Continuing the Mirlings’ story. (Find part 1 here.)
Something streaked past Molly, washing her aside and propelling the goldfish into the cover of reeds. The cat’s paw rose empty through the water.
The bright blur swooped into a somersault before slowing to become an orange-and-black mirling. He landed with a flourish in front of Grandad and two watching youngsters, while Molly fought to re-establish which way was up.
‘Hi, kids. The name’s Flash. They call me Flash Lightning.’
His iridescent orange glistened in the watery sunlight. A contrasting black streak fell rakishly across the left side of his spiky hair, across one eye and down the side of a muscular body. Molly had to admit he was an impressive looking mirling.
And no one was more impressed than Flash.
Drawing himself up to his full two centimetres, Flash noted with satisfaction that he was taller than his audience, although he thought the old mir might have matched him in his youth, before the bronze back stooped.
‘Well done lad! That were fast.’
‘I like to keep fit.’
A scrawny yellow youngster groaned quietly.
Although it hadn’t been shared telepathically, Flash’s hearing was excellent and the tiny, flat ears in front of his gills had picked up the groan. He had seen this undersized runt at the pump, where Flash exercised with other fit mirlings by swimming against its pull. This straw-haired dandelion often disrupted training with his irritating pranks.
A new voice crept into his head. ‘Aren’t you the m-mirling who came with the new fish from the pet shop?’
The pale mirling who’d asked was half his height, skinny as a water-reed and as plain, but her cream-coloured eyes glowed with admiration around their black pupils. He rewarded her with a smile.
‘You noticed me then.’
Her flat, white face flushed pink.
‘Flo notices more than people realise.’
The speaker was the black swimmer he had swept aside on his race to the goldfish. Her scales seemed to absorb light instead of reflecting it. His proud colours suddenly felt garish.
He turned to the rosy white one. ‘Then you must be Flo.’
She flushed deeper as the old mirling said, ‘Yep, that’s Flo, and this here is Molly.’ He rested his hand on the dark one’s shoulder. ‘Call me Grandad, everyone does. The clown over there is Flo’s brother, Eddy.’
The yellow comedian had drifted away to make faces at the cat. Oblivious to the capering fool, the cat settled to wait for another fish.
Flo frowned. ‘There m-must be something we can do about that cat.’
Flash said, ‘You can’t have always been called Grandad.’
‘No. Me sister were named Penny, for a coin that were dropped in the river, and I were Tuppence.’ He shook his head. ‘It in’t a name to grow old with.’
‘You weren’t born in the pond, then?’
More Mirlings Next Week
Read Pond People, part 1