It was a zonnestrider, a diurnal spirit that exhaled a deathly aura of fury and violence. No weapons were permitted on or around the pasture, not even the fairy blade. The fathers of Otto, Else, and Kitty were livid that they were not allowed either. Dr. Kikkert, as the least physically dangerous of the older men, was placed outside the gate with a radio transceiver to contact Prof. Morhier, who waited up the road in a car. Morhier taught Otto a ward to repel the enemy for a time; after at least a day he would be able to prepare a more permanent solution.
(As I was finishing this part of the story, it came to my mind that this song in Hindi is connected to it in some subliminal way. If you think you might disagree, you might want to check out the song only after you’ve read this bit of the story. Here is a rough translation of the lyrics if you’re curious.)
By the time morning came the fairy tree was not only withered but rotten. The fallen leaves that had dried and then been wetted by the dew filled the whole place with the bay leaf smell. Otto thought it was rather inconsiderate of the fairy’s signal to make such a mess after only one brief conversation, but Kitty pointed out that it was easier for them to get at the roots, where the signal had said the weapon was buried.
Dr. Tom Kikkert was friendly about the number of people he let in the room when they were those who needed to be there. He kept the true proverb, that “companionship is the purest medicine”. Otto’s room had warm brown walls: the doctor tried to avoid sterile white. Otto’s barrel-chested father sat by the bed and held his hand. Nearby sat his mother, who seemed undisturbed (“He is a boy, after all”). She was holding Otto’s baby brother, who also seemed undisturbed, and was pointing with interest at the various medical and magical things in the room: he had never been in this interesting place before. Kitty was sitting on a love-seat, and leaning, exhausted, on Else Verboom, Otto’s sweetheart; Else was a nice person to lean against.
Otto Kunger had a round head, with close-cut hair, and round, thick glasses; however his spirit was quite squarish. His eyes were quick and clever, so that when he went “hunting” with Kitty in the fields and woods, while she found things more often, he found things that were usually more interesting; consequentially, they each thought the other was better at it.
Today they would not be hunting. Kitty’s heart beat almost as fast to show Otto the fairy hole as when she and her mother had first followed the light-bearer to it. They clambered nimbly over the gate; Kitty as usual was in her bare feet, while Otto had on a pair of sturdy battered shoes that may have once belonged to his father. Kitty was over the gate first, even quicker than usual. Otto’s glasses glinted in the afternoon sun as he got his leg across.
(Later parts in this story require reader discretion.)
Kitty Bauer was jumping on a small indoor trampoline, her wavy hazel hair and light springtime clothes flouncing lightly. While she jumped she seemed to be deep in thought, rather in contrast with the enthusiastic movements of her slight form. Her mother, Dolores, came into the game room with a can-opener in her hand and a somewhat lost expression on her face.