*Note to self, apparently hearing the child's voice is a bad omen. A very bad omen.
Here I was, linked arms with some stranger in a hood, smuggling a stowaway in my pack.
Things were simpler when I was at home dealing with zombies. I miss those times.
That's a cute little picture of me and a zombie, back in the good ole days. I named that one Gronzo because she groaned so much. (Creative, I know.)
"Well let's keep moving," I said, making the brash decision to stick with the random person. "I'll help you." My stomach growled; I patted it. "Would there happen to be food at the Student of something...?"
"Lake of the Student Tears," snapped the hooded figure. "There's no time for food. We need to get to the lake and find the creatin." She yanked me to a stop. "You definitely haven't seen it right?"
"Nope," I blurted out, painfully aware of the lil rascal in my pack. "What did it look like?"
"It was awful. It had huge teeth, dripping with drool. Then with its large, grabby hands took something of mine."
We moved forward, passing through a tunnel made from the pages of the books.
"So what did the thing take?"
"It took," she sighed. "You have to promise, promise, not to tell," she lowered her voice even more. "The Librarian."
"The Librarian, who's--"
She clamped her hand over my mouth. "Don't say her name so loud," she whispered. "She hears everything. She's the ruler of these parts. I heard that she imprisoned the old librarian in Garmento." Picking up on my confused look she continued. "That crazy place is the far right path, the one you would've passed by on your way here."
"Okay...now about that precious item."
She shook her head so violently her hood almost fell off. "I changed my mind, I don't want to tell you."
"Fine, don't tell me." I made a mental note to pull aside later and ask Fluff what she took.
"But, I will tell you that the only way to translate what the mutant took is at the Student Tears. That's why we need to go there. Chances are that thing has figured it out and is heading there now. We've got to beat it there."
My foot caught on a small chapter book sprouting up from the ground like a flower.
"Whoa!" I fell forward.
"Eeek" came the small voice in my pack.
Within a second I was face to face with my mysterious traveling companion. Her fingers dug into my arm.
"Did you hear that?" she hissed. "The furball is around here somewhere. I know it."
"Maybe over here?" I said pointing at a pile of picture books that formed a bench. When she was examining the bench, I wiped the sweat off my brow. I took a deep breath, she had no reason to think that I was lying.
My traveling companion rose and marched toward me.
"You know, that thing vanished right before I ran into you. How do I know you're not lying to me?" she snapped.
Damn it. "Uh--"
"Why did you come to Ground Zero?" she said, grabbing a nearby book--preparing to strike.
"Well, I fell in here by accident. You probably won't believe me, but I was chased here by zombies and then there was this giant firefly, and....well that's it." I left out the part about the child and the voice, it seemed more like it was a hallucination at the time then an actual event.
She dropped her book. "Ha, I believe you about the zombies," she rolled up her sleeve revealing dozens of long scars. "I wish I could say their moan is worse than their scratch--but it's not. Ground Zero is the birthplace of the zombies."
"So you believe me then?"
She nodded slowly. "I've been here a long time. I've figured out that fireflies are good omens."
I almost laughed aloud. "If a giant firefly is considered a good thing, what on earth would be considered bad?"
The figure held up her index finger, it was half its normal length. "The voices."
"Good to know," I said with a wavering smile, glad I left out the bit about the child's voice.
A sweet and savory smell tickled my nose. I closed my eyes. "Mmm, what is that?"
The stranger yanked my shirt collar and pulled me up to her height. "Something rotten. We are going to avoid it," she spat.
Her hot breath hit my face and my heartbeat quickened.
If I didn't agree with her then who knows what she might do...on the other hand, I'm starving and could really use a bit of something--anything.
Alright big eye in the sky, I need to your help! Write down in the comments which option I should do. I'll do the option with the most votes!
That smell is definitely not rotten. It smells INCREDIBLE and I haven't eaten in forever. If it's on the way toward the Student Tears I'm all for trying to find it. I don't care what she threatens.
The stranger's been around here longer than I have. She knows what she's talking about when she says to avoid it. I'll listen to her, and ignore my rumbling stomach. Besides, who knows how crazy she'll get if I try to still go.