Once again everyone had overlooked Night Hawk. The little bird had gone looking for help, and now she could be seen streaking through the sky and into the battle, and with her was Moon Cloud’s distant cousin, Stormcloud.
Together, the two clouds unleashed a torrent of rain, and as anyone can clearly understand, a marshmallow, even a giant green one with evil intent, is no match for large quantities of water. The spirit of Green Druid was washed into the ground, where it became trapped for all time.
The threat to the veil was ended.
After the battle, the friends gathered around the millennial dragon tree for a brief ceremony. They then said their goodbyes. Once again it was time to go their separate ways. Would fate ever draw them together again?
Together, Billy Joe Bob and Moon Cloud shared one of a dwindling number of Portobello mushrooms, which Kat Lady provided, and they joyfully welcomed back their rightful voices. “That’s the last derned time I ever want to be around one o’ them mushrooms,” said the Texan. “Well I reckon my voice sounded sweeter than honey on a biscuit, but it just ain’t right for a Texas boy. But I tell ye, now that I got my voice back, I’m takin’ this Pooka feller back to the Great State. He was born to run free on the lone prairie, and that’s where we’re headed now, ain’t that right big feller?” The Pooka neighed and stamped his foot. Billy Joe Bob climbed onto the magical creature, clung tightly to its mane, and suddenly they vanished. All that could be heard was a “Yeeeehaw,” quickly fading into the distance.
Slowly and quietly other members of the party left Tenerife, some by elevator shaft, others using Portobello mushrooms. Now that the fungus was becoming well-known to the Foggy Duck patrons, it was being used for all sorts of good things.
Beith and Selene walked through the streets of Icod, searching for a particular elevator shaft that Selene had read about at http://www.travelbyelevatorshaft.com
. They found the right building, stepped into the empty shaft, and, after a blinding flash of light, landed on barstools inside The Foggy Duck Pub. The clock said 2 a.m. Gladys was there, wiping the bar with a wet rag. The ogress then folded her rag, closed out the register, and, with a few mumbled words to Beith, headed out the door.
The two friends were alone.
“Why did it have to end this way?” asked Selene. “It just doesn’t seem right or fair.”
“Just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” answered Beith. “Did you see his reporter’s notebook? He couldn’t spell marshmallow. He’d written it down five different ways and kept crossing out the words, trying to get it right. The battle was over then, if he’d just moved a few inches one way or the other, that falling apple would have missed his head.”
“But Beith,” said Selene. “After all he’d been through … all the stories and dangerous adventures he’d survived … and then to be killed by a falling apple. There’s something wrong with this, I just don’t understand.”
“Some things can’t be understood, Selene,” answered Beith.
Selene got up, walked around the bar and poured stiff drinks for both of them.
“He was a real pain sometimes, wasn’t he?” she said. “But he was a pretty decent writer, and nice enough, once you got to know him. Do you remember the time he talked me into writing a story for The Pagan Press? Oh, the trouble I got into over that, I was just furious with him for talking me into that fiasco.” Selene sighed, fingering her necklace, a faraway look in her eyes.
“And do you remember that time when we had to rescue EarthWard from the insane asylum?” asked Beith. “And one night as I was going to sleep, Crow snuck that coin onto my pillow, and I slept on it and got a welt on my cheek that lasted a week! Oh, I could have wrung his neck for that!”
“Can he really be gone?” asked Selene. “He did say it was his last assignment, but I don’t think anyone believed it, and surely nobody could have guessed it would end this way.”
“Yes, dear,” answered Beith. “We were both there when we buried him at the foot of the millennial dragon tree. I’m afraid he really is gone. But life’s a spiral, Selene, did I ever tell you that?”
“No, but maybe you could tell me while we walk. I’m tired of magical travel. I’m going back to Louisiana, but this time I’m going to fly in a real jetliner, and there’s a flight leaving Gatwick just four hours from now. It’s a short walk to the airport from here. Will you come with me, and we’ll talk about spirals while we walk?”
“I would be honored to walk with you to the airport, Selene, and yes, we’ll have a good talk as we go. And after you depart, I’ll head straight away back to Dublin, but no jetliners for me. I have these,” Beith said, pointing at her stiletto-heeled ruby slippers. “I think I’ll try them out!”
Arm in arm, the two friends walked out the front door and onto the porch.
“Oh wait a second,” said Beith, “I promised Gladys.”
She reached back inside and turned off the lights.