“Efrim tells good stories,” said Elani. “He makes them up in his head and they’re wonderful. Fields and fairies and adventures.”
Efrim grunted and turned away.
“Do you ever want to write them down?” asked David.
“I’m not so good at that,” he said. “We hafta stay outside most times, and when Daddy’s home, we have to do chores and stay out of his way. He doesn’t like it when I daydream my life away.” He grunted again and pushed his Tonka tractor over a small anthill.
“We have a storytelling place,” Elani whispered. “It’s the other side of the fence. We go there when Daddy’s in a bad mood. There’s a creek there, and trees, and rocks. It’s like the country. We’re not allowed to go there when the water’s too high, but sometimes we go anyways. But we’re not s’pposed to step in the water. It’s not deep, but Mommy doesn’t like us to get our pant cuffs wet and we’re not allowed to take off our shoes. But sometimes we do.” She grinned.
“Elani, you ain’t supposed to tell no one that. That’s our secret place.”
“But David’s our friend now, Efrim. You can tell secrets to friends, can’t you? You won’t tell no one, will you David?”
“Mum’s the word.”
“I won’t tell a soul.”
“See Efrim, I knew he wouldn’t. You can tell just looking at him that he’s an honest boy. You’re honest, right, David? Because I’d be really mad if you weren’t. Nobody thinks I have a temper, but I have a fierce one, right Efrim?”
“Fierce,” Efrim sighed. “You’re a sprite with a temper.”
“A sprite. Like Tinkerbell.”
“Yeah. I’d shake my fist at you. I wouldn’t yell loud, because Tink doesn’t yell, but you’d know you’d been yelled at without hearing it.”
“I wouldn’t want that,” said David. “Your secret’s safe.” And then: “Can we go there now? I miss trees. Do ya’ll have peach trees?”
Efrim gave him an odd look. “Like canned peaches?”
“Yeah, I guess. But they grow on trees.”
“I guess, but I’ve never seen any. We get them in cans here.”
“Maybe we can pretend,” said Elani. “And Efrim, you can make up a story about them.”
“I guess I could,” he said. “You’ll have to describe them to me, or I could make them up. Like marshmallow trees. You remember that one, Elani?”
“I do,” she said. “I dreamed about them for a solid week.”
Efrim pushed himself up. “We can go there for a little while. I hope you’re not afraid of getting your pant cuffs wet. You can roll them up, if you want, but the water won’t be deep, not this time of year.”
“Sure. And we could look for frogs.”
“Ain’t no frogs. Just stories. I could make up stories about frogs in peach trees.”
“That’s funny, Efrim,” said Elani, and she laughed like a sprite.
*a work in progress*