Saturday, June 3, 2017

When Worlds Collide - Chapter Two

Ky finished planting the moonbeam vine and gently wove the stems through the trellis attached to the manor wall behind it. The vine would light up this whole area of the garden at night without bothering the resident vampire and the rest of his coven.

Gunter walked around the corner of the building. “Finished?”

“Just about,” Ky answered, as he put a twist tie on the last branch to hold it in place until it grew a bit more.

Gunter took off his hat and wiped his brow with his sleeve. The head gardener was a big man and it was a warm day. “Good, I want you and Gaulop to trim the hedge along the walk in the side garden. If you work quickly you can have it finished by quitting time.”


The work day in The Realms was short. Dusk came early and lingered longer than in the mundane world. It was as if this parallel world to the humans wanted to give the innocent inhabitants an opportunity to safely tuck themselves away before the beasts of the night awoke and started to roam… and hunt.

Ky picked up his shovel. “I’ll get right on it.”

Gunter fell into step beside his helper. “Gaulop’s just finishing hitching the hippogriffs up to the wagon. Matt and Luke are going to the Bouchard’s for a load of manure to spread tomorrow.”

“Is it a full moon tomorrow night? I’ve lost track of time.” Ky put his shovel in the tool rack and picked up a pair of shears.

The Bouchard’s manure was always spread before the light of a full moon. Whatever was in it, was activated by the moon’s rays and made anything you planted literally jump out of the ground. Gunter had barrels of it spread on Raven’s garden each month. With the loss of sunshine due to the shorter days in this area, it managed to keep the place alive and blooming.

Raven was the ruler in this part of The Realms, a parallel world where everything humans thought was magical, mystical, paranormal, or fantastical actually lived. He liked his garden kept spotless even if he was only out in it during the evening. Being the resident vampire limited his viewing time.

Gaulop trotted out of the barn leading the team of hippogriffs pulling the wagon. The one closest to him nibbled at his head affectionately only slightly hindered by its bridle. The harness they used for the wagon looped up and over the winged beast in order to keep them on the ground. Otherwise, they would take flight and dump the manure. They were temperamental creatures and easily spooked.

Gaulop often was the one assigned to harness up the hippogriffs. He was a satyr even though most of Gunter’s crew were human. Satyrs were gentle folks and good with other hooved creatures here in The Realms. Personally, Ky thought the team for the wagon considered Gaulop a bit of a mascot. They loved having him around and often sheltered him from the sun with a wing as he groomed their hooves and claws.

Ky was a shape shifter, but didn’t make a habit of morphing around his human friends. Some were not comfortable with the creatures he shifted into. So, most of the time he retained his human form while in their company and saved his alternate ‘selves’ for when they were needed to accomplish something he couldn’t do as well as a human, like hunting.

Gaulop handed over the team to Matt and Luke, grabbed a pair of shears and pranced over to Ky, his little cloven hooves kicking up gravel on the walkway. “Ready to attack the hedge?” He had a long face and the goatee added even more length. His grin was infectious. He was always in a good mood especially after tending to the hippogriffs.

Ky smiled back.

“Race you,” Gaulop challenged.

“Not fair… It’s no contest if I stay human and last time I changed into a wolf you freaked out on me,” Ky responded.

“Well, what did you expect? Satyrs are part goat. Wolves eat goats.” Gaulop bounced at his side.

“And the time I turned into a cat?” Ky brushed his dark curly hair back and looked at him out of the corner of his eye.

“A panther, and might I point out big cats eat goats too,” Gaulop bleated.

“And might I point out there isn’t much of any critter in The Realms that wouldn’t enjoy a nice goat on occasion, but I personally would not stoop to eating a satyr.” Ky handed his friend his shears. “Race ya,” he grinned and as fast as he could fall forward, he shifted into a large bull elk. Ky bugled a challenge and leaped off.

“No fair! You left me holding both sets of shears,” Gaulop whined, but he still picked up speed, dashing toward the side of the house and the hedge in the knot garden.

“You two mind the grass!” Gunter hollered. The big man took off his hat and wiped his brow again. He would have to send them back over to clean up the divots. If their hooves tore up the lawn Raven would have a fit.

*****

“Want to go for a drink?” Ky asked as they put away their shears. They had surprised Gunter and stayed on the path, so there were no divots to clean up.

Gaulop looked to the sky trying to judge the time. “Not tonight. It’s getting late. Leese well have dinner ready soon. If I don’t hurry it will be cold.”

“And what is the difference between the taste of cold collard greens and hot?” Ky asked. “In all honesty, greens are greens.”

“I can’t help it if you do not have a discerning pallet.”

This was a conversation, which was often addressed by the meat eating shifter and the vegetarian satyr.

Ky slapped Gaulop on the back. “Enjoy your greens and your lady,” he said. “I am off for a drink at the pub and then perhaps an evening hunt.”

They started the walk home side by side. Gaulop's little cottage was just a quarter mile down the road and the pub just another fifteen minute walk beyond that.

“You shouldn’t hunt at night. You might run into something that you’re not expecting.” Gaulop always worried about his friend.

“Oh, I’ll play it safe and take the west gate to Nayenezghani’s world. His land is always sunny and the hunting is great. I can make it to the west gate through the old Larkin farm behind the pub.”

“Does Nayenezghani know you hunt on his land?” Gaulop had heard the Native American God of the Hunt was strict about who visited his part of The Realms.

“He doesn’t know it’s me.” Ky grinned and turned into a wolf at Gaulop’s side.

The satyr bleated in surprise and practically fell over his own hooves jumping away.

“Dammit, Ky!” he squeaked.

Ky snorted in laughter as a wolf, which turned into a barrel laugh as he shifted back into his human form. “You should have seen your face,” he chuckled.

“Not funny,” Gaulop whimpered. “You’re lucky I didn’t do something worst then jump.”

Ky continued to laugh, “Scared the shit out of you could have a very literal meaning.”

“So… not funny!” Gaulop was still walking over on the grass beside the path rather than at his friend’s side.

Ky stifled another chuckle. “I’m sorry. I was just trying to reassure you that there was no reason to worry about me. Nayenezghani thinks I am just one of his wolf pack.”

Ky shifted into a cougar and sprung into Gaulop’s path. He switched his long tail menacingly and hissed showing a mouth full of sharp teeth. Then he shifted back into his human self and placed a consoling hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Or one of his pride.”

Gaulop didn’t even have time to bleat his surprise. He just frowned at his companion. “Have fun and try to stay out of trouble.” Gaulop nodded and turned off the road to home.

“See ya tomorrow,” Ky called and waved. It crossed his mind he might meet him right here, on the way to work, morphed into something tamer… perhaps a dragon. He chuckled at the thought.


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