Part 18

I was in the far field now, the houses along Lloyd still recognizable, but the great trees in the distance were unfamiliar. I saw ahead of me a great structure, like a stained glass window, narrow and rainbow colored, shimmering. I didn’t know how to understand it. It jutted at such a strange angle out of the tall grass, and it seemed to move in the breeze. Just as I was right about on top of it, a man stood up.

Oh, a wing! A great, dragonfly wing. And this was the King of the Faeries.

“You’re Rufus’s friend!” we both said at the same time. We laugh and said, “yes,” and then laughed again.

“Have you seen him?” I asked.

“Last Sunday, when we played cribbage,” he said.

“Oh, well, damn it. See, he’s here and—”

“Here? But this is a terribly dangerous place for an unaccompanied dog. You know what happens to anyone who eats in faerie-land.”

“They’re stuck here forever?”

He scrunched up his face like he was about to tell me something true, but then thought better of it.

“Not exactly. But it’s still best to not eat anything here.”

“Okay, but it’s Rufus we’re talking about.”

“True, true.”

“I just want to get him home. Do you have any idea where he could be?”

The King of the Nashville Faeries made a circle in the grass as he walked and thought.

“He will, of course, be in the last place you look.”

“Well, obviously. I’ll stop looking once I find him.”

“So, the question is, where are you least likely to look? And that will be the last place you look.”

I sighed. “Well, I’m not really that familiar with your world, so I don’t know where I wouldn’t look.”

“What don’t you like?”

“I kind of find eyeballs gross and too many of things gross, like, if there’s a place where something has too many eyeballs, I would avoi—”

“There is such a place!”

“Oh Christ.”

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