Stranger in the Mushroom Patch

“Jack, down, now!” Before Madame Charlotte could scold him, the doors to the hall opened, and all the fairlings filed inside and took their seats. Mademoiselle Francesca, Monsieur Pierre, two senior elders, and two chief master engineers were seated on stage. Once the fairlings sat down, a senior elder, Monsieur Monroe, stood in front of the podium. He had long white hair, pale skin, and was quite tall for a fairy. His dark robe sparkled, and though he didn’t know it, he lit up with such a glow it looked as if he’d been doused in fairy dust from head to toe two times over. Despite the early hour, his glowing robes were a sure sign that he’d already been busy all morning working on tasks and deeds for the day. Fairy dust clinging to the multiple layers he wore were a giveaway of how long his list must be, and it was clear he had yet to stand in front of the dust blower to remove the excess dust. Lilly hoped she’d be half as productive as the elders someday; they were always so helpful and busy. The amount of dust assigned to the elders was constant confirmation of the number of tasks they’d complete daily. Lilly and Boris knew all about the quantity of dust the elders were assigned from their time spent in the fairy dust factory. The manufacturing and production of fairy dust, an extensive process, were valuable experiences that neither Lilly nor Boris would ever forget! “You may be seated,” the elder instructed. As soon as the shuffling of feet, wings, gowns, tunics, and robes had stopped, silence filled the hall, and the elder officially greeted them. “Good morning. It’s that time of year when our master engineers conduct their annual inspections of the mushrooms in preparation for the rainy season. Pre-treatment of the ’shrooms will follow, and any infected ’shrooms found during the inspection will be destroyed. Please, stay out of their way.” Turning toward the Chief Master Engineer, he asked, “Is there anything you’d like to add?” Unlike Monsieur Monroe, the Chief Master Engineer’s skin was tanned and worn. He had deep harrowed lines that were forged in his brow, and round spectacles that sat on the tip of his nose. Shaking his head, he lifted his hand, and the announcements continued. “Mushroom rot—nasty stuff,” Boris whispered, and Jack agreed. “It has been brought to my attention that a certain young fairling or two aren’t complying with fairy rules.” Whispers quickly circulated around the hall. Even though the elder glanced around the room, Boris couldn’t help but feel Monsieur Monroe was talking directly to him and Jack. Unfortunately, he was right. “Not surprisingly, it has to do with a wish granted for unlimited moss bombs.” All heads turned toward Boris and Jack. Boris hung his head and tried to ignore the stares even though his cheeks felt as if they were on fire. He had, after all, promised to abide by Monsieur Pierre’s rules, and he hated being the center of attention. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written permission of the publisher. Text Copyright  2022 by Amanda M. Thrasher All rights reserved. Published 2022 by Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, LLC Book Trailer Stranger in the Mushroom Patch