TITLE: Beyond the Garden's Gate
GENRE: Middle Grade: Adventure/ Magical Realism
The meadow’s long bluegrass swayed in the breeze and lapped against the six-foot stone wall that defended it. Outside the field, white branches of an aspen forest scratched at the fortifying barrier.
Atop the wall, Heath stood by his father. “Well done, Heath. The wall won’t stop them, but they won’t be able to sneak in unnoticed this time—by exposing them, we’ll have an advantage.”
“Thanks. I hid a lookout just over there.” Heath pointed along the wall to the secret watchtower.
“They won’t know we’re watching; at least, not at first.”
“Good. You know you’ll need help protecting the field.”
“I know, I thought I would use the mountain lions.”
“Hmmph.” Heath’s father nodded. “They’re fast, loyal, and deadly, if necessary.” He sighed, “They’re an excellent choice. You put a lot of thought into this, and I can see you’ve grown. I’m proud of you.”
Heath smiled, but his father’s approval didn’t calm his fluttering nerves. What if it still isn’t enough?
“I think the only thing left to do is cut the grass.”
“Seriously?” Heath grumbled.
“If it’s shorter, they can’t hide once they’re inside the field.”
Heath winced at the new task. “Can it wait? I can barely move my arms.”
Heath’s father scanned the sky. Dark clouds gathered while daylight slipped behind the surrounding mountain peaks. “Just don’t procrastinate. Once the rainy season starts, it’ll be too dangerous.”
“I understand.” Heath peered into the forest. “Do you think they’re out there right now?”