December 30th excerpt:

Taking a deep breath to steady himself, doing his best not to cause too large of a breeze for his passengers, John looked to Sherlock. “Lead the way, then,” he muttered.

Sherlock stood and walked from the kitchen to the main room and John, holding his breath, lifted his hands from the table and followed. He stepped slowly and carefully to keep the ride as smooth as possible.

He felt like a bus. A giant, inefficiently shaped bus.

December 17th excerpt:

John couldn’t help but marvel at the amount of detail he was able to see through the small lens, if slightly distorted. The individual spikes of Dean’s hair which swayed as though in time with a breeze; it didn’t take John long to realize that the breeze was his breath, and he made a conscious effort to lessen the gust. Freckles across Dean’s cheeks and stubble on his chin, the tiniest things that John wouldn’t be able to make out ordinarily. Bloodstains on his black shirt, and… John squinted and looked closer, a little thrown by the sight of a necklace resting against Dean’s chest. Even with the magnifier, all he could really make out was an outline of a leather cord and a metallic gleam from a pendant.

“What is that? ” Sherlock piped up, leaning in close again. 

Floorboards (2/2)


( For the first parts of this AU, follow these links to It Just Takes One and A New Doll )

“He got in the floor,” Noriko explained, her disappointed voice muffled by the ceiling of wood over Oscar’s head. Some boards creaked under the humans’ weight.

“Lemme guess,” her boyfriend said, amusement in his tone. “Left him up on the table? You know they’re good climbers, Nori.”

There was a sound of a playful slap on a shoulder. “Just get him out, please?”

Oscar limped faster. The floor overhead creaked and groaned as the huge human man crossed the room. If he were to glance behind, he was sure he’d see the light from the knot in the wood winking out under a massive shadow.

Oscar was over halfway across the room from there. They’d never find him once he got into the walls on the other side. He was so close.

Or so he thought.

Up ahead was a sight that made the blood rush out of Oscar’s face. Cold fear washed over him.

Wedged in between the support boards was another block of wood, perpendicular to the rest. It blocked passage further in the room, and Oscar could tell from looking at it that it’d be too heavy to push even if he didn’t have an injured ankle.

There was a smiley face scratched into it with faded ink.

A trap. The floor was a trap.

Oscar stood frozen, favoring one leg. The humans moved around above him. They were ready for him to attempt an escape. Noriko never once worried about losing track of him. Humans were more powerful and that inked smiley face bore into him while heavy footsteps approached overhead. Tears stung in his eyes.

A wrenching sound tore through the air and light burst down on him. Oscar looked up in shock and tried to throw himself backwards, out of the light, as Noriko’s boyfriend pulled a floorboard right out of its base.

Oscar’s ankle protested, and he fell. Seconds later, a hand snatched in at him, and he was pinned. The dust dug into his cheek from the pressure on his back.

Then, the powerful fingers dragged him backwards. Oscar swept through the dust until fingertips the size of his head pinched the back of his shirt. With no further warning, they yanked him upwards.

Oscar tried to curl into himself as much as he could as he soared up out of the floor in a precarious grip. The room whirled around him and the floor waited below as the man held him up.

It didn’t take long for Noriko to snatch him in a fist and wrench him away. As her hand closed around him, Oscar finally yelped in pain.

“Oh, no, baby,” Noriko cooed, whisking Oscar up towards her face. She opened her fist to cradle Oscar in both hands, and all he could see through the jostling pain was her eyes and the straight black curtain of her hair.

“Did Thomas hurt you, little sweetie?” she prompted. Oscar shuddered and tried to curl into a ball on her palm. A single finger nudged at him and forced him to uncurl again. “Tell me where you’re hurt.” There was no room for defiance in her tone.

Oscar sniffled and realized there were tears spilling from his eyes and tracking through the dust on his face. He shook all over, fear thrumming in every nerve. He really was just a little pet doll to these people. They knew he’d go for an escape and had a trap for him in there. It was all so overwhelming and he sobbed quietly.

