Tina & the World of Winter, Part 4

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

A queer fantasy story for all ages. Inspired by Narnia with neopronouns, same-sex romantic love, and no patriarchal bs.

When Tina falls into the World of Winter she meets a chatting squirrel, wise Bears, and a chilly cat being who seems to hold on to a secret. Together they must find a way to overthrow the Queen of Winter before it's too late.

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And there was a silence and then the Queen looked at Ratatosk and said sweetly,


 

- And you brought your friend with you, too. How nice of you. I didn't ask that of you. I’m  sure I’ll find a way to use her. I just need to make her quiet first.


 

- Lynx?!


 

Ratatosk backed away but the Queen made a gesture with her hand and Ratatosk froze on the spot, unable to move anything else than her eyes.


 

Tina watched them, frozen with fear. What is happening? Did Lynx betray them?


 

She wanted to say something but Lynx turned to her with cold eyes and said


 

- Now, I call on your promise. Overthrow her!


 

Tina stared at Lynx, then at the Queen, and then back at Lynx. She had to do something! But what? She took a couple of steps towards the Queen but the Queen just laughed


 

- So this was your plan, Lynx? Very clever, very clever indeed. But tell me, why would a  promise to you force her magic out?


 

Lynx looked around, unsure now. It hadn’t worked as fae thought it would. Then, with one last effort, fae pulled a knife from faer belt and ran towards the Queen.


 

- Run!, fae cried at Tina


 

But the Queen just rose her hand and pointed at Lynx


 

- Lynx, Lynx... Do you really think I let you escape without taking your name?


 

Lynx froze, but before Tina could see what happened next, she felt Ratatosk whisk past her. The squirrel jumped on the Queen and scratched and bit her face. The Queen’s spell must have lost its power when she concentrated on Lynx, Tina thought.


 

The Queen stumbled around as she tried to get Ratatosk off her.


 

- How do you dare!? Your dirty little squirrel!


 

- Run!, Ratatosk squealed at Tina

 

And Ratatosk's voice brought Tina back, and she looked around.


 

Lynx!? Where is Lynx? Where had fae gone?


 

And then she saw that on the ground where Lynx had stood was now a cat, a bit wobbly. Tina didn’t think, just grabbed it and with one last look at Ratatosk ran from the hall.


 

She came out to the corridor and all around them were screams and animal noises and beings running through the palace. Tina had never seen so many animals, but none of them seemed to notice her.


 

They must have been set free when the Queen concentrated on Lynx, just like Ratatosk, Tina thought.


 

She ran down the corridor with Lynx the cat in her arms when she suddenly heard the howling of wolves in the distance. She froze. The Queen must have called on them!


 

Something bumped into her from behind, and she stumbled, almost dropping Lynx, but she came back to her senses and began running down the corridor.


 

She sprinted past doors and parallel corridors, not knowing where to go or how to escape. It felt like the wolves were getting closer, and she imagined them running behind her, almost catching up with them.


 

She turned a corner and stopped dead in her tracks. There, some distance away, was an old dog making his way towards them. Tina hesitated. It wasn’t a wolf, she could see that, but she wasn’t sure it was friendly. As it came closer, she could see it was limping and badly ragged. Maybe it was okay?


 

She stayed as it came up to them and spoke.


 

- Follow me! I’ll show you the way out.


 

Tina hesitated, but something about the dog made her trust it. She looked back one last time at the corridor, then followed the dog.


 

He led them away from the sound and noise of the running animals, and soon even the howling of the wolves faded away. As they came to a small gate, he turned to them and said,


 

- Behind this gate is the forest. You will be safe there.


 

- But what about my friend Ratatosk!? I can’t leave her!


 

But the dog shook his head.


 

- You cannot save her now.


 

- And Lynx, what happened to faer!?


 

The dog looked at the shaken and wobbly Lynx in Tina’s arms.


 

- The Queen took faers name.


 

- Faers name!? What do you mean? Please, you need to help me!


 

But the dog just looked at her with sad eyes.


 

- I cannot help you anymore. She'll be punishing me for this already. You need to go. You  need to find faers name.


 

- But how!?


 

Tina didn’t know what to do. Lynx was a cat in her arms and Ratatosk was lost with the Queen.


