TITLE: Beyond the Wall
GENRE: YA science fiction
The moon’s rays seeped through the fog. Summer in North Queensland is hot but the murky air felt cold against Mike’s skin. He quickened his pace. Branches from either side of the narrow path seemed to stretch out and over him like gnarled fingers. Witches’ fingers.
Mike straightened and took a deep breath. “Witches’ fingers,” he scoffed aloud. A sixteen-year-old boy afraid of a few trees.
He rounded a ghost gum and, in the hazy light, Mike thought he had found a pixie. An oversized purple sleeve covered its face. Mike stepped closer. It was a boy.
“Are you lost?” Mike asked.
The child dropped his arm and raised his wet face. The body of his loose shirt was orange and tied at the neck with a thick red chord. “Yes.” The boy hiccoughed.
Mike rolled his eyes to the sky. Bloody kids, who’d want them? “What’s your name?”
The boy sniffed. “Terni.”
Weird name. Mike crouched on his haunches and regarded the boy for a moment. He guessed the child’s age at about six or seven. Dark curls flopped over the boy’s ears. His green shorts covered his knees and he didn’t wear any shoes. The kid, or someone else, had glued shiny white wings to the back of his heels.
Mike pointed to the wings. “Going to a fancy dress party?”
“I’ve been to parties, and we wear our best clothes. Is that what you mean?”
Mike frowned. “What’s with the wings then?”
“I’m a messenger.”