August 28, 2017 | Posted in The Mermaid & The WolF Adventures

“Oh, you silly, silly things! You smart, smart things! That’s exactly what I am! Oh, I can’t remember the last time that I met someone quite so smart!” The wind whips and dances around MeaZea. Finally, the shape at the center of the gust storm begins to shimmer, just a little. Greys and browns start to bleed into the reality. “I guess that means you get all of your prizes. First, a name! I am Chantarelle Havana Estera Elongule Carabia Honduras. But, as that’s quite a mouthful, I don’t mind if you simply call me Cheech.”

The last of the night sky falls away. Cheech is a pretty enough thing, considering her species of origin. The fruit bat has spent a very long time out here alone. Her wings are made of a fine leather, her fur short but well groomed. She blinks large, black eyes at the group.

“Your second prize stands before you, for you can see me just as clear as I can see you.” Cheech once more lands on the asteroid, which has been her perch for the duration of the game. She tilts her head to the side. “And your third prize is a promise that I didn’t need to make – I will not hurt you. I don’t like hurting things, you see, and certainly not when they’re smart as you are.”

“I see that now,” says MeaZea. “But you must understand that is often not the case. Cheech – can I call you friend? I will, just for now. My friend, we need your assistance. The stairs don’t seem to continue up into the asteroid belt, and we must get up there.”

Cheech makes a tittering, chirping sound. “You know that this belt is a dangerous place? All manner of foul creatures live here, and the houses are sparse, the villages small. But the caves are easy to get lost int!”

MeaZea stands firm in her request. “That doesn’t matter. Not now, at least. We need to get a set of springs, carved from the stone and metal found in these asteroids. It’s of the utmost importance.”

“Springs, eh?” The bat takes flight again. Cheech circles the two travelers three times before landing on the same invisible step. It’s a very crowded stair. “Well, I cannot help you with the springs, for the people here don’t like me too much. They claim my games are unamusing.”

WooFZee snorts. There’s an insult in there somewhere, but he can’t be bothered to voice it. Instead, he says, “it doesn’t matter that it’s dangerous. We have a job to do. Can you get us up there, or what?”

“Hold very still,” says Cheech. And then just as a mother bat would carry their young, Cheech scoops up MeaZea and WooFZee! She laughs and chirps and says, “I promise not to drop you!”


Katelynn E Koontz – Author