Harvest of Changelings

Harvest of Changelings by Warren Rochelle Read Free Book Online

Book: Harvest of Changelings by Warren Rochelle Read Free Book Online
Authors: Warren Rochelle
book or watching TV to see his dad staring at him. “What is it, Dad? What’s the matter?” Malachi had asked a few times. “Nothing,” his father had said. “Nothing’s the matter.” The secret had to stay secret, an invisible and offstage presence that haunted 1413 Beichler Road. Malachi wished, over and over again, that he knew why. He hated not being able to talk to his dad about it. Not talking about the magic didn’t make it any less real. Magic? Was that what it really was? In a lot of the stories and books he had read since he had moved Miss Windlemere’s chair the magic had something to do with spells and making strange things in huge bubbling cauldrons. Witches and wizards did magic like that. Fairies, on the other hand, were different. They were magic. When Malachi figured that out, he was almost satisfied. What about the other meaning of fairy? The one he wasn’t sure about, the one he had heard some older boys whispering and laughing about? Malachi wanted to ask his father if he thought that was right: witches did magic, fairies were magic, what the older boys meant. But he asked nothing.
    But despite the silence, everything else was pretty much the same, which made the weird silence tolerable. Uncle Jack still came to dinner once or twice a week, although now he sometimes brought his new girl friend, Hilda. Malachi and his father still went to movies in Raleigh every now and then, and some Sundays they would make it to mass down the street at St. Mary’s. School, homework, the library, and the ghost safely in another room.
    Malachi, of course, did not stop doing what he called little magics: sliding the chalk just ahead of Miss Windlemere’s fingers, pulling book markers out of all the books on her desk. Or, as he had done yesterday, nudging a softball in mid-air to pop the head of one of his tormentors. The boy had deserved it. He had been picking on Malachi on the bus, calling him Old Yeller and baby, and what was a little bitty baby doing in school, huh, cat got your tongue, little bitty feller? No, Malachi had thought when the ball smacked the boy’s head, but I just got you. And a week ago, he had found out he could raise the wind, be the Big Bad Wolf.
    Malachi got up from the tree and brushed off leaves and pine needles. He had also practiced in his room at home, after his father thought he was asleep, or out in the woods, in places like this. He started walking deeper into the little grove. There was a clearing that he remembered from the last time he had gone exploring in these woods. Besides, he didn’t want the principal to find him; at least not right away.

    â€œDad’s going to be really mad when he finds out,” Malachi muttered to himself as he followed a winding dog-path. He was sure by now his father had been called and was probably on his way to the school. And no matter how hard his father was pretending, Malachi was sure his dad would figure out how the school bell had gone off so early.
    This is a Good Place. He had come to the clearing, which was almost a perfect circle cut out of the trees, as if someone had lifted up everything with a huge cookie cutter. Weeds, tall grasses, leaves, and branches covered the ground. Tiny pine and cedar saplings, spindly oak and maple saplings. Small blue and white star-shaped flowers were scattered inside the circle like sprinkles tossed on a cake. Malachi’s feet crunched on acorns. He stood in the middle and looked up into a smaller circle of sky, its irregular rim made by tree branches.
    He had been dreaming of this trick for as long as he could remember, and now, after the softball, the bowl, the chalk and the chair, and today, after the clock and the bell—well, could he do it—could he be like the wind?
    Okay, here goes. One, two, three, up where the air is clear, up in the stratosphere, let’s send it soaring, let’s go fly a kite ...
    At first, like with

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