Noriko expected an answer, so he lifted a shaky hand to brush at his eyes. His tears were grainy with dust, and his cheek stung from dragging along the ground. He met her dramatically concerned gaze and then pointed to his sprained ankle without a word.

She gasped and held him even closer so she could observe the swelling. If he wanted, Oscar could reach up and touch her face from so close. Instead, he lay down in her hands and covered his face while more sobs shook his little shoulders.

“Ohhhh my gosh,” Noriko whispered, her voice almost breaking. “Thomas, you hurt him!”

Thomas grunted noncommittally. The floorboard clattered back into place. “He coulda got that any time after he scampered off. Lease now he won’t run off so easy.”

“Oh, you’re so awful,” Noriko scolded. Oscar hiccupped. Her voice was so loud and close.

A fingertip nudged at his side and rolled him over again. Noriko took advantage of Oscar’s surprised flail to unfold his fearful curl and pin him to her palm with a thumb. She walked out of the room, looking him over with pity. Oscar held back a whimper of pain and defeat while more quiet tears came.

“Oh, sweet pea,” Noriko said quietly. “Don’t worry. Mama’s gonna get you all cleaned up and then we can put some ice on it. Gotta help you heal up right for when it’s time to meet Mina.”

Oscar shivered as Noriko reached the sink in her cluttered kitchen. That name had come up again. Mina. Oscar didn’t know who she was. Just another human.

The water turned on with a metallic squeal of the faucet, and crashed into the chrome basin of the sink. Oscar pushed other thoughts away. His focus fixed on the water as Noriko, still cradling him in one hand, moved him inexorably towards the relentless stream.

He held his breath and closed his eyes tight.

It was all he could do.

Floorboards (1/2)


We return to the sad AU for Oscar for this prompt. Cradle almost stumped me, but then this came to mind.

( For the first parts of this AU, follow these links to It Just Takes One and A New Doll )

Oscar stumbled, but he barely hit the floor before he scrambled back up and kept running. Everything in him focused forward, across the long expanse of hardwood flooring. He ignored the rumbling in the floor and the gaping space overhead, unfamiliar surroundings all looming in his periphery. He didn’t know this house, but he didn’t need to in order to recognize an avenue of escape.

It was the only chance he had.

They’d taken his bag. Tossed it out with the trash, no matter how much he wished they wouldn’t. It was only shabby cloth to them. Worthless.

To Noriko and her obedient boyfriend, Oscar was the one of value. A high priced little doll that needed to be fixed up and made perfect. They didn’t care how much he wept.

The first chance at escape came when Noriko left him out on her work table to go and fix herself a snack. She was so assured that he was trapped up there that she’d set him down on the middle of the surface without even a word to him after holding him up to her eyes, turning him this way and that.

From what Oscar understood, he and other smaller folk like him were a hobby to the dark-haired woman. She cooed over him and told him how precious he was, but she never treated him like a person. He had to escape.

Climbing down a table leg without the aid of his safety pin and string was difficult and risky, but Oscar hadn’t had a choice. Desperation had kept him safe for the haphazard slide all the way down to the floor, and he’d hit the ground running. He had to get himself out of sight before she came back.

He was a few feet away from a rolling stand raised off the ground a few inches by squeaky wheels when her footsteps returned to the room. “Oh, shit!” Noriko’s girly voice boomed overhead. Oscar flinched and it spurred him onward. Something clattered and more tremors stomped through the floor.

Oscar dove under the stand just in time for one of Noriko’s socked feet to land nearby. He pushed himself back to his feet and scurried to the back of the rolling cabinet near the wall, only turning to look at her when he reached the baseboard.

A curtain of black hair came into view before finally part of her face blocked everything else beyond the heavy stand. One eye bore into him and Oscar shuddered. Noriko had a way of smiling, appearing as cheerful as ever, while ice stabbed out of her expression. This was one of those times.

“Awww, who’s a little stinker?” she cooed. “You’re getting yourself all dusty, little baby. Why don’t you come out and we can rinse you off? I won’t even put you in time out if you come out right now.”

Oscar winced. ‘Time out,’ as she called it in that saccharine voice of hers, was an old pill bottle with holes cut in the lid. Oscar had yet to earn any time locked up in the cramped container, but it had been made clear to him what could earn him a stay.

