DISCLAIMER: Bigby Wolf and the Fables set-up belong to DC/Vertigo...as
much as they can anyway. I'm pretty sure the others belong to the estate
of C.S. Lewis and F. Baum, respectively. Thanks so much, guys.
FEEDBACK: [email protected]
Ye May Yet Believe
By Suzene Campos
'I thought to see you here, sooner or later. All your kind have sharp ears.'
"Nah. One of your keepers just has a big mouth to go along with the predilection for lions and ruby-slippers. I convinced her not to let it go any further than the three of us for now." The glow between the man's cupped hands transferred itself to the end of his cigarette and echoed in his eyes. The eyes threw back discs of reflected light, as the wolf behind them examined his find. "To tell the truth, I didn't think you'd be back this time. You're lucky that no one in this world likes to believe their own damn eyes. They just think that some vet screwed up with her contraceptives."
'It is not my habit, nor is it the way I would have chosen to return. But it is far better than being confined to nothing.'
"Wait until you know the situation, then see if you can say that with a straight face."
'I know the situation now. I knew it when I first returned.'
"Aren't you special." His coat slapped against his ankles as he turned to look up at the moon. "I really didn't expect to see you again. I should have known it, of course, given the circumstances...but I didn't expect it."
'You are not accustomed to hope.' A pause, then a soft question. 'Am...am I truly the only one?'
"No fauns, beavers, or talking horses made it out, if that's what you're asking. So far as I know, you're the only one." There was silence, complete as the quiet of a dead world, painful as a grief beyond outcry. The chirping of crickets fell still and even the heavens seemed, for a moment, to dim.
The moment passed, and it was only the city glare that made the stars seem so washed out.
"By all rights, I should call someone to take you up to the Farm."
'You know I do not belong there.'
"You're nothing special now, Leo. You're just another refugee legend. You're not entitled to the royal treatment."
'Then why have you come here alone?'
"I wanted to see for myself, maybe." The uncaring mask did not falter, the guised wolf did not turn, but his companion did not have to see his face to know that something faltered.
'Did I lie when I said you are not accustomed to hope? I think not. If one can return across the boundary of death, is your dream of returning to the home and hunt so far from the realm of possibility?'
"Far from the realm of reality." The naturally gruff voice had become hoarser still. "There's no use thinking about it." He gave himself a short, sharp shake and turned back to the conversation. "The Farm's crowded anyway. They can barely handle the ones already in there. You've got a habit of thinking that you know better than everyone else. That won't work here. Treaty demands that we keep a low profile. So don't go trying to set any of the brats you see up with crowns or you *will* be taking a trip upstate."
'I will have other matters to attend to, when I have regained my strength. I promise, I will make no trouble for you or your kindred...though you may wish, at a later time, to assist me.'
"No thanks. One lost cause is enough for a lifetime."
'They are the same cause, the same dream. Given time, it will not seem so unlikely that we might repay what has been done, Bigby.'
"No problem there. Time's the only thing most of us have right now. But I think I'll wait before throwing myself behind a holy army being lead by a plush toy." The wolf pushed away from the guardrail, preparing to go.
'You knew who I was before you set foot in this place. There was no need to see. You came anyway.'
That made the wolf pause...then he paced off into the night. The zoo returned to its nighttime silence. A wary lioness licked the fuzzy form of a young cub with and royal, solemn, overwhelming eyes, and odd spots situated just where another had fallen with arrows piercing his paws and side.