July 27, 2018 | Posted in The Mermaid & The WolF Adventures

“WooFZee! WooFZee, please! Get up!” Desperately, MeaZea shakes the wolf. Her fingers curl tight in his fur.

WooFZee is limp and very, very still. He’s breathing, but the rise and fall of his sides are incredibly faint.

“Please, WooFZee! What- what’s wrong?” MeaZea shakes him harder. Around her, a vale of rapeseed flowers stretches out.

The wind changes. A gentle, sad sounding voice says, “that’s not going to work.”

MeaZea jerks, doing her best to spin around. “Who’s there?”

The golden flowers part, revealing a white rabbit. Her nose twitches. “Me. And you. And him, I suppose.”

MeaZea keeps a hand on WooFZee’s side. Her other hand reaches for the leather wrapped handle of her katana. “What’s wrong with him?”

“I don’t know,” says the rabbit. “I’m not him.” She shuffles closer. The white fur is streaked with golden pollen. “But I am here, so I suppose that it’s got to do with the meteor we’re on.”

MeaZea looks around, taking in the area around them. Golden rapeseed flowers stretch out for miles in every direction. Massive fungus the size of trees form a forest, but it’s so far away that the stalks and caps are little more than a haze. Above them, the sky is streaked through like it’s made entirely from the aurora borealis.

“This doesn’t look like a meteor,” says MeaZea. She twists around a little more, tail dragging through the soft grass. “I’m pretty sure things like this can’t grow on a meteor.”

“It is a meteor,” says the rabbit. “And anything can grow anywhere if enough time and love is put into it. The Caretaker has nothing but time and love for his garden.”

“Oh! Is he the one who knows the Lady of the Sun?”

“Yes,” says the rabbit, her ears twitching. “The Caretaker knows everyone, including the Lady of the Sun. Is that why you’re here?”

MeaZea nods. “It is. We need to go see her. She has something. The watch that controls the night cycle, it’s broken. The world outside of this one is trapped in a state of eternal darkness, and it will remain that way unless we fix the watch. But we can’t fix it without her help.”

“She doesn’t give help often,” warns the rabbit. “And neither does the Caretaker. Lonely folk, you know, are often the most bitter.”

MeaZea understands that. She was lonely for a very long time before WooFZee came along. The sea had been filled with other creatures, and her kingdom filled with other mermaids, but nothing about it had felt like home. None of them had felt like friends.

Slowly, hesitantly, MeaZea pulls her hand away from WooFZee’s side. “You’re sure he’s okay?”

“I’m positive,” says the rabbit.

“Then…” MeaZea takes in a deep breath. Her voice is surprisingly steady when she asks, “can you take me to this Caretaker?”

“Yes,” says the rabbit, sounding neither happy nor sad about the request. “I can.”

 

Katelynn E Koontz – Author