Josua’s eyebrow leapt up once more. It was easier when he wasn’t trying.


That’s one of the places in a hospital.

Or a mental institution.

What are you trying to say?


“I don’t understand, uhm, Connie.” Josua looked around the room, which had at some point become empty of shadows.

“You asked why we were here, dear,” she replied.

“Oh, you rhymed!” Grin chortled.

Kate and Lynne shared a stare.

“Yes, Peregrine,” the small-but-plump lady sighed. “You don’t need to point that out.”

Josua was lost in thought, poring over the meaning of the pair combined with the word on the page. The thoughts were there, but no connections came.

Finally he asked, “Are you here to take us to an institution?”

“Oh, that sounds like a delightful idea!” Connie clapped as she said this, a quick and quiet staccato. “What sort of institution do you have in mind, dear?”

She’s crazy.

Or are we crazy?

Lynne shot a surprised look at her twin, as if the notion suggested were preposterous.

What makes you think that!?

“Tiny Tim and Thumbelina, here, for starters,” Josua muttered.

“Dearest! That’s no way to speak about your wards.”

Grin only nodded his agreement, feet still swinging over the pages.

Wait. They are…

…our wards?

“Argh! I still don’t understand this whole ward thing!”

A light laugh, and then, “The meaning is two-fold, Josua dear. First, it means that we are here to take care of you, look after you, and protect you.”

Protect us?

From the shadows, right?

“And the second part?”

“The second part is the exciting part,” Grin crooned.

“He’s right, for once,” Connie admitted. “Well, the second part is that we are wards. We can ward off – or repel – certain things, like those shadows that attacked you earlier.”

I was right!

You were right.

Josua, being a typical boy, was not convinced. “Uhm, how?”

Another clap from Connie, and a word painted itself laboriously across the cream-coloured page.

The End

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