 

The dog looked at her and she realized there was something strange with him because his eyes were the ones of a wolf. But before she could ask, he pushed the gate open and said,


 

- Now go! And bring the Sun back!


 

Tina sprinted out, leaving the palace, Ratatosk and the Queen behind her.


 

She ran through the forest with the Lynx cat in her arms, not knowing where to go, but wanting to get as far away from the palace as she could. Only when she was too out of breath to keep running did she stop and tried to calm down.


 

What would Lynx do now?, she thought to herself. Lynx would have looked for a safe place in the trees.


 

Fae had told them about the many tree houses in the forest. They came from the time of the rebellion, when people needed somewhere safe to hide. So with Lynx the cat still in her arms, Tina set out looking for one.


 

There were many of them, she soon discovered, but most of them were too broken to be livable. In the end she found one that at least had all four walls still, and a roof.


 

She climbed up, making sure Lynx the cat was safe in her arms as she ascended.


 

Once up, she put Lynx the cat down and then sat down on the floor.


 

Fae had said nothing the whole way, and Tina wondered if maybe this cat spell also meant fae couldn’t talk. Or maybe fae had transformed into a cat and didn’t even remember fae was Lynx?


 

The cat known as Lynx responded to her thoughts by hissing at Tina and running to the door, scratching to get out.


 

Tina began to cry. What was she doing here? Alone in the forest with a cat that didn’t remember fae was Lynx and Ratatosk was left in the palace..


 

Oh, how would she sort this?


 

- I'm sorry, Lynx, I failed you. I didn't know what to do. I know I promised to help you, but I  didn't know how to overthrow her. I'm sorry.


 

Lynx the cat stopped scratching on the door but kept sitting with faer back towards Tina, waiting to get out.


 

- Have you really forgotten who you are? Do you understand what I’m saying?, Tina asked.


 

But Lynx either ignored her, or fae really had forgotten who fae was and now was just a cat waiting to get out, because fae didn’t respond.


 

- Please come back to me. It's cold and I'm lonely, Tina tried.


 

She went to faer and picked faer up and this time Lynx didn’t hiss but just let it be. Tina put faer on her lap and said,


 

- I will find a way, and I will find your name, I promise. I will not fail you this time. I just don't  know how yet.


 

Lynx licked faer paws in response, like a normal car.


 

- You really don’t understand me, do you?, Tina asked


 

And Lynx the cat didn’t respond, just kept licking faer paws.


 

- I will take care of you, Tina said. And I will find the way. I will save you and I will save  Ratatosk and the Wolf King and everyone. I just need to find out how.


 

And so she sat there in the tree house shelter, cuddling Lynx and speaking out loud, but whether to Lynx or herself, she didn’t really know.


 

- Lynx, what would you have done in my place? You are so strong. I admire you. What  would you have done now? How can I find your name? I know no one here to ask for it.


 

But as she said it, she realized she did know someone. She knew Old Bear. Could she find him? She had to try. So she said to Lynx,


 

- Tomorrow we'll find Old Bear. He’s old and has many stories. He must know what to do.


 

She lay down, and it was lonely to just have Lynx as a cat there. But in the end, she fell asleep.


 

She woke up the next day, Lynx still in her arms, and she set out. She didn’t know where they were, nor where Old Bear was, but she walked through the forest in the direction that they had come from the day before.


 

They walked for a long time, not seeing anything else than trees. Lynx still hadn’t said anything, but Tina kept speaking to faer the whole day as if fae understood. It made her feel better, less lonely.


 

Then, when Tina was almost ready to give up their search, Lynx jumped from her arms, hissed, and disappeared into the forest.


 

- No! Lynx! Come back Lynx!


 

Tina ran after faer but she only took a couple of steps when she realized that she’s standing in front of Old Bear’s tree.


 

She looked around. What happened? How did she end up here?


 

She heard the door open and Old Bear came out with surprise on his face.


 

- Well, come in, come in. No good standing out here.


 

Tina walked over to him, still in a daze.


 

- But what happened? How did I find this place?


 

- If you really want to find me, you will. That’s part of my magic.


 

He looked around as if suddenly realizing something.


 

- What's happened? Where are the others?


