Like fantasies? Like mysteries? Like comedy? Put 'em together and you have Barb Caffrey's An Elfy On The Loose. Bruno is a young Elfy, a creature from another dimension, and he's been dumped into our dimension with little to no preparation. While here, he encounters young Sarah, a human who is not what she seems, and Sarah's parents, who are not nice people at all...
Bruno watched Sarah run through the grass while still carrying the backpacks, and wondered why she had so much energy when he had none. Could Roberto have been right? Could she be draining my energy and using it for herself? Although if she is, she can’t possibly know it…maybe she needs training. Although he didn’t know how Elfy girls got their training in magic, much less how a Human girl would get any.
Bruno knew that girl and boy Elfys were sent away to separate schools at the age of twelve. Bruno himself had been held back and home-schooled by his parents, not for being slow, but rather because they hadn’t trusted the school system. Bruno had never been sent to a segregated, all-boy Elfy school until he turned sixteen. That was right after his parents had died in a fiery aircar crash, after he’d become a ward of the state.
Many Elfys used magic frivolously, almost as if it was going out of style, and they didn’t want to use technology. Yet his people had aircars, while Sarah’s realm, the Human-Earth Realm, didn’t. Elfys would use toasters, light rail, and buses, when they wouldn’t use electricity to heat their homes (why pay for electricity if the magic was free?) and only used modern plumbing for elaborate, sybaritic layouts. He wondered if the Humans had those, too. He simply hadn’t had enough time on Sarah’s Earth…he needed to know more!
If the Elfy High Council was going to just send him out, why allow him to be so woefully unprepared? This was just silly!
Bruno rubbed at his head, and frowned. He felt a headache coming on; surely, this meant he should stop thinking so hard. He vowed to ask as many questions of Roberto, providing Roberto found them anytime soon (wherever they were), as he needed in order to make the headache go away.
This avowal immediately made him feel better.
But he still had no idea where he was. He didn’t recognize anything, except green grass, yet he had the oddest feeling. He wasn’t sure, but he thought they somehow had made it back to the Elfy Realm after all, and the not-knowing made him dizzy.
Sarah had stopped and appeared to be weaving on her feet. Bruno jogged the equivalent of three city blocks to get to her, hoping she’d not fall before he made it.
“Bruno, I feel…sick,” she gasped when he was only a few steps away. He sprinted toward her and turned her around; her greenish-white face was alarming. He told her to let the packs fall, then gently helped Sarah lay down on the ground.
“Will you two help me? I need a pillow for Sarah,” he asked the backpacks. Before he could feel too silly about asking backpacks, of all things, for help, a fluffy white pillow appeared in the air by his right hand. Maybe the packs had more power here for some reason? Bruno reached out and caught it before it hit the ground. “Thanks,” he said over his shoulder to the backpacks, as it never hurt to be polite.
He went to Sarah, knelt on the grass, and put the pillow under her head.
He started stroking her long, black hair, just to soothe her. He remembered, distantly, that his mother had used to do the same thing when he was a wee small Elfy and ill from eating some herb he wasn’t supposed to…anyway, he stroked. He talked, mostly nonsense, and tried not to think about the two of them in the middle of nowhere, one very ill and one mildly so. After all, considering Sarah’s sudden illness and his own headache and dizziness, wasn’t it more likely than not that they’d both been exposed to something? He wasn’t a completely stupid Elfy.
“Sarah, hold on,” he said as he continued to stroke her hair. “Somehow, Roberto will come. I know he will!”
“Why are you so sure, Jonny-wonny?”
“Please don’t call me Jonny-wonny, Sarah, or I’ll start calling you Daisy again,” he threatened, smiling to take the edge off his very real threat.
“All right…Bruno,” she gasped, and tried to smile. It was a feeble thing, like to her real smile as a tiny birthday candle on a cupcake was to a candelabrum.
“Don’t try to talk, Sarah,” he soothed, and continued to stroke her hair. This was very like petting a cat, he mused. Except Sarah didn’t claw when she was done with the petting.
He tried not to panic, but he had no way to treat her illness, and no way to get her any help. He felt completely useless, as he had no healing magic…very few did outside of the clerical orders, and even Roberto himself had very little.
He propped the backpacks behind him and asked them to stay put. They did. Then he fell asleep, her cradled on his lap (with the pillow between) and his arms around her. Lost on a sea of too-green grass, with no way out in sight.
An Elfy On The Loose would make a great gift for anyone -- adult, young adult, or older child. Check it out for YOUR holiday gift-giving!