An escape attempt meant at least half a day trapped in that bottle. Oscar would have no hope of getting out if he was stuck in there.

Still, he didn’t move to come out. This was his only chance to get away.

While Noriko kept her eye on him, Oscar glanced around for a new escape route. He knew she could move the cabinet if she wanted to get to him. He needed a better place to hide, somewhere out of reach. If she got a hand on him, it was over.

Just when he thought he wouldn’t find a way out of this mess, he spotted it. A hole in the old floorboard from a knot in the wood. It was barely more than an inch wide, but Oscar could tell that it bore all the way through.

The floorboards. If he could escape to the internals of the house, Noriko would never catch sight of him again.

“Don’t!” her voice ordered even as he dashed for the hole in the floor. Oscar shuddered but ignored her warning.

He almost tripped over his own feet to reach it. Right as he crouched by the opening to peer in, Noriko’s face disappeared from the gap at the front of Oscar’s current shelter. He had no time. He scooted forwards and slipped into the knog feet first. The wood floor groaned as the cabinet shifted ominously on its wheels.

Oscar was a skinny little guy. He didn’t need to make effort to fit, while the huge furniture overhead moved. He dropped out of sight before the human woman could get the stand out of the way with a loud rumbling of its wheels on the wooden boards.

Noriko swore loudly overhead, and Oscar fell a distance almost twice his own height. The dark under the floor welcomed him like an old friend. Relief welled up in him until he hit the ground.

Pain flared through his ankle, weak after years of fighting to get enough food. Oscar landed in a heap and stifled a squeal of pain. The wooden ceiling several inches above him rumbled with Noriko’s resentful stomps.

Oscar reached a shaky hand to brush over his ankle and foot. It stung when he touched it, and there was already swelling around the most painful spots, but his cloth wraps kept it steady through the pain.

Just a sprain. He groaned and pushed himself up to his feet while in the distance Noriko called for her boyfriend.

He wasn’t out yet. He couldn’t stop running until he was far from those two.

The first hobbled steps nearly knocked him over again. Oscar grimaced and stayed upright through sheer determination.

Under the floorboards was a thick layer of dust, rained down from above over the years. Thick support beams ran in rows, creating walls on either side of Oscar. He glanced behind and found more supports. The nearest wall was barred from him.

He’d have to trek across the long passageway under the room where Noriko did her work. She and her boyfriend would be right overhead the whole way, unseen giants looking for him. Angry at him.

Fear and a pounding heart drove him on, despite the slow progress on his hurt ankle. Pain pulsed up his leg with every step, preventing a full run no matter how much he tried to hurry himself along. No gaps showed in the support boards on either side, and Oscar needed to find one soon.

The earthquakes were coming back.

A New Doll


Oscar – Possession

Break my heart into pieces, why don’t ya (Don’t worry, I will just do that to myself). This prompt is a continuation of this other one. The AU is still unnamed and not planned out really. It’s just sad how dare.

Oscar never did adjust to the darkness inside the ice bucket. No light leaked in past the lid, giving him nothing. Even inside the walls, some light made it in. He was adapted to make use of it like no human ever could, but now even he was blinded.

He was curled into a tight ball, covering his ears to block the sounds from outside. An engine rumbled and a radio blared. Oscar’s own heart pounded. No matter what, he couldn’t protect himself from that noise out there. It was unfamiliar from so close.

Everything was a reminder that he’d been taken away from his home.

Life in the Knight’s Inn motel wasn’t easy. Oscar had to fight for survival almost every day. When he wasn’t critically low on food, the draft was enough to chill his tiny bones. From waking up to burrowing into his nest of blankets to sleep, Oscar worked hard. He spent his time collecting supplies, or sitting in his ringbox chair to weave and sew.

It was all gone now. Now he was at the mercy of a human and no help was coming.

His cheeks were dry and scratchy from the many tears that had already leaked from his eyes. He had his eyes shut tight to hold back more, but they escaped in spite of his efforts. Oscar sobbed in time with his breathing and tried to think of a silver lining. Something about his situation had to have a good side.

