It didn’t matter what Rabin thought. The war leader grabbed Rabin by the arm and pulled him him towards the entrance of the cave. He felt slung inside as if he were only a moderately heavy sack of grain. The Tree Folk streamed in right behind him, upsetting the children who huddled together.
“Come on,” Rabin said to Del. “We’ve got to go. Raptors will be up this hill looking for us soon. I’ll explain later.”
Del rose to his full height. He stood head and shoulders over Rabin and seemed twice as wide. The oak staff he grasped was as thick as Rabin’s arm, and he looked like he wanted to cave in the other boy’s head with it. “I am the Gatekeeper. My father is the Gerson Scout leader here.” Del glared at the Tree Folk leader. “You animals, get out!”
“Del, we’ve got to go with the Tree Folk.”
“Steady there,” Del said, his voice pitched low and menacing.
“Steady?” Rabin asked. “We’ve no time for steady.”
“Did the adults send you?” Del asked. While they spoke, the Tree Folk picked up the smaller children and began to move them out of the cave.
“Del, there are no adults,” Rabin said flatly. “I saw my parents dead, and for sure, your father wouldn’t have run off and left them. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but there’s no time.”
“I am the Gatekeeper,” Del insisted.
“Then keep yourself,” Rabin said. He glanced around. “Haven’t you noticed that the Hill Folk are already taking the younger children?”
“What are they going to do?”
“You’re not going to believe this, but the leader spoke to me in Norcen. He says they hate the Raptors and will hide us. They’re picking up the little children because they know we have to follow,” Rabin said. He watched one of the Tree Folk scoop up Jan and Kim in his muscular arms and turned to keep up with them. “You haven’t failed, Del. You told me you want to keep moving forward. We just have to move the gate.”
That’s the end of the first chapter. If you have any comments, go ahead and find our Facebook and Twitter links or register for the website. Thanks. I really appreciate you! M.L. Katz