Part 20

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Noble Savages

CHARMIAN'S EYES SHOT open.  She jumped to her feet and spun around in one motion, glance rising upward.  From the bough just above her head a GeeBee hung from his feet like the bat would, arms folded and yellow owl eyes staring at her intently.  She couldn't tell if he smiled at her or was merely amused.

Without thinking, she plunged her hand into one of her vest pockets, digging around for...anything...that she could use as a possible weapon.  She pulled out a candy bar and, panicked, hurled it at his head, hoping it would at least hit him in the eye so she could blind him and then start running.

The GeeBee reached out and caught the candy bar before it could strike him, bony fingers wrapping around the little package.  He held it to his nose and sniffed it, then carefully tore it open.  Charmian could only stare as he started eating it.

Well, at least he was preoccupied.  She seized her chance and started running down one of the trails, knowing it was a bad idea, she could only get lost even further, yet not wanting to end up as dinner for that hideous creature.  How long had he been there, watching her?  He could have swooped down and dragged her off without her knowledge!  Why did he bother speaking up?  Was it some kind of game?

That's it.  It's some kind of sick GeeBee game.  Playing with your food!

She glanced back over her shoulder to see how far she had made it from the tree, making sure it was out of sight, then turning down another trail--


She tried to stop and only managed to stub all her toes and fall forward, nearly onto her face, breath knocked out of her.  The GeeBee hovered over the trail ahead, feet several inches above the ground, arms still crossed.  He'd finished eating the candy bar and now he just stared at her as he had before with that strange look, as if waiting to see what she would do next.  She should have known she wouldn't be able to outrun a wind elemental.

She tried again anyway, darting down the sidetrail.  Useless--as soon as she tripped (her earlier coordination appeared to be completely gone), there he was again, waiting for her.

She pushed herself to her knees, panting and scraped.  There wasn't anything else she could do.

Seeing she wasn't going anywhere, the GeeBee cocked his head.  "Lost?" he said again, voice mild.

"What's it to you?" Charmian shot back.

The GeeBee blinked.  "Rude."

"Yeah, well, I don't take very well to your kind.  Go back to Devil's Kitchen, why don't you."

The GeeBee's chest rose, and though she couldn't hear it, she sensed he let out a sigh.  "Far from home?"

"Miles," Charmian snapped.  "I can find my own way back, thanks.  I don't need your help.  What's the matter, your stewpot empty tonight?"


"Why do you care!"

"From which direction do you come, fleshling?"

"Sugar Loaf!!"  Charmian felt ready to lose it.  The creature's calm questioning was driving her nuts.  "If you try anything with me Old Mother Manitou will kick your scrawny ass!!"

The GeeBee cocked his head the other way.  "You don't wish to return there?"

Charmian ground her teeth and clenched her fists.  "WHY DON'T YOU LEAVE ME ALONE!!"

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