December 26, 2019 | Posted in The Mermaid & The WolF Adventures

The other side of the stream leads into a forest, just as white and silver and gray as the rest of the moon. From above, the foliage must give off the impression of the craters of the moon.

There are birds in the trees. MeaZea can’t see them, but she can hear them. Something is moving in the brush, too.

WooFZee breaks the silence, asking, “where are the Zeebs?”

“Hopefully? No where near us,” answers Zen. “I know this must be very strange to you. I’m sure you’ve heard stories of the Lady of the Moon.”

“A few,” admits MeaZea. “We’ve heard that she’s kind, and that she’s lonely. I always thought…that she would be more welcoming.”

“Oh, she is!” Zen all but chirps the words. “It’s just that certain protections have been put in place, to make sure that she doesn’t leave again. You see, disasters of the worst sort befall the entire universe when she went missing. There’s so much at stake…and she has accepted that duty, that fate. Though I don’t think she knows the extent of it.”

“Like the flowers,” says MeaZea.

WooFZee adds, “and the Zeebs?”

“Exactly. And…the cats.”

“The cats?” MeaZea squints into the shadows of the trees.

Zen repeats, “the cats are big. They live just outside of the Lady’s keep. But there’s no sense worrying about them right now! We need to get past the forest, first. Then we can worry about them.”

For a bit, they walk in silence. As the trees begin to thin out, the sound of wings beating against the air gets louder and louder. When they reach the very edges of the forest, the flock of Zeeb’s becomes impossible to miss.

Each bird is the size of a horse, with pure white feathers and pure black beaks. Their tails stretch out behind them like streamers. They circle the forest and the vale outside of it like vultures.

Zen says, “the plan is that we move very slowly, and we hope that they don’t see us.”
That doesn’t seem like a very good plan. MeaZea squints up at the sky, at the birds. “And if they realize that we’re down here? What do we do then?”

Zen doesn’t answer right away.

WooFZee prods, “well? What do we do if they spot us?”

“If they spot us,” says Zen, breath heavy and voice low. “Oh, that’s going to be nothing good. You listen to me, and you listen close. If they spot us, I want you to run. Straight, as far and as fast as you can. You run straight, and you’ll hit another stream. Zeeb’s hate water. Get into the stream, and you’ll be just fine.”

MeaZea asks, “and you?”

Zen laughs. It’s a tittering, chittering sound. “Don’t worry about me! The Zeeb’s and I get along just fine.”

And so, with their plan made, the trip begins. WooFZee walks very, very slowly…and MeaZea holds her breath and tries to stay very, very still.

With any luck, they won’t need to run at all.

 

Katelynn E Koontz – Author

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