I skipped on the snow as I landed at the writing cabin. Roald* helped me drag the gyro-copter back on the runway and turn it around.
Inside, I found Iris** the fairy using one of the tablespoons like a big shovel to load Bunny’s dish with alfalfa pellets.
“Good thing it was my wing that got sprained, and not my back,” she said.
I held a thumb up as I went past into the kitchen. I loaded the eggnog bowl into the sink and filled it with warm soapy water. Roald started on the dishes as I broke out the vacuum cleaner.
The rumble of the Harley sounded from down the valley. It would be a few minutes before Lisa*** got home. Sound traveled well in the icy air. I managed to clean up the worst of the dwarf tracks before slipping the vacuum into the closet.
A trio of harpies shrieked along the road and scattered as the motorcycle approached.
When the front door opened, I held my hands wide. “Welcome home.”
Lisa headed my way and turned up the stairs. I lowered my arms and glanced at Iris.
“Oh my little Bunny wunny. Mommy missed you so much.” Lisa’s voice drifted from upstairs. I waited for her to disburse an apple branch, a cardboard tube, a carrot slice, and a zucchini slice.
When she came back down, Lisa had already hung up her jacket. Her hair was full of icicles, and windblown. Somehow she still managed to look good. It was kind of a grunge/frozen look.
“Did you guys miss me around here?” she asked.
“I did.” I have to confess I was getting tired of scrapple, and eggnog that was stirred by Roald’s arm. Iris had been a big help when it came to preparing for my blog tour.
“Ve’s happy to have you back,” Roald said. “Iris and I can still make ten miles before ve gotta camp tonight.”
“Maybe we ought to wait until morning,” Iris said.
“Nah, I already got the cows loaded and dey’s ready to go.” Roald rumbled down to the basement and brought his cows around through the garage door.
“Are you safe to fly now?” Lisa asked Iris.
“Mostly. Roald said I can snuggle down into one of his cows. He said mountain cows have the warmest hair on Earth.”
“If you listen to Roald, mountain cows are the best of everything,” I said.
Lisa opened a drawer and slid out an old oven mitt. She walked out front and tied it to one of the cows.
“Dat’s a pretty good idea, by golly. Now Iris vill be nice and toasty along the trail.” Roald slapped his hands together and rubbed them. Steam clouded the air where he and the cows breathed.
No steam emitted from Lisa’s rhythmic breathing.
I walked out to join them and Iris snuggled into her oven mitt. “It was nice seeing you guys again,” I said. “Tell the rest of the southern people we said hello.”
We watched them go until they hit the tree line off to the east. It had been a busy year. Four older books published, and The Cock of the South was the last one.
Lisa and I went back inside, and I moved closer to the fire.
“I brought you a souvenir,” Lisa said.
I tried to suppress a grin, but failed. She took a shot glass from her purse and placed it on the front desk.
It looked just like this, but said Whitelyn, Arizona instead of Rachel, Nevada.
“You cozy up to the fire, temperature doesn’t bother me.” Lisa said. “Looks like I’d better get the skis on your gyro-copter before you have a worse landing.”
*Roald is a dwarven tribesman. He plays a supporting role in The Cock of the South. He was filling in for Lisa while she was away.
**Iris is a fairy. She also plays a supporting role in The Cock of the South. She was convalescing at the writing cabin while her wing healed.
*** Lisa is the main character in Wild Concept. She is a robot and works as my assistant at the writing cabin these days.