The noise got louder and louder. Gradually the sky got darker and darker. It almost seemed that the sky was alive and moving. Fannie realized the noise was coming from the sky and the dark front moving toward her. As this strange darkness came closer, Fanny realized it was not a strange weather pattern but a mass of flying animals.
The animals came closer. Bats. There were millions of bats overhead. They came closer still. They started to descend as they came closer. The bats were close enough for Fannie to see each bat eye and wing. Fannie could not move. Fear had paralyzed her standing in the meadow with the four flowers in her hand.
Suddenly the bats stopped their approach and hovered in place, wings flapping furiously like hummingbirds. From the masses, four of the largest bats came forward within a foot of Fannie’s face. There they hovered, examining her. After an eternal moment, the largest of the four began to speak.
“I am Vladin. I am the Queen’s chief guard. Why have you broken these younglings from their mother vine?” the bat asked Fannie. Fannie was perplexed. “Youngling? Mother vine? What have I broken?” she asked.
“You hold the younglings in your hand small woman,” Vladin replied. “You have broken them from their mother vine and they will now surely die.”
Fannie looked down at the flowers in her hand and realized she may have made a mistake in picking them. “I … I am so sorry,” she stammered. “I just thought they were so beautiful and I just wanted to take them home to show my mother. I didn’t mean to …”
“It doesn’t matter what you meant to do,” Vladin interrupted. “You have broken the law of the Queen Illuminia Mathia. You must report to the queen immediately to be sentenced.”
“But.. but.. I didn’t know. And I don’t even know where she is. I want to go home. Please can I just go home?” Fannie pleaded.
“You are in our custody now,” Vladin informed her. With a distinct flap of his wing, a swarm of bats surrounded Fannie and lifted her into the air. Helpless, Fannie trembled clutching the four flowers in her hand as she was swept away to see the Queen.
To be continued…