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Rolfin's Orb
Book 5 - Topaz
Chapter 5

“I wonder if these vineyards were here when the man came and buried it, or was there something else,” Callum said.

“As long as there are no caves!” Elspet smiled.

“This is a big vineyard. It says on the sign that they make chardonnay, which is from green grapes, pinot noir, which is from dark purple grapes, and cabernet sauvignon, which are regular purple grapes,” Fiona read.

“I want a grape,” Alastair said. “I’m hungry.”

“Maybe we should have gotten them something to eat before we came here,” Elspet said.

“We’ll go and have a big meal when we’re done here,” Fiona said.

“If we’re alive.” Callum looked at the rows of grape vines.

“There are certainly a lot of grapes. Go and sneak the boys a bunch or two. I don’t think they’ll miss them, do you?” Fiona sat down in the dirt, leaning her back against a wooden fence. “Where about in the vineyard are you, topaz?” A picture flashed in her mind. “Got it!”

Alastair and Malcolm’s faces were covered with purple juice. Their cheeks bulged with fruit. “I gave them a bunch of grapes each. They’re kind of good. Would you like to try some, Fiona?” Elspet handed her a bunch.

She popped one in her mouth. “They’re sweet. Don’t let the lads eat too many of them. Grapes give you a tummy ache, or at least that’s what my mum says. These are much bigger than our grapes.”

“Where’s the topaz then?” Callum stood at the end of one of the long rows.

“It’s under a grapevine.” Fiona sighed.

“What grapevine? There must be a hundred thousand of them!” Callum wiped his hair from his eyes, spreading grape juice across his face.

“If we stand in the middle of the arched entrance, we have to go ten rows to the left and then down about 60 vines,” Fiona said.

“What about the booby traps?” Elspet took her brother’s hands. “I don’t want them getting hurt.”

“Give them some more grapes and come on. We’ll walk slowly. Keep your eyes open for anything unusual.” Fiona took a few steps in between the rows of tall grapevines. Nothing happened. She took a few more. Still nothing happened. “I think we’re safe, at least for now.”

The others followed her. Elspet’s eyes darted around, keeping a watchful eye for danger. “That’s sixty vines. It must be buried around here somewhere.” She held her brother’s hands tighter.

“Elspet, you’re hurting me.” Alastair pulled his hands free and ran through the grapevines. Malcolm chased him.

“Come back, Alastair!” Elspet shouted. “They’ll probably have fun chasing each other.”

“Let them be. It’s better they’re not around in case we have problems,” Fiona said. She got on her knees and parted the dirt at the bottom of the vine. After nothing happened, she scooped a handful of dirty up and put it in a pile. “So far, so good.” Callum and Elspet got on their knees and dug.

The ground shook. The hole they dug sunk deep into the ground. They jumped up and stood back. “Uh oh. I think we’re about to have our first trap.” Callum stared at the hole. “What’s it doing?”

The ground wiggled with black dots and then red dots appeared. Thousands of redback spiders came crawling out of the hole. “Spiders! I hate spiders!” Fiona turned and ran.

Callum stood in horror watching the creatures running towards his feet. He ran after Fiona and Elspet ran after him. “Spiders! They’re horrid and ugly.” Elspet thought of her brothers. “I hope Alastair and Malcolm have run far away.”

“Don’t stop running.” Fiona turned around and saw the spiders chasing them. “They’re coming after us.”

“There’s a house up ahead. Let’s go inside,” Elspet said, panting and gasping for breath.

They reached the house. Fiona knocked on the door. “Hurry, Fiona. The spiders are coming.” Callum was near tears.

She turned the knob and went inside. They slammed the door shut. “Hello. Is anyone here?” Fiona ran into the other rooms. Nobody was there.

“At least we’re safe from the spiders now,” Callum said. They covered the ground and headed for the house. “Oh no! They’re crawling all over the house now.”

“They can’t get inside, can they?” Elspet saw thousands of them. “They’re so ugly. They have a red stripe on their backs and are glossy. At least they’re not giant spiders.”

“Giant or not, they’ll find a way in sooner or later. They’re poisonous. I saw a picture of them in the book,” Callum said.

“Fiona, you can do magic. You can get rid of them. Talk to the spiders, Fiona. Tell them to go away,” Elspet said. She couldn’t see out the window. All she saw was black bodies, wriggling about and crawling on top of one another.

Fiona closed her eyes. Spiders. Stop attacking us. Go away. We don’t want to hurt you.”

A spider on the living room window stopped and tapped at the glass. You can’t control us, Fiona. The first spell is much more powerful than yours. We’re coming to get you and kill you.

“What did they say? Are they going away? It doesn’t look like it,” Callum said.

“They won’t obey me,” Fiona said.

“Well, use one of your other powers, “Elspet said.

A spider squeezed its way under the front door. “There’s one in the house!” Callum ran over to step on it.

“We can’t step on them all. If one found its way in, then another can too.” Elspet was relieved when Callum squished it, but frowned when another came inside. “Get that one too, Callum. Do something, Fiona. Use your powers.”

Several dozen spiders found a way inside. They ran towards them, coming from a bedroom. Fiona saw. She thought fire and a wave of flames burned the spiders. “Fiona! You can’t burn them in the house! You’ll burn this whole house down with us in it!” Callum backed up so he stood with his back to Fiona. Elspet moved towards them too.

“I have an idea.” Fiona ran to the back door and ran outside. The spiders smashed under her feet. She kept running, though the entire ground was covered with them. She saw a daddy-long-legs in a web. Daddy long legs, please get your friends and come and kill the redback spiders. They’re trying to hurt us.

The daddy-long-legs replied, I’ll call my brothers and sisters now. We’re the most poisonous spider around here. We’re not deadly to humans, but we are to other spiders.

Thank you. Fiona heard screams coming from inside the house. There was a rumbling sound coming from a field behind the house. Thousands of daddy long legs cam running through the grass, biting the redbacks. The redbacks spread the word of danger and fled. The daddy long legs followed them, leaving a trail of dead black spiders in their path. “It’s working!” Fiona laughed out loud. She stood still, not even caring that daddy long legs crawled all over her.

Callum and Elspet came to the back door and saw the fleeing spiders. They saw Fiona covered with long legged spiders. “Fiona! She’s covered with daddy long legs!” Elspet ran to her friend and tried to brush them off her.

“Leave them alone, Elspet. They’re my friends. They’re not hurting me.” Fiona felt their legs tickling her face.

Callum stood there gaping. “I will never again, for as long as I live, pull the legs off a daddy-long-legs again. I swear it.”

“I’m sure they’re glad to hear that. Look! All the redback spiders are either dead or ran away.” Fiona saw Alastair and Malcolm running towards them.

“Fiona! You’re all covered with spiders!” Malcolm started crying. “Elspet, get the spiders off Fiona. They’ll bite her.”

“It’s all right, Malcolm. These are nice spiders. Would you like to touch one?” Fiona talked to the spiders. Can you please let the lads play with you? It will teach them not to be afraid.

Yes, of course.  The spiders crawled over to Alastair and Malcolm.

“Don’t be afraid, lads. They’re your friends,” Fiona said.

They were quite nervous, but didn’t run off. The spiders crawled up their arms and legs onto their faces. “It tickles,” Alastair said. All five of them stood there, covered from head to toe with daddy long legs and laughing.

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