He couldn’t think of one.

Bumps in the road jostled him, but Oscar always found his way back into his desperate curl. It was all he could think to do to protect himself, though he knew it made him a coward. He could be trying to find a way out, but in his heart he knew there was none. It comforted him more to huddle into himself and hide in his own thoughts.

Thus he traveled for hours, leaving his home far behind. Farther than he’d ever be able to travel on his own, all while stuck in the dark confines of a stolen ice bucket. He doubted the human cared, if he was willing to steal an entire person, too, three and a quarter inches tall or not.

At length, the movement came to an end, along with the loud sounds of the engine and the radio. Oscar’s ears rang with the sudden absence, but then he choked on a yelp as the bucket moved. His captor grabbed it up and soon enough, the sound of the car was replaced by the sound of heavy footsteps.

He curled up more fervently, making himself as tiny as he could. His body quivered from the strain and the fear, and his stomach quailed. He was fortunate that he hadn’t yet eaten that day, or he might have been sick already.

The steps carried him through a new door, and when it slammed behind the human, Oscar could feel the vibration in his whole body. He winced, and then flinched again as the human shouted across the house he’d arrived in.

“Nori! Where are ya?” he called.

Another voice answered from somewhere, and the steps resumed. Oscar logged away the hollow sound of the steps. Hardwood floors, with plenty of space beneath them. Floorboards made a great hiding place for people like him, since humans had difficulty getting to them without destroying their home.

“What is it?” the other voice said, closer this time. A woman, from the sound of things.

Oscar squeaked when his prison slammed down onto a surface. His captor answered, sounding prouder than ever. “Check out what I found for us, Noriko.”

Oscar received no further warning before the lid above him lifted away at last with a scraping of plastic. Light burst in and he shut his eyes tight against the sudden onslaught. He flinched away from the face looming overhead, curtained by sheets of straight black hair.

Noriko moved even faster than her companion. Before Oscar could register that her hand was in his field of vision, slender fingers had wrapped around him. She yanked him out of the bucket and shoved the plastic container away absently.

Oscar found himself trapped in a fist before a pair of dark eyes that pierced right through him. Noriko looked interested, but as she looked him over, a frown appeared on her lips. Her grip on Oscar shifted and he suddenly found himself with a thumb against his stomach and two fingers against his back.

Once again, he was lucky he didn’t have anything in his stomach to make him sick. He planted his hands against her thumb and winced, curling up with the pain of her careless grip.

“He’s really skinny,” she pointed out critically, glancing past him at the man standing across the table. “You’ll have to make sure to fatten him up at least a little or she’ll think we sold her a sick one again.”

“I will, Nori, it’s not like she can show up instantly anyway, we’ll get him ready. This one’s exactly the kind she wants,” he replied. Oscar looked between the two of them, confused and wishing he had the bravery to ask who ‘she’ was.

Noriko smiled, a girlish expression that had no place on such a frightening face. Oscar’s breathing raced and he closed his eyes when she focused on him again. That gaze instilled in him a sense that he was little more than a fun new possession to her.

“He is a cutie,” she pointed out. A fingertip forced its way under his chin and tilted his head back. Oscar opened his eyes wide and gasped with pain. “Almost a shame to let him go, he’d look so cute in a little dollhouse.”

“Nori,” the man chided. “With the money from this one, we can get you a dozen cute dolls that you don’t even have to look after when you don’t want to.”

Noriko smiled again and lowered her hand. Oscar was released to the table in front of her with a surprised huff as he landed. The hand settled next to him, fingertips drumming the surface absently while she answered. “I guess you’re right,” she sighed.

Oscar pushed himself to his feet, his legs shaky and sore. He had his head tilted back to watch the humans, who weren’t looking at him for the moment. The man smiled excitedly at Noriko and grabbed the ice bucket from the table. “So, how’d I do?” he asked.

