Night Lights in the Forest – 3

Emmy awoke to the smell of dirt. Not regular dirt, but the sweet smell of freshly turned earth that she always associated with her mother’s garden in the spring.
Still tied up with her hands bound tightly to her sides but, otherwise unharmed, she looked around the room. It looked like a cave with wooden crates scattered around the dirt floor. The was also a door ajar with light streaming in around it from what might be a passageway, of sorts.
Struggling, she managed to sit up and lean against the dirt wall. She looked around and saw Booger near her, but sleeping.
“Booger,” Emmy whispered.
She nudged him with her foot.
“Booger!” she said, a little louder.
Booger looked up, whimpered and smiled weakly.
“Hey, boy! How are you feeling?”
Booger whimpered again and laid his head back down on his paws.
The door swung open, “So, you’re awake now are you?”, a male voice queried.
Startled, Emmy looked up and saw the outline of a figure standing in the doorway.
“Who are you and why was I kidnapped?”, she snapped.
“Kidnapped? We rescued you. Those faeries enchant people and make slaves out of them. The only way we could get you away from them was to enchant you in a different way and carry you safely to our underground stronghold.”
“But you, knocked me out, tied me up and hid me in this, this—dungeon!”
The voice chuckled, “Oh, yeah, sorry about that. Sometimes humans struggle a lot under that enchantment. We didn’t want to get anyone hurt while we were trying to save you and your dog.”
“Humans? What the heck are you? Aliens?”
“Ha ha, no way. We are an ancient race of elves.”
“You’re a what?” Emmy interrupted.
“We are elves, wood elves to be precise.”
“There are no such things as elfs or elves or whatever,” Emmy sputtered.
“And you are an expert on that how?” Eryndir countered.
“Elves only exist in children’s fairy tales.” Emmy responded with a laugh.
Eryndir crossed his arms and cocked his hips, “Those are literary elves. We are wood elves. Same race, different species. We don’t really claim them.”
Emmy rolled her eyes, “Yeah, right. So, you can please untie me now, Mister Elf — sir!”
“Look, I’m sorry, but no. Not for another half hour. That’s enchanted cord. It ties itself and stays tied for two hours. Sorry, you’ll just have to wait.”
“Ok, can you, at least, step into the light so I can see you?”
Stepping into the light was a boy that looked not much older than Emmy. He wore loose green pants, a dark brown shirt tied around his waist with a cord and what looked like knit stocking cap pulled down over his head so that it half-covered his ears.
“You know, I think we got off on the wrong foot. My name is Eryndir. What’s yours?”
“Emmy.” She stared for just a bit and asked, “How old are you?”
He smiled, looked down and shuffled his feet just a bit, “Well, that sort of depends on how you count.”
“What? How can you count differently than 1, 2, 3…”
“No, I mean what type of years you count.”
“Oh, well, that clears it up.”
“Ok, let me try it this way. How old is your dog?”
“We got him when I was a baby so, I would say 10 or 11.”
“Do you count dog years the same as human years?”
Emmy thought for a moment, “No, each one of ours is . . . umm, 7 of his.”
Eryndir smiled, “OK, I am an elf—”
“That has yet to be established,” Emmy interrupted.
Eryndir sighed and then continued, “and our years are like that only backwards. For every ten of your years, I age one elf year. I just celebrated my 14th elf birthday, so I am one-hundred and forty of your years.”
“But, you look the same age as me. How can you be a hundred forty? That’s crazy.”
“It’s not crazy, it’s just . . . ” Eryndir paused to look at his feet, “different.”
He took a step back, focused his eyes on Emmy again and crossed his arms, “You look familiar for some reason.”
“Yeah, you were spying on me before you kidna—rescued me?”
Eryinder shook his head, “No—look, are you hungry?”
Just then, the sound of many voices accompanied by the thud of running feet echoed down the hallway.
Eryndir turned and ran out of the room. The excited voices and thudding feet grew faint as they moved away.


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