TITLE: ARTHUR AND THE HEADLESS KNIGHTS OF THE FLYING ROUND TABLE
GENRE: Middle grade Arthurian retelling
Stale sweat inside the executioner’s mask soured my nostrils, forcing me to breathe through clenched teeth. It stank, and so did Fay for making me wear this musty hood backward to keep her precious tunnel secret.
Rats squealed, drowning the trickling of water down slippery walls, as Fay jockeyed me through yet another puddle. They must have recognized her, because they scurried away faster than a fox leaving a henhouse with takeout.
A rumored shortage of rat tails, the key ingredient for spell-casting in my half-sister’s also-rumored magic practice, kept Camelot’s rodent community on high alert.
Inspired by blindness, I sang, “Three blind mice . . . see how they—ouch.” Fay’s elbow ribbed my dream of becoming a minstrel.
I rubbed my side. “Why drag me along?”
“To keep whatever’s stealing teenage girls from their beds at night from catching me.”
Goose bumpers. Collywobbles swamped my stomach as I remembered the haunting scream from the Stonemason’s wife upon waking to find her daughter missing yesterday. “But you’re not in bed. You should be safe.”
“Not if I’m hunting it, I’m not.”
I yanked off my makeshift blindfold. “How can I stop it from catching you without a sword?”
She ruffled my hair. “No worries. I’m a faster runner than you. Besides, you’re madder than a bag of ferrets if you think I’d let you wave a sharp object around in the dark.”
Horse apples! Hoodwinked into missing Saturday Night Juggling to become beast bait. I debated leaving, but recent chivalry lessons on Damsels in Distress dictated I stayed.