November 24, 2015 | Posted in The Mermaid & The WolF Adventures

WooFZee and MeaZea don’t get very far into the poppy field when the ground gives way beneath them. They fall down, down, down into a stone cavern. The walls are slick with glittering algae. The ground is pillowed by even more poppy flowers.

They land winded but otherwise unharmed. MeaZea pushes herself into a more dignified position with a sputter, supporting her weight with her hands.

“What happened?”

The song is so loud now that it’s deafening.

Summers and winters, through snowy Decembers

Sat by the waters, minding the embers

Missing the lives that they held once before

Planting the seeds and dreaming once more

Of poppies in spring

And three bells that ring

And a forest that lets them go…

It just keeps repeating  itself on an endless loop. MeaZea stares at WooFZee, wide eyed and hair mussed. She says his name, but can’t hear herself over the song.

He snarls at nothing. At least out here, away from Cavards, the anger has finally left his blood. At least, out here, he feels like himself again. Determined to set things right so that they can be done with the nisse and his cursed farm, WooFZee helps MeaZea up onto his back and starts searching for the source of the sound.

It doesn’t take long to find it. Or rather, it doesn’t take long to find them.

A family of centaurs, curled up against each other. A man and a woman, fingers intertwined. Two children, heads pillowed against their arms. Their skin is pale but their chests still rise with breath, although it’s shallow and uneven. Poppy flowers have wrapped around their limbs and sprouted from their hair. The bright red plants bloom out of the centaurs skin, just like they bloom out of WooFZee’s paws.

“What’s happened to them?” MeaZea asks, horrified. A voice in the back of her mind says, pick the flowers, pick the flowers, pick the flowers. Distantly, she wonders if WooFZee hears it, too.

“I don’t know,” admits WooFZee. He walks circles around the centaurs, ears laid flat against his skull, eyes dark with concern. “It looks…like they’re sleeping.”

MeaZea gasps. “It’s just like Althea said!”

WooFZee curls his upper lip. “What?”

“The song, listen.” MeaZea holds her arms out, fingers splayed out towards the walls.

Summers and winters, through snowy Decembers

Sat by the waters, minding the embers

Missing the lives that they held once before

Planting the seeds and dreaming once more

Of poppies in spring

And three bells that ring

And a forest that lets them go…

Excited, MeaZea continues. “It says that they’re dreaming of three bells that ring! And Althea, she said that one of the secrets we would discover, one of the mysteries we would face, we would hear bells for. She said that we needed to find the bird, find the riddle, and find the bridge made of ice. That’s three things. She also said –

“
Catching on to the idea, WooFZee says, “There are bells to hear, spirits to chase, and treasures to find. That’s also three things. So you’re thinking, the bells and the bird are connected.”

MeaZea bobs her head. “And both of those things are connected to this.”

 

Katelynn E Koontz – Author