 

Tina began to cry and told him the story of the palace and the Queen and how Ratatosk had attacked her, but not before she’d transformed Lynx into a cat. And now she had to find Lynx’s name, but she didn’t know how, or even what it meant.


 

- Oh, dear or dear, you better come inside.


 

He led her into the treehouse and poured her a cup of strong tea. Then he sat down and said,


 

- So it didn’t go as fae expected?


 

Tina shook her head, still crying.


 

- But I don't understand what happened, she said.


 

Bear leaned back in his chair, thinking.


 

- It looks like the Witch Queen allowed faer to run away last time, but not before she’d put a  spell on faer. She must have wanted to use Lynx as a spy. Because if you’d ever come to this world and someone would have found you, they would have taken you to Lynx, fae’s  still an unofficial leader. In which case, Lynx would have been forced to take you to her.


 

But fae tried to overthrow the Queen!


 

- Yes, spells are not almighty and I guess fae tried to manipulate them the best fae could.  But it didn't work.


 

- And what should I have done? I don’t have any magic?


 

- Magic isn’t as easy as just waving a wand, Bear said. You’ll find it, but Lynx must have  hoped fae could force it out of you. Silly Lynx..


 

Tina felt more and more hopeless.


 

- And what about her name?! What does it even mean? And why would the Witch Queen take it?


 

- That’s old magic. If your name is taken, you are bound to the person until you get it back.


 

- But how do we find it? I need to give it back to faer!


 

But the Bear said,


 

- If the Witch took it, then only she can give it back.


 

Tina began to cry again.


 

- But I promised faer that I would find it. I have to give it back to faer. And fae's just a cat.  Just a cat! And fae'll be even angrier with me now.


 

Old Bear looked at her.


 

- I don't think fae’s angry with you. I think fae's ashamed of what fae's done.


 

Tina stopped crying and looked at him in surprise.


 

- But fae’s done nothing wrong?


 

- Fae tried to use you.


 

- But fae had no other choice? And fae tried to save us.


 

- That might be true. But still... The Witch bound faer with a spell, and Lynx must have  suspected it, and you were faers chance. Fae’s just too ashamed to speak to you.


 

Tina looked at him, bewildered


 

- Speak? Fae can speak?


 

- Of course fae can. The Witch just took faers name, not who fae is. But let’s not worry  about that now, it’s getting late, and it’s time for bed. Maybe tomorrow we’ll have some ideas about what to do. There must be something we can do that will give faer back faers  name.


 

Tina went to bed and as she lay there, she heard something scratching on the window. She went to open it and Lynx the cat was standing there. Fae jumped onto the bed and said


 

- It’s cold.


 

Tina ran to faer on the bed


 

- You speak! I was afraid that you had turned into a normal cat!


 

She hugged faer but Lynx just said,


 

- You're strangling me.


 

Tina looked at faer.


 

- I’m not angry with you, Lynx. Can we be friends again?


 

Lynx looked up at her, and faers cat face was one of surprise.


 

- You’re not angry with me? After everything I've done, you still want to be my friend?


 

- Yes! I’m not angry with you. And I failed you, too. But it doesn't matter. Now we have each  other again and that’s what's important. I'm gonna find a way, for you and for everyone. I’ll save you. I meant everything I said to you.


 

Lynx cuddled up against Tina, and soon they fell asleep.


 

And the next morning, when they woke up, they went to the kitchen together and Old Bear served them breakfast. And he said,


 

- I’ve been thinking about this. There might be someone who can help you. In the hills,  north of the forest, there’s a lake and in this lake lives a fish that is older than me. And I believe she’s always stayed underwater and is out of reach of the Queen’s Magic. She may  know things that no one else does.


 

Lynx and Tina looked at each other, and Lynx said,


 

- Let's go there first! Maybe the old fish will know more secrets. Maybe she can teach you  how to use your magic, too, fae said to Tina. She must remember the days when the sun was still shining.


 

Then Bear gave them provisions on the way, and they set out.

 

They walked for many days until one morning they saw the lake in the distance. When they came to the shore, they looked out over it. It was an enormous lake.


 

- How do we find the fish here?, Tina asked hopelessly. Shall I swim?


 

She turned to Lynx, but before she was around, she heard faer hissing and from the surrounding bushes, wolves emerged.


