No one had ever said of Klukelunnen that he was wise. Adventuresome, aye, and brave; some might say to the point of stupidity, but he never could turn his back on a challenge. Not ever. Aye, and that was the folly that had brought him to here, to what he’d first thought was the fabled Land of Giants, but now he realised was the world of Man and his Kind.
Yet he’d had the forethought—and that surely must count as a kind of wisdom—to take the chair closest to the window. And THEN to ask that the window be opened. For that terrible hacking cough of his wasn’t feigned. The professor’s study was choked thick with sweet-acrid smoke that wafted and billowed from countless small dishes. Though here, in Professor Angelus’s ‘inner sanctum’, there were no fumes, neither cloying nor pungent.
Now, before the professor had gathered his wits (a fine guardian of Man and his Kind this servitor was) Klukelunnen leapt from chair to sill then out of the window, a kind of a step and a fall. It was no distance: no more than two or three times his height. And the landing was soft. Turned earth. It was nothing compared with the many tumbles he’d taken while exploring the Dolstone caverns that were his homeland.
He hid amongst the sharp-thorned trees. Roses, so Daisy had told him; they grew in abundance in her family’s garden. Let the professor try to grab him from there. Those thorns would rip the servitor’s perfection to pieces.
But now he had to think. And thought, like wisdom, was not his great suit.
First, how likely was Professor Angelus to reveal his true name to Daisy?
Second, how likely was Daisy to use his true name against him? Aye, but why would she want to do that? He was no magician out of a jawman’s tale, able to bestow great wealth, or great beauty or longevity upon whomsoever could discover his name. Though, it was true, he did have some magical powers. Yet he seemed to have lost those when the spell malfunctioned and delivered him here. No, the little lassie wouldn’t turn it against him; she was his friend. True, it was Daisy who had brought him here to this Usurper’s servitor. But she did it in innocence, he was convinced. She’d had no inkling of what he was; just a sweet and friendly old professor. Hah! Not!
Aye, he ought to trust Daisy not to abuse his name. If she ever found him again. And that was the next question.
How likely was Daisy to rescue him? She had remained in the professor’s study, searching through whatever this thing called the ‘intranet’ for folk-tales and folk-lore of Klukelunnen’s kind and kin by whatever their names, not only the ones known to him. Gobeling, Nixie, Pixie, and Fernamon. Now she would wonder where he was. What would the professor tell her? That he’d jumped out the window? Run away? Would Daisy dash out, come try to find him? Would the professor allow it? Aye, likely he would. But first, most likely, he would seed Daisy’s ears with his true name.
Again, the question: Would she abuse it? Nay, likely not.
But the professor had more than threatened to tell her his name. He had said something of ‘beloved of Saturn’, and of the secrets he held. What was that about? It dumbfounded Klukelunnen; he knew nothing of any Saturn. Who or what was that? And he’d freely give up his secrets (at least those that involved none of his kin). And now he thought of it, he could remember no secrets that he supposedly held.
He shuffled about to change his position, his toes grown numb. How long had he crouched here, beneath these rose-trees? Now he thought of it, a fool place to hide. Away from the professor, true, but what chance of Daisy finding him here. He stood … and something hissed loud near his ear.
Instinct swiftly jumped him sideways, away from the threat.
Ouch! his head collided with the hard wall. Sparks peppered his vision, he felt oddly light-headed, his knees buckled beneath him, he slid to the ground, crunching upon a shell-made midden.
Ouch! harsh claws raked his face. What the …!?
“Scat, Cat!” a woman’s voice called. “What have I told you of touching the birds? Oh. You’re not a bird. You’re a …”
“A Stone,” Klukelunnen said and peered up at the woman who peered down at him.
She had on a low-cut top—or rather, she mostly didn’t. A Stone could suffocate snuggled in there. He sighed. He’d no liking of the males of the species, judging by those he’d so far met. But the female … he sighed again. Grandma sure gave them a desirable form: all that was good about nixies but without snakes for their bums.
“You might know me better as a goblin,” he said.
She laughed. Nervously. And looked across to the professor’s window, now several man-paces off to his left. She nodded. Slowly. Thoughtfully. “I have heard his students say of his … but don’t tell me he’s doping us all with his funny drugs now?”
Klukelunnen watched as she walked away in her very tight skirt, her snakeless bum wobbling. A lot.
“Nice pussy,” Klukelunnen cooed to the cat that was again advancing, this time cautiously sniffing and testing. “Boo!”
With a yowl, the cat scatted.
“Klukelunnen? Is that you in those bushes?”
Klukelunnen blew a great phew! of relief. Daisy had found him.
“The professor said you jumped out of the window. What made you do that?”
She held open her school bag for him to crawl into. Would that be wise of him? He looked up at the window.
“Did he say anything about … names?”
“He said you are a nasty demon and I’m to have no more truck with you,” she owned. “He said that God would curse me and send me down to ‘the Pit’ along with you. I suppose he means down to Hell. But” – she giggled – “I can’t go there if I don’t believe in it. Come on, be quick and get comfy in there. Only if I’m seen here, crouched by the roses, someone might accuse me of stealing the blooms. Right, now let’s get you home.”
Home? Oh, that he could. Instead, he supposed he was in for another night in the pink plastic palace that used to be a rabbit hutch. He could hardly contain his excitement at the thought of those green and yellow check jimmies, borrowed off Ted. But at the thought of another bath … all those bubbles, in that pink bowl, all slippery and smelling sweetly of Fleur. Fleur … He sighed, remembering her chest (he gulped) as she seductively revealed it. Remembering how she had peeled away those black glossy leggings to reveal … Aye, that Fleur didn’t have snakes for a bum.
He gasped for air, so hot here in Daisy’s school bag.
Home. To the rabbit’s hutch, the door bolted with intent to keep him safe from the predations of Flirtatious Fleur. Oh, if only she would sneak in during the night and shoot that bolt. Whisper to him … ease his fears of her … reach in and touch him. There’s a law against that, he heard Daisy saying again. If she touches you, you’re to tell me. But Fleur had a lovely snakeless bum. And he was getting to an age now when perhaps he’d prefer to explore fresh caverns.
Aye, and he remembered the jawmen’s tale of The Giantess and the Stone. Aye, but giantess, not a female of Man and his Kind. And Fleur was very forthcoming with her … desirable delights.
It was unbearably hot in Daisy’s bag. Hot, and dark. So dark, all he could see were the visions in his head. And in those visions … but the visions disappeared when he remembered again what Daisy had said of the law.
He sighed, that wasn’t ever going to happen; Fleur had only been teasing him. Indeed, now he remembered, she was going to take him to the Anthropology Geeks who, according to Daisy, would imprison him in a cage and not let him go, not ever. Aye, but what was Daisy to do with him now? Professor Angelus Margev had been their best hope for getting him home.