She tilted her head and pouted her lips coyly. Oscar sidled away from her hand, only for that dark gaze to slide down to him. Noriko’s hand casually swept him up again and he squeaked and squirmed in her grip. She ignored his efforts and didn’t release him no matter how he tried to wriggle free. A thumb pressed against his cheek teasingly. “He’s darling. I’ll have to measure him for a new outfit later. You did good, honey.”

Oscar shuddered and more tears raced down his cheeks. The human lifted him up and he sucked in a gasp, and then her grip opened up. His yelp of fear cut off as he landed back on the man’s palm. “Now go put him away for now, you got back in time for our show.”

Oscar covered his head with his hands as the fingers arced overhead until they closed in a fist around him. A voice, so disinterested in him and his fear, rumbled all around. “Be right back.”

You’re A Giant Now


( Putting these together since the one without a character came in first and I had already planned to throw Jacob at that one )

AU: Giant Jacob AU

Timeline: Before the story begins

Twigs and leaves crunched under a heavy boot as Jacob hiked among the trees, staring around avidly. The pines, straight and tall, stretched high overhead, deep green needles hiding the darkening sky from sight. The air was filled with the fresh scent of those pines, as well as distant maples, and the crisp aroma of a mountain lake. Even as the day came to a close, birds and squirrels bustled about on the branches, chasing each other or holding conversations in their squeaks and chirps. There was a slant to the world that came as an unfamiliar obstacle to Jacob, a native of the flat lands of Iowa.

It was the perfect terrain for hiking. Despite Colorado coming with more chill than he was used to, and thinner air than he usually breathed, it was well worth the trip.

Back at the campsite, his friends were less enthusiastic about the wild outdoors themselves. Camping was a time of relaxation, they’d say. To Jacob, hiking in the trees was relaxing. A chance to get away, take it all in, and live in his own thoughts.

A faint twinge on his back, little more than an itch, prompted Jacob to stop in his tracks. He shifted his backpack around, and then glanced up once more. The evening was getting darker. Knowing his friends, they’d need help getting a fire started.

He turned back towards the campsite, using the slope of the earth and a natural sense of direction to point him in the right direction. He didn’t want to be caught out here when it grew too dark to find his way between the trees.

He didn’t make it three steps before a strange tugging sensation clenched in his middle. With a wince, Jacob stopped again and shut his eyes tight. The thin air around him became thinner and his heart pounded in his ears as though he was suddenly underwater. There was a prickling at his arms and chest, and the sound of more twigs breaking.

Did I fall down a hill?

He opened his eyes, and then closed them again in confusion. When he opened them once more, the scene before him was just as confusing. Jacob stared around him, with the waning sky a canopy overhead, ringed by the mountain range that created a wall across the country.

He could see the sky.

He was taller than the trees.

“What the fuck,” he muttered, his face a mask of shock. His voice, quiet to him, rumbled out of his now-massive chest and made the tips of the trees quiver. They didn’t rise past his shoulders.

The prickling on his arms came from the branches that now poked into him like twigs. Now, an entire pine branch felt like what a pine needle should feel like. He brushed a hand over one branch with his brow furrowed, and flinched when the spindly wood creaked and then snapped from his touch.

“I need help,” he murmured, and now bird and squirrels could be heard scolding him from safely below the tree level where he couldn’t see them. He looked straight down. Past a chest broader than a house and jean-clad legs that towered over some apartment buildings, his boots were planted on the ground, crushing undergrowth that moments ago he’d need to push aside or navigate around.

If Jacob were to guess with his severely-confused senses, he was over a hundred feet tall.

It wasn’t possible. He had to have hit his head on something. It was a hallucination, taking the sensations of the forest around and warping them. He could still smell the maple and the pine, and the mountain lake, he could still feel the chill in the air, but it all took a backseat.

Jacob’s heart did flips as the confusion grew, and he took a lurching, dizzy step. It was clumsy, and he nearly dropped down to his knees in the confusion and vertigo. He was up to high. Jacob had to blink lightheadedness away that could be from the thin air or from the soaring sensation that came with just one step.

People didn’t just grow like this all of a sudden.

He needed to find someone. He took another step with a grimace, and the strange height didn’t go away. If he could just get back to the others, he might be able to find out what had happened to make him grow.

