Episode Thirteen: Illumination. Part Three.
“This is unbelievable!” Clio snapped and crossed her arms.
Next to her, Spectra snorted. “No kidding. Usually I do all of the animal work, but it seems you have a regular mixed bag of genres, friend.”
They were standing and watching as Doctor Rainbow Miller’s dogs dug into a cluster of recycling cans on the edge of the a small mountain town.
The dogs had run all day and night and were now nearing what used to be the old town of Boulder. The puppy, the fluffy little dog with eyes like black buttons seemed to be having the time of her life, rolling in rotted produce and buffalo. The bigger dogs were more sedate but rooted through the trash none the less.
Clio threw her hand up. “Unbelievable. I’m one of the oldest and most respected Muses on all of the Orphan Planet. I’ve been seen entire religions be built, then thrive and crumble into dirt. I’m the last direct descendent of Zeus! And where does it get me?” She stamped her foot and tossed her head, her one eye flashing dangerously. “Dog watching, and babysitting the dead.”
Spectra laughed her high dangerous cackle, throwing her head back and grasping her sleek white pantsuit in her clawed hands.
“Oh go away trickster. You have other mortals to torment!” Clio shouted.
Spectra grinned, sharp teeth peeking past her lips. “You bitch now, but when the Man recalls you, you’ll be sad to leave your babies as always. Also dog sitting is no bad gig.”
Clio huffed and turned away. Spectra left.
“Stupid hyena. If you lived in my time Heracles would have skinned you and made you a loin cloth.”
Ava stiffly sat on the edge of the pack, head lifted and turned to the breeze to catch the scent of the close by human settlement. They’d found an abandoned hole to cluster together in and now she sat sentinel.
The pack had run all day, despite Baby and sometimes Jep, the spaniel needing to be carried in one of the larger dog’s mouths.
“Waiting on your human?” An amused voice asked and Norma crept out of the shadows, her long low body brushing along the ground.
“No. I will never wait on a human,” Ava swore. Norma yawned and laid down on her side.
“You do know must humans aren’t Rain, right? Most of them seem to be kind to us and ours.”
Ava didn’t respond, lifting her nose higher.
“We can go over the mountains. There’s an ocean on the other side. Rain’s males might have gone there,” Norma told her quietly.
“We’ll go around them, towards the north.”
Norma huffed in understanding. They two dogs watched the dark night sky.
“I’ve heard it said that at one point, when our ancestors roamed this land that there were countless pinpricks of light in the sky, called stars. I saw them once on one of Rain’s machines.” Norma spoke softly, a hint of wishing in her high whine.
Ava looked upward. She couldn’t see anything other than the velvety darkness.
“Do you think we’ll see stars?” She asked the older dog.
Norma rolled over and tucked her forepaws down towards her chest.
“Someday maybe. Let’s think of tomorrow, for now.”
“For now,” Ava agreed.
Leonardo sighed and sat down on one of the cots.
The tour had finally left, the high childish voices echoing in the stone hallways. He and Richard crept back down, Richard grumbling about having to sneak around his own home, and found themselves in the middle of some mild chaos. It seemed to be the status quo.
“We can’t just turn them out, Marie is still out there!” Aspen was saying loudly to Jerome, whose hands were held up in either platitude or protection.
“I’m not saying that! I’m just saying that we need to think this through first, alright?” Jerome said steadily.
“There’s nothing to think about,” Magpie declared, their hands on their hips. “We’re having them stay, until we can figure out a more permanent place.”
“More permanent?” Leonardo asked, bemused. Everyone’s head twisted around to stare at them.
“Well yes. While we can’t return you to your own time, there’s no reason you can’t live comfortably on earth,” Magpie said.
“But what about?” Richard gestured to the back of his own neck. “Won’t your government know?”
“Not if you live carefully. You won’t be able to use transporters or move around very much, but there’s low tech villages that still exist, ones where people aren’t expected to flash their neck for every little thing,” Harm said.
Leonardo nodded, but his heart sank. What was the purpose of his mind if he was simply going to fritter it away in some village? Was that what he’d gone to Florence for? To Milan and Rome?
Next to him Richard didn’t look any happier but, he seemed to sink in on himself, exhaustion finally making his shoulder bow.
“Right well, that’s settled. Now we’re going to set you up with rooms for the night, it’s been a long day,” Magpie ordered. The look on Richard’s face as he was ordered to bed in his own home was quite amusing.
Leonardo’s new room was in one of the towers, with a simple desk and a cot that had been quickly replicated and assembled. The narrow window allowed a shaft of sunlight in, but Leonardo yawned hugely. It was past seven but the sun was still high. He theorized that it was because England was so much further north than Italy had been.
He turned his face toward the pillow, yawning again. Leonardo could hardly remember being so tired in his entire life. He wondered where Robespierre was, if he was safe or already dead. He wondered what stone Middleham was made out of, he wondered what made Richard’s spine twist…
Leonardo fell asleep still asking questions.