Mud seeps through my night slippers immediately. Of course.
“Of course this dimension wouldn’t be like a normal forest,” I mutter to no one, reaching for a branch to pull myself out of the schlop. Snap.
“’Meet me at half-past the thirteenth hour,’ she says, as if that’s as easy as swiping a swollen plum from the tree out back.” I shake clumps of mud and bracken off my hands, but nothing will do but to wipe them on my crumpled robe.
I grimace at the black crescent residue still under my nails. I flick them, then look up at the sky.
“So I’m here,” I say toward the trees, spinning a slow circle. I’m distracted by the mud between my toes. “I’m here at exactly half-past, but where’s she? Declares an emergency of catastrophic proportions and then where, I ask. