“No!” Celeste shrieked.
Cold, clammy fingers brushed John William’s neck. The beast wrapped his claws around John William’s scarf and dragged him through the dirt. John William let out a gagging cough as the grip tightened across his throat. His face went from bright red to purple. Celeste lunged for the creature’s ankle and gave it a good yank, giving John William just enough time to squirm out of his scarf and run to the nearest tree. The creature was right on his heels. Hugging the tree, he pulled himself up branch by branch to the very top. “Help!” he shouted as the creature snarled and clawed at the medallion.
“I’m coming!” Celeste morphed in to a vibrant red robin and fluttered up the tree. John William wrapped the medallion around his wrist to secure it. He stomped the heel of his shoe at the creature’s face.
Screech! Its eyes narrowed to an angry squint. A low, menacing growl moved through its jagged teeth. It grabbed hold of the medallion and yanked it about. John William mustered up every ounce of strength for another stomp. This one hit it square in the nose. His shoe squished into the beasts face splattering goo up his pant leg.
“Hurry!” John William strained. The leather strap holding the medallion tightened around his wrist. “It’s not letting up!”
Celeste little wings fluttered faster. She finally reached them and flapped her wings in the beast’s face. It remained undeterred, keeping its grip in the medallion. A cloud blocking the sun drifted away, allowing rays of light to shine on the treetops. Once a ray hit the creature, it let out a hiss and vanished. Celeste perched on the branch next to John William.
“Maybe we should not mention this to Ferdinand.” With one arm hugging the treetop, he wiggled around to locate the path of sturdy branches he’d used to get up the tree. Crack! The flimsy trunk buckled.
The more he moved, the more it cracked. Branches under his legs broke off and fell to the forest floor. “Okay, let me take a minute to think about this. I’m afraid I might be stuck unless I fall and break every bone on the way down.” John William wrapped his arms and legs around the tree’s tip as it swayed back and forth in the breeze.
Celeste made her way to the ground. “I’ll get help!” She shouted, adjusting her cloak after a quick transformation.
John William let out a sigh. “I can’t wait to hear what the old hopper is going to say about this.” He watched the medallion shimmer in the sunlight and thought about Ferdinand’s warning. They weren’t the only ones interested in the lost city.