Small dots of flickering orange led him back. Jacob didn’t need his sense of direction as much, now that he stood taller than the trees. He walked towards the campgrounds, glancing down with every step. If there was another hiker down there …

He didn’t want to think about that.

The trees shook as he walked, and many branches snapped against him before he even noticed he was brushing against them. He was too big, the fabric of his hoodie and jeans too thick.

As he walked, more lights flickered to life in the treeless patch that was the main campground park. Jacob could just make out the tiny squares of light that came out of RV windows, and the tiny stars that wavered to and fro near the campfires. Flashlights. He’d probably barely be able to hold one in his fingers if he really was big.

He just needed to find his friends and their tent. They’d get a park ranger to use a phone with signal on it and call for help or something. Then he’d be fine.

Since he was in a hurry and he could hear people talking ahead, Jacob took longer strides to get back. His boots crushed more saplings and left huge indents in the ground, and he didn’t realize until it was too late that a lot of those voices were screaming.

He reached out to push at one tall pine tree, leaning it aside with a prolonged creak, and found the campgrounds in chaos. The fires weren’t surrounded by happy people talking and laughing. The flashlight beams wavered because people were running, shouting to each other.

While he was so preoccupied with how confused he was, Jacob had never considered how frightened they’d be.

“Wait, wait,” he said, his voice booming over the campers that now stood no taller than his fingers. Fuck. I did this wrong. “Please!”

His words didn’t reach them. No one stopped their panic. Tents collapsed as people tore themselves out of them, and belongings were scattered in the pandemonium. Already, some of the fastest runners had reached their cars and the engines roared to life with an urgency that mimicked the shouts from the people.

“No, no, please,” Jacob said again. He let go of the tree and shuffled forward only a step, then lowered himself down. One hand reached for the ground to brace himself, and he hoped that making himself less towering might help.

A boom echoed over the chaos, a loud one, and suddenly a spray of stinging pain lit up in his arm. Jacob jerked his hand back and, in one fluid motion, pushed his sleeve up in surprise. His arm sported several tiny pinpricks of red.

Another shot rang out, and the spray of buckshot from the gun hit his other arm this time. “Ow!” Jacob yelped, falling backwards to a seat. The forest shook, pine needles fell, and more people screamed.

They’re terrified of me, he realized. There was another shot, and he flinched. This one missed him somehow. Despite being the size of one of the nearby hills, someone had missed him.

Because they were so scared they couldn’t see straight.

Jacob’s heart sank and he scrambled back with his hands until he could stumble to his feet. His backpack, now giant along with him, broke the top half off of a younger tree as he whirled around and ran. He couldn’t stay there while everyone was in a panic. Not while he could barely see the ground. Not while they were shooting at him.

He could try again later. Someone had to be able to help him.

Oh, sorry! I’ve even watched multiple Sherlock Holmes’ shows and movies, it just fled my mind on Sunday when I was taking care of the influx of guesses.

The crossover will be with Supernatural and BBC Sherlock!

Dean will certainly be upset about coffee, but he’s lucky that this Sherlock, at least, enjoys a good cup of coffee and not just tea and biscuits.

Hello! Borrowedtimeandspace here! John would definitely dote on the bitty bros any chance he gets. It might take him a while to graduate to Christmas sweater level, but he’d be more than willing to help make the brothers more comfortable any way he can!

October 7th excerpt:

Oscar watched as Jacob followed suit, standing easily on Dean’s hand. With the three of them all waiting on him, he took some hasty steps forward, but stopped when Dean’s fingertips were right in front of him. Those digits were bigger than he was. Sometimes it was incredible to think that humans could be so big. Then he had to remember that he and people like him were the odd ones. Dean, though he seemed to be kind of huge even for a human, was the normal one in the room.

Oscar took a short, deep breath, hoping the exhale carried some of his trepidation with it. He stepped carefully onto the hand and immediately paused, feeling the skin beneath his shoes in one of the strangest textures he’d ever stood on. The calluses were thick enough that he hardly had any impact on them.

