Swifty stiffened as she craned her neck toward the center of the circle. Hovering a few feet above the field was the toughest looking fairy she had ever seen. He had the face of a bulldog, his jaw thrust forward and his eyes glinted in the lantern light. His grey hair was buzzed close, flat on top and bristling. As he barked his orders, Swifty felt every muscle in her body tense.
"I said, pipe down!" A hush fell over the crowd, each fairy melting under his stern glare. "That's better. I am Sergeant Striker and I understand from Miss Marshland that some of you have been unsuccessful in your covert bedtime operations." The fairy crossed his brawny arms over his thick chest and surveyed the crowd. Swifty scooted back into the shadows, avoiding his piercing glare. "For this reason, I have been brought in to tighten up the ranks. To bring you all up to speed. A fairy who cowers before a sleeping child has no place on our team for the first day of school. Do you understand?" he barked. The cowering crowd only managed a mumbled response. "I said," he growled, his hands on his hips, "do you understand?"
"Yes, Sir," Swifty spluttered, joining the trembling chorus of voices around her.
"Let's see what you've got. I want every last one of you newbies on your feet and lined up behind..." His eyes scanned the circle, searching for his first target.
Swifty clenched her eyes shut. Hands clasped in her lap, willing the sergeant to pick someone else, she could hear Snap muttering under his breath, "Not me, not me, not me, not me..."
"You," Sergeant Striker barked. Beside her, Snap gasped. Opening one eye, Swifty grimaced. Sergeant Striker was pointing one beefy finger directly at her.
"Me, Sir?" She scrambled to her feet, wings quivering.
"You. Everybody...line up!"
As part of a personal 30-Day challenge (that is turning into a much loooonger challenge!) to write everyday and in light of this new season of life with all the kids in school, I have begun a little tale. Be sure to start at the beginning...