Emma and the Minotaur
14 Battle Song
Mr Wilkins stood up. He walked to the window and looked out down the the road toward the
direction of the forest. He was hunched over like a tired man, defeated, but as the moments went by
they watched him breathe in and out. With each breath he stood a little straighter, a little more
He turned toward them.
“You’re right, Emma. We can’t just give up. I’ll go look for them. Maybe I can get Domino to
“I’ve been trying to call him all afternoon, Dad,” Emma said. “I’m afraid something might have
happened to him.”
“Well, I have to try,” he said.
Emma nodded. “So do I,” she said.
She could see that he was going to object or ma ybe try to forbid her from leaving the house. Emma
thought that it might be easier to just let him order her to stay and then go to the forest when he was
gone. She decided against that because whenever she had tried to be sneaky, everything had turned out
“No, Emma, you stay here,” he said and turned to the boy. “You watch that she goes nowhere.
Restrain her if you have to.”
He started toward the door but Emma stood up and blocked his way. “No, Dad!” she said. “I have
to go, you see. You need me. You won’t be able to do anything at all if something has happened to
Domino. I can talk to anything, Dad. I can ask for help and like you said before, maybe it doesn’t
matter where we are in the world because this thing will eventually get there.”
William Wilkins took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. Emma knew that he was really thinking
about what she had said. He always considered things carefully, often slowly, and he was a reasonable
“I think she’s right, Dad,” Will said. He stood up and joined them. “Besides, I’ve been thinking
about it. I know I haven’t said much since the beginning but all this has been really hard to believe. But
I’ve been paying attention and listening and I don’t think all this could’ve been for nothing. It seems to
me like the trees know things so there is probably a part for Emma to play.”
Mr Wilkins frowned.
“And a part for us, Dad,” Will said. “Me, you, Jake, and Lucy.”
There was a long silence and then a sigh. “Okay,” Mr Wilkins said finally. “Will, go to the
basement and get us some flashlights. I don’t know what else we might need. We don’t have any
weapons and it’s not like we’d know how to use them.”
“We’ll use our best weapons. Our brains!” Emma said. “You used to say that.”
“I did,” he said and chuckled.
Emma ran to her room. She went under her bed and took out her old yellow lunchbox. Beside it
there was a plastic bag filled with leftover ribbons from when they had been searching the forest. She
took out the longest of these and tied both ends to the lunchbox’s handle. They probably weren’t going
to need anything that was inside the lunchbox but it contained all her most valuable possessions and
she didn’t know what was going to happen from then on or where they might end up. She slung the
strap over her shoulder and walked out into the hall just as Mr Jingles rejoined her.
“What’s in there?” Will asked her when he saw her come out.
“Just knick-knacks, mostly.”