I like this place where we’re renting now. Nuni’s older’n I am, but he listens to me ‘cause I have more world ‘sperience.
“Your Flapper’s okay,” I say. The flying lizard thing is really not a real flyer but its ribs snap open and it spreads out flat and they kind of flap when it breathes and it’s pink and has scary looking fangs. He says to be careful ‘cause the fangs... they’re ornamental and break off really easily. And its this weird greeny pink. I think it looks more like a girl’s pet even if it does have cool fangs and a frill and hisses. “They’re all pink.” He says. “No other colours.”
Jiaklem turns the same colour as Flapper and we giggle. The butler told us we weren’t to ride the house donkeys. They’re supposed to be working so we are soooooo polite that he jerks his chin at us and tells us we should, perhaps, consider going back out into the garden to play.
Jia’s crawling up the side of the hill the folly is built on and we’re lying on the grass though we’re not supposed to get our shirts and kilts all green and his dog, Roar, is lying with his chin on Nuni’s stomach.
“How long you think you’re gonna be here?” Nuni has a grass-stem in his gloved fingers and is trying to make it buzz by blowing through it, though you need to really have bare hands to do that.
“Until my brother gets elected Imperator.” He’s gonna do it. I know he’s gonna do it. He’d make a good Imperator and Ailadas… I like Ailadas and I’m glad he’s here. He’s still at the University so Gian and the class are coming here when he’s teaching there. I missed him when we were gone. He’s like a grandpa. Amitzas is my fourth-cousin kinda GRANDFATHER. All really re-spectable. I don’t think a Mahid knows how to be a grandpa kind of grandpa though.
“Huh. My sister will like that. Then she’ll marry him and move back into the Marble Palace with you guys.”
“Yeah.” There’s only a teeny, high cloud or two over the city, in the far away Rim… like one half of an arrow target. I pretend that it’s a lot smaller and this edge that I can see off to my one hand is matched by one on the right. But that’s just silly. If the pit were that small then the city wouldn’t fit. Or the lake. Or the woods. Flapper is snoozing in the roses and I see a big, fat snail on the tree roses over my head and call for Jia.
“Hey, Jia there’s a big one over… Jia?” He’s not there. He was on the side of the hill and now he’s not. I jump up. “Jia?”
Nothing. Nuni pushes his dog off his stomach and gets up. “He was just here.”
“Jia!” I run over to the hill and then up onto it. “Jia, where are you? Jia?” It’s pretty steep for someone to walk up it. Nuni said it’s because it’s supposed to make you think when you put the effort into climbing up to the folly built on top.
“Maybe he went around the back.”
We worked around and Nuni’s dog started barking. It was just at an empty snail shell but that was a sign that Jia’d been here. “Shut up, Roar,” Nuninibas said and went to drag the dog down the hill. “Go back in. Go on.” Then he came up to keep helping me look.
“Hey!” My foot sank into the grass and I sat down hard. The grass had fallen in… in a kind of hole… not a big hole. Nobody could see it up here because a couple of little trees had rooted here and their roots kinda pulled the dirt up, and we were on the other side of the folly from the house, kinda more toward the big big goldfish pools. There was a crack in the grass.
I pulled my foot out and I could hear Jia cheeping. He was happy cheeping so there were a lot of creeping, gooey things down there in that hole with him. Nuni looked at me. I looked at Nuni. “I could fit in there, I bet,” I said. “I could go get him!” I wanted to be brave, even if it was dark. I wanted Jia and nothing had hurt him and it was air not void down there because we could hear him making his happy ‘I’m eating’ noise.
“Oh yeah?” He wasn’t going to let a kid littler than him go ahead of him. “I’ll bet I can fit in there too --” and he pushed me and I ducked under his arm and into the hole, wiggling, my legs sticking straight out and kicking. I kinda got stuck a little cause it was a little hole and I could hear Nuni yelling stuff but it was muffled ‘cause my head was inside.
Then something shifted under my tummy and I was able to wiggle all the way in. I fell down and when I stopped I could hear Nuni saying ‘Wait for me!” It was dark except for the hole I’d come in and then it went all dark when Nuninibas wiggled in and then couldn’t see him and he fell right into me and knocked me over.
I managed a shortie little post. I'll see what I can do...