Master Fire gave many injunctions to the Candles, which they had no choice but to obey, for He could burn them as much as He wanted. After each Candle, man or woman, had two children, they were sent off to die for humans, a horrible group of animals that took the Candles for granted and never showed them any gratitude. When Master Fire amped up His flames for a grown Candle, he or she could produce a child by dripping the hot wax melting off of them, into a mold. Then, new wax was applied to the adult. This special wax could not create life: it could only latch onto a living thing and become part of it. So, every time it was a Candle’s birthday, a specified amount of new wax was added on them. Children Candles were formed from molds. The child’s name was to start with a C, and their last name had to be Candle. The second time the birth process happened, the Candle was packed into a box and shipped off to humans, and now it was Clara’s turn to go. Every Candle had to have two children by the time their ages were up. The Candles were made to die. Master Fire said so. He took his job very seriously.
Corduroy Candle hated being part of the Candles. He didn’t think he should die for strange animals. He also hated his name. Corduroy. He once asked his mom, Clara Candle, to nickname him Roy. She said yes, but Master Fire caught her calling him that and told her nicknames had to start with a C too. Corduroy was glad that he wasn’t the second child, or he wouldn’t get to spend any time with his mom. He felt bad for his mom and future sibling. It was a near future sibling, though. Clara’s time was almost up.
Corduroy was bored. He had already pulled out enough weeds to make himself a flimsy tutu, but that wasn’t fun. Corduroy had made a mud-cake for Clara, but she didn’t appreciate it. Both the weeds and the mud were from Master Fire’s prized plant. Suddenly Clara tapped Corduroy. “Corduroy,” she said, “Why don’t you get some giant clothes on the racks and make yourself a small shirt? You could customize it.” So Corduroy did.
He had picked out a red silk scarf, and cut out part of it. Corduroy was coloring the rockstar’s hair with the rainbow pen when Master Fire picked him up. “What is the meaning of this?” Master Fire growled. He held up the pot plant, its roots ripped out and missing soil. “I saw your mud-cake and your tutu. This was you,” Master Fire said.
“It’s all good, Master Fire. You can just plant another one.” Corduroy said.
“You don’t understand! This, this is priceless!” Master Fire shoved the pot plant toward Corduroy. There were peeling letters on it, but Corduroy could just make out To r de r e c. Lo , id a a .
Corduroy shrugged and turned away. “I can kill you!” Master Fire bellowed.
“Okay,” Corduroy said. He knew that he really didn’t do too much wrong, so Master Fire couldn’t give him an unfair punishment. Master Fire, muttering under His breath, stormed away.
Corduroy’s favorite thing to do was watch the moon shine. Every night, he lay in bed and looked up at the glass ceiling. The argent moon was almost always there, as if it was waiting for Corduroy.
Corduroy sat in the other room, watching Master Fire and his mom at the same time through the clear glass walls. It looked sweltering in there, as Master Fire had His flames at the highest. Hot wax dripped off of Clara, falling into a small mold. It was oddly satisfying. As soon as Master Fire extinguished himself, Corduroy sprinted to his mom. “It’s a girl,” Clara whispered.
Master Fire’s voice echoed through the room. “Name her!” Clara lovingly looked at the cooling wax in the mold as servants carefully molded more wax on her.
“Candice. Call her Candy.”
Master Fire briskly stood up, and He said, “Fine. Now leave! You are to be packed off tomorrow, to New York City.” He turned and left the room. Clara ducked her head, and Corduroy thought she looked terribly miserable and forlorn.
“Mom, I’ll miss you,” Corduroy said quietly.
Clara looked up, her eyes brimming with tears. “Thank you, Corduroy. I will too.”
Baby Candice was crying, as if she knew, upon her first breath, that her mom was departing.
The next morning, Master Fire wrapped Clara in styrofoam.
“Corduroy, take care of Candy for me,” Clara called, just as styrofoam was wrapped around her mouth.
“Yes, Mom!” Corduroy cried. The cardboard box was taped shut, and Master Fire carried it away. Corduroy burned inside. It was unfair. Why did they have to sacrifice themselves, with nothing in return?
