Chapter 42 - Sweet Little Thing

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∞ 42 ∞

SWEET LITTLE THING


Lucius had gone twice previously to Valentina's, but still had the ill-fated Memory Tick. The first time he returned, he had a good excuse for forgetting: He had waited outside the house knowing she was in there, but tired of waiting, went to see what she was doing. Looking inside the window, he saw her lying flat out on her back on the floor in the passageway with a large white mechanical thing (the washing machine) resting on the top half of her delicate body! Fearing she had been crushed, he was about to intervene by tipping the thing backwards, when she shrieked and jumped up from under it. Rather than a bloody mess, she was quite well – except for the electrical shock she had apparently received. She had been trying to fix the thing and went around feverishly shaking the hand of her sleeve-rolled-up arm (a torch still in her free hand). Looking annoyed, she turned off the electricity at the plug and returning to her position on the dirty, stone floor with the machine tipped precariously over her and her arm stuck up the base of it.

After that he had somehow forgotten again on the next visit. Perhaps not 'forgotten' but still, he didn't feel like having discourse with the girl. He realised she wasn't a nasty person, but couldn't figure out if he thought she was a sweet little thing who had just somehow went off down the wrong road –a little like he himself had– or if she was a raving lunatic.

She seemed forlorn about losing some geese, which seemed all the better to him really. The poor thing was run ragged with the hoard of animals, it would have been far better if she got rid of the lot of them. He couldn't figure out why she had so many animals in the first place. All of them were the most commonplace of beasts. None of them produced anything of any worth, or did anything worthwhile. All they did was eat and produce filth and muck. She was too fragile to be doing that all herself. She looked like she needed a few good meals. Where was her 'man friend, boyfriend, common-law-husband' – or whatever the Muggles called their other halves in their pairings?... Wherever were her parents?! Puhf! For goodness sake! What on earth was she doing out in the middle of nowhere? HE had a reason to be there... SHE was just 'there'. She spoke to all of the animals as if they were people (children) and seemed to be of the opinion they understood her. And what was weirder, she spoke to them all in different languages depending on what sort they were: The horse and the chickens were spoken to in French and the goats in Spanish (according to Sander anyway) and the geese and the lone duck ('Amadeus' was his name – the duck! Hahahah! AMADEUS, for heaven's sake) were spoken to in English. Puhf! Mad as a pot turner!

Just thinking about her chatter earlier that afternoon made Lucius snigger even more:

"Come here. Come here!" She squeaked in her little high pitched sing-song voice."Careful. Ohh-h! You've nearly hurt yourself. Did you hurt yourself? Siegmund, Siegmund don't rush little boy. Do you want your nice breakfast? Don't be scared Edelweiss. Come here, come here – touch Mamá's hand, so you know it's me. Touch Mamá's hand. Were you scared? There there, don't be scared... Opph! Siegmund! don't bite Ludovica! Why did you do that? Littttle booo-oy! She's smaller than you, I've told you about that over and over! You've been told. Once more and you're on punishment. I MEAN IT. It will be your own fault." Rubbing his eyes, he dropped his head back, letting out a hearty belly laugh as he recalled her antics.

He could just imagine her having some sort of ludicrous tea party with all of them and imagined all of the different animals around a table in little bonnets and bow ties with her at the head: "Would you like some lemon curd on your toast Sister Philomena, my darling? Sit up straight Bruno. No biting Sedgewyck – mind your manners. Will you have some cake Ernestina dear?" He imagined in a pastiche imitation of the high-pitched, peculiar little, not-from-anywhere sort of accent she had... which he actually found rather pleasing, if he thought about it.

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