The Unexpected Knock

Submitted into Contest #97 in response to: Start your story with an unexpected knock on a window.... view prompt


Fantasy Teens & Young Adult Contemporary

The knock was unexpected.

After all it was only Tuesday and movies nights weren’t till Thursday so no one should be knocking on the window. Maybe I had imagined it. It was probably just my mind’s desperate attempt at escaping the tedium of learning when famous weapons were forged. Some days I really hated homework. I rubbed one of my delicate horns, trying to encourage myself to focus.

Another knock.

Not my imagination then. I glanced at the purple drapes that hid the secret window.

A third knock- this one sounded a bit desperate.

I tossed my pencil down and got up to pull the velvety drapes aside. “Finally!” Kelly said. Her white wings fluttered behind her. “You’ve got to let me in, Lisa.”

I raised an eyebrow as I unlocked the window on my side of the clear glass- the secret window was technically not a window but a portal between two spots. Those two spots being the hallway in the Catterwall house and my bedroom. Normally doors were used for these types of portals but doors were expensive and Dad had found the window on the cheap.

Once unlocked, Kelly pushed up the bottom pane and scrambled in, her tail flicking from side to side. She grabbed my arms. “You’ve got to hide me.”

“Hide you?” I looked at her suspiciously. “What did you do?”

“I haven’t done anything! Now hurry up and close it.”

I did as requested. I even locked it again before pulling the drapes closed. Kelly let out a sigh of relief. “That was close.”

“What’s going on?” I crossed my arms. I relaxed as Kelly’s face scrunched up. If she was looking like that, then nothing was truly wrong.

“It’s preening day.” She said the words as if those were the three most horrible words in existence.

I snorted. “Is that all?” I headed back for my desk, my homework calling me.

“Isn’t that enough?” She ran a hand along the top of her wings. “My wings are perfectly clean but Mom acts like I’m some hatchling that doesn’t know how to care of her wings.”

I bit back a smile as Kelly began searching the room for a suitable hiding place. I didn’t know why she was trying to hide- if she wasn’t at her own house, she was here. It wouldn’t take a genius to figure that out. I checked the clock on the wall. How long would it take before Mrs. Catterwall sent Martin after his sister?

Kelly dropped to the floor and began to pull stuff out from under my bed- a box of toys, random shoes, and Murry the shadowplant that thrived in darkness. Murry’s vines shuddered in the light of the evening sun. I grabbed a blanket from the foot of my bed and tossed it over him. He settled immediately though he did make a few grumbling noises informing me of his displeasure. “Sorry buddy.” I focused on Kelly. “Wouldn’t it just be simpler to submit to the preening and get it done and over with?”

Kelly gave me a dirty look. “Come on Lisa, do you want your Mom polishing your horns?”

My hands darted to the two horns that curled out the side of my head- the only outward sign of my Other Form. “Yeah, but I can reach my horns.”

“And I can reach my wings.” She flipped onto her back, and slid her legs under the bed.

“That’s the first place Martin is going to look for you.”

“No. The first place will be the closet where you keep your candy stash.” She wiggled farther under the bed.

Another knock on the window. Unlike the first three, this one was very much expected.

“Tell him I’m not here.” Kelly whispered shouted as she forced the rest of her body under the bed. How did she even fit under there with her wings? It couldn’t be comfortable.

I shuffled over to the window giving Kelly more time to situate herself before I pulled aside the drapes once more. Martin gave me a wave. I smiled. “Kelly says to tell you, she’s not here.”

Kelly hissed something at me which I ignored as Martin cracked a smile. He stepped away from the window and shouted down the hall. “Mom! Kelly isn’t as Lisa’s but I’m going to be.”

I unlocked the window and pulled it up in time for Mrs. Catterwall to join Martin. “Hi Mrs. Catterwall.”

“Hello Lisa.” She said and stuck her head inside my bedroom looking for Kelly. She studied my face for a moment and then rolled her eyes. “Well when you two see Kelly, tell her she can have her way but that she will regret it one day.”

“We will Mom,” Martin said. I stepped out of the way as he climbed in the window, his tawny colored wings brushing the frame. Mrs. Catterwall headed back downstairs. “So. Closet or bed?”

I shrugged and backed up till my legs hit the frame of my bed. “Either would be a good pick.” I plopped down hard on the mattress and there was a grunt from below. I winked at Martin.

He laughed and tilted his head to the side. I grinned and scooted over as Martin launched himself through the air like some flying lion and landed on the bed. Kelly grunted and stuck her head out. “You need to stop eating so many burgers.”

“Mom says to tell you that you will regret your actions one day.”

“I doubt that.”

“Missed bonding time will always be regretted.”

Kelly raised an eyebrow. “Bonding time?” She snorted. “It’s not like Dad preens you.”

“Dad preens me all the time. And I bet Lisa allows her Mom and Dad to preen her.”

“Dragons don’t need to be preened. And she polishes her own horns.” Kelly said as if that would win her the argument.

“My Mom actually polishes my scales. It’s really nice. Very relaxing.” I said.

“See?” Martin said.

Kelly ended the argument by sticking her tongue out at the both of us. Martin returned the gestured. I laughed. “Well now that you’re both here, you can help me with my history homework.”

“Stuck on those stupid Legendary Sword Forging dates?” Martin asked looking every bit as bored and frustrated as I had been feeling.

I nodded.

“I don’t even know why we have to know those. There is a lot more interesting history we could be studying.”

“Yeah. There’s Legendary Hammer Forging dates.” As if that would be more interesting than the sword ones.

“Oh. My. Magic.” Kelly pushed herself further out from under the bed. “We are not doing homework.” She sat up, her wings fluttered behind her. “It is a beautiful night out.”

Martin grinned, his tail flicking. My horns tingled as I bit my lip. “We really should finish our homework.

“Or…” Kelly stood up. “We could go flying.” She wiggled her eyebrows.

I heaved a heavy sigh. “You are a bad influence.”

Both Catterwall siblings grinned. Martin bounced off the bed and offered me a hand. I took it and he pulled me up. I headed for the bedroom door as Martin opened the real window. I opened the door. “Mom! I’m going flying with Martin and Kelly.”

“Is your homework done?”

“I’ll finish it when I get back. I need a break!”


“You know we could have just gone without telling anyone. They wouldn’t have noticed.”

I gave Kelly a look. There were two major flaws with her plan. One- I would feel way too guilty about sneaking out and two- one of my parents would come to check on me only to find me gone and then I would end up super grounded.

“All right.” Mom shouted up the stairway. “Forty-five minutes and then you have to finish your homework.”

“Deal!” I shouted back. I faced the open window. Kelly was already perched on the window sill.

“See you topside.” She threw herself out the window. Before she could fall, her wings snapped out catching her and up she went.

Martin gestured for me to go next. I took a deep breath and released my dragon form. My neck stretched, my face elongated into a snout, and my flesh turned to scales. I laid my front claws on the window sill and breathed in the night air- car exhaustion and freshly cut grass.

I launched into the rapidly cooling air. Below me, the lights of the city glowed. I flew upwards and Martin joined me a moment later. Our wings touched for a moment and then up and up we went till the lights of the city faded and we were surrounded only by the rich inky blackness of the sky and a million stars.

This was so much better than homework.

June 11, 2021 19:25

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