@zeldacroft, @freewritehouse, We-Write #11 https://sun9-43.userapi.com/c854020/v854020318/135900/c8x2tZYpTHk.jpg An inky air crept through the twilight hours, and now pressed against the windows of the house. Inside, Nathan aimlessly flipped through the TV channels, the living room calmly lit. He was getting impatient. A thump, thump down the stairs made him jump, but he managed to keep his composure. His mom hurried into the room. Her oversized coat and mittens signaled she was ready for the autumn chill outside. “Alright, I’m heading out,” she said. “I’ll probably be gone for a few hours, so call me if you need anything. Remember there’s leftovers in the fridge, and try not to just watch TV. You know that book from—” “Mom,” he interrupted. “Yes?” “You’re going to be late.” “I am, aren’t I?” She agreed, but ran over to kiss his forehead anyway. “I’ll lock up, be sure to stay safe.” “Yes, Mom.” He rolled his eyes. Their corner of suburbia had always felt like the most boring. Nothing bad could happen here. As soon as Nathan heard the front door close, he leapt up and looked out the window. The streetlights cast heavy shadows on his mom’s car as she drove away. When she was out of sight, he whipped out his phone and texted his best friend, Mark. “It’s time.” Mark had gotten his hands on some horror games, including the much coveted Bloodhunter 4, but his family wouldn’t let him play. Nathan wasn’t allowed to either, so tonight was finally their chance. Impatience turned to excitement as he switched the TV to his Xbox. Mark lived on the same street, so it wouldn’t take long for him to get there. After gathering soda and snacks from the kitchen, he heard a sharp knock on the door. My continuation… Nathan quickly looked through the peephole. What he evinced was so incredible that he looked out again and for a few seconds peeked in astonishment at the strange girl standing on the doorstep. Short sour cherry color hair, unusual facial features, long pointed ears. "An immigrant," Nathan thought, "what does she want here?" The girl was clearly nervous, twitching; looking like someone was chasing her. ‘She looks frightened ... It is better to let her in,‘ Nathan thought and confidently, with one movement, opened the lock. The strange girl sprang in and instantly slammed the door behind her with the loud clink, locking herself in faster than Nathan managed to move. She glued her ear to the door, listening carefully. Nathan listened, too, but there was no sound coming from the street. "My name is Nathan," the boy introduced himself seriously. Who are you?” The guest finally focused her eyes on Nathan and, for a moment, looked at the chubby boy in bewilderment. “U-Shi,” she finally uttered in a hoarse voice, “this is my name.” “Are you from China?” Nathan asked, “…you don’t look like one.” “I am from far away land…” she responded quietly. “A friend of mine is going to come over now and we will play video games. Do you like video-games?” “Video… what?” U-Shi looked puzzled. Nathan looked outside, moving the window curtain away. It didn’t appear that there was any danger, from which U-Shi fled, but Mark was already approaching the house with a large backpack. "Who was chasing you?" Nathan asked. “A demon,” U-Shi briefly answered, casting a glance at him. "Can it enter in here?" Nathan asked. “Only with the permission of the house owner,” U-Shi answered. “I don’t see no demon,” Nathan noted. There was a careful knock on the door. It was Mark. "Who's it?" Nathan asked. "It's me, open up!" Mark answered impatiently from behind the door. “Wait, first tell me - what did we bury last summer in our secret place?” Nathan asked. "What the hell is the matter with you?" Mark wondered. “Dude, just answer!” "A box of collection coins to dig it up in twenty years and get rich," Mark replied. “Come in, but fast!” with a jerky movement Nathan released the door and literally dragged Mark inside. "What the…? Oh!” Mark saw U-Shi. "This is U-Shi. She says she's hiding here from a demon. Have you seen anyone?” Mark looked an unusual guest in bewilderment. "Is she elfette?" he asked. "No, She’s Chinese," Nathan said. "From the Far East.” "Dude, sometimes, you're such a moron," Mark said, "this is an elfette creature of a fairytale.” U-Shi nodded vigorously. "Let 's go to the living room," Nathan suggested. "Tell me, do elves eat chips?” *** Many years later, Nathan remembered that evening in detail - after hitting his face against the airbag in his car. Something unimaginable happened on the highway. At the last minute, he turned the steering wheel, but the minivan still broke through the freeway rail and dived into the ravine. "Help!" Nathan shouted automatically as, suddenly, the long-forgotten face of elfette U-Shi flashed in front of his eyes. Then – there was a hard impact and these bright memories. Damn it, he and Mark had grown up a long time ago and somehow even believed that U-Shi was only the figment of their imagination. She left no trace. In the evening they ate chips and sandwiches together, U-Shi watched the boys play video games... Before his mother returned, the elfette thanked the boys for their hospitality and said she would leave through the fireplace because "the fireplace is the boundary between the worlds." Indeed, standing by the fireplace, she dissolved in the thin air, turning into a stream of aromatic smoke. This unusual flavor has now touched Nathan's nostrils. He tried to move, squeezed by airbags. From outside, someone opened the driver's door with a scraping sound and pulled his hand. Once in the air, Nathan focused his gaze and saw his broken minivan. "My family..." he exclaimed in horror. U-Shi moved fast and somehow easily moved over the deformed doors. The elfette pulled Catherine and the boys out of the wrecked car - they haven't recovered yet. It looked like Jerry's leg was broken. "Let's haul them away," U-Shi said briefly, picked up the boys and quickly carried them away from the car. Nathan picked up unconscious Catherine and started carrying her away from the car. The elfette stopped under the pine, and carefully lowered the children to the ground. Nathan heard how Catherine moaned coming to his senses. "They'll be fine," U-Shi said. "You saved me, I saved you. Maybe we’ll meet again.” “I thought we imagined you...” Nathan could only utter. “There are many things, my friend, that is unknown to your wise men,” the elfette grinned. When Catherine opened her eyes, in the place where U-Shi just stood, there was but a stream of aromatic smoke. Shaken, Nathan looked into emptiness. Why is it so easy for us to believe in a miracle, while we are children, and where does that faith go when we grow up? The faith vaporizes quickly... just as the smoke streams left over from the mysterious creature that just saved his family's life. P.S. Thank you @mgaft1 for helping me translate from Russian to English!