The Lost Boy: Chapter 4

“Look what you did!” Godson screamed at Numa inside the oven. “Now we’re gonna get burned alive and die and be eaten by ogres and I’ll never get to see my father.”
But Numa wasn’t even listening. She was rummaging in the back of the oven, prying something off the back wall.
“Do you even care?” Godson asked her. “You just got us killed!”
“Look!” and she turned and shoved something metal into his chest. But because the oven was completely black, he couldn’t see what it was and it felt like she was just shoving a random piece of steel into him. So this aggravated him even more. But before he could yell something else at her, she banged the new metal object against the oven door and it swung open, pouring the kitchen light into the darkness.
Then Numa grabbed Godson’s arm, dove out the oven, and they landed on the metal object. He still didn’t know what it was, but it was apparently shaped like a sled. And because of the force that they launched out of the oven with the dive was enough for them to skate across the kitchen floor and back into the living room.
“Whipee!” Numa screamed. She zoomed by the baby ogre’s crib, snatched the shield, and used it as a row to pick up speed again.
“Little pigs!” the ogres roared behind them. But Numa was already sledding out of the house, and with the shield in front of them now, they vanished out of sight. And when they made it back outside, she grabbed Godson’s hand and sprinted away with him out of the town, completely invisible to any other curious ogres.
When they were back in the forest and out of earshot, Numa stopped, laughing at the top of her lungs, and dropped the shield and the sled on the ground. And that’s when Godson was finally able to see that this wasn’t a sled at all. It was a breastplate.
“That was the new toy?” he asked in disbelief.
Numa nodded enthusiastically. “Here, put it on!” Before he could protest, she had strapped it onto him and pushed him forward, forcing him to walk around in it.
“How do you like it?” she asked.
“I thought these were supposed to be toys,” Godson said, making his disappointment very clear. “These are weapons.”
Numa scoffed. “Weapons are for war. This isn’t a war. It’s a game.”
Godson glared back at her. “We must have different ideas of games, Numa. You almost got us eaten by bears. Then baked by ogres.”
“Wasn’t it fun?” she gleamed.
He stomped his foot. “Numa! if you don’t stop, you’re gonna get us killed.”
“As long as we make it to the blue light, everything will be fine.”
“What?! But that’s not how—”
A sound suddenly rang through the forest and cut him off. Even Numa stopped and looked around to see where it was coming from. When Godson listened carefully, he recognized the sound as hoofbeats. There were horses coming. Horses meant people. And people meant men. Could his father be with those men?
“Father!” he screamed.
“No!” In a blur, Numa wrapped her hand around his mouth, pulled him behind a tree, and held the shield up in front of him.
“Let me go!” he cried. But all that came out were muffled noises behind her hand.
Then, as he stood there trying to break free of her hold, the hoofbeats thudded closer and closer until three black horses rode into view and Godson’s struggling stopped instantly. It was very clear that his father would not be with these men. And if he was, Godson wasn’t sure that he wanted to meet him anymore.
The men sitting on top of the horses were draped in smooth black armor with black capes shredded at the edges so they looked like jagged shadows flowing behind them. Their swords at their sides were black with silver edges that gleamed in the sunlight, daring anything to touch it and be sliced. And their heads were covered in thick black helmets blocking out their entire faces so that all Godson could see when he looked into their eyes was darkness.
The horses trotted around the area, sniffing and snorting, and Numa and Godson stayed frozen as statues where they were, safe behind the invisible shield. Then, after what felt like minutes of trotting and snorting, the riders cracked the reins and the horses rode off.
Godson let out the breath he had been holding the entire time and bent over on his knees, wheezing. “Who were those men?”
“Black Knights,” Numa said. And he noticed that she wasn’t smiling. This was the first time he’d seen her not happy to see danger.
“What do they want?”
“Not what, Godson,” she replied. “Who.”
“They’re looking for someone?”
Numa looked straight into his eyes and replied, “You.”

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