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  • E. J. Nowicki

The Five Fliers: Part 4

Updated: Oct 16, 2022

Part 4 is here! You've been on quite the journey with Tracy and Aiden, and more is to come. If you need to catch up, there's PART 1, PART 2, and PART 3 already posted. The answer key to our last puzzle is at the bottom of the page. Enjoy this next part with one last puzzle to solve!


Part 4: Friend or Foe

The parchment, with all his notes in an old notebook, was safely tucked into Aiden’s backpack. He’d meet Tracy after school at Mrs. Jenkins with the solved puzzle and go over the new puzzle that appeared just ten minutes ago.

But his mind couldn’t think of the new one, because of the answer he’d gotten for the 3rd one.

A new start.

That’s what the Five Fliers could do if he decided to keep them.

A new start.

At first, he didn’t think it was such a big deal, but then…

“Grams?” he whispered downstairs. He knew she was awake because her favorite coffee mug wasn’t on the counter.

No answer. Aiden gripped his backpack straps closer. He needed to get to the bus stop.

“Yes, Aiden?”

Aiden took a breath. He wished he could say something to make the last few weeks erase. Since the Five Fliers’ terror around the house, Grams had been quieter towards him.

He’d thought with the Five Fliers staying at Tracy’s everything would go back to normal. It hadn’t.

Grams and his parents thought he’d made the messes. Had ripped up Grams’ scrapbooks, photos, and pressed flowers. All because he was mad that Grams was living with them.

It hurt that Grams thought he didn’t want her there.

“I like that you’re living with us.”

No answer.

“Okay, well...have a good day.” Aiden started shuffling away.

“I know it’s different with me here,” Grams’ voice said and she came into view at the bottom of the stairs, in her yellow robe with frills on the bottom.

“That’s okay. Being here is different for you too,” Aiden said.

Grams searched his face as he clamped down on the urge to scratch his arm.

“Those flowers were from Gramps, when we first met. So many memories. Why—”

“What if,” Aiden said, “it wasn’t me. What if there was something else that made the mess. Something that only I saw...” It sounded lame. “And it didn’t have anything to do with you...they just wanted paper...”

“Like an imaginary friend?” Grams said with a confused look.

Aiden made a frustrated sound. Of course, she wouldn't believe him! She never saw them!

“Never mind,” he said and shuffled away.

Grams might have said something but he didn’t hear what. He needed to catch the bus.

What he really needed, though, was to go back in time.


A new start with Grams.

“That’s right, Emerald,” Tracy said with a smile at the dark green Five Fliers. “We’ll get you home soon...I hope.”

Emerald pawed at the ground. The other four zoomed through the air, looking over the not-yet awake gardens. Mrs. Jenkin’s always had the best spring flowers.

Except, they wouldn’t bloom if they didn’t get the Five Fliers home! And it was already the fourth week in April!

“Where do you think Aiden is?” she asked Emerald.

“Here!” the panting voice came. “I’ve got...” Aiden stopped and blinked at Emerald. He ran a hand through his hair. “You didn’t have any trouble with them? No messes?”

“Things went great! Knowing their names help. And after I noticed they give off this flowery smell I tried some scented candles to keep them calm. They liked lavender the best.” Tracy grinned as she remembered the fun she had.

Actually, having the Five Fliers for company had been the best part of the week.

Aiden looked liked he’d sucked on another lemon. With a jerky motion, he pulled off his backpack and took out the parchment.

“Is it a new puzzle? What does it say?” Tracy asked eagerly taking it.

“This is it! The explanation on how to get them home.” Tracy frowned. “What do they mean by the numbers from before?”

“From the third puzzle.” Aiden reached for a faded black notebook and hesitated. Then he opened to the page and Tracy skimmed over it.

“The numbers are here.” She pointed at the bottom. “Each letter has a corresponding number for the fourth puzzle.” She paused and read the answer to the last puzzle. “A new start...what do you think of that?”

Aiden shrugged.

“Well...that would...” Tracy stopped. A new start. It sounded nice.

No one would remember all the embarrassing, horrible things that had happened!

Like when she couldn’t find her classroom on the first day back. And when she got the wrong answer on the board.

When her best friend didn’t save her a seat at lunch. And when she dropped all her books in the hallway.

A new start...

Oh! How could she even think of it! That wouldn’t change anything! She’d always be making new mistakes.

Good luck will come raining down. That didn’t take away the past, just helped the future.

“We can’t keep them—look, they’re the size of my finger now. They have to get home,” she said and then stressed, “We can’t.”

“You don’t get it! Grams thinks I don’t want her living with me! They caused this and they should fix it!” Aiden pointed to the air and the Fliers

“I’m sure it’ll fix itself—”

“But it hasn’t! This is the only way!”

“I won’t let you keep them!” Tracy mustered up all her courage. “Emerald! Orange Juice! Sweet Grass! Rose! Purple Majesty! Stay with me!”

Aiden’s eyes were furious. “And of course they’d listen to you.”

“They like their names! I keep telling you!”

“If you’re keeping them this week, give me the parchment.” Aiden reached out.

Tracy took a step back. “You don’t want to help them home. You won’t even solve it!”

I found them first!”

“They have to help Spring come!” Tracy buckled down, shaking in her boots—literally. Rose landed on her shoulder and it steadied her.

“Never mind!” Aiden stormed off, hands in the air.

The rest of the Five Fliers landed on her arms. She gave them a gentle smile. Aiden thought he needed a new start but what he really needed was to just restart. Not change the past but help the future.

She looked at the tiny white heads. “I’ll need your help.”

To be continued...

(Stay Tuned for the Conclusion Next Thursday: 4/29/2021!)


Play along! Solve the puzzle!

Click below for a printable PDF:

(Answer Key Posted in Part 5)



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