Daisy had told him to head for the road she had drawn in red. That at some place along there, at some time between midnight and two a.m. Jason and the Anthropology Geek Dwayne would find him. But that drawing was now amongst the ashes of Klukelunnen’s prison cell. That didn’t unduly faze him; he preferred it. He didn’t want Jason and friend to find him. It would only result in twisted voices as each demanded where they should go. Klukelunnen wanted—nay, needed—to go to Trinity Hall, where Professor Angelus Margev resided. Jason would assume Klukelunnen was after revenge and would try to stall him. But that wasn’t his desire at all.
The naked grass was soft beneath his bare feet. But though summer, the night air was chilly and getting up breezy around his nether bits. He needed clothes. Oh Daisy, why didn’t you think to bring me Teddy’s green and yellow suit? He’d even settle for Griselda’s flowery dress. And it wasn’t only the cold. His naked body shining blue-white in the blue-white light of the moon was bound to snaggle someone’s attention. Though this wasn’t a busy area this late at night, he was headed to town. He knew he had the right direction for ahead, above the buildings, was an orange glow. He’d learned, from the moving pictures on Daisy’s magic Information Box, that most town centres featured this: an orange glow. But right now, that was a distraction. He needed clothes, that was priority.
The roadside array of impersonal blank-windowed buildings gave way to flower-spread gardens and sleepy houses. And lo! After deserting him, Grandma now was looking after him. For some of those houses grew poles in their gardens. And around those poles, hung in open display, he could see a whole a medley of clothes. Yay, clothes!
But Klukelunnen grunted. Fine, if he could find clothes of a diminutive fit. Yet he did at the fifth house along. Yay! Grandma truly was watching. With a smart look round, not to be observed, he dived down the driveway, crunching on the gravel that drove into his feet. I’m a cat, he thought, if any should hear me. He even let out a passable yowl. But, problem. How was he to reach the clothes, all arrayed in delicate shades of pink? Even on tiptoes he couldn’t as much as fingertip-touch them. Frantic, he searched around for something to stand on.
O-yay! He scooted across the garden to where four chairs and a table were set on a paved pad. He ouched at the chair’s metallic scrape as he dragged it off the paving and onto the grass. Had his efforts been heard? He couldn’t blame this on a cat. He waited, his body curled into the shadow beneath the chair. No lights flashed on. No one spoke. No yell to get the hell out. All remained quiet.
With the chair positioned beneath the clothes he heaved himself up and, in rapid-quick time, purloined a selection of pretty pinks.
Back out by the road, in the dark of a hedge, he examined his haul. Drats! Not one pair of trousers. All dresses like Griselda’s. But clothes were clothes and even a dress would be better than hitting the town naked. Though … maybe that pink would stand out a bit. Might be better if he grubbied the fabric first; dull it down some; make it more resemble a thing thrown away.
Satisfied that he now resembled a discarded ‘Griselda doll’, Klukelunnen resumed his run.
Was this the red road as marked by Daisy? If so, was that Jason driving the car now slowed behind him? Daisy hadn’t told him what car, van or what-have-you her brother would use. Or it could be Dwayne. Perhaps it was the School of Anthropology’s van?
It was a car, it was red. Or was it black? Not easy to tell in this orange light. It had a driver, male, and no other beside him. It wasn’t Jason. And neither was there a convenient hedge to provide Klukelunnen cover. What to do? Dart across the next garden? Or race on? But if he stayed on the pavement the car could follow. Fast decision—he dashed across the ornamental garden, swearing at the thorns that lay thick around a bed of roses. Shoes, that was the next priority!
The car stopped. A door opened. And slammed shut. Then pounding feet came chasing after him. By the Nixies’ snaky bums, this wasn’t going well. Where to hide?
Quick, there! He snuggled behind the small windowless house, held tight by a sweet-smelling hedge, and held his breath.
A fool place to hide. His pursuer soon found him. Squeezed in. Stretched his arm. Strained his long-fingered hand to close around him.
Ha! Klukelunnen ran out the other end just as those fingers touched him, leaving his pursuer wedged between hedge and shed.
He raced across the ornamental lawn, back to the road, crossed it and dashed into a garden on the far side where he crouched low beneath a dense hedge. And waited for his puzzled pursuer to give up and leave.
The orange lights blinked out to reveal a sky beginning to pale into day. Exhausted, foot-sore and sweaty, Klukelunnen had survived his first night of freedom. But now he needed somewhere to hole up for the day. He could hardly walk through Cambridge during the day dressed like a discarded ragdoll. As it was, Cambridge, a maze of houses, colleges, churches, shops and offices, provided a most intricate maze of secret cubbies where a goblin might find secure slumber. He had still to reach his destination, but that must wait till he’d slept.
The absence of bustle woke him, his head abuzz. Though the sky still reflected his own precious blue, and the orange lights hadn’t yet sparked into life, he knew it was time to seek his destined destination. Trinity Hall.
Nay and nix, lad, he chuntered to himself. Think. Must it be that hall? Wouldn’t any tall building suffice?
He agreed that it would. So, a church maybe? With a tall tower?
Daisy had tried to explain to Klukelunnen about churches. But, as she’d said, it was the blind leading the blind since she’d never been in one either, and apart from scenes on TV and in movies didn’t know what happened in there. They were more the domain of Professor Angelus.
But whatever these human folks did in them, most churches did have high towers. That would make it easier to find. Except … he’d not a notion of where in Cambridge he was.
With due caution he crept out of his makeshift cubby. A stretch of his arms and legs and a flex of his back refreshed his body. But now he needed something to eat. Seeds. Hugging the buildings, he went in search …
… and just beyond the next corner, laughed when he saw what lay hidden down an alley.
Some might call it garbage. Daisy would tsk that he even looked at it. But to Klukelunnen what sat proud upon the pile of papers and boxes and slimy remains of fast-food burgers was a veritable feast. O yay! His blessed Grandma had provided a huge see-through bag of seeds. Seeds! The very thing to fill his empty innards. He sat atop the nasty rubbish and noshed, thoughts all for his belly, eyes all for the seeds, no thought given that anyone passing might glance down the alley.
Professor Angelus Margev passed that alley, unmistakable in his professorial garb. He paused mid-step, his sock-and-sandaled foot already raised.