How’s that Work?

This story was inspired by a word prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth (letterbox).  There’s just one more from this month and I’ll be all caught up!


Orion sat between Lyall and Henry.  Each of them was writing a letter to their parents.  Henry had assured him that there was a way to post the letter to his parents.  In fact, the letter would arrive by the next morning, according to Henry.

Henry was the first one to finish writing.  He folded his letter into thirds and then sealed the flap closed with wax.  Orion finished with his letter and followed Henry’s example.  Then, they waited while Lyall continued to write.

“Lyall?” Henry prompted, after a few minutes.  “We’re both done.  Shall I show Orion how to post letters or do you want for me to wait?”

“I – I’m nearly done,” Lyall said, looking up at them with wide eyes.  He heaved a sigh and then Orion saw his eyes scan the page.  He wrote one more sentence and then signed his name.  After that, he folded the page into thirds and sealed it.  Unlike Henry and Orion, he used a ring to stamp a symbol into the wax before it had cooled and hardened.  Smiling faintly, he nodded.  “All right, let’s go.”

Henry rolled his eyes and then led the way to the far corner of the common room.  He let Lyall open a small red box in the corner.  “Just watch,” Henry said, as Lyall set the letter inside and closed it.  A moment later, there was a dull thump.

Lyall heaved a sigh and then, Henry opened the box.  Orion’s eyes widened.  The box was empty.  “Where’d his letter go?” Orion asked, looking at Henry.  He looked at Lyall.  “Where’d your letter go?”

“The post office,” Lyall said, shrugging.

Henry nodded and put his letter into the box.  “He sent it silently,” Henry said, shrugging.  “You have to tell them where it’s going, by saying the name of the recipient as you close the door.”  He shut the door and said, “Mr. and Mrs. Charles Westley.”  There was a dull thump and Henry opened the box, to show that it was empty.

Orion frowned and nodded.  “All right,” he said.  He set his own letter in the box and shut the door.  Feeling a little embarrassed, he said, “Mr. and Mrs. Apollo Blackburn.”  There was a moment or two of hesitation and then he heard a dull thump.

He opened the box and then heaved a sigh of relief.  The letter, as with the ones that his friends had sent, was gone.  “That’s pretty cool,” he said, shaking his head.

“Teaching Blackburn how to use the letterbox?” Bess said, looking from one boy to the other.  Henry smiled and nodded brightly.  He greeted her, but she didn’t answer him, her gaze going to Orion.  She held up a folded page, shrugging.  “I’ve got to send my own, if you’re done.”

“Sure,” Orion said, as he stepped out of the way.  “Be my guest.”

As they headed back over to the table by the fire, Henry said, “She smiled at me!  Did you see?”

Orion arched an eyebrow at him and glanced at Lyall, who sighed and shook his head.  It was useless to point out that Bess barely even noticed him.  All she wanted was to mail her letter.  Patting Henry on the shoulder, Orion said, “Sure, mate.  Just keep telling yourself that.”


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