Virgulle’s Vestral 18

Sunday 3rd July 2011

An absence and an arrival

TAXI spoke not a word as the cage continued in the direction of Be and Be. Arthur too remained silent, closing his eyes as if needing sleep, though I detected a tension in his breathing and the twitch of his fingers.

The interior of the cage afforded no light for either writing or reading, leaving me to reflect upon the activities of the day.

If Arthur lived near to Martin, as he had told me, why had we not gone to his home? Would not travelling inland take us closer to the giants? Had he perhaps been instructed to lead me into their presence?

I recalled too a sensation experienced when packing my satchel, shortly before our departure. Something was missing.

Roused by the prospect of being freed from Martin’s cell, I had stood for a while by the open window, watching the dance of distant trees. Birds whistled, insects hummed and human percussion broke in with beat of hammer and roll of cage, but one player remained mute throughout.

I shuddered. Suddenly it all made terrible, desperate sense: I knew why there was disharmony in this world. Nowhere, not once in the sonata of a sunny afternoon, had I heard the voices of children.

“We are all most at the Be and Be.”

Arthur’s quiet tone allayed my immediate anxieties, but I determined to question him on this disquieting conclusion at the earliest opportunity.

He took from his sack a pair of woollen socks and two short boots.

“Wood you please put these on?”

I shook my head, needing neither: Rhetans don footwear only occasionally: when thinning nettles, for example, or as apparel for certain dances.

For a moment I sensed Arthur was going to remonstrate with me, but he nodded, smiled and patted my hand, while the cage slowed to a halt alongside a low wall, behind which stood a house with bright lights in several windows.

We alighted. Arthur gave Mr Taxi his thanks and two inked papers. The cage departed.

A post attached to the wall confirmed that this was indeed the home of someone known as B-squiggle-B.

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