Padding around her room, Petra Petrović hummed to herself, deep in her throat, a purring song that spontaneously sprang from her imagination. Ghosting through the pallid spears of streetlights, she crouched and dug through her closet, searching for the perfect shirt for the evening.
The absent humming continued as she selected and discarded a rapid series of t-shirts.
“Pete,” Onk called out from downstairs. “You almost ready?”
Glancing up from her closet, she twitched her whiskers in annoyance and grabbed a final shirt from the folded pile on the low shelf. She folded her ears down and slipped the shirt over her head.
“Ready,” she called out as she rose, smoothed her silky fur down, and headed downstairs to meet up with her friends.
She took the stairs three at a time, swinging around the banister at the bottom to land in a silent crouch before the front door to her house. Allowing her momentum to carry her along the hallway, she whipped into the kitchen, ducked beneath her mother’s casserole laden hands, rounded the island, and pounced.
With a warcry mimicking her Bastet ancestors, she launched herself into Onk.
He caught her flash and managed to brace himself just enough to prevent being launched over the couch. Instead, the pair of tangled bodies landed on the couch in a heap.
“Petra,” her mother chided with a disapproving look.
“Just playin’ around, mom,” Pete said with a feline grin as she extricated herself from Onk’s grasp.
The brothers sat across the coffee table from them, Devlin laughing and Bevlin scowling. The pair always seemed at odds, as if they agreed to disagree on everything. As Pete rose, Onk lashed out with a semi-serious kick.
Pete slipped past the blow with predatory ease. Dev laughed harder. Bevlin glared at his brother.
“I wish you would stop horsing around in here,” Mrs. Petrović said, pointing a serving spoon at the occupants of her living room. “You break my couch and I’m going to make you all cough up the money for a new one.
“Come to think of it.” She thrust the spoon into the casserole on the island in front of her and fixed them all with a calculating look. “Maybe you should just go ahead and break it.”
“Mom,” Pete rolled her eyes.
“Just a thought,” Mrs. Petrović said as she untied her apron and hung it beside the stove. “You better get something to eat before you head out for that concert.”
“It’s a show, mom,” Pete said, flicking Onk’s long, green ear before darting away.
“It’s something else,” Mrs. Petrović agreed. “Anyway, eat. Dishes in the washer and counter wiped down before you leave … or I stop feeding this mindless zombie horde.
“Thank you, Mrs. Petrović,” the dwarf boys called out in unison.
“You are welcome, boys,” she replied with a sharp-toothed smile. “Try and keep these two in line. And make sure Petra is home before midnight. If she breaks curfew again, I’m going to have to come up with something worse than grounding to get my point across.”
Devlin saluted from his reclined position.
“I’m certainly glad you wear such flashy shirts, Devlin. Otherwise, I’d never be able to tell you two apart.”
“I just don’t have any desire to be an extra on Magnum PI,” Bevlin grumped. “Hawaiian shirts make him look like a doof.”
Devlin affected a hurt look.
“Don’t let him get to you,” Mrs. Petrović chided. “I think your flowery shirts are much more becoming than the skeletons your brother seems to be in love with. I don’t know that I’d ever be brave enough to pair them with those camouflage shorts, but you’re only young once and I can’t say the fashion when I was your age was much better.”
“Plus, my moustache is way better than Magnum’s,” Devlin said with a smile.
“You only say that because you can’t grow a full beard yet,” Bevlin snarked.
Pete’s light laugh cut through the growing, brotherly tension.
Onk, who had not bothered getting off the couch, tucked his hands behind his head and closed his eyes.
“Come on,” Pete said. “We’ve places to be.”
“We have two hours before the show,” Onk said without opening his eyes. “Perfect amount of time for a nap.”
Pete glanced to the brothers and an uncharacteristically matching expression flashed back. Without waiting for any more encouragement, Pete butt-dropped on Onk’s chest. A loud crack echoed through the room.
“Aha,” Mrs. Petrović clapped her hands. “You owe me a new couch. You are more than welcome to take that one out to the garage for your clubhouse.”
“It’s not a clubhouse, mom,” Pete frowned even as Onk gasped for air. “It’s just the garage. We use it to hang out and play pool. You know, it keeps us out of trouble. We can be out there without you worrying too much about what we’re doing.”
“Well, you can enjoy a new couch out there.”
“But, mom, it’s broken.”
“Not my fault,” Mrs. Petrović grinned and exited the room to emphasize her point.
Pete frowned and looked over at the brothers. “Think you could help me buy a new couch?” she pleaded.
“Get off me,” Onk managed to squeak.
* * *
I’m not sure where this is actually going. I’m starting to like the characters as a little side-project as I draw to the finish-line for AG3. All I know is there needs to be an elf in a three piece suit. Beyond that, this story will be completely open.
I’m going to keep this one on the back burner until I complete my other piece.
In the meantime, keep on reading, keep on loving tacos, and keep on flying the Black.