A young girl with a bad attitude battles a toad.
"Listen, you don't want to kill me I--"
"Don't tell me what I do and don't want to do," Aubree said sharply while pointing her sword at him, sharply. "I'm going to do what my father should have done a long time ago. Cut off your useless head."
Clem shuttered and let out a very weird noise, "Eeagh-ceckeck."
"What was that?" Aubree asked tilting her head slightly.
"Oh, nothing.. Just the sound of my heart breaking." Moments after the last word left Clem's mouth he dropped to his knees and began to sob.
"No amount of crying can mend a broken heart," Aubree said coldly. "Now get up you're not impressing anyone." Then glancing at a nearby toad she added, "Am I right?" The toad did not answer.
"It may not mend it, but at least it will blur my vision, preventing my seeing what an ugly thing you've becom--" But before he could finish his insult his head was quickly severed from his body.
"What an ugly thing I'VE BECOME?" Aubree asked the severed head leaning over, then turned asking the toad with a chuckle, "What did he pay someone to protect him from mirrors?" The toad appeared to shrug and then began hopping away. "It was rhetorical you stupid toad! I don't need your judgement, what could a toad know anyway? How to catch a fly with it's tongue? I bet I could do that." Aubree said, but the toad by that time was gone.
The wind blew briefly sweeping back the tunic of her recent victim and revealing a small rolled up piece of parchment.
"What could this be?" Aubree asked.
"Looks like a dead body" said a mostly toothless man.
Aubree turned abruptly and glared at the seemingly poor man that happened by. "I.. Wasn't asking.. You." Aubree said slowly, and according to a pair of vulture's nearby, too deliberately.
"Then who's was you asking? Tweren't nobody here" the man said matter-of-factly.
"Not that it is any of YOUR business but I was asking a toad."
"That don't make any at all sense, they don't even speak our languag--"
"I don't have to justify myself to a DIRT MERCHANT!" Aubree screamed and scared two nearby birds into flight.
The man followed the birds flight with his eyes causing him to twist his body about as the birds flew over head. After a moment he said, "I'm no merchant. I'm a far-" but just then Aubree's blade pierced his heart and he no longer felt it appropriate to speak.
Aubree pushed the man off her blade and began to regain her composure. "Now" she said resolutely and then remembering the recent events that occurred from her speaking aloud, said "Now what's in that parchment" silently to herself. She walked over to her first victims body, dropped her sword, retrieved the parchment, unrolled it, and then began to read it in precisely that order.
Aubree, I asked Clem to deliver this note to you because I have something very important to tell you--something I couldn't bring myself to tell you in person. I'm not your natural Grandfather. I took your mother in thirty-five years ago and did my best to care for her and protect her through these wretched times but; I regret that I haven't been as involved in your life. I hope that what I'm about to say, though perhaps a secret best kept from you, will give you at the very least understanding. You're mother's parents, your true grandparents, were--
Just then the wind blew harder than before and separated the parchment from Aubree's grasp. "Tits!" Aubree yelled taking a few hurried steps forward then, losing sight of the note, calmed herself. "How predictable." Suddenly the wind blew again and she could see the note twirling in the distance. Keeping her eye fixed on it she ran after the note, the truth, the incomplete sentence that vexed her so. The note flew too and fro, mostly fro, before settling behind a rather handsome hedge.
"Ah-ha" Aubree exclaimed, my pursuit was not in vanity. I'm ready for the disappointing conclusion to my impostor Grandfather's ill couriered note." But as she rounded the hedge she soon realized her journey was not yet complete. Her stomach churned as she beheld the toad she so recently berated and, clasped in it's slimy jowls, the parchment she so recently pursued.
"What could you possibly wan with that? You can't read!" Aubree screamed. "Can you?" The toad didn't respond.
"Give me that now, if I had my sword I'd--" but before she could finish the toad dropped the note in front of it, and then hopped a bit back.
"Oh, you're not a horrible thing at all are you? You're a nice toad, I'm sorry I shouldn't have jumped, or that is to say hopped *chuckle* to conclusions like that." Aubree, smiling, approached the note, but as she bent down to retrieve it, it suddenly disappeared. She looked up and saw the vanishing note back into the mouth of the toad she suddenly regretted giving the benefit of the doubt.
"You! I'm going to smash you to a fu--" Just then the toad did something that both surprised and censored Aubree, it dropped the note and, again, hopped a bit back from it.
"What do you think I am? An idiot?" Aubree asked, "You think my parents shared the same Mother?" Just then Aubree recalled the first part of the note she read. Maybe they where. If here former Grandfather was indeed telling the truth, which he always had. Well, I guess other than telling her he was her Grandfather, which he's now saying he's not. Just then the toad flinched, perhaps involuntarily.
