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Rings and Fings: Episode 19
They walked along the narrow meandering lane that led to the village. Essentially they were walking uphill, but it was hard to notice with the lane being cut into a shallow in the valley. Most of the road was bordered by hedgerow and tall ancient trees whose branches met high above like dark boney fingers meshing together providing a natural canopy. Rachael looked up between the branches at the night sky.
The bright crescent moon followed the pair as they made their way. “Where are you going? “It wanted to know. “ I’m coming with you.” And so it did illuminating the long clouds turning them into silvery ropes that were eventually attached to a gigantic sail somewhere beyond the horizon that pulled the Earth through the galaxy.
Glittering stars provided the background. The traveler pointed one out every now and then telling her tales about it. "Star lanes," he explained, "when they were making these country roads they would follow the brightest stars and use the moonlight so that travelers could see better, especially for second night."
“Second night? What was that?” Rachael wondered. “No torches, eh?" She asked him.
He chuckled, "No torches."
It was so mild, not even much of a breeze. She left her heavy leather jacket open.
There weren’t many houses along the road. Mostly it was entrances to driveways which led to farmhouses like hers. They strode along confidently knowing that if a rare car or tractor happened along they would hear and see it miles before it reached them.
They chatted as they walked, and at one point the conversation turned to the rent, “I appreciate you turning the coins into normal money for me,” she said.
“Not a problem.”
“How do you do it?”
“There are merchants in the town; they buy the coins from me.”
“How does he get into town? It is miles away. Why did I get a shock from them?” Rachael was about to ask when her she caught sight of something. From high up in a tree a huge winged creature was dropping rapidly and heading straight for them.
Rachael was startled by the winged creature. It fell toward them with a velvety silence, then circled then landed on the travelers shoulder. Rachael gazed at the huge white owl. Vicious yellow talons dug into the traveler’s coat. “Ouch, that looks painful,” she mused. The owl itself regarded her then turned to look at the traveler and it let out a loud screech!
The traveler smiled then looked toward Rachael, “He says his name is Lars, and he is a good friend of Legion’s. Apparently, he’s looking after us on our journey in the stead of the mighty black cat.”
Rachael stared at the beautiful white bird sitting on his shoulder. She had never seen an owl in real life apart from the dead one that stared at her from the stairway window shelf. He was magnificent! She had never realized how huge they were. Lars had a sense of predatory superiority. It was the eyes that affected Rachel the most. Those eyes! They were just huge and deep and she could see all knowledge in them.
Then with a silent flap of his wings he was away. Rachael watched. It was as though he moved in a different time and space. He seemed to move so slowly but the downdraft hit her face. She watched the owl until it disappeared into the thick tree branches.
“Wow!” she exclaimed. The traveler was smiling at her.
They started walking again; Rachael occasionally looking up to see if the bird was really following them.
“He won’t let you see him. Stealth; that’s their thing,” said the traveler. “He says he is the incarnate of a knight that used to patrol here for an old king.”
It was a cute thing she thought, pretending he could understand creatures, probably used it in his street act.
“Yeah, okay Doctor Doolittle.”
“No, not him. Doctor Doolittle, you know, he could talk to the animals.”
The traveler stopped and looked at her intensely, “He could?”
Rachael started to sing, “If I could talk to the animals, walk with the animals….”
The traveler interrupted, “They made songs about him?”
“Well, yes, but he wasn’t. . .”
“And this other Doctor you speak of?”
“The Doctor Who?”
“Well he travels through time and space, and…”
“He does?” interrupted the dark man once again. “Do these Doctors live here in the valley?”
Rachael grabbed his arm and pulled him into a walk again. “Let’s just get to the pub.”
“Yes, of course, but I would like to know more about these Doctor friends of yours.”
Way above the moon was glad he had walked with these two.