This story exerpt is a continuation of the Which Witch storyline, and comes immediately after Tuesday’s piece, Duck. I’m sure you were all on the edges of your seats. Will duck-Simon flap off to join his brethren? What can an inventor do with no hands and a bill? Time will tell! And time happens to be now. If you are somewhat confused by what you’ve just read, I suggest you at the very least go back to Tuesday’s post, and, at the most, click through to the Fiction tab at the top, scroll down to Which Witch, and read all the little pieces of storyline that culminate (so far) in Quack!
I don’t own a duck, so, as picture, I give you my dog, in his least-favourite aquatic form. Look at those eyes! Don’t they just scream, “for the love of all that is holy, don’t take pictures of me when I look like a drowned rat!”
“Quack! Quack Quack Quack Quack!! Qu-ah! Qhat! What just happ-AK, What?! What just happened?”
The flighty waterfowl kept trying to express its anxiety through quacks and grooming as it transformed once again into a wild-haired machinist.
Flustered, Samuel ran his fingers through his hair for a few moments, before running them down his arms and legs and waggling them in front of his face to confirm that he wasn’t the bird he’d been sure he was just moments before. “Aaaah!” he exclaimed, taking a few hasty steps away from Agata, and tripping on a mislaid wrench in the process.
“aaaAAAaaa!” he tried again, jabbing a finger in her direction, eyes wide.
Agata sat comfortably on the only piece of furniture vaguely resembling seating. She thought it might be one of the surviving parts of one of the less landing-successful previous flying machines.
She looked up from her perusal of his blueprints, red marker in hand, and smiled. “you were saying?”
“You- you- you- you… “
Agata felt a moment of regret for her actions, seeing the frightened look in his eye, the way he held a wrench between them as a shield.
Of course. Because witches are evil, even if you don’t believe in them. She sighed and stood, wincing internally as he stepped back again. She set down the set of blueprints and started towards the door, calling out as she went, “I’ve put in some suggested modifications that will improve stability and help you have more control in landing in future. I’ve also taken the liberty of taking one of your sets of spectacles-in-a-hat as payment for my assistance today… and for turning you back into a person.”
“Um, thanks? And Goggles.”
Agata paused in the massive hangar door. “Who goggles at what?”
“The… erm… spectacles in a hat… goggles – flying goggles. They’re grand, aren’t they? Keep the wind and the bugs out of your eyes. Why would you need them… oh.” He stared at the broom she’d hefted over her shoulder with dawning comprehension. “Oooh.”
“’Oh’ is right,” Agata tried to stay chipper, wishing she felt more happy about carrying on her way after this encounter. “Good luck with your flying machine – it’s really quite extraordinary. Try not to kill yourself – that would be a waste. And goodbye.”
With that, she was astride her broom and shooting skyward with a freedom of movement unrivalled by the bulky awkwardness of the flying bird contraption Samuel had created. Indistinctly, behind her, she heard a yell. It didn’t matter. However he’d decided was best to treat a witch, she was unstoppable once she was airborne.
It had been nice, though, to be able to share the experience with someone, for once.