The solaf rose to his tiny feet. Stretched, flinging his arms backwards and upwards. He stood, momentarily, looking like a highboard diver preparing for an Olympic gold. Eyes shut tight.
What a show off. There was no need for this display at all. But Gemma loved every second of it; and so he did it. To please Gemma. And because it made him feel good too. Important. Loved.
He rose up on his toes; and back down again. Always the same ritual, and always the same excited anticipation from Gemma.
He opened his eyes, looked around, and slowly sank down back onto the stone.
“It’s not working,” he said.
Gemma squealed with laughter,
“You always say that solaf. Come on, don’t tease.” They both began to laugh together. The solaf loved to make Gemma happy, and Gemma loved to play with the solaf.
“OK,” he said, wiping tears from his eyes, “lets begin.”
He stood again, this time without the theatrics. He pointed to a bush, near the edge of the pond. Slowly, at first, and then gaining speed, it began to haul itself from the earth. It stood, like a soldier, awaiting orders. Roots, with lumps of soil attached, dangling like a beaded curtain. As the solaf pointed to another, it too yanked itself from the ground, ready for orders. Then another, and another.
Six in all, waiting patiently for the command from the solaf.
Gemma was, by now, helpless with laughter, tears streaming down her cheeks. The solaf waived his arm, and the assorted shrub army began marching across the lawn towards the shed. In a perfect line; in perfect time.
This was indeed………perfect magic!
Gemma rolled onto her stomach, to observe this military parade. Eyes wide, in pure wonder. On they marched. When they reached the shed, they stopped, turned, and proceeded to march back again.
The solaf was busy again though.
He had moved a small pebble from the pond, and was busy working magic on it. It began to take on a flatter shape, and a different colour. A sparkly crimson. Legs began to appear from the side, and the back began to split open, revealing two delicate lace wings.
The shrub army had arrived, standing to attention, awaiting further orders. Gemma hadn’t noticed, she was too busy watching the solaf create his next miracle. The solaf; too busy creating, to notice anything just now. With two beats of its wings, the crimson flyer took to the air.
“Wow, that’s beautiful,” gasped Gemma, rolling onto her back, as she watched it soar skywards.
The solaf began to smile. ‘Hmmmm not bad,’ he thought. ‘Not bad.’
He turned his attention toward the shrubs, still standing to attention. Gemma hadn’t noticed, but the solaf began to feel a certain……unease in the air. He shifted, uneasily. He looked about him.
Gemma was totally oblivious to everything, except for the aerial display above her. He looked towards rag doll. She could sense danger too. He was beginning to be slightly afraid.
A glance at the shrubs, still standing; above, still soaring. His heart was beginning to pound a bit faster. What was it? Eyes darting around the garden, searching, searching.
Tiny ears, straining for the slightest unusual sound. The rag doll, almost bursting with fear now.
‘Something is very wrong’, thought the solaf.
He looked at Gemma. She lay on her back still, gazing in wonder at the small creature flying above in the blue sky. A small smile crept from his mouth. Then he heard it.
A small sound, but an out of place sound. He couldn’t pinpoint it.
The danger was getting nearer, and gathering momentum. He was getting scared now. His heart was pounding in his ears like drums. Rag doll was screaming at him to move………but all he could hear was drums.
He edged back toward the pond, eyes slicing through the air, trying desperately to pick up on something.
“No!” screamed rag doll.
As he reached the large stone, the danger was upon him!