It was all a bit wearing, you know. And I’m not ashamed to say it—I was wearied by the events of the afternoon. Well, late morning. My God! Was it still morning?!
By this time, the plan was…
“What was the plan?” I asked Macie.
“What had been our plan at this point,” I asked again. “Having discovered the power of eggs. We had a plan after that, no?”
“To find the Ambassador,” she said. “Which is exactly what we are doing.”
“Oh, was that it?” I perked up. “A rather successful run of it, then.”
Macie looked back at me. Blankly.
“Never one to celebrate, I know,” I told her. “But to find such success in sticking to the plan! And it’s still morning, mind you!”
I found a comfortable log and took a load off. I slipped off my loafers—squeaked off, I should say. They were still wet and not friendly in their atmosphere. I tossed them a few paces away. After all, what is a celebration without the right atmosphere?
“What’re you doing?” Macie asked when she saw this display.
I took a deep breath of air. Sweet with the scent of dessert—just as you’d expect in the Forest of Willowing Dessert. The sun was shining, the temperature was right—a light sway to the trees, that whispery, whispy sound in the leaves; it was just beautiful. And the only thing missing was the lull of a brook or stream or something. And maybe seating that was a little more comfortable than a log, or perhaps a log with more padding to it (you have to keep the natural spirit of the place, after all). And some tasty dessert to go with the aroma of the place. Something light—fruity with whipped cream. The whippiest of whipped cream. With a hint of lemon.
“We don’t have any lemon,” Chevron said flatly.
“Uh—what?” I asked.
“You were saying whipped cream and lemon. We don’t have any lemon in Lincylum,” he confirmed.
“Was I?” Hmm. I didn’t remember saying all of that out loud.
“Oh, believe me—” Macie huffed. “You were loud about it.”
“Practically screaming!” Macie screamed—yes, screamed herself!
“Well…” I trailed off.
“Well, what?” Macie asked.
Now, I had great respect for the gal, but you don’t claim deafness when you’ve just deafened the room—or, woods, as it happens. You own up to it—you deafen with defiance or don’t deafen at all, I say. So I had to say something: “I have to say something about this, Macie—tut tut.” I tutted. “You know very well ‘well, what.’ There’s no need to practice the scream on your part when claiming a practical scream on mine.”
“What’re you talking about?” She put her chick down now so she could focus all attention on her log-seated companion. “I didn’t scream. You’re the one who’s been screaming about lemons and logs with better padding. I heard it with my own ears.”
“Well, that’s impossible because I didn’t speak it with my own lips.”
“No,” Chevron cut in. “It’s not the lips that do most of the screaming, it’s the—” He made a spirited motion under his chin.
“The throat?” I offered.
Macie sighed. “The vocal chords—”
“Precisely,” Chevron said.
I saw how this was going—and where in its going it was going to get us. The two of them, performing a pas de deux of sorts—dancing in contracting circles, spinning a circle of fancies in a tight little knot around me. Me at the center of their knotty notions. For no other reason than to pass the time, I tell you. Because to sit on a log and linger wasn’t enough for them; the sweet scent of the willows wasn’t willowy enough. Well… “If you insist on—“
“Shhh….” Macie said.
“I was just—”
“Shut up.” She turned to Chevron. “Did you see what I saw?”
“I didn’t see anything,” Chevron said. But he said it with a sense of portent. It made my skin crawl—really, it did.
“What’s all this about?” I demanded. “What did or didn’t you see?”
“We saw your skin crawl, really we did.” Macie said. “Or, we didn’t see it—we heard it.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Knotty notions,” Chevron said.
Macie looked me square in the eye and without moving her lips, said: We can read your thoughts.
I shook my head and thought: You mean hear—you can hear my thoughts. And I can hear yours.