An Exquisite Prompt inspired by Exquisite Corpse author Linda Sue Park and Rose C.
Park is a gifted writer of historical fiction. She weaves together powerful storytelling with a deep interest in Korean history to create timeless stories like her Newbery winner A Single Shard (set in the 12th century), Kite Flyers (15th century), and Seesaw Girl (17th century). Rose C. from Durham, North Carolina, found a time period that really interested her and introduced us to some intriguing characters living in the Elizabethan era. Some background research will help you create a toolbox of facts and descriptive details to place the falcon-boy Thomas and his sister Margaret in future time period — almost a reverse of Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court — but not present day. Be sure to include an interesting way to transport these characters through time and have them learn something that would help improve their lives should they return to their own time period.
Margaret pulled herself upright, holding onto the wall. She reached for her stick and began crossing the courtyard to meet her brother. She was glad for the Duke's protection that allowed her to stay within the castle's walls, instead of begging in the village outside. Though perhaps she should thank her brother for his protection; the Duke likely didn't know she existed. And supposing he did, Margaret doubted he would care about his youngest falcon-boy's crippled sister.
"Hoy, Margaret!" Margaret looked up to see her brother, fourteen-year-old Thomas. "I climbed a tree after chicks today!"
Margaret steadied herself on her stick as Thomas ran up. "How many were there?" she asked. New falcons to train meant more work for all falconers, but she loved seeing the fluffy chicks grow into sleek, deadly hunters.
"Three," said Thomas. He was tall and strong, unlike Margaret. "Two females, one male. Peregrines." His grin broadened.
"I bet our Queen Elizabeth hasn't a better falcon-boy than you!" said Margaret.
"Yes — pity she shan't hire me," joked Thomas. "But I couldn't work better falcons, never. These new chicks — they're beauties. Well, two are."
"Two?" asked Margaret quickly.
Thomas scowled. "One's a runt," he said, "and it's got somethin' wrong with a wing…"
"What'll they do with it?"
"Likely get rid of it," said Thomas. "Kill it — "
Margaret's eyes darkened angrily. "That's not fair!"
"It won't fly well," protested Thomas. "It's not good enough for the Duke's mews — "
"What if I were a falcon in your mews?" Margaret cried. "Wouldya kill me 'cause I wasn't good enough?"
Thomas looked at her, leaning on her stick, a small thin girl with her left leg twisted and shortened. "That's different."
"No, it's not!" Margaret sighed. "I want that chick, Thomas. Get it for me."
Thomas frowned. "I could try…"
"Yes," said Margaret. "Just 'cause something's small and different doesn't mean it's no good."
Margret stared over the wall. Why didn't Thomas understand? That falcon had to live!
Turning, Margret saw a man in a cloak. "H-hello," Margret quavered.
"I've come to help you."
"Of course! You want your brother to understand."
Margret stared at the stranger. From inside his cloak, the man withdrew a curious object. It was a ball unlike anything Margret had seen. Twinkling lights swirled through it. Margret dragged her eyes away to look at the stranger.
"What is that?"
"Take it. And bring your brother here at midnight," the man instructed.
He was gone, leaving the sparkling ball.
"Please Thomas!" begged Margret.
"Alright," Thomas sighed, "But I don't see why."
Reaching the wall, Thomas was cross.
"Wait," Margret said, setting the ball down.
"What is it?"
The ball was spinning. A strong wind whipped Margret's hair. A humming noise reverberated around them.
Then everything stopped. Nothing looked familiar. They stood in the shadow of a building.
"What now?" Thomas's voice shook.
Looking around, they saw some people. As they approached no one meet Margret's eyes, except a boy about Thomas's age.
"Don't come here," he muttered.
"The Nazis," stated the boy. Their blank expressions showed it hadn't helped.
"I'm Mark and you don't want to be here," he said, indicating Margret.
"I still don't "
"You don't know nothing! Not about Hitler making his perfect world. About people who don't fit being sent to camps. They don't come out, once they're in. She's not good enough for Hitler."
A guard started toward them. Without another word, Thomas ran. Margret tried to keep up, but couldn't. Looking back, Thomas saw her, and sprinted back.
"Run! Don't worry," Margret gasped.
"No! I won't!"
Pulling Margret, Thomas desperately searched for somewhere to hide. Spotting a space underneath a log, Thomas dove in. With bated breath, they watched the guard scan the trees.
"What should we do?"
Thomas didn't answer.
The wind picked up. The humming noise began. Margret didn't dare hope. They were going home!
Thomas glanced at Margret.
"I've got to save that falcon."
"I know, but some people don't see it that way," said Thomas.
The next morning Margaret awoke to a marvelous sight. Thomas had succeeded in getting the runt. "Thomas, you got him! Thank you so much." Margaret said.
Thomas had a grin on his face. "You're welcome," he replied. He started to walk to the door, but turned. "Make sure you stay out of trouble and out of sight with him," he said.
Margaret gave a quick nod and he walked out.
"You're perfect in every way," she said, "I'll call you Edward."
The chick squawked.
As time passed Margaret began to notice that the chick was different from others. His wing had healed and he was growing at an alarming rate. It had only been two weeks and he was three times the size of a normal falcon. She and Thomas could both climb atop him and on one particular day they discovered he could talk.
"Come on Edward, I want see you fly today," Margaret said, "Thomas will be meeting us at the pond." Margaret and Edward made their way to the pond. Thomas ran up to them.
"Thomas, I would like you and Margaret to fly with me." Edward said to Thomas loudly.
"Oh my, Edward you can talk," she exclaimed, "how come you've never said anything."
Edward's eyes twinkled, "I wanted to surprise you.'"
"Oh my," said Thomas.
"Climb aboard so I can show you something," Edward said.
Thomas and Margaret quickly climbed aboard.
"I want to show you a place where people will accept you," Edward exclaimed.
His large body lifted them into the air. Edward flew higher and higher until Margaret and Thomas could see a hole in the sky. Edward flew faster and continued through the hole. He came out on the other side and carefully landed on the ground.
"Where are we?" said Margaret.
"We are in the future, a place that will accept you for you," replied Edward.
And indeed they did accept her and Thomas and Edward. Everyone was happy and they finally found a home where everyone was cared for.