Chapter Twenty-Six, Part Two: Apple GrassMature

Jack blinks against the day, letting the grit fall from his long eyelashes. 

His delighted blue orbs latch blearily onto the yellow plaster trousers of a sturdy, faded lawn gnome. 

Leading past the little gnome, there is a series of barefoot tracks leading into the house that owns that screen door. 

“Locked, it looks like,” Jack murmurs, getting up and dusting off. A sudden glare from the sun skirts across his vision, singing something as it seems to lay a track of fire in the grass for a moment. 

His eyes float up, following. 

The breeze is breaking and entering through a small window… 

The yard turns like a merry go round; the white house melts into the edges of a bowl, and the screen door becomes a silvery decorative line, just above the strange green noodles. 

In his hand, there is a smashed fruit; red bits of peel reveal the pale cream flesh of a superbly depressed apple. 

Hearing that whistle again, he ducks another of the falling fruit, diving backward onto one knee and a hand. 

 The hand curves around its landing spot; fake fur… a zipper. 

 Jack turns around… 

“The panda!” he breathes, his chest heaving. 

Then he relaxes. 

The silver glint of the zipper is shining in the afternoon sun, a testament to Anahata, the green chakra. 

“Hirsute…’ he says, grinning, appreciating the situation along with his chin. Then he stands up again, letting the furry costume slip back onto the grass. 

He walks away from it, toward the gnome again. 

A pile of apples shifts from the roof of the house, casting a strange shadow for a second as they fall, a triangle made of dots; one, two, three, four. 

Jack watches the shade mutate out of sync as it grows toward the ground, then stops.

The End

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