That night, Corduroy lay in bed thinking about life while he watched his sister sleep. The Candles had existed for a long time, just waiting for humans to discover them. Master Fire had probably existed longer. He was Fire, with a capital F. He had said that, wherever fire was, he was. Only a small part of Him was in this den with the Candles. The Candles had pale, milky colored skin and a single, erect hair on the top of their head that humans lit on fire. They didn’t walk. They glided, leaving sticky, chunky substances in their wake.
Corduroy decided the worst thing about being a Candle was the deaths. They had to die for humans if they were good, but Master Fire was not easily satisfied. If a Candle grew up, and if they had a problem like rubbing too much wax off when gliding, or they were a little lopsided, or their strand of hair wasn’t straight, then Master Fire immediately disposed of them. The Candles lived in their den, with the surprising name “Candles”, in the Kingdom of Items. The den was pretty big, with wide hallways and tall ceilings. It was lit by the outside world as the ceiling was glass. Candles could do nothing at night, for they couldn’t light themselves.
Tools hung out together and Masters hung out together. All the Tools lived on the planet of Tatooine. Tatooine was 300,000 kilometers away from Earth. But, somehow the Candles always arrived on Earth in a matter of seconds. But every time Corduroy looked out and over the edge of the planet, he could see green grass, fields, flowers… . The Masters said that that was part of a different realm on Tatooine and nobody was allowed to go there. It was patrolled during the day, and during the night the Masters locked the Tools into their dens. And the question Corduroy always asked himself: Why?
It was a year later, and Candy had just learned to glide. Master Fire frowned at Candy. “This…this is a strange case.” Corduroy had noticed it too. Candy was weirdly crumbly, and at any vigorous move she fell apart. Master Fire sighed. “I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried adding new, good, wax to her, but when it latches on to her, it becomes crumbly too. I’ve never seen this before. I… I… I will have to melt her.”
“No!” Corduroy cried. “Please!”
Master Fire looked at Corduroy with pity. “Corduroy. She won’t be any use to humans. I can’t raise a useless thing. She’ll be melted first thing in the morning.” He strode out of the room, and Corduroy broke down. He hugged his little sister, and she stared up at him, surprised.
Corduroy grimly stood up. “Candy. The Candles are running away.”
Corduroy spent the rest of the day telling every single Candle his plan. The Candles met in the hallway a little after midnight, when there was enough light but it was still dark. “Guys,” Corduroy whispered in front of the door of the den. “I’m going to go find the key for this door, since Master Fire hides it every night. Wait by here. Someone hold Candy and my backpack, please.” He passed his sister’s hand and his bag to a Candle.
Corduroy stole quietly to Master Fire’s sleeping quarters where the bully was sleeping peacefully. Master Fire’s bedroom was big, with wooden drawers and a closet of clothes. His bed was sitting in the far corner, and Corduroy made sure to stay away.
Corduroy started tugging open drawers and looking on shelves. He looked around at the huge room despairingly. I will never be able to find the key. Corduroy mentally kicked himself. Don’t give up so easily, dude! So Corduroy kept searching. Then he saw that on the tallest shelf, around half a foot above Master Fire, was a white folder. Corduroy was sure that the key was in there. He was taller than half a foot, so if he stood on Master Fire… carefully Corduroy glided on top of Master Fire’s chest. Reaching up, Corduroy grabbed the folder. A rusty black object slipped out and bounced on Master Fire’s stomach. Doiiing! Corduroy winced then tensed, waiting for Master Fire to wake up, but He didn’t. Slowly, Corduroy picked up the key and slipped out of the bedroom.
“I got it!” Corduroy whisper-yelled. Grinning, he jammed the key into the lock. The metal door swung open and Corduroy, taking his backpack and little sister’s hand, waved everybody out into the cool night air. The Candles hurried to the spaceships. The spaceships were huge, so all the Candles fit into one. “Who is experienced with piloting?” As soon as Corduroy asked, he knew it was a silly question. All the Candles had been cooped up on Tatooine their whole lives.
