Friday, September 03, 2004

vignette: stick, claw, wing

In the aftermath of the furious battle, the three companions stood closely together, their noses pinched and proof against the disagreeable odor, little understanding how fortunate they were to have survived the assault of the Curdled Ones.

The Hippogriff tucked her head under a wing, to diguise her tears of relief.

The Stickman quietly lamented the loss of his favorite bough.

The Whirling Lobster, whose sensitive nostrils had almost succumbed to olfactory attack, sighed. "I cannot, for the life of me, see why some hearts simply go sour."

"Some things are simply that way, I suppose," the Stickman said, gingerly stepping over a Curdled corpse that began to dissipate in the reluctant breeze. "If you keep hoping-"

"There is nothing wrong with hoping," interrupted the Whirling Lobster. "For some, it is all they have."

"Then does it matter if it is sweet or sour?" asked the Stickman. "What would make you sour?"

"Sadness," replied the Whirling Lobster, squinting at the setting sun. "Or too much waiting."

"I do not think these woods will ever be free of their stench," the Stickman said.

"That, if anything, tells us how it is past time we left this terrible place," said the Hippogriff. She had kept her silence throughout the ambush and now only wanted to depart.

"But," said the Stickman, "we still have no idea where we are or where we are to go!"

"True," agreed the Whirling Lobster, waving his remaining claw. “Perhaps it is better to wait for help to come?” Deep in his clockwork eyes the tiny crack widened just a smidgen - but being blind to his own flaws he, of course, did not notice.

"No," said the Hippogriff. "We must move. What we choose to do now-"

"What do we-" began the Stickman.

"I suppose we just have to make do with what we do do," said the Whirling Lobster.

"Well, then." the Hippogriff said, clearing her throat. "What we do do or do not do will simply have to do for now. It is certainly better than doing nothing at all. Too much of that and the world just passes you by. I should know." And she did, remembering for a moment the tragic circumstances of her melancholy captivity and the endless days and nights she spent looking outside from the inside of a cage.

"But," said the Stickman, "what ARE we to do?"

His two companions looked at each other, then at him.

"We go where wings can take us," stated the Hippogriff.

"But I have no wings!" protested the Stickman.

"I have enough for all of us," replied the Hippogriff.

"But somethings are perhaps not meant to fly!" the Stickman said, aghast at the notion of leaving the ground.

"I promise to hold you and not let you fall," offered the Whirling Lobster. "My good claw, after all, is the one the Knave of Spades left me with. You will not fall."

"Besides," the Hippogriff told the Stickman, "even if you do fall, we can always pick you up. You do remember what the Little Girl used to say - 'sticks is sticks'."

"They most certainly are not!" roared the Stickman, shocked that anyone remembered the cruel words of the petulant princess.

"Careful, careful," said the Whirling Lobster. "The last thing we need is for you to catch fire."

"All I'm saying is that if you do fall, we can pick you up, no harm, no foul. And that's all I have to say on the matter. If I've hurt you, do keep in mind that the words I spoke are not my own but someone else's and it is her phraseology that makes it painful." With that, the Hippogriff padded away, head high, stretching her wings.

"All right," muttered the Stickman, "all right."


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