WEP: Change of Heart

This WEP entry is the Chapter 4 of my fanfiction novella Magic Senegalese. The story is set in Wen Spencer’s Elfhome universe. Please check out the other WEP challenge participants here. To remind you what has gone before in my story, you could read:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Naomi woke up the next morning, still wondering. Last night, during dinner, she and Dina had come to an understanding. She would help the girl run the shop part-time, at least until Dina’s mother came back, in exchange for staying in their guest room, and they would share the costs of food and utilities. It seemed a reasonable arrangement, and the amazing tapestries decorating her room added to Naomi’s contentment.

“What do you want me to do today?” she asked Dina over breakfast. “Stay in the shop?”

“No. I need to lay out food for the next month. I’m out of most dry stuff—pasta, rice, sugar. We usually buy ten- or twenty-pound bags, but Mom took our car to Earth, and I only have my bike. I can’t load much on it. I haven’t bought anything but fresh local produce for the past two months. Could you drive to the supermarket in your car? I’ll give you a list.”

“Sure. Why such big bags? There are only two of you, right? Two of us now.”

“Because it all comes from Earth. A couple weeks from now, all the dry grocery would be gone from every store until the next Shutdown.”

“Oh,” Naomi said in surprise. “I guess you have a different life here.”

Dina smiled. “I guess. I’m going food shopping too: eggs, milk, veggies. Everybody shops right after Startup, so nobody will come for our yarn. I’ll keep the boutique closed today.”

“I meant to ask—what’s wrong with your mom? Could you tell me?” Naomi probed.

“She has a bad heart.” Dina sighed and looked away. “She’s having a heart transplant. That’s why it’s taking so long. I hoped for a letter this Shutdown, but none came. That’s why I was there, near the Rim.”

“You know the guy who attacked you last night?”

Dina shook her head, her big blue eyes shadowed. “I heard,” she said slowly, “that half-elf kids have been disappearing.”

“Are there many half-elf kids like you? What about the fathers?”

“The elves come here as tourists from the Easternlands. They look around, play with the exotic native women, and go back home. It’s too wild for them here, too barbaric. They’re not interested in half-breed children.” Dina sounded bitter but resigned. “There were a few half-breed children in my school, mostly younger than me, and it was the same story. No elven parent was ever interested. Not even the sekasha, who are supposed to be holy. Holy, my ass. There was that boy, Blue Sky. His father was a sekasha, but he lives with his older half-brother, a full human.”

Naomi mouthed an expletive. Her elven mother probably wasn’t interested either.

“Although that boy’s father is dead,” Dina mused aloud. “Maybe that’s why.”

“I thought elves are immortal.”

Dina shrugged. “They are, but they can be killed. His dad was killed by a saurus.”

“A saurus? It’s like a dinosaur. I saw one on TV, but it was in a zoo.”

“It was in the zoo here too. It’s a mean monster. It escaped and ate that poor elf.”

Naomi gulped. They had mean, man-eating dinosaurs on the loose here? Her father had never told her that. She needed a guide to the dangerous local fauna to stay away from monsters.

“Do they live inside the city?” she asked faintly.

“They’re not supposed to. Elven rangers patrol the surrounding woods and get rid of any carnivorous beasts and plants, but you have to be careful.”

Carnivorous plants, Naomi thought in dismay. She needed a guide to the local flora too.

Oblivious to her distress, Dina continued her recital. “Sometimes, a stray warg gets into the streets, or a strangle vine sets roots in someone’s backyard. They show how to deal with them on one of our TV programs, Pittsburgh Backyard and Garden. You should watch it: very educational. The other day, they showed a nest of steel spinners in an abandoned warehouse in Windgap. Flamethrower is the only thing that helps against those. I should get one. You should get a real gun too if you’re ever planning to be outside after dark.”

“I have Mace in my purse,” Naomi said weakly. “I forgot about it yesterday, when that dickhead assaulted you. My dad only gave it to me the day before.”

“Pepper spray?” Dina scrunched her nose doubtfully. “I don’t think it could be much help against a saurus. Oh, and don’t get too close to the river edge. Some jump fish could jump ten meters.”

“Fish…” Naomi trailed off. Fish too? Maybe she shouldn’t have come here at all. Maybe this place wasn’t a safe haven her father imagined. It sounded much more perilous, in a wacky sort of way, than Bob and his mundane knife.

Dina smiled. “Don’t worry. This is Elfhome, not Earth, but you’ll learn. Come outside. I want to show you my hover bike. Mom bought it for me as a birthday gift, when I turned twenty. The best gift in my life. I wish I could’ve ridden it to the Rim yesterday. Then no one could’ve touched me.”

“Why do you call it a ‘hover bike’?” Naomi inspected the weird motorcycle sitting in a shed behind the shop.

“It has a lift. It moves in 3D.”

“You mean it flies?” Naomi almost screeched.

“Not flies, exactly, but it could move above ground, yes. But only when we are on Elfhome. It uses a magic spell for its lift drive. That’s why I couldn’t ride it yesterday, on Shutdown. No magic on Earth.”

Cold prickles ran down Naomi’s spine. “Obviously, I’m not in Kansas anymore.”

“You said you lived in New York.” Dina led the bike out of the shed.

Naomi didn’t reply. If the girl didn’t get the reference, any Wizard-of-Oz explanation would sound as absurd to Dina as Dina’s talk of saurus and flying bikes sounded to Naomi. “I think I’m getting a culture shock,” she said instead.

Dina grinned evilly. “If you wish, I can teach you to ride a hover bike.”

“No, thank you,” Naomi snapped. “I’ll stick to my car.”