The Candles blinked at him, and Corduroy, realizing that his status as the first born of a first born of a first born of a first born of the first candle on Tatooine had placed him in this position of authority, said, “All right. I’ll pilot. You guys can sit on a random bench somewhere,” and he gave Candy to a woman Candle. Corduroy suddenly realized that everything was very tall, for the spaceships were normally driven by Masters. “Guys, can you help me?” Corduroy called. After a long time of Candles boosting each other onto the control panel and pulling each other up, they finally got Corduroy and four other Candles seated at the controls. Corduroy powered up the spaceship and held the wheel. Then Earth was in sight, but to their left. The four Candles helped Corduroy yank the wheel and the spaceship spun in the direction of Earth. “We’re coming in for a rough landing!” Corduroy yelled, and they did. The spaceship crashed on the ground and flipped a couple times. The Candles tumbled around but their wax was hard enough so it didn’t break.
“Uh, Corduroy,” a Candle called shyly. Corduroy turned to her, and she held out Candy.
Candy was crumbling, dry bits of wax falling off her. She cried out, upset and in pain, and the Candle, Cadence, winced. “I’m sorry, Corduroy. I tried to hold on to her but I slammed into the – .” She stopped talking when she realized Corduroy was frowning, but not freaking out.
He fished into his backpack and pulled out a block of extra wax. “I prepared,” he said simply. Cadence held Candy still as Corduroy applied layers of wax on her. Finally, Candy was as good as new. “Let’s get off this aircraft, we’re free, everyone!” Corduroy yelled. The Candles cheered and rushed off the spaceship. It was already daytime. They had landed in a grassy field, with flowers everywhere. The Candles frolicked and played in the sun, which was not too hot, but just the right temperature. Suddenly, Candy jerked to a stop and stared, open-mouthed, at her arm.
A pretty rainbow butterfly had settled onto it. Candy remained like a waxen statue until the butterfly flew away, and then she went to play. Corduroy chuckled. But by the time Corduroy called them to him, they were not made of wax anymore, but a mixture of wax-grass-dirt-and-flower petals. “Now,” Corduroy said. “I’m all out of ideas. Who knows what we should do next?”
A tiny, filthy Candle came up, wobbling.
“Wataw,” the figure said.
“Sorry?” Corduroy asked.
“Step up here, please, and say it close.”
“Just a little more clear.”
“Okay, um, what is your name?”
“I… I don’t know you, if that’s your name at all.”
The other Candles were watching this interaction with interest. Finally, Cadence stepped up and told Corduroy, “I think this little Candle here means to say water. Her name is Candy, I think.” Cadence tried to stifle a smile. Corduroy, open-mouthed, stared at his little sister, who had just said a whole word. He did not know how she had learned to say this. He attempted to evade the attention.
“Water is a great idea, Candy! We can take a bath now, after this muddy mess!” They moved on, Corduroy still blushing at his misunderstanding.
They walked until they could see and hear civilization. They tried to peek through the tall grass. It was a village. “Anyways, we’re going to town,” Corduroy said. The Candles started gliding, slowly. Timidly they passed the tall grass, onto the cobbled streets of the town. A little girl and boy skipped by; there was girl on a jump rope and a boy with an ice cream cone. There was something familiar about the children’s faces that Corduroy couldn’t quite place… . The boy glanced at the Candles and then did a double take, but the girl, oblivious, skipped on, singing her nursery rhyme. The boy, gaping, grabbed the girl’s arm and pointed at the Candles.
The girl shrieked and yelled, “Aaaaaaah! Walking candles!” Townsfolk ran over from every direction.
Somebody said, “Take ‘em fer investigation.” The Candles were picked up roughly, and while they wriggled and fought, were carried to a white-washed building.
A human hammered on the wooden door, and it was flung open almost immediately. A tall man with brown hair with gray streaks split down the middle of his head stood in the doorway, grinning broadly. His smile faltered when he saw the Candles. “Make yourself useful, and take them creatures to her,” a human said. The man couldn’t carry all of them, so he let them glide behind him. The house was huge, even for humans.