Calling John Bonham Final

A short story of Brothers Apart

“At least they’re a better kind of hunter,” Bowman said dismissively. He didn’t notice the almost challenging edge to Dean’s voice, daring someone to disagree with his statement. Bowman wasn’t about to argue the point. Sam had helped save Wellwood just as much as Dean.

“Yeah,” Jacob muttered, while the rest of Bowman’s story caught up to him. A real nightmare had drifted into Wellwood and he hadn’t been around to help the sprites. After what they’d been through before, he couldn’t help but feel a protectiveness of his own for the tiny pacifist village.

“Listen, guys, I guess the rest of the story is true then, too, so I want to thank you two for helping out my friends. Bowman’s got some pretty great things to say about what you did for them.”

“That’s what we do,” Sam said, a proud grin on his face replacing his abashed demeanor. It meant the world to him to be able to join Dean in hunting. “Protecting Bowman’s village is just as important as… well, protecting my family from any dangers.”

“Besides,” Dean said with a chuckle, “how could we let Vel down? He did decide to adopt us as his older brothers. We’ve gotta watch out for the third Winchester. He’s gotta grow up and beat Bowman at flying with those little wings of his.”

Bowman grumbled something and flicked his wings. He couldn’t really protest too much since they were talking about a small nestling who was only just getting used to his wings, but still the challenge to his place as Wellwood’s fastest flyer rang loud and clear. With a flutter of leafy wings, he took flight as if to remind at least Jacob of his skill.

Jacob, meanwhile, smiled at the thought of one of the little sprites, ‘nestlings’ as they called them, adopting humans. There seemed to be an innocence to everything the sprites did, even Bowman as he swept past on his strong little wings.

“That’s awesome news, man. I’ll do my part, too, if I find out about anything going down out here I know who I can call.”

“We’ll be there,” Dean agreed. “Keep a close eye on them, okay? Evil tends to be attracted to vulnerable communities like that, especially with that Prayer thing they’ve got going on.”

Sam leaned forward on Dean’s other hand, bracing himself with a hand on the thumb that bordered the edge. His small fingers just barely stretched to where he felt Dean’s fingernail start, the rigid surface slick under his touch. “Bowman, tell Rischa we said ‘hi,’ okay?” he called out over the line. He wished he had a longer chance to talk to her. She was wise beyond her years, and able to see through even Dean’s thick walls, helping Sam understand his older brother a little better.

“Good luck keeping Bowman out of trouble,” Dean said with a smirk. “At least you might have a chance with the rest of the village.”

Jacob chuckled over Bowman’s indignant I heard that! and sent the sprite a smirk. “I’ll do my best with this guy,” he replied, thinking about the other warning. It was lucky he visited as often as he did, if things truly were as sinister as they said. It seemed like the sprites kept leading Jacob further down the rabbit hole.

“Hey, listen, sorry if I raised the alarm for a second there, I was just calling to see if Bowman’s story was real. I won’t keep you,” he continued. Somehow he got the feeling that a pair of brothers who hunted monsters didn’t do a lot of casual chatting on the phone.

“Don’t worry about it,” Dean said. “It sure got Sam to fall out of bed, didn’t it there, pint-size?”

Sam glared up at Dean, fully blaming him for the startling wake up. “Normal people don’t just stick a cell phone next to someone’s bed while they’re sleeping,” he groused right back. “Good to hear from you, Bowman, Jacob.” He slapped a hand against the END button so he could give Dean a proper tongue lashing without an audience.

States away at the other end of the disconnected call, Bowman was of the same mind as Sam. Jacob had barely pulled the phone away from his face before a flutter and a flash of green rushed right up to his face. A tiny fist impacted with his forehead, and then Bowman kicked off between Jacob’s eyes to dart away again. Jacob barely had time to wave a hand at him in surprise.

“That’s for not believing me!” Bowman scolded as he corkscrewed in the air.

Jacob rubbed at his forehead to get rid of the phantom feeling of a tiny bop. “Hey, I wasn’t that skeptical,” he pointed out. “I called them, didn’t I?”

Bowman huffed and crossed his arms, banking into a hover well above Jacob’s eye level. “Well you wouldn’t have needed to if you just believed me.”

