The Mysterious Arboretum (7)

By Meg Sorick

Last year, I started writing a story for the 10-year-old daughter of a friend. I hope you enjoy it. Find previous chapters here.

Chapter 7

“Mr. V! Did you see that?” Liam asked excitedly. “Look!”

From the depths of the forest flew a tiny winged creature. The teacher and his students instinctively ducked as the flier zoomed over their heads. After a loop, Pella came to a hovering stop in front of Mr. Vogelsinger.

“Teacher!” she cried. “Sandy is in trouble! The professor has her. You need to follow me!”

Mr. Vogelsinger was rendered speechless and stood staring at her with his mouth agape. Pella motioned for him to follow and flew a little way in the direction she’d come. “Please!”

Mr. Vogelsinger shook his head to clear it. “Now hold on just a minute.” He held his hands up for her to stop. “I think you’d better explain…. “ He paused, struggling to wrap his brain around what he was seeing. “You’d better explain… everything.”

“There’s no time!” she cried.

The teacher frowned. “I am not following after a…. “ he waved his hands in her direction. “What are you?”

Pella sighed. “All right, here’s our story…” And she quickly relayed the tale of what had happened to her and her unit as they traveled through this part of the universe. Finishing by explaining how the professor and trapped them to make them do his bidding. “Now will you come with me?”

Mr. Vogelsinger looked skeptical. “I don’t understand. With all your abilities, why couldn’t you free yourself? Surely if you can maintain the habitats of this arboretum, you could move a simple cage to free yourselves.”

“If it were a simple cage, that would be true. But the professor has it rigged with a small explosive device. The explosive device itself is in a container that has a pad that the professor uses to turn it off and on again when he brings us supplies.” She flew in a circle, becoming more agitated. “I’ve tried using the pad myself but it doesn’t work for me. I think maybe another human has to open it. I couldn’t take a chance that I’d set off the device before my friends could get free.”

“Hmm, it might be a fingerprint reader,” Mr. Vogelsinger mused. “If that’s the case, the professor will be the only one who can open it, then.” He cleared his throat. “So that’s what you were hoping to get my student to do for you? Open the container? Good gracious! Sandy could’ve blown herself to smithereens!”

“Well, the professor has her now! We have to hurry!”

This time the teacher sprang into action. “All right, listen up guys. Stay within sight of me but stand back. I can’t take a chance on losing you in this crazy place but I also can’t take the chance on getting any of you hurt. Follow me!”

The class and their teacher hurried to keep pace with the flying alien as she darted along the path and into the trees. They had to follow single file as they wound their way deeper into the habitat. Soon though, they emerged in front of the shed where Sandy and Pella’s friends were being held. Mr. Vogelsinger motioned for the class to wait quietly at the edge of the trees.

He crept to the door and pushed it open. “All right, professor! What do you think you’re doing?”

The professor spun around, shocked and sputtering. “What? Oh! N-n-nothing! Look, your student broke in here and was up to no good!” he blustered, pointing at Sandy in the corner.

“It’s not true Mr. V!” she cried. “He’s the one that’s up to no good!”

Pella flew into the shed and hovered over her caged friends. The professor gaped at her. “There’s another one? Where did you come from?”

She ignored him and spoke to her friends. “You can stop flying now. The teacher is gong to help us!” And at her words, the exhausted fliers stopped their circular flight and dropped to the floor of the cage. Immediately, the ground beneath their feet began to rumble.

The professor cried, “NO!” and made a dive for the container holding the explosive device.

Mr. Vogelsinger stepped in front of him and blocked his way as the building began to shake. “Don’t even think about it!” he ordered.

The professor stopped in his tracks, but as the children waiting outside began to shout, he smiled wickedly. “Don’t you think you’d better go check on your class?”

Mr. Vogelsinger looked from the professor to the tiny imprisoned aliens in the cage. And he realized he had no option….

To be continued…

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The story of Fergus the giant

Once upon a time, there was a giant named Fergus. Fergus was one of three brothers, but his brothers had all gone away to find wives for themselves, leaving Fergus alone on the western coast of Ireland. For a while Fergus was happy. There was no one to tell him what to do and no one to fight with for the food, because giants eat a lot of food.

One day while Fergus was on the seashore, scooping fish out of the sea for his supper, he heard singing. It was the most lovely sound he had ever heard. He turned toward the sound, but he couldn’t see where it was coming from for the mist. There’s always a mist near the seashore in Ireland. He tried to walk toward the sound, but it was coming from across Galway Bay.

Now, Galway Bay is a big deep bay where all the ships can come into port. It would take Fergus a long time to walk all the way around Galway Bay especially in the heavy fog which made it very hard to see. And even though giants are very, very big, the ocean between the shores of Galway Bay is deep. Too deep for Fergus to walk through. And Fergus, unfortunately, had never learned to swim.

So it was that every afternoon Fergus would go to the seashore to fetch his supper and he would hear this beautiful voice singing to him from across the bay. Finally, he could stand it no more. He realized how lonely he was all by himself without his family and with no woman to love. In his desperation, he gouged out a huge boulder from the granite cliffs of the Connemara Mountains and hurled it into the bay. With a mighty splash and a huge tidal wave, the boulder settled into the bay. It was almost close enough to step to from the northern shore, but not quite.

Again he gouged another huge boulder, this one bigger than the last one and hurled into the bay. Because this one was bigger, it didn’t fly as far. Closer, but still not enough. Once more, he gouged an even bigger boulder from Connemara’s granite mountains and hurled it into the sea. This one landed closer still to the northern shore. Now Fergus had three big stepping stones to walk across Galway Bay. He didn’t hesitate. He stepped, one, two, three on the islands he had created and lastly onto the southern shore of Galway Bay. And what do you think he found there?

A beautiful lady giant. She had been singing on the seashore every afternoon while she fetched her own supper from the sea. She was as lonely as Fergus and was singing to keep herself company.

So Fergus ran right up to her and told her that he loved her. But she was afraid of him at first because she had never seen this giant before and he was fearsome and big. Much bigger than she was. So he kept her company for a while and scooped fish for her from the sea. He fetched berries from the trees and brought flowers for her to weave into her hair. Pretty soon, she fell in love with Fergus. And when Fergus saw that he had won her heart, he asked her to marry him.

Or course, she said yes. And they lived happily ever after. That’s how the Aran Islands were made. You can see them in Galway Bay down to this very day.