“You may rest for now, but we will depart on the morrow,” Famine stated. She then curled against my side.
B.D. moved onto the pillow, settled into the curve of my shoulder, and promptly began snoring.
I didn’t open my eyes until Nina brought in the breakfast tray, hoping the figments of my imagination would disappear. They didn’t. I spent the remainder of the day dozing and reading, and eating alarmingly healthy food prepared by my kind friend. The ferrets remained asleep, even when I shifted them to switch positions in bed or got up to go to the bathroom. Ferrets can seriously sleep.
The next morning, I convinced Nina that I was able to look after myself. She left, after delivering a nutritious breakfast of sprouted wheat toast with organic peanut butter and a glass some violently green juice that smelled like dirt.
“Feel free to leave, while I’m getting cleaned up,” I told the sleeping mounds on my bed. ”I’ve left the window open,” I hinted broadly.
I showered and dressed at a leisurely pace. I even blow-dried and styled my hair instead of just putting it up in a messy bun. I went so far as to apply eyeliner AND mascara.
I walked barefooted toward my bedroom with a hopeful heart. All would be normal. I mumbled to myself, “I’m a boring woman who works in a lab in Seattle. The most excitement I ever have is landing a research project or scoring a covered parking spot.”
I pushed open the bedroom door. The room appeared to be ferret-free. No lumps under the covers. No tails visible under the furniture. The bedroom was empty. I surprised myself by feeling a hint of regret. My imagined brush with magic had just been the fleeting side-effect of a traumatic brain event.
At that moment I heard crockery smash onto the tiles of the kitchen floor. Sliding to a stop at the kitchen’s entry, I saw two ferrets standing on the counter looking down upon the remains of my hand-made cookie jar, noses quivering with interest.
“It’s empty,” B.D. complained.
“It smelled lovely,” Mal offered.
“Well, I ate the last of the cookies before my ‘brain thingy’ and I haven’t had time to make any more. I’m so sorry,” I said snarkily.
I turned to get the broom and dustpan from alongside the fridge, when I noticed Famine raised up on her hind legs by the stove. Her little jaws worked, as she chewed on the dishtowel tied to the oven-door handle. A corner of the checkered cloth appeared to be eaten already.
I dashed across the dangerously shard-strewn floor to snatch the cloth away from her. Famine’s eyes narrowed dangerously.
“That is not for eating!”
“She can’t stop herself, sometimes,” B.D. snickered. ”She once ate the sandal of a roman soldier, and had stinky-foot breath for a week!”
Famine flashed him a glare, and then managed a haughty shrug of her furry shoulder. ”On occasion, I have unusual cravings,” she admitted.
“I’m surprised you didn’t lose a finger, miss,” Mal said. ”Last person what tried to take something from ‘er lost an earlobe, ‘ee did. I remember the look o’ surprise on ‘is face when she scampered up ‘im like a squirrel on an fat oak tree. An’ the yellin’ wa….”
“Yes, well, perhaps you would be so good as to prepare a morning repast for us and then we can be on our way,” Famine interrupted. ”Some scrambled eggs and fresh fruit should suffice.”
“Well, your ladyship, first I have to clean up this mess. I may have some toaster tarts and milk, but that’s all. I haven’t been to the store in a while.”
“Very well,” Famine agreed with a sigh. ”We’ll consume these crusty tarts, but we must make haste. We need to see a man about a sloth.”