Friday, July 06, 2018
Flash Fiction #310 -- Serena's Baby Buffy
Sometimes having wings was a definite distraction and problem, Serena decided. Now as one of the worst as she tried to push Buffy into the swaddling clothes. The cat was not cooperating.
"Buffy, do you like your wings?" she finally asked, her voice uncommonly calm.
Buffy blinked bright blue eyes and looked at her with a slight bit of worry. "Ummm ... yes?" she offered.
"Then if you want to keep them, stop flapping them about and get into the clothing."
Buffy, the cat, sighed and folded her wings down. "It's a reaction to feeling as though I'm being trapped," the cat admitted. "I'm trying very hard not to bite or scratch."
"I appreciate it," Serena replied and finally got the long gown over the cat and her front paws out the arms.
"This is uncomfortable. No wonder babies always cry."
"I kind of agree, but you need to look the part. I'd rather do this with illusion, but that's not a good idea. Whatever those three women were, they would know magic. And besides, I suspect something would go wrong. After all, it is my magic."
"We'll do okay," Buffy replied. "I don't like this much, but I think this it will work. We know the women are apt to hit the next village. Let's stop them and see what they've done with the other babies."
Serena didn't really think Buffy cared much about the missing children from the other two villages. She did like adventure, though, and that worked in this case. They'd managed to save their own village's children, but the news had spread quickly about other babies gone missing elsewhere.
Serena's mother was at the dock to see them off. She looked worried. So did some of the others, but they wished her well. Serena's mother had wanted to go, too -- but being the village wise woman meant she and her magic might be needed at home. Strange things were happening in the world; Serena and Buffy were the best two to try to help.
Just the same, Serena thought the people had reason to worry. She and Buffy had managed some rather spectacular near failures ever since the spell that went wrong and gave them both wings. Serena wanted to prove herself -- but she did worry about what was going to go wrong this time.
The trip from home to the village of Goodport took all the day. Buffy was cranky by the time they got to the inn, and Serena not much better -- only to be told there was no room -- but the woman took pity on Serena who was in tears, mostly for fear that Buffy would claw her way out of the clothing. They had a little closet of a room that had belonged to a servant who now lived at home with her husband. The room was dusty and musty, and the only window was too small for Serena to even stick her head out -- but she was glad for the place and thanked the woman.
"Get me out of these clothes!" Buffy hissed as soon as the door closed and the footsteps moved away.
"Quiet!" Serena ordered, but she did quickly undress the cat, though she feared she would never get her in the outfit again.
Buffy slid out of the gown and plopped down on the bed, grooming, and growling. "Human babies have to be the most useless creatures on earth," she finally said looking up at Serena.
"I think you're right. But babies do grow up to be helpful, even to cats."
"Huh." She jumped down and explored the little room. "No mice. Well kept place, but I hope we don't have to stay here long."
Serena agreed. "I don't think I can come up with a good excuse beyond that my aunt didn't arrive, so we're heading back home.'
"A couple days," Buffy said. She sounded resigned. "I should go scout now."
Serena didn't like the idea, but she nodded agreement. Buffy could take a look around and report back to her with anything out of the ordinary, and still be ready for their visitors tonight.
They were going to have a very long night, she feared. And if they had no trouble tonight, then they would have a lot of long days and nights ahead.
"Don't be gone for long," Serena whispered. "I'll do a little magic so that it sounds as though I have an upset baby here. You know how that's apt to go badly, though."
"I'll be back as soon as I can," Buffy promised.
Serena propped the little window open, and Buffy squeezed out onto a corner of the roof. Then she peered over the edge, waited a moment, and finally spread her wings to glide away. Serena suddenly wanted to do the same. Wings were helpful things -- and had proven an excellent way to escape from stress.
Not this time. Instead, Serena set a little spell of a baby crying. The spell-child howled at first, but Serena quickly dampened the sound and began to pace, as though walking the child. The pacing helped.
Buffy came back sooner than she expected. The quick tap on the glass startled her, but she was glad to bring the window up and let her in.
"Good news and bad news," Buffy said as she leapt toward the bed, eying the baby clothes with some disgust. "The bad news is that they already know about the problem and they're taking precautions. The good news is that all the women and their babies are gathering downstairs where they will spend the night."
"Well -- ummm -- good?"
"You see the problem, right?" Buffy asked and glared at the clothing again.
"Oh. The locals will expect us to go down there with the others."
"Which means I have to be a useless little human baby for the night," Buffy added with disgust.
Serena could hear a few women coming up the stairs. They didn't have much time.
To be continued...