 

- It won’t be necessary to swim, the leader of the wolves said.

The Queen knew you would come here. Where else would you come for secrets no one  else knows about? It was so obvious.


 

He shook his head.


 

- Just a little girl, that’s what you are.


 

Lynx hissed at them, but the wolf turned to faer with a patronizing smile.


 

- And you, did you plan to run and abandon your other friend, too?


 

He looked at the wolf pack.


 

- Let's go, the Queen is waiting.


 

They didn’t have any other choice than to follow, so with Lynx in her arms, Tina walked with the wolves back to the palace. But it was a long way, and Tina knew it would take them many days to reach it.


 

She hugged Lynx and whispered,


 

- It will be ok, we’ll find a way.


 

They walked the whole day, and when the night came, they stopped to rest. Tina and Lynx found a hole in an old tree trunk where they crawled into and the wolves guarded them from the outside.


 

Lynx crawled up in Tina’s arms and said,


 

- I’m sorry, I should have known better.


 

- Don't be sorry. Lynx. It’s not your fault. And we'll find the way, I’m sure we will.


 

But Lynx shook faer head and said,


 

- It's too late. She got us. It’s hopeless.


 

Tina hugged faer and said,


 

- But we have each other.


 

- But what if she separates us?, Lynx said. She can send us away.


 

- But I will still love you, Tina said. I will still love you. I only wish I could give you a name. I  would name you Leah.


 

Lynx cuddled up against her and they soon fell asleep.


 

Tina was woken up by someone shaking her arm. She opened her eyes and saw that it was dawn and Lynx, in faer human form, crouched next to her with a big smile.


 

- Let’s go, fae whispered to Tina.


 

- What happened?, Tina asked


 

- Shh... Later. Let’s go


 

- But the wolves..


 

- Let's have fun with the wolves, Leah-Lynx said with a grin


 

They crawled out from the tree, and Leah-Lynx turned to the sleeping wolves and cried out,


 

- Flea bags! Come here! Komsi-komsi..


 

And the wolves woke up and walked towards them, looking at them in shock.


 

- The Queen of Summer is back!, Leah-Lynx announced. You are free to run or to follow us  to your Queen to watch her fall.


 

The wolves looked at each other, terrified, because they never imagined the day would come when the Queen would fall. And they ran. Some of them back to the queen, some of them back to the forest, happy they didn’t need to serve any longer.


 

Tina looked at Leah-Lynx.


 

- What happened? How did you come back to your human form?


 

- You are the Queen of Summer. You gave me a name, and you meant it.


 

Tina looked at faer and blushed. She had meant it, she’d meant everything she’d said to Leah-Lynx. But it was different having said it to a cat and now having the human standing in front of her. But no, she would stand by it. She loved Leah-Lynx.


 

- Yes, I meant it, she said.


 

They took each other’s hands and walked back to the palace. As they walked, the snow melted around them and the sun came out from the clouds. As they came closer, they saw that where the palace had once stood was now only a big lake.


 

They heard something rattling behind them, and a high-pitched voice peeped,


 

-You saved us! You saved us! I told you, you will save us! I knew it! You're our hero! I didn't  fall from a tree.


 

Ratatosk ran towards them and jumped up on Leah-Lynx’s shoulder.


 

- You are our heroes! Both of you! I’m so happy!


 

- What happened with the Queen?, Tina asked.


 

- Everything melted in the morning, and we all ran.


 

- We?, Tina asked


 

And she saw some beings and animals coming towards them. And they looked very sad, but there was also hope in their eyes. And Leah-Lynx whispered into Tina’s ear,


 

- You need to give them a name.


 

- But I don't know their names, Tina whispered back


 

But Leah-Lynx just said,


 

- You will know. You will know when they come


 

And each of these beings came up to Tina, and she gave them a new name, and one by one they took their true form. And the old dog became the Wolf King again. And all these beings were free.


 

And then the Wolf King walked up to Tina and said


 

- I heard an old story too. If you go into the lake, you will come back to the place where you  came from.


 

But Tina looked at Ratatosk and Leah-Lynx and said,


 

- I will stay here.

 


Submitted: June 26, 2021

© Copyright 2021 TheQueerUnicorn. All rights reserved.

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