The Blue Door - By Christa Kinde

1

THE INVISIBLE BOY

A shining column erupted from the ring of stones set into the floor of a circular room, carrying with it the figure of a young man wreathed by shifting tendrils of blue light. “You called?” he cheerfully inquired.

“I did,” rumbled a deep voice as a tall, dark man stepped forward. “We may have a problem.”

Ash blond brows lifted in surprise. “I’m not the one you usually turn to in an emergency, Harken. Surely one of the others …?”

An upraised hand halted his protest. “This situation calls for more … delicacy.”

“A direct intervention, then?”

“I’m afraid that has already been accomplished.”

“Who?”

“Shimron’s new apprentice.”

“That shouldn’t even be possible.”

Harken offered an eloquent shrug. “Nothing is impossible.”

“You have to admit, it’s highly irregular.”

“And well he knows it. The boy is frightened.”

“I’ll hurry,” he promised. “Is there a message?”

“How about Fear not?”

Prissie stepped along a narrow rut leading through her grandpa’s orchard, placing her sandaled feet with care so as not to raise any dust. The overgrown lane wasn’t a proper road since it was only used during harvesttime, but it was one of her favorite places to escape from the constant noise of home. “Margery’s birthday party’s in two more weeks. April’s email said she was actually thinking about inviting boys this year. Thank goodness she changed her mind. It would have ruined everything!”

At fourteen, there were many things that frustrated Prissie, but the thing she hated most was that she didn’t have anyone to talk to about them. Margery and the other girls from school all lived in town, but she was stranded in the middle of nowhere with too many brothers for company.

“They’re supposed to post class assignments pretty soon, and I’m crossing my fingers that we’ll all have the same homeroom.” She flipped a long, honey-colored braid over her shoulder, then added, “I don’t know what would be worse — being separated from my friends, or having him in my class again. He’s so annoying!”

Prissie paused and peered up and down the path. “Doesn’t it feel like someone’s watching?” she asked hesitantly. Crouching down, she softly called to Tansy; the striped tabby happily butted her head against Prissie’s hand and began to purr. “Zeke better not be up to his tricks. I don’t want any stalker brothers ruining things; this is my first chance to talk to Milo since Sunday.”

The cat meowed, and Prissie tickled her under the chin before standing and glancing around, unable to shake the feeling of being watched. She turned in a full circle, eyes alert for a telltale head of tousled blond hair. Finally, she shrugged and continued toward the main road, the matriarch of their hay loft trailing in her wake. “It’s sad that getting the mail is the most exciting part of my day,” she sighed.

Prissie wasn’t exactly bored. Their farm was a lively place, what with school being out for the summer and the house jam-packed. There was gardening to be done, the orchard to mow, chickens to tend, and kittens to tame. But all of that stuff was the normal kind of busy … not the exciting kind. “Grandpa likes to say the Pomeroys have deep roots, but all that really means is that we never go anywhere. Not like Aunt Ida,” she informed the cat.

Her dad’s younger sister had left West Edinton as soon as she’d married and rarely made it back for visits. Uncle Loren worked for a mission board, and they traveled the world, visiting faraway places like China, India, and Africa. Prissie keenly missed the vivacious woman who’d been her “bestest” friend until she was nine, but Aunt Ida found ways to stay connected. A steady trickle of postcards and packages made it into the twin mailboxes on Orchard Lane, which was one of the reasons Prissie liked to get the mail personally.

The other reason was Milo Leggett.

Put simply, Milo was their mailman. Though young, he was an upstanding member of their community, a Sunday school teacher at Prissie’s church, and an all-around nice guy. There probably wasn’t a soul in West Edinton who didn’t know Milo, and since he handled all their mail, he knew everyone back.

Whenever he was around, Milo acted as though the Pomeroy clan was his own family, and Prissie liked to think they were special … and not only because they were the last stop on his daily route. As far as she was concerned, it was the one good thing about living so far from town, because about once a week —

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