The Children's Crusade

The Children's Crusade by Carla Jablonski Read Free Book Online

Book: The Children's Crusade by Carla Jablonski Read Free Book Online
Authors: Carla Jablonski
he was unsure what to say, but she liked the fact that he clearly understood how important the ballet slippers were to her. He just nodded, then said, “So you’re all set then.”
    â€œAll set. Oh! Except for these.” She dropped the Scrabble tiles onto the tree stump. “Tell Kerwyn where they are after I’ve gone.”
    â€œAll right.”
    Daniel walked her to the special spot where the pattern would work. He had to leave her at the clearing—one could only go through the gate alone.
    She knelt down and drew the hopscotch grid. Then she turned and waved good-bye. He looked so sad, but when he realized she was looking at him, a grin spread across his face. “See ya!” he called. “Come back soon!”
    Marya patted her pouch. She took a deep breath and began to hop and chant.
    â€œMary, Mary, quite contrary
    How does your garden grow?
    With silver bells and cockleshells
    And pretty maids all in a row.
    My mother says to pick just one
    So out goes Y-O-U!”
    With that last phrase, she hopped the last part of the pattern—right out of Free Country.

Chapter Five
    T IM STOOD UP AND LOOKED AROUND. There were more people in the cemetery now. On the weekends, the dead always had more visitors.
    Tim brushed off his jeans and started walking. It wasn’t that he had any destination in mind. Unless there is some weird realm I haven’t yet visited called Explanations Land, or Confusion’s End , Tim mused.
    He left the graveyard, and it finally occurred to him that having Titania, Queen of Faerie, as an enemy might not be very good. In fact, antagonizing her the way he had probably wasn’t the brightest tack to take. But he’d taken it. There was no going back now.
    But he couldn’t go forward either. Titania’s accusations stung. Mostly because he was so afraid they were true. She was right—he didn’t know anything, and that made him dangerous. Hehadn’t meant to go to the manticore’s lair. But if he hadn’t, Faerie would still be a wasteland, and Tamlin might have wound up dead anyway. Titania, too, for that matter. Why didn’t she see that? He shook his head. Who knows how her twisted green mind works?
    Grown-ups were always interfering, getting in his way, or plain old coming after him. Still, he supposed he had to try to figure them out—if only in self-defense.
    He wandered into a playground and was surprised to see how deserted it was. The only kid around was a chubby girl, about ten years old, sitting on a swing. She rocked slowly back and forth, one foot trailing in the dirt.
    This is Saturday, isn’t it? Tim thought. The place should have been overrun with kids.
    The lone girl sat muttering and scowling. Her mood matched Tim’s exactly. He sat on the swing beside hers. She glanced over at him.
    â€œWho are you?” she demanded. “Are you one of the kidnappers?”
    Kidnappers? Tim raised his eyebrows above his spectacles. He didn’t think he particularly looked like a kidnapper. Then again, he didn’t exactly look like a magician either, and he supposedly was one. “No. I’m just me. Wondering if you’re okay.”
    â€œOh.” She looked puzzled. “No one has been asking me that.” She pouted and kicked her legs hard, setting herself swinging. “They’re all too busy worrying about Oliver.”
    â€œWho’s Oliver?” Tim asked. “And why’s everyone so worried about him? Is he sick?”
    â€œNo, he’s gone missing. Like the others.”
    â€œWhat others?” Tim asked.
    She stared at him with open eyes and mouth. “Don’t you read the papers? Or watch the news?” She shook her head as if she couldn’t believe Tim’s sheer stupidity. “I was interviewed on the nine o’clock news after it happened. Mummy taped it and everything.”
    Tim squinted. The girl’s story was beginning to sound

Similar Books

Drinker Of Blood

Lynda S. Robinson

Under Dark Sky Law

Tamara Boyens

Dear Digby

Carol Muske-Dukes

Roadside Assistance

Amy Clipston

The Best Laid Plans

Tamara Mataya

A Most Novel Revenge

Ashley Weaver

The Tower of Bones

Frank P. Ryan

Lab Girl

Hope Jahren