wearing them.”
With a blink, Umbra accepted this answer and began preening.
Emily stood up with a sigh and closed the box. She lifted it up off the floor and set on top of one of the two desks in her room. Then, after locating a paper and pen, she sat down to write a reply to her grandmother’s letter. Behind her, Umbra had stopped preening and had waddled over to the door, snapping sounds soon followed.
“There’s food in your dish Um, go get it if you’re hungry.”
The snapping stopped.
Emily had just gotten past Dear Gran,
when she heard the stomach turning-sound of vomit hitting the carpet. Spinning about, she saw a pale green gas creeping under her door. She could hear the wikket vomiting, but could barely make out his small black body in the gas. Emily sat frozen in her chair.
“eeeeeeeekikiiiiiiiiii” The wikket’s moan jarred Emily back into reality and she scooped the vomiting bird out of the now knee-deep gas.
“What the hell is going on?” Emily backed up out of the gas and climbed up onto her bed with her ill pet in tow. Thankfully the fog had yet to rise above the top of the bed, but lapped up onto it menacingly. Another moan from Umbra brought Emily’s attention back to his sorry state.
And Emily nearly screamed.
Umbra’s soft black feather-fur had become rough and matted and green. His eyes were bloodshot and becoming more read by the second, his beak had turned a grey green and had begun to froth and his legs extended out in increasingly uneven lengths. He hiccuped and heaved into Emily’s lap.
Emily tried to turn the wikket’s head away from her and get him to vomit off the edge of the bed (now blurring into the gas) but Umbra was having none of that. He bit down onto her hand, hard, and let out a low growling moan.
“Umbra!” Emily scolded as she disconnected the bird’s beak from her hand. “Calm down! I’m not your enemy here!”
Umbra blinked unevenly at her as the gas covered the last of the bed.
Swearing in elvish and english, Emily grabbed the bird around his flightless wings and hefted him up on top of her dresser, well out of the green gas’s reach...for the moment. Emily then stripped her vomit saturated blankets from the bed and shoved them under the door in an attempt to stop the gas from coming in. For a moment the gas stopped at waist height.
Letting out a sigh, Emily squelched out of the puddle of wikket vomit in front of the door. She looked up at the ceiling, letting out a prayer of thanks that the blanket had worked, then she stopped.
Dripping from the ceiling in long thin wisps, was more gas. Turning back to the door, Emily could see gas creeping through the visible cracks on the sides and top of the door. The hallway must already be filled...and the room above too...I’m going to die!
Panic threw any rationality out the window and, as her heart rate rose and her breathing became fast, Emily was acutly aware of rationality location beyond the window. Window! Open the window!
Slipping a little on stray vomit, Emily darted for the window and threw it open. Outside the window the air didn’t smell of vomit or of the miasma creeping into Emily’s room. Half hanging out the window, Emily breathed deep and relaxed.
The gas was tumbling out the window now and no longer rising. Emily surveyed the view below and saw a faint green fog hanging around the mansion. Looking up, she could also see that several of the other windows were also leaking the gas. There didn't appear to be a place that was free of the gas
A deep groan filled Emily’s room, silencing Umbra’s high pitched ones. Emily turned slowly to see her door bulging and gas shooting out from the sides. A loud crash and sharp pain from Emily’s hand signaled the manion’s closing of her window. Panic returned with a force as Emily tried to get her window open again.
“Skuipblurrrrp” Umbra gagged.
Then the door burst open and the gas flooded into Emily’s room.