Operation Tenley (The Fair City Files #1)
by Jennifer Gooch Hummer
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
Meet Tenley Tylwyth, an Elemental Teen born with the power to produce weather. Cool? Not really. Elementals who can create weather make Mother Nature angry. It’s time she got rid of them. Only one thing is standing in her way—Fair Ones. These ancestors of fairies keep kids like Tenley safe, but when rookie Fair One, Pennie, fails to do so, she’s forced to travel to Earth—a place where no Fair One wants to go. Now, Pennie has forty-eight hours to convince Tenley to give up her power. It won’t be so easy. Tenley’s got a way with wind. And after falling deep into Mother Nature’s gardens, where trees grow upside down and insects attack on command, a little wind might be just what Tenley needs to survive. Even if it kills her.
Above them, a gigantic pink petal, the size of a hula-hoop, was creaking downwards. Halfway to them, it jerked to a stop. Then it started again. Just as it looked like it was going to land directly on top of Tenley, the petal jerked violently, swung to the right and then to the left, and finally slammed against the tree trunk across from them, nestling itself inside a branch.
“Snail secretions!” a voice from inside yelled. “Need a filter change!”
“Yeah. Um, hello?” Holden ventured.
The same voice fell into a coughing fit.
“Lame-alarm,” Tenley whispered, rolling her eyes.
The petal shifted around until an antique-looking woman, four feet tall at most and wearing a wilted crown of purple flowers and dead branches, popped up.
“You’re so old,” Tenley said.
“Tenley,” Holden warned, except she was right. The woman’s face looked like it had been sketched in with pencil and her faded red hair was piled high under the wilting crown.
The old woman squinted back and forth at both of them. “Fair One or sipLip?” she asked in a raspy voice, pointing a crooked finger.
“Ah—” Holden hesitated.
“Wait. Did you say Fair One?” Tenley asked.
“Which one are you?” the old woman demanded.
“I’m a kid?” Holden answered.
“And you?” She pointed to Tenley.
“A more popular kid?”
The old woman considered them. “Humans. How did you get into my gardens?”
“Yeah, about that,” Holden said. “We don’t know. We were on the Log Ride in another part of the park, and she was about to fall over the edge,” he nodded to Tenley, “the next thing we knew we landed in here instead. Somewhere down there, to be specific.” He pointed through the trees.
The old woman narrowed her eyes. “What do you seek?”
“A lemonade?” Holden smiled. “I’m dying.”
“How convenient,” the old woman said.
Tenley frowned. “I don’t want some stupid lemonade. I got my hair ripped out and my Uggs muddy. I just want to get back to our bus and wait for this whole thing to be over. I have a big night tonight.” She checked on her sash and noticed the new gash in it. “No!” she cried.
Something sharp was jabbing into her side. Pennie opened her eyes.
The kind that could only be found on Earth.
Pennie jolted upright and hit the ground.
She moaned. She’d landed in a tree. The one she’d just fallen out of.
Her head felt like it was splitting down the middle. She reached for her tool belt before remembering she didn’t have it. She lifted her wrist to look at her stopwatch, before remembering she didn’t have that either.
“Gavron?” Pennie whispered. “Gavron?”
But Gavron was not there. And there weren’t any slurps or drools coming from anywhere, either.
She tried to stand, but must have forgotten about the house on her back. Or maybe it was a small meteor. Something very heavy was preventing her from standing. She pushed against the ground with all her might and got to her knees.
Gravity, she remembered. That’s what it was.
Jennifer Gooch Hummer is the award-winning author and screenwriter of her debut novel, Girl Unmoored (SparkPress). Girl Unmoored has also been published in German (Carlsen). Jennifer has worked as a script analyst for various talent agencies and film studios. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three daughters.
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