Here’s my entry for the final Flash Fiction Draw Challenge (the post for the original December draw is here). In case you didn’t know about this challenge, there’s a video here explaining (and showing the monthly draw), but the quick version is this: I use three suits from a deck of cards to randomly put together a genre (in this case: comedy), a location (in this case: a field of poppies) and an object (in this case: a broom) and challenge anyone who wants to play to write something over the next week, with a maximum of 1,000 words.
Once there was “field of poppies” and “broom” I could only think of one thing, but it reminded me of an idea I’d had for a YA novel a while back, about the grandkids of some pretty amazing young adult characters, and so I ran with it.
The Pevensie Academy Boys
Once the wind died down, and the woodshed stopped spinning and lurching, they let go of each other and rose shakily to their feet.
“You okay?” Leo said. His voice wobbled, and he could hear his gramma’s voice. You’re named for the bravest person I know. He cleared his throat “Henry?”
That was better.
“Yeah.” Henry sucked in a breath. “Was that a tornado?”
Leo hoped not. He’d had enough of those back home. He stroked the patch on the pocket of his suit jacket. The crest of the Pevensie Academy had always felt like good luck.
What else could you call inviting a sixteen-year-old American to upper-class British boarding school, all-expenses-paid?
“We should go back,” Henry said.
Leo looked at him, and Henry was grinning.
“That was some kiss, Kansas.”
“Yeah, well…” He blushed. Sneaking off to “snog” (as Henry had put it) had been kind of amazing. Until the weather had turned. Who knew England had storms like back home?
Leo made a grand gesture at the door. Henry laughed, and passed by him, opening the door and stepping outside, but stopping so abruptly that Leo walked into him.
“Hey, what—” Leo started, but stopped. The ‘what’ was pretty apparent.
The shed was in the middle of a sloping valley of poppies. They were beautiful, waving in a soft breeze. There was no sign of the large stone boarding school.
Leo stared. The sky was an intense shade of blue, brighter than any sky he’d ever seen. Despite himself, he sucked in a breath at the beauty.
Then reality hit.
“Uh,” Leo said. “Where are we?”
Henry turned. “It wasn’t me.”
“What?” Leo said, frowning.
“I don’t work this way. This is all you, Kansas.”
Leo blinked. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Henry frowned. “Wait. You don’t know? You’re a legacy.”
“So everyone keeps saying,” Leo said, eyeing the poppies. Was it just him, or where they all leaning towards them. He yawned, surprised he felt drowsy in the middle of what was, undoubtedly, a massive hallucination.
“Oh my god,” Henry said. “Leo Gale, do you seriously have no idea? I can’t believe I let you kiss me.”
“Hey,” Leo said, stung. “You kissed me.”
Henry considered. “Fine. I kissed you. But…” He blinked, then yawned. “Pardon me. We need to go home.”
“Still don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Right.” He smiled. “You know, you’re cute when you’re baffled. You’re normally all rough and American.”
“I’m starting to regret letting you kiss me,” Leo said, but he winked.
“Fine. So. Someone in your family can—or could—break barriers between worlds. You—a legacy—are at the Academy because there’s a chance you can, too. I mean, obviously.” Henry waved his hands. “Apparently you do it by tornado, which… Wow.”
“Gramma Dorothy,” Leo said. “Oh my God.” Stories she’d told him as a child suddenly burst to the forefront of his brain, and he looked down. The field of poppies.
He yawned again, shaking his head. “We need to get away from here. They’ll knock us out.”
Leo took Henry’s hand, and pulled him to the top of the hill. He saw a long, winding road just down the other side of the slope, skirting a forest.
“Come on,” he said.
“Can’t we take the shed back?” Henry yawned. “Oh man, sorry.”
“I don’t know how,” Leo said. “And—” He yawned. “—if we stay put we’re going to pass out.”
“I wouldn’t mind a snuggle,” Henry’s drowsy voice teased.
Instead, Leo pulled him.
They made it to the road just in time, barely upright. But once they stepped out of the field, the first breeze cleared their heads.
“Woah,” Henry said. “That’s better.” He looked down. “Are these bricks gold? Is this a gold road?” He knelt down. “Your world rocks, Kansas. Can we take a brick?”
Leo stared at him. “Could we maybe focus?”
Henry looked up. “Oh. Sorry.” He rose. “But, y’know, we could.”
“I’m not vandalizing the gold road.” He crossed his arms.
“Fine,” Henry said. “Make with the wind.”
“Make with the wind?” Leo blinked.
“That’s your thing, isn’t it?”
“You keep repeating what I’m saying. Are you still, y’know, all poppy-headed, or whatever?”
Henry took Leo by the shoulders. “I want you to make another tornado to take us home.”
Leo took Henry’s shoulders in return. “I have no idea how to do that.”
They stared at each other.
“Well shit,” Henry said.
“That’s about the sum of it.”
“Didn’t Headmistress Pensevie explain anything to you?”
“We have an appointment tomorrow morning.”
“Ah.” Henry winced. “So, this is sort of like premature—”
“Do not finish that sentence.”
They stared at each other. Henry grinned.
“You’re kind of random, Henry Liddell,” Leo said.
“Runs in my family. So, if you’re not getting us home, then I guess it’s up to me. We’ll need a looking glass.”
“A big mirror.”
Leo gestured to either side. “How about a field of narcotic poppies, a forest, and a road?”
Henry started to nod, then stopped, his eyes resting on something over Leo’s shoulder. “Or we could ask that person.”
“What?” Leo said, turning.
It took him a second, but there was something in the sky. It took a while, but it got closer and closer, and after a few minutes, Leo realized he was looking at…
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” he said.
“Hey,” Henry said. “It’s your world.”
The witch—did you call boys witches?—swooped down, landing lightly on the gold bricks and dismounting his broom in one easy lope. The black shirt was tight across his shoulders, and riding pants left little to the imagination. He also had dark green hair, which was certainly a look.
He leaned on his broom, and smiled at Henry in a way that made Leo feel just a bit protective and possessive.
“Let me guess,” the witch said. “Kansas?”