THEN A PENGUIN WALKED IN #9




THE PROBLEM WITH TALKING in public to a pair of pop superstars, two of the most recognizable people on the planet, was almost as obvious as talking openly to a pair of bandicoots. You run the risk of being mobbed by thousands of screaming fans, all vying to touch one of your companions, maybe even take a piece of them home: scrap of shirt, lock of hair, whatever.

Then there was the threat of paparazzi. The less said about them the better, and that’s probably saying too much as it is.

“We should really take this someplace a little more private,” Dominick said, ushering the two celebrity doppelgangers back into the dumpster pen.

Once safe from prying eyes inside the wooden privacy fence, he continued.

“Now, how about you both drop the disguises. You’re horrible at it anyway.”

Vivian and Harold shared a look.

“I can’t say that I quite understand what it is you mean by the word ‘horrible’, but I suppose you’re probably right,” Vivian said, and soon the two pixie’s were glowing once again.

As before, the glow intensified to the point that Dominick had to shield his eyes. When he could see again, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift were gone.

At first Dominick though that the two pixies had disappeared as nothing took the places of the two teen sensations.

“Vivian?” Dominick said, looking this way and that. “Harold?”

“Down here,” said a high, piping voice.

Dominick looked down and found two tiny people, the size toys. He crouched to get a better view.

The two pixies, a male and a female, dressed in simple tunics colored in earthen tones of brown and green, with tri-corner caps and supple leather boots. Each had a tiny sword at their hip and thin gossamer wings, like those of a dragonfly, on their backs.

“Please Dominick Hanrahan,” Harold said, and his wings buzzed as they lifted him gently from the ground to float inches from Dominick’s face. “If you would but permit me. I would like for you take a peek into our world before you make your decision. Just a look. See our people and our homes. See how we live. If then, you still choose to stay, Vivian and I will respect your decision and leave you be.”

Dominick had to admit to himself that seeing into another world, even a peek, had his curiosity centers running on overdrive.

“Okay, sure,” Dominick said. “I’ll give the place a look. How is that all going to work?”

But Harold ignored him as he descended, and the using a piece of chalk the size of pencil lead, drew a circle on the side of the dumpster. Vivian joined him and the two made a few intricate hand gestures and chanted softly in unison.

He wasn’t sure how long he stood there waiting because soon he was lost in the rhythm of their voices. His eyes were drawn to the circle on the dumpster as it began to glow. The rusted green metal inside the circle faded and was replaced by the blue of a clear sky.

Dominick drew closer.

The bright blue shifted and Dominick found himself looking down upon a walled city with cobblestone streets. The buildings were packed together in a grid that defied the drab uniformity of such a formation and exuded comfort. He wasn’t sure why, but Dominick knew the people who dwelled within that walled city were happy.

The city grew closer and he could see the people walking the stone streets. His time playing role playing games helped him to identify the various races: Humans, elves, pixies flying here and there, dwarves, and tall creatures covered in fur that made him think of Bigfoot. He could see the smiles on their faces, the purpose in the way they walked. Something inside him wanted to be a part of it, regardless of the colored hose he could see most of the men wearing under their tunics. He wouldn’t have to wear hose, would he?

Suddenly, a shadow fell over the scene. Dominick backed away from the dumpster and looked up into the sky. But the shadow was not there with him and the pixies, the shadow had covered the city in the magic circle. Dread crept into Dominick’s heart and he found that sweat had formed on his brow.

The scene shifted like a jump cut in a movie, and now the city was on fire. Great plumes of greasy smoke rose into the sky. He could almost hear the screams as the people ran about in chaos. Few were organized, running buckets up and down lines of concerned citizens as they attempted to quench the blaze. But it was useless. More managed to escape from the walls out into the plains of grass beyond, only to be met by hoards of lizard men and large, hairless, dark-skinned creatures with protruding brows and small, black eyes.

To be continued . . .



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