Joshua and the Arrow Realm

Joshua and the Arrow Realm by Donna Galanti

Book: Joshua and the Arrow Realm by Donna Galanti Read Free Book Online
Authors: Donna Galanti
now. Don’t live by anyone else’s rules.”
    The tree house closed in on me as I held the knife in my hand. The lines were drawn and Leandro had crossed them. Would he come back? Or were we sending him to his death?
    I handed the tiny knife to Charlie. “Thanks for watching out for me.”
    He folded it shut and slid it into his pocket as Ash blindfolded Leandro again. “Good luck on a blind runabout,” she said, tying his hands in front. “This is for trying that little knife stunt.”
    â€œHe’ll die out there if he can’t see or use his hands,” I said.
    â€œMaybe. Maybe not. Fate will tell,” Ash said. “He’s a soldier and fit to survive on his wits and instincts. We gave him a second chance to live. Let’s see how he uses it.”
    She was the toughest girl I’d ever met. Good thing she picked our side.
    â€œI’ll survive all right and hunt you down,” Leandro said with a smile.
    We all watched him feel his way as he climbed through the hatch door. He peered up one last time. His blindfold mocked us. “See you soon.”
    â€œOnly in death,” Ash said quietly.
    Leandro’s grin fell and then he disappeared through the hole. The kids rushed forward to watch him descend. Beasts bawled from somewhere in the forest—on the hunt.
    I hoped it wouldn’t be Leandro they caught.

Chapter Seventeen
    A fter Leandro dropped away, the Wild Childs gathered up the bows and arrows hanging on the walls and sneaked through the tree house door and windows.
    â€œOne for the many,” they each said with a nod to Ash as they left.
    Ash directed us to leave with her when they were all gone, and we stepped outside onto the tree house platform. Purple night deepened and long shadows softened the craggy world. We stood on a plank road with a roped netting rail that zigzagged from house to house and floated under the forest’s canopy in a sea of darkness. Green lights glowed softly through lopsided windows, and branch shadows wrapped the tiny shacks in prickly fingers. Leaves battered the houses in the sharp wind as the Wild Childs skulked amongst the trees.
    Ash waited impatiently on the platform’s edge as we got our bearings. “Follow me!”
    And we did, the three of us hanging on to the railing the entire way, bouncing down the plank path. She set us up in a vacated tree house (I didn’t ask why it was empty), and a Wild Child brought us a dinner of squirrel stew and ache cakes. “You all need sleep first,” Ash said, throwing animal hides on wooden slatted cots. “Tomorrow, we’ll get you to the Perimeter Lands.”
    â€œThanks,” I said. She nodded and left as the moonlight struck her in its crosshairs.
    Too tired to talk, sleep claimed us quickly our second full night here. It seemed my head barely hit the floor when Ash lugged me up, a lantern shedding a dim green glow swinging from her hand.
    â€œYou’ve slept for hours. It’s still dark out but sunrise comes soon,” Ash whispered. “A good time to go runabout.” She pulled an animal skin coat and pants from a chest and shoved it at Apollo. “Wear these. They may save your life.”
    Once his royal clothes were covered up, Apollo was a Wild Child. He’d lost his slumped dungeon pose and, along with the kingly jut of his chin, revealed he was much more than a fugitive of the woods. I hoped others wouldn’t see the king inside that I did.
    â€œI wish you could stay, but I have to protect the kids and the dark will provide cover.”
    A Wild Child walked past our house and peered in to make sure all was okay. Ash nodded and the kid moved along.
    â€œWhere are they all from?” I asked her.
    â€œSweden. Italy. Canada. Those places are where the Arrow Realm steals them. Some get traded to other realms. Doesn’t matter where we’ve lived before. We’re all the same now and we’re all

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