“Fine, fine, you were right.”

Bowman flew in a circle over Jacob’s head, clearly pleased with the words. “Don’t soon forget it, giant.”

Calling John Bohnam (1 of 5)

A short story of Brothers Apart

(It’s been a long time since the last BA update, and we miss them as much as you do! So enjoy this short update from the series from when Jacob discovered exactly what, and who, he missed during the events of A Lich of Sense!)

Jacob Andris sat in what the wood sprites of Wellwood had dubbed “his” clearing. He’d been back to visit as many times as he could manage since he first wandered deep into the forest with his friends and discovered that an entire village of tiny little winged beings lived out there. They remained so isolated from the world that they barely knew humans existed before Jacob and his friends, Bobby and Chase, showed up.

Now, in an autumn a little over a year after he first met Bowman Leafwing, Jacob was back again, watching his small friend wheel about in the air. Bowman’s vibrant green wings contrasted with the trees around them, which were showing their reds and oranges with the turning of the seasons. Soon they would drop to the ground, and winter would be upon the woods.

Bowman was agitated over a long story he’d spent the last several minutes recounting. Jacob knew better than to interrupt even the more outrageous claims from the sprite, so he simply watched, nodding when appropriate. Some parts had the sprite so riled that he nearly derailed his train of thought to grouse about them.

More than once, Jacob had to wonder if there was some kind of special mushroom out in the woods here that might have inspired Bowman’s imaginative tale.

At the same time, a lot of it seemed so plausible. Especially the part about a human catching Bowman and taking him out of the forest. Jacob had to prompt Bowman to move on from describing the many corners found in a human dwelling as the sprite was driven to distraction by the foreign thought.

Bowman’s story also included zombies, of all things. Zombie wolves, raised by a zombie magic user of some kind, that was there to claim sprites for some purpose of which the mere memory made Bowman shudder. If it all really happened, Jacob was loathe to think about the fact that he hadn’t been around to help. His best friend might have faced something straight out of an intense nightmare and he was alone for it.

“So,” Jacob finally interjected when Bowman’s story was winding down, “this Dean guy. After he brought you back to the woods and fought the … life-sick things, he’s an ally now? Him and his sprite-sized brother Sam?” It was one of the more intriguing parts of the story, the possibility of a human who stood the same height as Bowman paired up with a man who fought zombie wolves without flinching.

Bowman flew in a tight spiral, diving downwards so he could stop to hover at Jacob’s eye level. “Yes. He started out blasted rude, grabbing me and keeping me in a pocket. Which, by the way, if you ever try that, I will kick you in the face.”

Jacob held up his hands in surrender. “Wouldn’t dream of it,” he assured the sprite.

Bowman nodded in approval, but he still seemed cynical of something. “You don’t believe me, do you?” he said, narrowing his eyes at Jacob’s face.

Jacob offered him a sheepish grin. “I … well, it’s just pretty out there, is all,” he admitted.

Bowman rolled his eyes. “You always said no one knows the sprites exist, but here I am. Existing.”

“Okay, yeah, but zombies, Bowman?” Jacob shot back, trying to hold back a smirk. At this point, Bowman would be riled up either way. He might as well get some entertainment out of it.

Bowman pointed at him. “They called them that, too,” he insisted. “Zom-bees.” Jacob gave him a skeptical look, and Bowman scowled. “Whatever!” He flew in a wide circle around Jacob’s head, wings rustling. “Do you believe me or not?!” he asked.

“Okay, okay, say I believe something happened,” Jacob conceded. “Did those guys say they’d come back?”

Bowman stopped with a faint rustle of his wings as they shifted to hover. “No, they had to go fight more monsters,” he answered. To Jacob’s continued disbelieving look, Bowman frowned and added hastily “But they left a piece of paper with numbers on it and said I could use it to contact them if we needed help ever again!”

With that announcement, Bowman darted out of the clearing, determination carrying him off like a shot. Jacob flinched from the sudden exit, and then relaxed again. He was intrigued by the promise of solid proof, so he waited.