Day 48

“Zane!” Yelped Ginger.

“Now leave or else I’ll roast your face!” Alastair boomed. The boy cautiously unhooked his arms and staggered away from the beast.

“You be sorry. So sorry soon. Gross, horrible whelp. Peons!”

The Batal turned tail and wobbled at full speed into the thick churning of blue, soupy fog. Alastair waited, ready, until he could no longer hear the crunching of branches under the Batal’s feet. The boy turned.

“How’s Zane?”

“He’s not breathing!” Gabbie blubbered. All of the girls had gathered around Zane’s unmoving body.

“No,” Alastsir whimpered. Zane couldn’t be…Not ever inquisitive Zane. Not the boy who studied karate just so he could talk about the martial art form with Alastair.

“Back up, kids,” Digitalis barked. “He’s not gone yet.” The Lived Being rolled up her sleeves and cracked her neck. “I used to help with the farm animals back in Pottstowne. I know how to save something nearly drowned, but you have to clear the way.”

Gabbie, Ginger, and Lila moved, leaving Digitalis to her work. The Lived Being stuck her thumb into Zane’s mouth, clearing the passageway for air from muck and globules of spit. She then rolled his too limp head to the side and began pressing on his chest in short, hard bursts. Alastair noticed a rhythm to Digitalis’s work. She’d breathe into Zane’s mouth, compressed his chest, and breathed again. Alastair’s battle clogged head took too long to understand what Digitalis was doing. She was performing CPR.

“Please, please Zane. Wake up!” Gabbie moaned. She held Ginger’s hand so tight that her knuckles were the color of ghosts.

“I promise that if you don’t die, I’ll take you to the library as many times as you want! Even on the weekends!” Said Ginger.

“I won’t make fun of your glasses anymore!” Lila added.

Alastair kept his mouth closed. He was too focused on Digitalis and how there were little drops of sweat rolling down the sides of her face. This had to work. It—

Zane coughed. Spit and dribble poured from his mouth, and his body automatically turned so that he was on his hands and feet. He threw up what little of the lunch Won and Lerol packed. He shakily stared at what used to be in his stomach, and then there up again.

“Technically,” Zane rasped, “You can’t really make fun of my glasses anyway.”

“Why not?” Lila asked.

“Because that thing ate them!”

The Batal attack had drained the party before it could properly begin their quest to Queen Inana. The rest of the night was devoted to healing and letting the injured members of the party rest. The girls doted on Zane. They cleaned off his face and tried to locate his glasses. Unfortunately, Zane was right. The Batal had indeed eaten the boy’s glasses.

Digitalis with the help of Alastair hauled Tipper, Perceval, and Glue Pot to a thicket of trees. They propped their unconscious companions up and observed their wounds. Tipper had a nasty knot on his forehead. Perceval’s wounds were harder to find under his fur. Glue Pot’s throat had the beginnings of painful bruisings like a necklace of blue and purple. Digitalis and Alastair together bandaged and applied tonics until all they could do was wait until the three woke up.

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