Day 39

“You’re awfully forthcoming to a party of people you’ve just met,” Tipper commented.

“There’s no reason to lie. You saved us from the Batal, and now you’re willing to let us walk with you,” said Glue Pot. “You’re the ones doing us a favor. The least we can do is tell you our intentions.”

“Fair enough.” Perceval flicked his tail. “We’d love to hear your story.”

“Thank goodness. A good story to walk with. Gabbie was boring me to tears about school,” Zane whispered to Lila. Gabbie heard her brother and fluffed up his black hair. “Hey!”

“I’m plenty entertaining, Zany Baby.”

“Gabbie,” Zane moaned. His face had flushed pink from the endearment.

“Time to shove off. To all siblings, leave your other siblings alone. We have to get out of Blood Clot Forest,” Tipper urged. He set a brisk pace, trudging through dirt, mud, and debris.

Alastair watched their new party members carefully. They seemed nice enough. The pretty girl, Digitalis, stomped along with her companion. He eyed her clothing and saw a wooden spoon fastened to her belt. He wondered why a spoon would be her weapon of choice. He also wondered something that he would never, ever say out loud. Would Glue Pot let Alastair ride atop his back? Alastair rubbed his face, shaking his head. Soielle was getting to him.

“What’s your story, then? I want to hear if it’s any better than my talk about schools,” Gabbie challenged.

“Oh, you’re going to get an earful, now,” Glue Pot softly chuckled.

“Why’s that?”

“She prides herself as being a glorious story teller,” said Glue Pot. He had cupped his mouth in a vain attempt to hide his whisper from Digitalis.

“I AM a great storyteller. And if it’s a story you want, it’s a story you’ll get. Put on your listening ears, kids. The unfolding of events that led us here.” Digitalis flipped her shiny hair over her shoulder.

“I only intended to leave my town for exactly one hour. Every soft step was calculated. Fifteen minutes to stroll down the dusty worn path leading to Hush River, a half hour to draw water into my wooden bucket, watching the sky transition from dusty murgundy to a bright bluster, and the rest to saunter back. That had been the plan. Simple enough. But as I cantered back to Pottestowne, I was astonished to find every resident, down to the very last collared pet, had vanished. Now, I’ve had seen many strange occurrences in my long life and yet Pottestowne gutted from the usual hustle of too many beings belted into one valley, trumped anything that came before.”

Digitali paused for effect. She got what she wanted. Her audience was captivated.

“It is imperative here to understand that I am a Lived Being. Whoever decided to create my species was surely confused on what we were to come out as. Lived Beings possess the height and appearance of mankind from Earth. Powerless and dull, our only appealing feature are the slight, pointed tip of our ears. Almost like an elf’s, but not really.”

“They have elves here?” Gabbie whispered excitedly just as Ginger mused:

“Her town disappeared?”

Digitalis was in a storytelling fervor, and so therefore ignored the girls’ chirps of curiosity.

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