The man opened a door, stepping inside, and a woman with blond hair and green and blue eyes stepped up, in a white lab coat. “Hello,” she said brightly. “I might need your wax for examination.” She spoke as if the Candles had been in the house for a long time, and that she didn’t need to waste time on acknowledgements.
A Candle spoke. “Who are you?”
The woman looked surprised, then she smiled and said, “I’m Heidi Davis. That over there is my husband, Jack. I’m a scientist and he’s a writer.” Jack gave a small nod. “Moving on,” Heidi said. “I might need your wax. I’m assuming I don’t just chop it off you.”
“No, you don’t! You have to light a fire and melt it off us. But then, that would form a new Candle, however not-Candle-shaped, and you would have to melt that one,” Corduroy said.
“Right. So, what should I do?”
Corduroy grabbed Candy and said, “She’s crumbly. She’ll break easily.” Heidi whacked Candy on the table firmly. Candy snapped in half, the bottom half staying in Heidi’s hand, the other into the wall. Wax pieces of Candy fell, and Heidi picked them up smartly.
“Now how do you put her together?” she asked the Candles. Corduroy took out the wax and showed Heidi the procedure of putting wax on Candy. Candy wasn’t crying, as if she knew it wasn’t the right time. Heidi took the wax and said, “This will take pretty long just to get the wax out of this muck! You Candles are filthy, you guys should take a bath. By the way, what are your names?”
Corduroy stepped up first. “I’m Corduroy. That’s my little sister, Candice. Or Candy.” After that, Heidi filled the bathtub and they all plopped inside, and Corduroy finally got to relax in the bubbles.
Corduroy looked at the Davises mirror. He looked super clean, rid of the dirt. Suddenly Heidi came in. “It’s weird,” she said. “Your DNA is the same as the Candles that don’t talk. Okay dudes, spill.” The Candles told her the summary, and she seemed to think it was enough. “Well. Do you, the Candles, want to get going, or do you want to stay?” The Candles wanted to get going, but not before a good night’s sleep. Heidi agreed, and she showed them three rooms. “Which one of my kids’ beds do you want, Beverly, Kathleen, or Cedric’s? None of them are home. Beverly and Kathleen are on a sleepover, and Cedric – yeah, all of them aren’t home.” The Candles didn’t gasp when she showed them her three kids’ rooms, for she had told them that the human culture was different than theirs. The men Candles went to Cedric’s, the women to Beverly’s. As soon as Corduroy’s head hit the bed, he fell into a deep sleep.
When he woke up, it was very late at night, and most of the men Candles were still sleeping. He glided out through the open door and down the hall and found Heidi’s lab. She was still working, a microscope pressed to her eye as she examined Candy’s wax. “Hi, Corduroy,” she said without looking up. “I’ve stayed up late trying to figure you Candles out, and I’m confused as to why you even have DNA.”
The clock chimed 12 o’clock. “It’s way too late!” Corduroy cried. “I’d better get back to bed!”
It was morning. Heidi and Jack were standing there at the front door, ready to wave the Candles off. It seemed that Jack was struggling with his emotions.
“Well,” Jack said. “Bye. Be good on the road.” Heidi nodded her agreement. Suddenly, Jack abruptly said, “You can stay with us. I don’t think Cedric is ever going to come back to his family, and there’s an extra bed in the attic.”
Corduroy was surprised at this act of kindness from Jack, but he said, “I think we’ll be okay.” Jack grunted and shrugged. The Candles stepped on the road, but Corduroy and Candy hung back. “Thank you so much, Heidi and Jack,” he said. “Really.”
Heidi smiled. “You’re welcome. And good luck.” With that Corduroy and Candy turned away from the house.
“Corduroy!” someone called. He turned around and saw that a Candle was dripping. He looked down at himself, and realized that he too was softening.
