Hollow Moon Part 33
- Hollow Moon Part 1
- Hollow Moon Part 2
- Hollow Moon Part 3
- Hollow Moon Part 4
- Hollow Moon Part 5
- Hollow Moon Part 6
- Hollow Moon Part 7
- Hollow Moon Part 8
- Hollow Moon Part 9
- Hollow Moon Part 10
- Hollow Moon Part 11
- Hollow Moon Part 12
- Hollow Moon Part 13
- Hollow Moon Part 14
- Hollow Moon Part 15
- Hollow Moon Part 16
- Hollow Moon Part 17
- Hollow Moon Part 18
- Hollow Moon Part 19
- Hollow Moon Part 20
- Hollow Moon Part 21
- Hollow Moon Part 22
- Hollow Moon Part 23
- Hollow Moon Part 24
- Hollow Moon Part 25
- Hollow Moon Part 26
- Hollow Moon Part 27
- Hollow Moon Part 28
- Hollow Moon Part 29
- Hollow Moon Part 30
- Hollow Moon Part 31
- Hollow Moon Part 32
- Hollow Moon Part 33
- Hollow Moon Part 34
- Hollow Moon Part 35
The Reverend and Severius woke in the same state they had fallen asleep in. Their fistfight had been exhausting for both. Severius and the Reverend picked at each other verbally, still assessing themselves physically for damage from the night before.
“Augh. My nose. You brute. What did you bust me in the nose for?” the psychiatrist complained.
“Ya’ deserved it, ya’ sarcastic slimeball,” the Reverend said.
“Why? Because I called you a ‘preacher,’ or because I told it how it was?”
“B’cause there wasn’t no reason to even argue. What’s the big secret, anyways? You an’ Esk got somethin’ goin’ on that yer not tellin’ anybody ‘bout, an’ I wanna know what it is.”
“Well, tough. You’re the mighty Reverend. You figure it out.”
“Oh, don’t start. I ain’t a mighty anything. Ma’ wife hates me, she’s a’cheatin’ on me with that Deacon Pritchard, an’ I’m in trouble fer tryin’ to defend some kinda honor she don’t even have. Mighty. Ha! Ya’ call that ‘mighty’, huh? I prob’ly don’t even have a church no more. Or a house. Or a penny ta’ my name.”
“I might have been out of line, Reverend. But that was still no reason to crack me in the nose. I was just tired.”
“Okay. So, I’m sorry, too. I got questions, though. Like this’n—why does Esk call ya’ ‘Lod’ all the time?”
“I don’t know. He thinks I’m part of some conspiracy of some sort. What, I don’t know for sure. He can be a bit… eccentric.”
“Weird. Esk isn’t like you and me, Reverend. He’s—”
“He’s what?” asked Esk in a rhetorical manner, emerging from the underbrush behind the men.
The two of them hopped to their feet and stood huddled together, as if to either defend one another or to push the other out in front to absorb the brunt of an attack. Disheveled, they were quite the pair of outcasts now, and they were both lost, with no one to hear their cries, screams, or pleas for help.
“Stop,” Esk said.
Both men shut up immediately and watched Esk’s every move. Esk appeared tired.
“You both have a lot of explaining to do.” Esk sized them up. “Who attacked you?”
Neither of the humans attempted to answer. Esk cleared his throat.
“Who attacked you?” he asked a bit louder, enunciating slowly this time.
Lod spoke first. “Well, Reverend Bandersnatch and I had a bit of a disagreement, and he hit me first, but I hit him back, and then things kind of got out of hand a bit.”
“It ain’t no big deal, though. We’s friends agin’ now. We worked out our diff’rences,” the Reverend followed up.
“You attacked each other?” Esk asked.
“Um… yes,” they said in unison.
“The trees did not attack you?” Esk asked.
The Reverend and Severius looked at each other, confused. Esk rubbed his temples with his fingers.
“Never mind. Have you seen Sam?”
“No,” said the doctor.
“Lod, how long will it be until the antidote counteracts the shot that you gave me? I tire of this stasis of form.”
“What’s he talkin’ ‘bout?” the Reverend whispered to Severius. Severius elbowed Bandersnatch in the ribs and shushed him.
“Not long, now. It should be wearing off, Esk.”
Esk decided to try transforming into his native DNA form and, to his surprise, he transformed easily into a tangled mass of silver strings and strands on the forest floor. He knew he needed to spend some time in the nucleotide bath in the moon to fully recuperate. Esk still had just enough energy to translate himself, Lod, and the Reverend back to the moon, though, which he did in a flash before the two men had the opportunity to run.
On the television in the diner, breaking news announced to the breakfast crowd that the psychopath was back in custody and in solitary confinement under suicide watch at the prison. The warden had no further comment on the situation, but nobody could hear the TV over the din of shock and surprise and celebration if they wanted to. Further comment was not necessary.
Julian was busier than ever. While turning to fetch another order, he spotted Jean Bandersnatch out of the corner of his eye, though. She was on her way into the diner, flouncing about as if she had single-handedly captured the villain herself. The minister’s wife parked herself on a stool at the counter and demanded the waitress take her order that very moment. The head waitress ignored her for several minutes just to annoy her.
“Um, ‘scuse me, ya’ have a customer here. Right here. Yep. Here I am! Over here!” Jean got louder and more insistent.
Julian snuck out the back door of the diner with some food for Sam, who was still recovering from his ordeal in the crisp air. “Thanks, kid, I appreciate it. I’ll leave the plates right here on this step when I finish. I gotta get home and see if Esk is there.”
Julian warned Sam of the Chief Gossip’s presence in the diner before going back inside. Sam snuck by the windows when she was not looking and took off for the cabin after his eggs and toast had settled in his stomach somewhat. Sam could tell Esk had been home and left again in a hurry. There was pine sap in the sink for some reason, but Sam cleaned it up easily and waited for his friend to return. He was too amped to sleep. “Killer tree species” was blinking in the search bar of the internet search engine on the computer screen…
Esk asked the collective consciousness to keep an eye on the two prisoners—Lod and the Reverend—while he soaked in the glucose bath, promising he would explain the situation when he was in better shape. The Eskerektul Council had approved his request and held Severius in one exam room and the Reverend in another, both strapped naked to metal slabs in their respective temporary quarters while awaiting interrogation. The sugars rejuvenated Esk’s newly repaired DNA from the nucleotide bath. He began to feel like himself again. As he gained energy from the warm gooey sludge, he was determined that he would not be duped again. He had questions. He would get the answers himself this time. No clones. Just Esk and his new methods of extracting information from this species. That could wait a bit longer, but not much. Time was running out for the King Axolotl…