"I saw that!" Aubree screamed, "You understand what I'm saying. You have this whole time! You are a liar! And a thief! And... and.. very uncivil, even for a toad."
The toad lashed out it's tongue, snatching the note back into its mouth, then dropping it for the third time.
"I wasn't even going for it that time," Aubree said, "You're just being spiteful."
The toad opened it's mouth displaying it's tongue, and staring at her.
"What?" Aubree asked. The toad, if it could, would have looked annoyed, but instead it closed it's mouth and then quickly darted it out towards the parchment tapping it slightly, but this time not retrieving it. He then continued to stare at Aubree.
"What? What you want me to grab it with my tongue? Don't be silly I can't do tha--" Aubree's voice suddenly betrayed her, not letting her complete the last word and thusly completing her last thought, therefore making her sound eerily like the toothless man she recently killed that insisted he wasn't a merchant.
"That's right. I said I could do this." Aubree said then, in her head, heard herself screaming STUPID TOAD! WHAT COULD A TOAD KNOW ANYWAY? HOW TO CATCHA FLY WITH IT'S TONGUE! BET I COULD DO THAT!
"I was right," Aubree said voice quavering, "You were being spiteful. Out of all the people in the world why am I the one that has to suffer the justice of a toad?" Aubree's eyes began to tear, but she refused to weep she kept hearing her cruel words repeat over and over again in her head. "My words hurt. I didn't know I sounded so beastly"
"What did you pay someone to protect you from echoes?" Aubree turned around to see the surprisingly animated head of Clem.
"No amount of crying can mend a broken ego." Clem said with a half-grin.
"Great now not only the toad, but by some retarded coincidence you're here to torment me too." Aubree began to wipe the tears from here eyes, "I don't have to take this from you. I'm imagining this. Probably some hallucinogenic side effect from consorting so long with a toad. You aren't real."
"I won't argue the relevance of that statement, lord knows if I am in you head we would never find the end of it." Clem paused for a moment. "Don't worry about whether or not I'm real, am I right?"
Aubree's mouth smirked and then seamlessly morphed into a sneer. "Right about what?
"Um.. I don't remember." Clem said looking left which, because of the position of his head, was towards the ground. "Hey do you really think I'm just a manifestation of your mind?"
"What? Um, no I--I don't know or care what I care about," Aubree said now turning to the toad, "Is getting that note!"
"And this means more to you then your pending sanity?"
"Better to lose my sanity now, in the pursuit of a question, than later in the agonizing regret of inaction. It will torment me to the end of my days." Aubree's muscles tensed, her eyes appeared manic, as she prepared herself for her next note-stealing attempt.
"Wait!" Clem exclaimed.
Aubree jerked abruptly at the sound of Clem's voice nearly falling over.
"If it matters this much to you I'll just tell you. I didn't mean for all this, I'll tell you what's in the note."
"You read it?" Aubree asked in disbelief.
"The note. The note!" Aubree yelled.
"What about the note?" Clem asked bewildered.
Aubree screamed, "Never mind! Ugh, it doesn't matter, I'm after resolution, and even if you did read it, I doubt you're retelling would be accurate enough to achieve that. So now, if you don't mind." Aubree said composing herself. "I have business with a toad." Aubree crouched down like an awkward leopard, then took in a deep breath and held it. This is it she thought. Then slowly counted down. Three.......... Two.......... On--
"OH! Did I read the note!" Clem yelled all of the sudden. "Yes, I read it."
Aubree jerked forward prematurely and then completely off balance and uncoordinated she ineptly approached her target. Her feet desperately tried to find traction in the sloppy terrain that, she could only assume, was the toad's home. Her left knee gave out and then shortly there after the right knee, ever the conformist, followed suit. Aubree fell face first into the muck as the toad hopped away, leaving the prone Aubree to here muddy feast.
The dismembered head of Clem rolled over to Aubree until it was parallel with her, "Oh, so you wanted to know if I read the note. I get it now." He said surely. "Why?"
Aubree ignored him and sat up. She was completely covered in earth bi-product and was curious about why she didn't taste it. Her mouth was full but unaccompanied by the biting taste of dirt and filth. She turned to the detached head of Clem who was trying to blow dirt out of his eye.
"Oh you found the note!" Clem said settling to just keep his left eye closed. "Things are really starting to look up! Of Course, me being a disembodied head, all I can do is--"
Aubree quickly spat out the contents that recently took residence in her mouth "All you can do is look up--ha ha--how amusing." Aubree quickly cleared the mud from her eyes which revealed a more slimy version of the parchment the wind previously took from her.
"There it is!" Aubree said excitedly.
"There what is?"
Aubree rolled her eyes and then, picking up the note, focused them on the sentence she last read.
"Oh the note!" Clem realized, "What does it say?"