The Guardian of Aloons/3

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The Guardian of Aloons
Author Morbus Iff
Genre Fantasy, Humor, Mystery
Rating PG-13
Frequency Weekly
The Penny Dreadful.png
Dueling sermons between Henry and Olivia, his wife, left the
townsfolk stunned and the children saddened. With his burning
office crashing all around him, is this the end of Henry?

There I was, buried under the burning beams, notebooks, and bird carcasses of my destroyed office, sleeping it off like a building’s beating was just another day. When I awoke, I found that someone had pulled me from the rubble and laid me on the street out front. I sat up coughing and marveled at how the last five years of my working life could so tidily be reduced to a smoldering mound of ash. A few pachyderms, called in from the nearby city, were spraying water on the remains.

I took a second look: yep, pachyderms. But not just any of our bulbous and trunked grey friends, but those from DermPachyges, the only major competitor to TransAvian. They were taking advantage of this mishap by leading the cleanup crew. I was absolutely thrilled to see all my sodden work sod upon by soddin’ buggers out to make a ‘loo by flashing smiles at the “good work they performed today”.

There were a few of my neighbors still milling about, double-checking to ensure no stray ember might settle in for a lunch on their roofs. One turned to me then ran off.

A grin crossed my own face as I recalled what had recently happened. I had given out questions, given them to all the kids who had watched my office burn to the ground... or, rather, burn enough to fall on top of me. I remember one question in particular...

“You’re awake.”

One about my wife.

“That was a nice trick you pulled.”

When two people get married, it’s become recently popular to get a badger to cement the deal by hammering a symbol in. Like many organizations, these badges mark those who wear them as members, or betrothed as the case may be. Badge extrication, the removal of such a mark, is costly due to the reshaping and filling of the carapace to seal the hole. Most folks tend to just cover them up, but my wife wanted it gone and she wanted my money to do it.

Huh. I don’t think I’ve ever thought of my wife so unfavorably.

“How’re you feeling?”


“Let me help you up.” She bent down to steady me.

I couldn’t believe it. She had become so impressed with my rapid-fire dealing of the questions, even the one about stalling her demand for extrication, that she had swooned all over again. Waving her hands away, determined to show that I was as strong and feisty as ever, I got to my feet with only a wobble here and an exertion there.

“Well-enough, looks like?”

I nodded and stared at the sky, reaching around to the back pocket of my pants for some margins and ink. I’d have to give that kid a new question, since there’d be little point in stalling an extrication that was never going to happen. We were back together!

“Too well”, Olivia murmured and as I turned back to gaze into the eyes that I had always loved, the eyes that could be fiery and doe-y all in an instance, I saw her shoe rear up, wielded by a hand that was moving slightly faster than I’d anticipate for a hug.

Apparently, my dirt nap wasn’t over.