A children's book for grown-ups by Jon Evans

August 5, 2007

21. Glaw

On his thirteenth morning on the island of the Kingdom of Madness, Patch stood on a rock on the very edge of the great water, so close he could have wetted a paw, and stared at the shining mountains far away. The water smelled of salt. He was wistful, not foolhardy, and so he stood very near a waterfront bush he could hide in, and he often looked up to the sky, and around to the land, to check for dangers. Around him he saw only seagulls, circling in the sky, crying to one another in their plaintive voices:

"I'm so hungry! Where are the fish?"

"Have you seen fish? I'm still hungry!"

"I want more fish!"

A pigeon, to Patch's surprise, drifted down from the sky, and landed on a rock beside him. "Excuse me," the pigeon said, "is your name Patch?"

"Daffa!" Patch cried. "You remember me!"

"Yes, of course. That is to say, I remember your face, and your name. I'm afraid I can't really remember anything we talked about. But I can take you exactly to the place where we met, I remember that perfectly. I'm looking for my home. Have I told you that?"

"Yes."

"I usually have," Daffa sighed. "What are you looking for? Fish? Do squirrels eat fish?"

"No. I'm looking for a way home to the Center Kingdom. But I can't find a way up to the bridge."

"Why not just fly? – oh, I see. Oh, you're just like me, Patch, you poor thing, looking for your home and knowing you'll never find it."

"I will so," Patch said stubbornly. "And so will you."

"That's very nice of you to say. Though I don't see how you can possibly get back to the Center Kingdom. But I'll tell you what, I'll go up and ask the seagulls if they know a way, they certainly understand these waters and bridges better than I."

Daffa flapped up into the sky, and approached a few of the circling seagulls. A little while later, he returned, followed by a seagull.

"Patch, this is Glaw," Daffa said. "He's very helpful for a gull. Glaw, Patch wants to know…Good heavens. I'm terribly sorry, Patch, I've forgotten what you want."

"I want to get up to the bridge," Patch said.

"Bridge?" Glaw asked. "Oh no. You don't want bridge."

"What's wrong with it?"

"No fish on bridge."

Patch blinked. "But –"

"No fish on land. You can't dive. For groundling like you, no fish at all."

"I'm actually –"

"Fish on boat, maybe," Glaw said doubtfully. "With humans. Humans go into boat for fish."

"What's a boat?" Patch asked.

Glaw pointed a wing at a passing human monstrosity, a metal half-shell as big as a mountain, that was drifting beneath the bridge and out into the endless waters. "Like that. But small."

Patch sat up straight on his hindlegs as he began to understand. "You mean get onto a human thing."

"Humans pull fish onto boat. Sometimes they drop fish from boat. Sometimes they go away from boat and leave fish."

"A boat. Go with the boat across the waters. Don't go on the bridge at all."

"No fish on bridge," Glaw agreed.

"Where can I find a boat?" Patch asked.

Glaw said, "I'm hungry. I want fish."

"Please, Glaw," Patch said. "Please. I have to find my home. I have to find a boat. Please help me if you can."

"That's so terribly moving," Daffa said softly. "There's nothing sadder than an animal without a home. Oh, help him, Glaw, do help him."

After a long moment, Glaw sighed with resignation and said, "I show you boat."

3 Comments:

Anonymous Rakie said...

hee, Glaw's great! I can imagine that that's exactly how seagulls think. :D Yay, these past three chapters are great, i love catching up on a monday (best part of a monday, without a doubt). The characters are all awesome, i really like the way you write them. :D

August 6, 2007 at 1:23 AM  
Anonymous Stephen Tiano said...

rakie's right. I can imagine seagulls sounding just that way. I used to have lunch with a buddy at a place outdoors and by the water, where the gulls would come right up to us and pretty much hassle us for food. Amazing, actually, that Daffa was able to convince Glaw to help Patch.

September 2, 2007 at 2:12 PM  
Blogger JoeViturbo said...

very Kehaar

December 10, 2009 at 6:40 PM  

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Jon Evans is the award-winning author of the thrillers Invisible Armies, Dark Places (aka Trail of the Dead), and The Blood Price. See his web site rezendi.com.

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