“It’s the sun,” he said furiously, glaring at the cruel creature. “We’ve been gliding for a very long time now. Quick. We have to find some shade, before we melt.” The shadiest place they could find was under a big fruit tree. They huddled under it, some Candles blowing on themselves to cool down. Corduroy knew in this weather, the Candles could have a lot of kids, but could also die because they’d melt out. Eventually, most of the Candles fell asleep in the grass. Corduroy looked back the way they’d come towards Heidi and Jack’s, and decided that they were in a whole different town. The houses were smaller and shabbier, with peeling paint and broken windows on some. It was like a ghost town. Corduroy shivered, blocking out the thought. This grass really is very soft, Corduroy reflected. So I’m just gonna lie down for a s – ZZZZZZZZZ.
Corduroy woke to the sound of screaming. A Candle was yelling his lungs out. “I’ve melted onto the grass! Help!” Many Candles looked down at themselves and saw that they too were shorter, having melted onto the grass.
Soon the air was a chorus of “Aaaaaaah!”s, high and low. Corduroy had to help them! He tried to jump up, then realized he had no bottom half of his body, for it was stuck on the grass. Forming around his head was a puddle of melted wax: his own! Corduroy cried out in fear. The Candles struggled, but it was no use.
In a minute all that was left of the Candles were stubs. “Goodbye, Candy. Goodbye, Cadence. Goodbye, Chase,” Corduroy called out, his voice gurgling, trying to call every single Candle’s name.
Suddenly, a familiar voice boomed, “Don’t talk like that.” Corduroy was picked up and put into a dark cloth bag.
The bag was dumped, upside down, onto a hard wooden bench, and the Candles came tumbling out. Master Fire, using a match, applied wax to them until they were all regular size. “Now,” He said. “I would like to speak to Corduroy, and Corduroy only, for he seems to be the leader of this group of rebels. The rest of you, go into that room and shut that door. It’s fine if you listen in on us.” As the Candles walked past, they shot Corduroy encouraging looks.
As soon as the door was closed, Corduroy turned to Master Fire. “You’re a human. I don’t know how I haven’t noticed it before – maybe it was because in Tatooine there were fewer of you?” Master Fire was quite young, and had brown hair and green-blue eyes. He also had two legs, and wore clothes. He still looked familiar, even though Corduroy knew he was a human.
Master Fire sighed, like he always did. “Corduroy,” He said, “I have to explain some things to you. All the Masters are humans. Tatooine isn’t 300,000 kilometers away from Earth, it’s that huge attic upstairs, which is 200 feet tall. Tato – “
“I knew it!” Corduroy cried. “I was so confused when we landed on Earth but it looked the same as Tatooine!”
Master Fire looked at him sideways, then continued. “Well, Tatooine is just a name I took from Star Wars. And that spaceship is a big box made out of cardboard, and painted silver. It doesn’t fly. It falls. Spaceships were just my idea that I made up. They don’t exist. Now, do you know why I’ve lived such a long time? One week for me is one year for you. If you are born at the same time as a baby, when the baby is one years old, you will be in your early 50s.”
Corduroy tried to take this all in. He stared at Master Fire, who he used to consider all-powerful and mysterious; now he was a regular human boy. Then a question popped out. “How’d you set yourself on fire if you’re a human?”
Master Fire chuckled. “I have fireproof clothes. Have you ever wondered why I wear long sleeves, pants, a mask, and boots so much? Those are fireproof. I set myself on fire with one of my matches. I’ve become so good at it, and so fast, you can’t even notice me do it.”
Corduroy felt very unobservant. “I should’ve noticed that,” he said sadly.
“No you shouldn’t have,” Master Fire snapped firmly. “No Candle has ever noticed it, only my first Candle, Cathy, and that was because I was inexperienced with doing it fast when melting her.”
“And… how did you find us?”
“I came out of the attic, not by jumping off like you did, but down the stairs and out the front door. I saw your box in the field, so I went to the town next to it. I disguised myself, because the Masters and I are wanted. I asked townsfolk where you went, and they said the Davises house. Then they said you went that way. I chased after you, and caught up with you.”
Outside, a voice yelled, “Come out of this workplace, the person who calls himself Master Fire! By the way, your disguising skills suck!” Someone pounded on the locked door.
