I’m honored to host today’s stop on the HEART OF THE STAFF BLOG TOUR so, please, help me welcome these awesome Rave Reviews Book Club members – Carol & Tom!
They’re not only supportive people but excellent authors. What are you waiting for? Rush to Amazon and grab their books! I recommend them! 😀
HEART OF THE STAFF BLOG TOUR
The Collector Witch
“So,” rasped Hubba Hubba with a derisive squint. “Just how much of the time which you just spent outside was actually taken up by deciding if your unicorns were indeed gone? At this rate, I’ll be lucky to get into the air before Ugleeuh gets back. Why, she might not even see me up there and crash into me. Chaos and mayhem. I’d be dead and you two would be to blame. She’d never get over it. She’d never forgive you. Never let you go if she even let you live.”
“Don’t you dare threaten us with that old sow witch of yours, Lard Ball!” shouted Lukus. “What I want to know is what the old bat’s done with our unicorns. She has no right to take them! She could hang for it, don’t you know. Where are they? She has no…”
“Careful there snot,” he said, leaning forward to follow his movements. “You’re repeating yourself. And I’d also advise you to be cautious about how you speak to me and how you treat me, because Ugleeuh will hear of it. In fact, she’s told me to give her a complete report of your entire behavior upon her return, and I must say that it’s not very favorable, so far.”
“Look ‘ee here, you feathered sack of dung…!” shouted Lukus.
“Lukus!” cried Rose. “He’s no doubt telling the truth about reporting everything to Ugleeuh. You’ve seen how she treats this winged hog. You can bet that there’ll be hell to pay when she gets back if she doesn’t like what she hears. I’d just like to do what we came here for and then go home. Don’t lose your head and have us end up as prisoners here for years on end.”
“You’re right. You’re right Rose. Me too. Filth and pin feathers, here, just rubs me the wrong way. Very well then. Let’s hitch him to his sparrows and launch him.”
Rose turned away to fetch the strange harness from its peg. “All right,” she said warily, as she held it up in front of Hubba Hubba. “I’m not quite sure how this thing works, but it looks simple enough, if you just stay right still.” She paused for a scowl and a shake of her finger.” And don’t you dare try to bite me.”
Saying not a word, Hubba Hubba cocked an eye at Rose and sat quietly, letting her fumble with the harness, fitting and fastening it over his layers of fat and feathers. She gently tugged at its bottom strap. “So, how does it feel, Hubba Hubba? Too tight?”
“It feels as good as any contraption like this can,” he said, with a curious glance at her. “You’ve actually got it adjusted about the way it usually is.”
“Good,” she said, studying the sparrows, shackled to their iron balls, pecking away at crumbs on the floor. “Next I suppose we’ve no choice but to hitch up those things… So then, Hubba Hubba, just how does one wrangle venomous little birds into harnesses and make them do your bidding without getting poisoned in the process?”
He made no reply, but Rose’s comment stopped all three sparrows at once. They gazed up at her, keenly absorbed in what she was up to. He leant forward, clacked his beak and leered at them, but the grumpy gesture caused them to break out in a titter. He ruffled up with a heavy shake and hoisted himself aloof.
“Well Lukus?” she said. “What do you think?”
A shrug was the best he could do.
“Well,” said Hubba Hubba from under a half opened eye, “they might not be quite as deadly as Ugleeuh led you to believe.”
“Just how much risk is there to handling them?” said Rose.
“Practically none,” he said with a sigh..
“Practically!” cried Lukus. “What does that mean? Either the birds are dangerous or they aren’t, Tubbo!”
“Name calling is very childish and rude,” said Hubba Hubba as he drew himself up on his perch. “It was not I, dear impetuous one, who told you about the slave sparrows, you know.”
“Yea? But you’re the one who’s refused to be clear about it.”
“Lukus! None of this is getting us anywhere,” said Rose. “Hubba Hubba, are the sparrows poisonous or not?”
“Not in the least,” he sighed. “Chirp, Tweet and Squeak merely have small minds.”
“Good. At least that will speed things up,” she said, undoing the wee thralls from their chains and handing them to Lukus to tether to Hubba Hubba. At last she knelt for Hubba Hubba to waddle onto her shoulder while Lukus parked the sparrows along her outstretched arm. She rose with the solemn care of one who is blindfolded and made her way to the door, which Lukus held open.
“Ready?” she said, stepping off the porch with a great swing of her arm for the sky. The sparrows sprang into the air at once, only to come to a jerking halt at the ends of their lines as Hubba Hubba swayed and dug his toenails into her shoulder. The sparrows stayed aloft, flapping and pulling against his mass, trying to haul him into the sky. To help them, she grabbed him in the crook of her arm, rolled him off her shoulder and hove him with all her might into the air like an oil filled football. To her horror, it looked for a moment as though he would surely come back down and burst on the ground. At the last possible moment, he recovered from the shock of being thrown into the air and began madly pumping his wings. Mere inches from the ground, the frantic gang of fowl rose into the air.
Hubba Hubba and his entourage were up to speed at once, careening around in the air about the outbuildings. He couldn’t possibly fly by himself, but his flapping was absolutely necessary for them to stay aloft, for any time he slowed his efforts, the group would sink. Presently he was utterly winded and the sparrows had no choice but to follow him to the ground, furiously beating their wings to break his fall. When he touched down, he broke into a bounding roll across the yard, winding the sparrows tightly about him.
Ch. 11, The Collector Witch
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Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps
Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps spent twenty years writing together and teaching on the Navajo, Apache, Hualapai and Paiute reservations in the Southwest before returning to their farm in Southern Illinois, where they now write epic fantasy full time. They have independently published seven books with more to come.
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WOW – told you they were GREAT! 😀
Thank you for your visit today and please remember to leave your thoughts before you go as I’m sure Carol & Tom will appreciate that!
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