Raymundo propped Chris on his lap, the rocking chair creaking underneath them. Surrounded by pastel blue walls, a plush carpet keeping Raymundo’s toes warm as he gently rocked. Chris pat the book as Raymundo opened it.
“Once upon a time…” Raymundo started, reading around Chris’ wandering fingers. “There was a prince who lived in a great stone castle.”
“Horsey!” Chris hit the picture of the horse on the page. “Horsey!”
“Yeah.” Raymundo chuckled. “The prince had a horse too.”
“Horsey go bye-bye!” Chris reached for the book, fingers curling around the board pages.
“Yes, yes. But not yet.” Raymundo pushed Chris’ fingers off the book, though they returned quickly. “The Prince and his horse, Buttercup, lived quite happily.” Now Raymundo let Chris turn the page. “Until-”
“Witch!” Chris hissed. “Bad witch!” He hit the book, both hands making contact with the warty green face of the witch, knocking the book out of Raymundo’s hands.
“Hey.” He wrapped an arm around Chris’ middle as he leaned forward. “I can’t read the story if you are going to act like that.” The toddler giggled as he and Raymundo moved almost parallel to the floor as Raymundo stretched for the book. “I’m serious Chris.”
“Bad witch.” Chris grumbled as Raymundo flipped back to that page.
“Yeah. If you act like the bad witch, no more story time for you.”
Chris gasped. “Story!”
“Uh-huh.” Raymundo nodded. “Now.” He cleared his throat. “Until the bad witch from the dark forest came up to the castle.”
“Bad witch!” Chris pointed to the wart on the side of the witch’s cheek.
“Say Prince,” Raymundo used a nasally voice for the witch, “Trade your horse for one of my magic potions?”
“No!” Chris yelled.
“That’s exactly what the prince said.” Raymundo rocked slowly back and forth. “But my potion can give you the strength to lift mountains.” The witch tried to convince the prince. “But why would I want to do that? The prince wasn’t impressed. The witch continued, how about one that-”
“No no no!” Chis pat Raymundo’s lap this time. “No witch!”
“You got it bud.” Raymundo chuckled. “The prince says no to the potion of strength, the potion of-”
“Achoo!” Chris’ sneeze was sudden, violent, loud, and gross. Green mucus leaked from Chris’ nose, some clinging to his chin. “Booger!” Chris yelled. “Off!” Pudgy hands reached up and wiped at his face.
“Hey hey!” Raymundo set the book on the little table next to the rocking chair. “Let’s get you a tissue-” Chris sneezed again, more mucus getting on his face, on his hands, and some now on Raymundo’s jeans. “To the bathroom!” Raymundo grabbed Chris around the waist and carried him like an airplane out the bedroom and to the bathroom.
Word count: 457