Episode 73: Gretchen: Time to Wake a Monster with a Moth by Jim Davies

Through Emerson’s eyes I saw Eve Pixiedrowner climb out of Magnitrude’s dresses and
up a nearby tapestry. I flew Emerson close to her until I had her attention. She nodded at me.

Then I led her to the box on the shelf.

It had a latch. She tried to open it but didn’t have the strength. Then she tried to pry it
open with Grim’s blade, but it wouldn’t budge. She panted from the exertion and looked at
Emerson. “Any word from Dichall or Gombree?”

I buzzed Emerson back and forth, trying to look like a head shaking “no.”

Eve nodded. “I’ll go back and wait in her dresses.”

Emerson crawled back under the door and into my arms. I released my connection to his
eyes and body and stroked him, making sure his wings were okay. I felt my body relax, knowing he was. I was well-hidden. Magnitrude was sleeping. I waited for Dichall, my eyes growing heavy.

Maybe half an hour later I heard footsteps—human, by the sound of them—but then Waffles Ribeye walked in, with Dichall on his back.

Dichall jumped down. “Where’s Eve?”

I pointed to the closed door behind me. “In there, with Magnitrude. She’s sleeping. The
glasses are in a box she can’t get open.”

Gombree walked in with a gait that suggested he was trying to be quiet.

Dichall saw my expression and held out his paws reassuringly. “It’s all right. He’s going
to help us.”

Interesting. Well done, diplomat.

“Gombree, Magnitrude put the glasses in a box on a shelf. Do you know the one?”

The red pieces of flesh wiggled on his chin and he touched the horn on his head.
“Maybe… I’ll have to find it.”

“Okay. There’s another mouse in there. Eve. She can show you where it is.” I looked
around for a place for Waffles to hide. “Waffles, make yourself scarce. But be close
enough—we’re going to need you for our getaway.”

Waffles nodded and nestled behind a tuffet, next to a mink coat. He blended right in.

I looked to Gombree. “Can you get her out of there?”

“Well, Magnitrude is sleeping now. She wants her foot cream rubbed into her claws. And
she likes it in that room. If I try to get her out of there she might suspect something. It’s… not
something I would normally do.”
Dichall put his paw on my shoulder. “Gretchen, I have a plan, but you’re going to have to
be brave to go through with it.”

“I’m brave…”

Dichall nodded. “Gombree goes in and starts rubbing her claws. The door’s open, then.
You have Emerson go in there and freak her out.”

“Freak her out?”

“Remember, the last time we were here, she went nuts when there was a bug around, and
she shouted to Gombree to go kill it? That’s what we need to do here.”

My blood went cold. Images of Emerson being squashed with a pillow flashed in my
mind. Moths were not as fast as flies; they were easier to kill. “What if she kills Emerson
herself?” My voice cracked as memories of my despair after losing my last familiar, my beloved beetle Alexander, surfaced in my head.

“We have to hope that she won’t. She’s pretty frightened of bugs. You just have Emerson
flutter near her. She freaks out. Emerson flies toward the back of the room, so Magnitrude runs out to get away from her. When she’s out here, Gombree gets the glasses out of the box and puts them on Vivian. She sees what Magnitrude is, and, if we’re lucky, she’ll follow us out of this locus and we’ll be home.”

I looked up to Gombree towering over us. “Can’t you scare her?”

The creature shook his head. “She’s not scared of me, ma’am. No, no. Bugs is just about
the only thing she’s scared of. Yup, just the buzzybuzzys.”

I closed my eyes. “Dichall, I can’t lose Emerson. Let’s figure out another way. It’s too
risky. I don’t know what I’ll do if…if…”

Emerson fluttered up off my shoulder and landed on my head. I felt the vibrations of her
wings in my fur. Dichall embraced me and spoke quietly in my ear. “I know you’re scared. I know you’ve lost a lot. This isn’t an easy job. But it’s our job. I’m open to another plan, if you have one, but the longer we wait the more can go wrong. Gombree’s on our side now, but he might forget, or lose his nerve. We have to do this now.”

I pulled away, nodding. Buck up, frau. “Okay. I’ll do it.”

Dichall’s eyes brightened. Smileyes really is the best name for this one.

We climbed into Waffles’s fur and I pushed my spirit into Emerson.

Time to wake a monster with a moth.


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