Fiona climbed over the fallen
rocks and dashed out of the cave into the sunlight. “Where can I find some
puffins?” She ran up the hill, being careful not to trip on the lava. “They
hang out on the cliffs. Which way to the nearest cliff?”
After talking to some hikers,
Fiona ran towards Litla Kliff. “It had to be this far away, didn’t it?” She
stopped now and then to catch her breath, as she made her way up to the top
of the cliff, climbing over rocks and patches of grass. “Okay, this is where
the puffins come.” Lying on her tummy, she inched her way over to the edge
of the cliff. “Yep, there are puffins here, not to mention a thousand foot
drop to the sea.” She gulped back fear. The grass under her belly tickled as
she scooted her body along. “How do I get these puffins to follow me? Help
me King Kegan. Somebody help me know what to do.”
The waves crashed into the
rock walls of the cliff, bringing with them a tune.
Fiona heard it in the drops
of spray that reached high into the air above her. She whistled. “Why am I
whistling? I don’t even know that song?” She whistled the melody again. A
few puffins came flying over the edge of the cliff toward her. “Ah, I see.
I’m going to be the pied piper of Hamelin and the puffins will follow me
while I whistle. Not very original, but hey, it works.” Fiona whistled
louder and stronger.
Hundreds of puffins zoomed
past her head, landing on the grass in a circle around her.
“Nice little birds,” she
said, afraid of their vast numbers. As she continued whistling, hundreds
turned to thousands. “You guys are cute. I love your striped beaks and
orange feet. Okay guys, follow me.”
Fiona whistled while she
walked down the sloped hill toward the lava cave. “Thank you King Kegan, or
whoever helped me.”
The birds flew behind her or
waddled along like miniature penguins.
“Wow! There must be a million
of you,” Fiona said, turning to see her army of birds. “Okay, here’s what I
want you to do. See that hole?” She pointed. “If you fly down into that
hole, there are four trolls inside. I want you to attack them. Bite their
fat noses, their ugly toes, their eyes, ears, or whatever you want, but
don’t stop until they are out of the cave. Do you understand?”
None of the puffins answered
with words, but there was a lot of squawking.
“I hope you do.” She whistled
her tune and walked toward the hole. “Don’t go in yet. Wait five minutes.
I’ve got to go back into the cave and find Elspet. When you come in, we’ll
run and save Callum. Don’t leave until you’ve chased the trolls out of the
caves. Got it? Good. Stay here now,” she said and disappeared into the cave.
The birds obeyed and gathered
around the hole, awaiting her command.
“You will not believe this.”
Fiona grabbed Elspet by the arm.
“Fiona! You came back! I
thought you’d left Callum and me here.” Elspet hugged her friend. “Did you
bring someone to help rescue Callum?”
“I brought a million
someone’s to help. Stay here.” Fiona walked bravely into the cave.
The three trolls had finished
building the fire pit and were busy stacking pieces of driftwood.
“Hello there, trolls. You’re
smelly and you’re ugly and I’m not afraid of you.”
Elspet couldn’t believe her
Callum rolled over on his
back to see what was going on. “Fiona? What are you doing?” His shout seemed
a whisper in the vastness of the cave. The troll standing next to him put
its foot down in the middle of his back. “Ouch.”
“Stupid trolls. You’re not
going to eat my friend for lunch! I’ve got a surprise for you!” Fiona
The trolls moved towards her,
snarling and growling like angry bears.
“Come closer if you want.
You’ll not catch me,” Fiona said.
“Fiona! Watch out for the
trolls!” Elspet watched in horror as they moved closer to her friend.
Fiona continued whistling.
A puffin came flying in from
the hole in top of the cave.
Elspet saw another one fly
in, and then another, and another, until the entire cave was filled with
flying birds. “Wow! Look at them!” She laughed and clapped her hands.
The noise from their wings
flapping seemed to drive to trolls to madness.
Fiona shouted at Elspet. “Go
and untie the knots. Free Callum.” She whistled louder. “Get the trolls!”
The birds attacked the four
creatures. The one guarding Callum had no choice but to join the other
three. They swatted at the puffins, howling and wailing in pain as the birds
nipped their ears and noses.
Elspet ran to Callum.
He rolled onto his stomach.
“Untie me, Elspet, before the trolls come back.”
She loosened his knots while
he wiggled his arms. The ropes slid off.
“Come with me.” She took
Callum by the hand, leading him into the tunnel near Fiona.
