This is Not a Werewolf Story: The Wherefores
|Still the Ordinary Moon|
Even a seat-of-the-pants writer such as I am, needs every so often to fix a few landmarks in her story-world. This tale (of ten or so instalments) is my attempt to explain the origin of the jinkers, a strange wizard-kind, at the heart of both The Half Shaman and the Monster-Moored Series.
The Esse and I don’t hug. I may not even hold her hand lest I set her magic free before it can be known. Way oh way, my Esse. My heart mought burst into my belly I am so warm that you picked me.
Ancients walk fore and aft of us, but untidily, to portray a friend-group out welcoming their oldest lady, though, in fact, under her scarves she looks quite young, I’m disturbed to see. She chatters, as I predicted. She’ll make a friend of anyone.
Local grandpa waves till-we-meet-again.
I wave tell-you-then.
Rope might’ve said a negative thing had she known our acquaintance, Rope’s expression says.
“Be easy, young woman,” says the Esse.
“Why would Monk ask us to bring our accountant?” Rope says, attempting to counter the Esse’s attitude with some of her own.
Good luck with that, youngster.
“Glad you asked,” Esse says. “May we settle somewhere, carry out a few odds of business?”
We pass the long horizontal cafe-window. People at the bench look out on us with interest.
“Not the cafe,” Esse tells the chief.
I see with her the table with nine chairs surrounding it, coffees steaming or variously consumed, with ninety-nine or some such Naifs encircling. They resemble naked-neck vultures waiting for a kill. Some, when they look to see us walking past, start to get up. Some get their mobiles out. At least one already presses a particular digit three times.
They remind me to con the scene like a hunter. Who do these vultures await? Whom are they trusting to deliver their prey?
“Not the park opposite the police station,” I say, foreseeing the possibility of a nasty flickering-in-and-out-of-character scene should I need to use energy to maintain my cool.
Neither Esse nor I are in our steady-state. My heart and my head buzz as if fat golden bees zip in and out. My wolf-hair reluctantly allows itself to be transformed, hair by hair.
The lack of a shaman in the other-lands means we must perform the appropriate rites ourselves, on each other and soon, if the transformation is to ‘take’.
“The wagon?” the accountant says.
“That’ll work,” Esse says.
We stop by a wagon-and-pair parked parallel to the pavement, taking the place of two electronic vehicles.
“Monk said no electronics,” the accountant says. “Lucky we use oxen for carrying up and down the stone road. We borrowed the wagon from the museum in return to bring them a load of sandstone for repairs.”
The wagon sits nearly as low as a foundering sea-ship. The sandstone on board already.
Esse slides onto the seat beside the accountant and motions for me to join her.
The wagon dips some on my side. Despite my looks, I am no lightweight. It’s the accretion of stone in my old old bones.
My Esse smiles out of the corner of her mouth near me. She’s having trouble not sliding into me. She is a lightweight. I’ll need to feed her up. Wonder if this country has rabbits?
We somehow have forced the young chief to walk at the heads of the animals. I don’t see anything other than pride going before a fall. The warrior and the techie cross-leg on the load. Win a friend and gain an enemy might-and-ought also sum the situation so far.
“Where to?” says the accountant, holding the reins up off the backs of the oxen.
“I have in my mind a ridgeway,” I say. “A track running along the top of the ranges. Do you know it?”
I also have in mind a cave of golden sandstone warmed by the westering sun. Private.