A welcome return

The spirits had granted me a peaceful night’s sleep it seemed. The calm clip clop of the horse’s hoofs steadied my nerves as I trotted up to Layla’s house.

Morgan and Katha were returning today... hopefully. I knew Morgan could do it and make it through ok but I still couldn’t help worrying. It’s a tough test and there was real danger and possibility that she could be hurt.

I was momentarily caught off guard as I saw Layla again, the horse kept walking straight into a thankfully empty trashcan.  Layla jumped and spun around at the clattering created and I hopped off the horse to try and place the trashcan upright again. She giggled and came over to help me.

“You scared me there Mike. What are you doing here?” She blushed as we both reached for the lid and our hands brushed.

“I thought we might as well fetch the kids together, make it less daunting you know.”

She looked at me for a few seconds before saying “That would be nice.”

I had to almost hold my mouth shut, he smile was incredible. It seemed even brighter than it was the other day. It seemed like we were outside the entrance hall in moments, the speech flowed as if it was time itself. I felt like somehow I had known her for years yet only just met her, I knew nothing about her when I felt so close to her. I had almost forgotten why we were going to the hall I was so wrapped up in her.


Layla hesitated and drew in a deep breath as we stood looking up at the entrance. “This is it.” She stammered. “Mike what if something terrible has happened? What if my Katha doesn’t pass?” A small tear began rolling down her cheek. I could tell she has been silently worrying all through yesterday.

“She’s going to be fine.” I tried to reassure. “Besides I’ve seen you angry, they wouldn’t survive not passing her.”  She laughed again bringing me into a daze once more.

We joined groups of other worried looking parents until the last few came rushing through the door.

“Hello guardians.” The small man from the fitness testing spoke up.  “Your children are currently finding their way out of the testing zone. If they do not succeed they will not pass.” This made several assembled adults gasp. “When your child arrives you shall be called into the back room where you will be reunited. However do not assume simply because they have returned that they will pass. There is coffee in the corner. Thank you for your patience.”

“They’ve left them alone?” Layla began twiddling her fingers anxiously. There would be nothing I could do to calm her until we were called forward. A worried voice at the back of my head corrected my sentence, If we get called forward.

Half an hour later the first people were called forward. Excited screams and relived exclamations were released as they rushed ,into the room they had originally been briefed in, to meet their unharmed children.

“Mr and Mrs Hackensack, Miss Romero de Jager, Mr of Ollerond, Mrs and Mr...” The other names after ours came as a blur as Layla and I turned to each other faces lit up.

“Why the hell are we just standing here!” She exclaimed as her worry was thrown free from her shoulders. Only one set of parents didn’t seem ecstatic that their child had returned to them.  

“It still doesn’t mean he’s passed.” They both grumbled as they pushed their way in front of us.


Everyone in the room except that miserable pair held their breath as the door slowly creaked open to reveal several mud covered, sleepy, worn-out looking children and two grinning adults.  The testing was finally over, if Morgan had passed this the real battle would soon begin.

The End

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