“Who’s at the bar tonight, Baker Bloch?”
“Umm, looks like Morris maybe? Or perhaps Lou. I can’t tell because his head is hidden in the bottom of the stool.”
“That’s strange,” replied Hucka Doobie. “Could be either red or green, then. Stop or go.”
“We better get back to the forest.”
“This is the way to the village, Scotty.” Sikul Himak pauses as his fox-dingo companion lets out a series of primitive whimpers and yelps. “What’s that boy? You want to go see the elephant first?” He pauses again. “And then the pelican?” He laughs as the dog jumps up and down a bit and continues his vocalizations. “Okay, okay Scotty. Calm down. We’ll visit all your animal friends, don’t worry. How about Ellie first?” The dog barks affirmatively.
They walk across the wooden bridge spanning Circle River.
“There’s your old pal Ellie, Scotty. Same as always. Guarding the bridge. Impart your experiences to us, my long memoried friend.” Ellie duely sends Sikul a notecard summarizing what’s happened since his last visit. “Thank you, that’s very gracious, Ellie. I will study and absorb when we reach the village and are able to rest. Oh, but I see from just scanning the first paragraph of your note that the village has been damaged.” Ellie raises her head and unfurls her trunk. A loud hiss follows. “Hmm, we better get there post-haste. Goodbye Ellie. Say goodbye, Scotty.” Scotty barks several times at Ellie and wags his tail.
Penny the Pelican was next for a catch up. Penny had no notecard to share about her more recent adventures, but just stood there, enjoying the silent comradery. After a moment, Sikul says: “Take your time, Scotty. Visit all you want with Penny. But, remember, we’ll be living here a while. You can see all your old friends again and again.” We better make contact Tom the Booker as soon as possible, he then thinks to himself. If anyone knows what’s going on with the village it will be him. Scotty barks goodbye to Penny and they continue down the path.
“Mrs. Frobishire, hi! It’s me, Sikul Himakt. Come back for a visit.”
The traditionally garbed woman continues to sweep in a back and forth motion on the same stair while answering. “Ah yes, Sikul. Glad to see you and Scotty back. Come join me for pie and tea when you have time.”
“We certainly will, Mrs. Frobishire, eh, Scotty? And then there’s *Smile*, Scotty. Maybe your bestest pal in the forest. Go on and touch noses with him. We unfortunately don’t have time for playing right now, but soon.
Scotty bounds up the bank and says hello to Smile.
The larger dog understandably wants to immediately leap into a game of chase with his old buddy. But Scotty keeps in mind his master’s desire to reach the village in due time. He expresses this wish to Smile, who nods in understanding.
“Hmm, the path up to the village beside this waterfall is no longer here, Scotty. I guess it’s time to study that note by Ellie.”