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31 Responses to WEP: Change of Heart

  1. I am fully engrossed and loving this continuing story. Thank you so much.

  2. Nilanjana Bose says:

    Culture shock in a different dimension. Thoroughly enjoyed the entry – loved the humour especially. A great read. I remember the story from your earlier entries. Thumbs up!

    Btw, mine has a transplant in it too – great minds and all that 🙂

  3. patgarcia says:

    At first, when Dina said she wanted Naomi to go shopping in her car, I thought it was a betrayal to get Naomi caught. I am glad that that is not what it was. Two different women from entirely different worlds and each one is learning about the other. A very stressful way of getting to know one another.
    Very well written, Olga and the story captured my attention.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

  4. Diane Burton says:

    Nicely written. I didn’t read the previous chapters yet, but this could stand alone. She’s regretting her decision to come to this “safe” place that isn’t so safe. Good job.

  5. I love the combination of worlds (elves and sauruses). This is almost what Americans sound like when they talk about visiting Australia. 😉

  6. A great continuation on your other entries from this year. It seems that she has much to learn and much share. Great job.

  7. Pat Hatt says:

    A hover bike would sure be fun. Not so much on the dinosaur and fish wanting to eat one though haha Sure have to transition when in a new world.

  8. Your story is exciting. I can’t wait to see more! Congratulations on the success of the continuous story, Wonderful job! Loved it!

  9. Rebecca Douglass says:

    An intriguing world. I agree with others–the story stands alone pretty well, though as a stand-alone it doesn’t really have a strong plot. But it was fun to read. I was a little distracted by some typos in there, but for the most part I just wondered what other interesting things Naomi would learn about the world (and enjoyed getting enough info dribbled out to start putting together most of what the world is–that’s a great example of how to get that backstory/info into a story without an info-dump).

  10. It’s fun reading about this different world you have created. So many things for Naomi to learn. It adds suspense to think about her going outside and not knowing what she could run into as well. The story pulls you in and you want to follow along and see what happens next. 🙂

  11. DG Hudson says:

    I like your chapter stories! I like world building and I would agree, it sounds dangerous. We usually get used to our environments, but this sounds like a hostile world or city. Sometimes when we get what we wish for, we don’t like what we get. I am hoping Naomi stays safe.

  12. desk49 says:

    The stroy goes on.
    and a nice telling of it.
    I thought it was fun about the jumping fish.

  13. Olga Godim says:

    Thank you, friends, for your kind words. I see you like the world I’m describing. Sadly, it doesn’t belong to me. Elfhome was created by Wen Spencer – the elves, the jump fish, the hover bikes, and the whole colorful rest of it – in her novel “Tinker” and several other books in the series. If you like what you’re reading in my fan fiction, you might like the original even better.

  14. I remember your chapter 1 from the In Too Deep challenge, and I had to go back to catch up on chapters 2 and 3. This story continues to be quite intriguing! I like how you introduced the readers to the differences between the two worlds.

  15. Not having read the previous extracts there is enough here to make a lot of sense as a stand-alone piece. It’s intriguing with the differences between two places and two cultures and the dangers that lurk in both worlds and the prejudices that abound.

  16. Toi Thomas says:

    This is a fun installment. Two different characters from two different worlds getting to know each other; one having some regrets, the other a little oblivious. I like it. Great continuation, though I need to go back to chapter 3, I missed that one. I’m really enjoying this dangerous world.

  17. denizb33 says:

    Ooh, I haven’t read Elfhome, so this was a fascinating new world for me. So much to explore! I like being able to see it through Naomi’s equally wondering eyes.

  18. Such a wild mix of cultures and experiences!

  19. lgkeltner says:

    A world with dinosaurs and hover bikes? I want to visit now! You’ve done a wonderful job depicting this rich and complex world. Nicely done!

  20. Is this an otherworldly dimension of sorts? It’s really unique.
    I’m wondering what Startup and Shutdown mean? Is it equivalent to morning and evening? Or beginning of the week/month and end of the week/month?
    I have a “fantasy-world-challenged-brain” and therefore find these concepts amazing!
    Really creative!

  21. Denise Covey says:

    Hi Olga!
    I’m loving this serialised story. Thank you so much for continuing it each prompt. Amazing how it’s coming along. Perhaps a tad confusing to those who haven’t been reading from the beginning – noting Michelle’s comment – but you’re clearly showing the option to read all extracts. Love the world you’ve created – so crucial to fantasy.

    Hope you’re enjoying the challenge!

    Denise

  22. Nick Wilford says:

    A lot of things to adapt to and it sounds like a world where you have to keep on your toes. Very inventive!

  23. jlennidorner says:

    Very fun story! Excellent work. I love them being in space where even simple things are difficult. And the elves, that feels like a mirror to society to me. Great use of the prompt.

  24. hilarymb says:

    Hi Olga – interesting with the two of them fathoming each other’s worlds … and how you’ve introduced us to Wen Spencer with her Elfhome and her creative species in her series of books. Cheers Hilary

  25. rolandclarke says:

    Intriguing scene – so much so that I need to look at your earlier chapters and Wen Spencer’s Elfhome. How much have you added to her world-building? [I don’t know very much about fanfiction. Sorry.)

  26. Kalpana says:

    I enjoyed the first part of this story when you posted it on your blog and was pleased to find a continuation today. Fun read.

  27. What an interesting world you have created. And what an interesting way to use tht prompt.

  28. Jemima Pett says:

    Intriguing. I haven’t come across this world before, but I think I should check it out. Looking forward to reading more.

  29. Pingback: WEP: Deja vu or Voodoo | Olga Godim writing

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