A story of Adventure, Magic and Mystery for Children from 9 to 90.
A cold breeze was making its way through the lookout openings causing them all to shiver a little and the rising sun was as yet insufficient to warm them. They decided that this room definitely needed some heat and, some glass in the windows.
Diane called out, “Artemus are you here? We have some presents for you!”
“How nice of you to visit me today Your Majesty” replied the invisible sentry! “And what a nice banquet you brought. I did not expect any of you until the next summer sun but this is a welcome surprise indeed.”
“We came to wish you a very happy Christmas and bring you a few gifts and a little company. I wasn’t sure what you like to eat, so we just brought some of everything we have. There are fruits, breads, cookies, and other treats. We hope you’ll like them!”
“Yeah, and they’ll keep for quite a while, ‘cause it’s really cold up here! Brrrrr” chimed the children in unison!
“Ah! Well, thank you Your Majesty and Your Royal Highnesses! I always welcome such enjoyable company and, I see that you all now have a master key. That should make things much more convenient for you but, what is Christmas that you all wish to be happy? I am unfamiliar with the word.”
Diane explained: “We celebrate this day each year by putting out festive decorations, making some special meals and treats, giving gifts, and wishing everyone peace and happiness. Our God’s son was born on this day and preached love and forgiveness to his followers. We are called Christians. There are others who call God different names and celebrate in different ways, but I don’t think he cares what name we use as long as we remember that we are all his children and should treat each other with respect and compassion.”
“Hmmm… I think I understand” replied Artemus. “You are nice to others on this day each year. What about the other days? What do you do then?”
A lively conversation ensued, bouncing back and forth between the invisible lookout and each member of the Royal Family as they took turns explaining everything from Christmas to the war they had recently survived.
Amy was extremely curious about the creepy lookout. “You really scared me the last time I was up here Artemus. I thought I'd never get out! How come you didn’t say anything when I was pulling on that door? And… why can’t we see you?”
“Well… I do not know why you cannot see me,” replied the disembodied voice. “But you did not address me and, of course, I would never speak to a Royal unless spoken to first, although, I did take a chance and thanked you for the food… remember?”
“Oh, yeah!” mumbled Amy, looking at the floor. “Well, that wasn’t very nice. You shouldn’t have made me wait so long to get out. I was scared!”
“A thousand apologies, Your Royal Highness, do you want me to greet you first the next time you come up in the dumbwaiter? I am always happy to do as you wish.”
A slight frown of embarrassment fell across Amy’s face. “No, never mind, and besides, the door isn’t stuck shut anymore!”
Diane put her arm around Amy and said, “Come on, Amy, we made it through it okay. It’s not as if you got hurt. Besides, how cool is it to have an invisible friend?”
“Yeah Amy” snickered Julie. “Don’t be such a wuss!”
“Well,” grumbled Amy, “he could’ve said something a lot sooner!” Diane smiled and touched her key. "Yeah Mom, I guess it's not a problem anymore."
They continued their tête-à-tête and discovered that Artemus never needed food or water but liked the company of those who brought it. Instead, he fed it to the birds and animals that passed by, which made Diane’s last surprise a perfect choice. She opened the sack and withdrew a partially assembled birdhouse and some tools with which to mount it in one of the turret’s openings. With a little work the birdhouse was in place, complete with birdseed in a little tray providing that elusive white dove with a safe place to rest and get out of any bad weather.
“There, done!” Diane brushed her hands together. “Artemus, there’s a white dove we sometimes see, and this is her new home, if she so chooses. Way up here it will provide her with safety, and you might enjoy the company as well. I hope that this pleases you.”
They could hear Artemus moving around but still couldn't see him. “This is wonderful Majesty. I have never had such attention and I do not know quite what to say, but I will see to the food and water for Hestia.”
“Hestia? Who's Hestia?” they all asked. “Is there someone else here as well?”
“Oh… Hestia is the Goddess of the Hearth, the one who brought you here from the outside world. Did you not know? You must be very special people or she would not have done so. I'm sure that she will very much like this little house you've provided. Oh, this is wonderful. At last I shall have someone with whom to visit. This makes me very happy for the first time in two thousand years.”
There’s that two-thousand year thing again Diane thought. "Two-thousand years huh? Okay look, I have to ask, just how old are you Artemus?”
“I am sorry Ma’am but, I really do not know.”
“Then how do you know you’ve been around for two-thousand years? That sounds quite impossible.”
“All I can tell you Ma’am is that I was at my post during a battle when something knocked me down. When I awoke, the battle was over and I was the only one up here, so I stayed.”
“Why would you stay if the battle was over? Wouldn’t you eventually go down to eat or something?”
“Oh no Ma’am, I cannot leave my post until properly relieved… and, I have not yet been properly relieved. But it’s all right. I've become accustomed to this place.”
This fanciful adventure into a land of magic and mystery is available as an eBook and in a traditional softcover book so, take a look inside at:
Amazon.com USA http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003CC1KQQ
(NOTE: This story is in English and has not been translated into other languages.)
Amazon Italy http://www.amazon.it/After-2012-ebook/dp/B003CC1KQQ/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1334251252&sr=1-2