Master Fire ground his teeth. He whispered to Corduroy, “Lie down and be still.” Then he called, “Oh, but not before a conversation!” But Corduroy could see the fear in his eyes. There was silence on the other side. Suddenly, there was an ear-splitting crash and the door splintered. Police officers stood in the doorway, and in front of all of them was a stocky sergeant woman with a thin line for a mouth.
She glared. “I suppose I shall call you Master Fire, because that is apparently your new name.” She clipped handcuffs onto Master Fire, and they walked out the door.
The other Candles flooded out of the room. “We heard everything,” they said breathlessly. Corduroy looked out the window. The squad of cops had formed a tight circle around Master Fire, glancing behind him. He saw Corduroy and mouthed Bail me out. Then he was shoved into a police car.
“Anyone know what bail means?” Corduroy asked the Candles. Nobody knew. Corduroy sighed. “I want to go back to Heidi and Jack’s to ask. This time, we’ll stop and take shelter halfway to cool down.”
The door opened, and this time it was Heidi and a girl, her eyes wide with surprise, standing there. “Why, hello, Candles, this is Kathleen, and she just came back from her sleepover,” she said, “Your Master Fire stopped by a couple hours ago.” She did not sound happy.
“What does bail mean?” Corduroy asked as the other Candles and Kathleen rushed into the house. Heidi narrowed her eyes.
“To bail Master Fire from jail.”
Heidi gasped and cried, “He’s in JAIL?! Oh, that’s no surprise. He deserved it.”
Corduroy looked at her out of the corners of his eyes. “What have you got against Master Fire?” Corduroy asked her.
“Nothing. Nothing at all,” she answered defiantly. “Bail means payment to get a prisoner out of jail, before trial.”
“Well, how do we bail him out of jail?” Corduroy asked.
Heidi sighed. She mumbled to herself, “Even if he did that, still…” She glanced up. “I have no idea. It depends how much the bail is set for. And it is probably going to be very expensive.”
“You are full of questions, young Candle. Well, Master Fire didn’t just smuggle. He stole vehicles with the group of his, and robbed a home. Like I said, he deserves to be in jail. Let Master Fire sit for a while and rethink his choices.”
Corduroy managed to stammer out, “No, because He – I mean, “he” told me to bail Him, er … “him” out! I would betray him if I didn’t!”
Heidi frowned. “Okay, then, we’ll see what the bail fine is. It’s going to be news, all over town.”
The news spread fast. Master Fire’s bail fine was $20,000. That was a shocker. When Heidi received that news, she looked at Corduroy sadly. “You’re not going to spend that money, are you?” Corduroy asked, and Heidi shook her head.
“Let me tell you something, Corduroy,” she said. “My family is not very rich. We only have this huge house because Jack inherited it from his rich father. But Jack doesn’t make too much money from being a writer, and we have three – no, now, two kids to support because we can’t find Cedric, and as I am a lone scientist, I work by myself, so I don’t work on those experiments those scientists in the city work on. I do my own little experiments, and I only get paid for the successful experiments I send to the scientists. I can’t afford it.”
Corduroy looked up at her. “I have an idea. See, when Master Fire was explaining things to me he lit himself on fire with a match. I was thinking, if I invented something that lights somebody on fire without them having to do anything except flip a switch…”. Corduroy turned around and hurried up the stairs.
Triumphant fire lit his eyes, and Corduroy picked up his new invention, named the fire lighter. It was around the same height as he was, and there was a switch to flip that turned on fire. He called Heidi to help him carry it, for it was very easy for her, fitting as it did in the palm of her sweaty hand.
She kept looking at him in disbelief, saying, “I can’t believe it. I just can’t.” But eventually she stopped, and smiled at Corduroy and said, “Congratulations, Corduroy.”
“Listen, Heidi, can I patent this?”
“Yes, but it needs to be registered with the US Patent office!”
He watched Heidi carefully put the fire lighter in a box and take it to the post office. Then Corduroy had to experience the most excruciatingly slow time of his life.
