December 28, 2015 | Posted in The Mermaid & The WolF Adventures

The problem is, the flowers aren’t saving anything. MeaZea can still hear them whispering to her. Pick us, they say, pick us, and everything will work out. Pick us, and we’ll be able to protect you. The mountain will never hurt you. The wolf will never leave you. Treasure can be found if you simply wait here long enough – family can be created through us.

It gets harder to ignore them with each passing moment. Her smile is strained and a little bit faltering. She says, “Heinder, the sun hasn’t changed in years. It’s the same outside as it has always been. Come with us. We’ll show you that it’s safe.”

A red tint invades Heinder’s eyes. The turkey draws himself up and, once again, there’s a flash of reality. Broken feathers, dirt streaked wings, and a tail that drags on the ground. But then the hologram of the poppy flowers fills the air again, showing off a turkey in the middle of his prime and raring to fight. Heinder spreads out his tail feathers. Each feather is topped with a swirl that’s reminiscent of a poppy bloom.

“Lies,” shouts Heinder, voice once more gone shrill. “You speak lies! Thieving, rotten, awful thing! You just want me to go into the sun so you can have my nest! Jealousy, that’s what this is! Jealousy and hatred and lies! Well, you can’t have it! You can’t have my nest or my flowers!”

With a vicious flap of his wings, Heinder charges MeaZea and WooFZee. He kicks up at the duo, trying to scratch them. WooFZee is fast, nimble, and healthy. He dodges each blow by jumping backwards. WooFZee growls, “we have to leave!”

“The centaurs,” shouts MeaZea. She draws her katana. “We have to bring them with us!”

“Right!” WooFZee bounds towards the family of centaurs. The poppy flowers are near frantic, now. They spiral up his legs like phantom fleas, making his skin crawl but never really touching him. “I’ll get you close as I can!”

Heinder makes it difficult. The turkey appears to have lost all sense of self. His eyes are completely red now, and he moves in jerking, shuddering motions. Heinder’s sole intent is to stop MeaZea and WooFZee from escaping.

As they draw close enough to the family of centaurs, MeaZea gives a single mighty swing of her katana. It cuts through the vines of the poppy flowers closest to the ground. Heinder lets out a loud gobble and charges – knocking the mermaid from her perch. She tumbles across the ground, landing in a heap amidst the hooves of the trapped family.

“MeaZea!” WooFZee snarls at Heinder, but he’s reluctant to really hurt the turkey. They match each other step for step. WooFZee can’t get to his mermaid companion.

A trill of fear shoots through MeaZea; being stranded on the land is a terrifying thing. A lack of proper legs can truly make situations like this, not just more difficult, but far more deadly. It’s hard to keep control of herself, harder still to focus on her mission.

But focus she does.

Abandoning her katana, MeaZea begins to rip and tear at the poppy flowers growing along the centaur’s limbs.

Heinder begins to bellow again. In an effort to keep the attention on himself, WooFZee begins to back away from the centaurs. Tauntingly, he says, “get a clue, bird brain. The only thing these flowers are capable of doing is causing pain and suffering. Those centaurs had a family, just like you! They had a place to go! A home!”

Heinder strikes out with one clawed foot, just barely missing WooFZee’s flank.

“Is that why they’re all tied up? They were brighter than you,” says WooFZee. “I bet they realized that there was something wrong here. They were going to leave. They were smarter than you!”

Heinder gobbles and makes to lunge forward again, beating his wings and shaking his head – but MeaZea pulls away the last poppy right then. An electric jolt fills the air.

Slowly, the father centaur opens his eyes.

 

Katelynn E Koontz – Author