17: THE SECRET BOARDER

Had Spanakopitus but known it, Blodget's cryptic visitation was actually a reconnaissance mission. The badger was a scout for a party of one, you see. Attracted by the caravan of Zom and by the trail of drippings from the TrailMaster's elk carcass, he had concluded that this might very well be a fine home for a discreet, though surreptitious, lodger grown long in the tooth and cold in the bone. (Badgers fear neither man nor beast, but a burrow can get cold and lonely as a person ages.)

So one by one, Blodget sneaked his few possessions into the space below Spanaopitus's living room. And there, unbeknownst to Spanakopitus, he dwelt. Snug down below, he ate dried mice and read mouse fiction by the light coming through the cracks in the floorboards overhead. Of a domestic evening, listening to the comfortable sounds of the Master and Mistress above him, he fell into such a reverie he almost convinced himself he'd been invited to take up residence in the space between house and soil. It felt, in fact, like home.

Polaris, of course, knew that Blodget was down there, but, assuming the creature was an invited guest, he made no further mention of it. And Schnaphaunce was too recently come to know the difference.

Still, from time to time Spanakopitus paced the floor and wondered aloud what it all had meant.

18: Obligations and Distractions
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