“C’mon, Len, keep up!”
“You know you’re faster than me, Myra!” The boy protested, gasping for breath.
“That just means you’ve gotta practice more!” She retorted. “C’mon!”
Myra bounced impatiently on her toes, waiting at the crest of a small hill for Len to catch up. As soon as he reached her, she grabbed his hand and dragged him along, dodging nimbly around roots and trees. The crescendoing song of cicadas heralded their entry into a thicker copse and they slowed to a stop to move more carefully.
With a loud thwap, an arrow materialized in the center of Len’s forehead. While he was unharmed—it was headed by a suction cup—the surprise was enough to knock him backwards.
“Len!” Myra knelt down to help him to his feet and caught a suction cup arrow to the elbow for her trouble.
“Halt, interlopers!” A voice came seemingly from the air itself. The trees rustled and a person dropped down beside them. “Why have you trespassed in my domain?”
“‘Your domain?’” Myra replied, shaking the arrow off of her arm and helping Len up. “You don’t look any older than we are! Why do you get to shoot at us just for walking in the woods?”
“These are my woods, I live here. I set up the alarm to inform me of trespassers, and I fight to keep people away from my home,” they said belligerently.
“You ‘fight’ with suction cup arrows,” Len pointed out, pulling the arrow from his forehead for emphasis.
“I could put an eye out if I took off the suction cup,” they pouted.
“Wait, what did you mean by alarm?” Myra broke in.
“The cicada song,” they explained. “Nobody recognizes it as out of the ordinary, but I know that that particular cicada pattern isn’t local to this area. If I hear it, I know someone’s entered where they don’t belong.”
“Why do you want to keep people out, anyway?”
“People destroy forests. History has proven nothing else. If I keep people out, they can’t destroy my home. Now,” they brandished their bow threateningly, “it’s time for you to leave.”