A few mornings later, Beverly and Kathleen sprinted into the house, holding an envelope together. “They sent a fancy envelope!” they cried. “The last time they sent it, Mom had sent them a good experiment!” Corduroy was practically jumping out of his wax. Instead of handing the envelope to their mom, the girls bent down and gave it to Corduroy. “You invented it, you open it,” they said solemnly. Corduroy could barely contain his excitement. He carefully peeled off the gold sticker and took out the letter. Enfolded inside the letter was… money!
Heidi gasped. “That’s a lot,” she said. Corduroy couldn’t count, but the stack was quite thick. Then it was all a blur. Heidi counted out twenty thousand dollars, and she and Jack went to bail Master Fire out. Corduroy begged to come along, though the other Candles didn’t want to. Candy followed Corduroy out of the house, so he gave her a quizzical look.
Candy smiled broadly. “Me come to bail Mastaw out of bad place.”
Corduroy was in shock. “Candy, where did you learn to talk like that?” he asked.
“Me listen to talking,” Candy said. Corduroy was silent for the whole trip.
When they arrived at the court, Heidi handed over the box of money. After the judge counted the money, she raised her eyebrows at the Davises. She was silent for a count of ten seconds. Then she remarked, “Don’t waste time. What are you doing, staring at me? You better get home and wait for him to be sent back.”
On the way back, Candy and Corduroy climbed a tree. Jack didn’t want them to because they couldn’t hold on well, but Corduroy reasoned that if they broke they could be put back together. So Jack and Heidi put them in a tree. Candy laughed in glee. Like a shot, she fell off the tree branch. Corduroy gasped and looked down. Candy looked perfectly fine. Now Corduroy fell off the branch, and he was fine too.
“How come you didn’t shatter?” he asked Candy.
She beamed again and answered, “When us melt on grass, me feel good!” Thoughts clamored through Corduroy’s head. Melting must have moisturized Candy’s wax somehow. So there would be no more random breaking. On their way back to the cozy house, Corduroy and Candy chest bumped.
Everyone just sat there, staring out the window, waiting for Master Fire to come back. Heidi was fidgeting a lot. Finally she turned to Corduroy. “I must admit something to you once again,” she said, “Master Fire? He is my son. Cedric.”
Corduroy groaned. “Why are you keeping things from me until the last moment?” Heidi didn’t answer.
It was pretty soon when a police car pulled up to the driveway and Master Fire/Cedric stepped out. Corduroy could see the resemblance between him and his parents. Cedric had brown hair, like his dad, and the same eyes as his mom. Kathleen rushed out the door, screaming, “Cedric, you came back!” Beverly was close behind her. They tackled him and he laughed.
Then Jack and Heidi walked up to him. He lowered his head. “I’m sorry,” Cedric whispered. But Heidi and Jack just hugged him. At long last, it was Corduroy’s turn.
Cedric picked Corduroy up and looked him in the eye. “I know what you did,” Cedric said. “And I thank you for bailing me out.”
The Davises went to eat dinner, and the Candles went up to the beds. The Candles closed the door behind them and looked straight at Corduroy. He was very self-conscious. The Candles said, “We want to stay in this house.”
“Of course we will!”
“But the Davises don’t know that. Can you tell them that we are?”
Corduroy slid down the stairs and into the dining room. He coughed a little, and the Davises looked at him expectantly. “The Candles want to stay.”
Heidi smiled. “Sure! Cedric is staying too! We’ll buy an extra bed, because we have the money!”
Without warning, Cedric looked up. “I’m sorry that I yelled at you for destroying my plant,” he said. “It was really precious though.”
“What did the pot say?” Corduroy asked.
“It said: To our dear Cedric. Love, Heidi and Jack. I guess I don’t need the plant anymore.” Cedric smiled brilliantly at his family.
That night in the attic, when Corduroy was lying in the new bed Jack had gone and bought, Cadence whispered to him from the other bed , “Corduroy, are you awake?”
“Remember in the den how you didn’t like your name and wanted to change it? Well, now’s your chance to do that.”
Corduroy Candle thought of all the things he and his name had been through. “No, I think I like it,” he said softly, and watched the moon shine on the bedroom floor.