“Good. Hi Callum!” Fiona
giggled, happy to see her plan worked.
“The birds are attacking the
trolls,” Callum said. “How did you get them to do that?”
“King Kegan. He taught me
this tune,” Fiona said, whistling again.
The trolls moved towards the
other tunnels, eager to get away.
“Don’t stop pecking them
until they are driven outdoors.”
The puffins followed the
“We’d better make our getaway
while we can. First of all, we need to get the spinel. Let’s leave the
trolls to our puffin friends.”
“We almost had the spinel,
Callum, but an earthquake stopped me from reaching it,” Elspet said.
“I felt the earthquake, but
it didn’t seem to bother the trolls though,” Callum said. “Maybe they’re
used to it.”
“It’s right over here. Can
you help us lift that rock?” Fiona picked the corner up by herself.
“Let me help. After all, I am
the boy, as you said before.” Callum smiled.
The three of them lifted it
and tossed it to the side.
“Here’s the problem. Elspet
needs to reach in and get it, but when she does, there will be another
earthquake, so, what should we do?” Fiona wasn’t sure.
“I say she just grabs it and
then we run and take our chances,” Callum said.
“But there’s a third trap. We
don’t know what it is.” Elspet reminded them.
“We’ll have to deal with that
when the time comes. I think Callum’s right. Just stick your hand in there,
grab it and we’ll run as fast as we can and hope the roof doesn’t collapse
on us,” Fiona said.
“Are you ready?” Callum
looked at Elspet.
Elspet squatted again and
slowly reached her hand towards the hole. “Grab it as fast as you can and
Fiona pulled Callum closer to
her. “Get ready to run out of here when she has it in her hand. Don’t look
back. Just run.”
Elspet felt the jewel. “I’ve
got it. When I pull it out, we’re going to die.”
“No we’re not. We’ll make it.
Grab it now!” Fiona urged her friend.
Elspet closed her fingers
around it and pulled it out.
The ground rumbled, filling
the cave with its death roar. The three of them ran over the broken rocks,
dodging the falling slabs of black lava. The floor shook, making them trip
and stumble. Sharp rocks jutted up from the ground in front of them. Waves
of dirt rolled towards them.
“We’re gonna die!” Callum
shouted, but didn’t stop running.
The entire cave filled with
dust as it collapsed upon itself. They barely made it out when the entrance
“We made it! We made it! We
didn’t die!” Elspet ran around, arms high in the air.
“Fiona, you’re hurt.” Callum
ran to her aid.
Blood ran down her arms and
legs. Tiny slivers of lava poked out of her flesh.
“Fiona, you’re bleeding,”
Elspet said. “Here, hold still. Callum, start pulling these things out of
her arms. I’ll do her legs.”
Fiona stood still as they
tugged glass-sharp rocks from her body.
“Does it hurt?” Callum
cringed at the sight of blood.
“Yes, it hurts. What do you
think? I’ve been impaled by dozens of pieces of lava. It hurts, but get them
all out,” Fiona said. She wiped the blood on her clothes.
“I think we got them all. At
least we didn’t get our skulls crushed,” Callum said.
“I wonder where those stupid
trolls went,” Elspet said.
“I think I know. Follow me,”
Fiona said. Though each step hurt, she walked up to the top of the hill.
“There they are.” She pointed to a pile of smoldering embers.
“That’s not the trolls.
Someone’s burning rubbish,” Callum said.
“Or the volcano’s about to
erupt again,” Elspet said.
They moved in closer. “I can
see their forms. The puffins chased them out into the sun and they burned
up. Way to go, puffins!” Fiona jumped for joy.
“Let’s not get too excited.
We’ve forgotten the third trap. Where’s the spinel?” Callum tore his gaze
from the sizzling trolls.
Elspet pulled it out of her
pocket and gave it to Fiona.
She held it up and looked
through it. “It’s prettier than the obsidian. Look how pink it is,” Fiona
Fiona whistled and the
puffins flew towards them. “Look at the birds. The sky is black with them.”
They circled around the three
of them, squawking and swirling.
“I can feel their feathers
tickle my face,” Fiona said.
For ten minutes the birds
cocooned the children and then flew off.
One lone puffin stayed
behind. Fiona picked it up. “Oh look, it’s a puffling.”
“What’s a puffling?” Elspet
wanted to hold it.
“A baby puffin,” Fiona said.
The bird rubbed its beak
against Fiona’s face.
“It’s giving you a kiss,
Fiona. How sweet,” Elspet said.