“Damn this fairy dust just isn’t washing off today, Axis.”
But Absinthe’s partner’s attention was drawn elsewhere. “Says here that this wrecked ship in the water before us was called Nevermore. After the Poe poem I assume. Funny that. Poe… poem. Like he was born to write ‘The Raven’.”
“I always forget,” says the showering girl, “whether the bird beats the bug or the bug beats the bird. ‘(The) Gold Bug’. Short story.”
“I remember.” Axis continues reading the sign aloud. “‘Lost to the sea — in 7-4-53 — by the grace of Our Dear Lord — whose boats are all adored.’ Another poem, Ruby.”
“Absinthe,” she corrected, still washing and showering and cleaning with all her might.
“No mention of the Trojan-Durexian War, though.”
“Oh it’s to blame all right.” opined Ruby, finally back in form. “Too close to the edge, see,” she explained while drying.
“2:01, Mabel. Who do you think will come through today?”
“We can only hope,” replied Tessa’s likewise observing Martian friend, bracing for the “norm”.
“Bloody fairy,” uttered Tessa disgustedly, spotting the wings first. “Put her across the tracks with the rest. I don’t even want to speak with this one.”
“Me neither,” echoed Mabel, still not over the incessant babbling of the impossibly exuberant Bubbles.
She points for the confused newcomer.
Joining her brethren.
“So will you tell me where the mountain treasure is *now*?”
“Well… it’s not here, that’s for sure. Central forest — in that central park — may seem pretty from a small distance, but up close: no maintenance plan. Terrain doesn’t meet the roots. It won’t live.”
Axis was becoming impatient again. “Then *where*?” He quickly backtracked his emotional outburst. “Please. I-I’ve been waiting so long now.”
Absinthe Fairy finished up Sibelius’ “5 Pieces for Piano” with a flourish. She lifted her hands from the keyboard, caught her breath a bit. “Okay, *now* I can concentrate.” She paused thoughtfully. “What were we talking about, then?”
Later, at 128/128 in the small wood:
“He fell for it, Dixon.”
The next day or something, George came to check on her. Duncan sent him. He was disguised (once more) as a fisher boy, who would never grow up to be a fisher man. Fisher Herman.
“You okay? You seem anxious. What did you see in the crate? Duncan is worried about you.”
“I bet he is.” She clutched her dead teddy tightly, unable to speak for a while. The boy sat silent too.
Finally, after about 10 minutes: “Do you have any sandwiches, Penny?”
“Bread, butter — fix it yourself.”
She-he was still experimenting with form, but had decided to be a she at least. For now. And the little zombie bear Stitches might be a keeper. And the pins — hence Penny. Not Al Mobile. Penny Mobile. Penny Something. Penny Lincoln?
“Penny Lincoln?” she tested aloud to her new doll. No response. “Is your throat all right now?”
“Time to see what’s in the crate, Stitches”
“I… can’t breathe.”
“Ahh, Stitches. The magenta cube-sim. The ultimate Second Lyfe goal.”
She sat on the cube and remembered everything.
“Stitches. I was killed!” But the doll heard nothing.
“I could swear I saw a tree yesterday out on that treeless slither of land over there, Stitches. And I should know. Since I was that tree.”
“Stop squeezing my neck, Penny.”
“You’re changing over again.” Her voice was watery and lilting, slightly evil. “You must have stared at that chess piece too long, you *king*.”
“You said there was treasure here in the High Country,” he declared firmly with iron voice. No joking around for him now.
“But not up here.”
“No,” she admitted. “That was a trick. Did you enjoy my trick?”
Axis didn’t answer. The transformation had been completed. “Better go groundside then.”
“In just a minute. I’m going to take an (alchemical) bath first. Clean myself off of all this fairy dust.”
“Suit yourself. I’ll leave without you.”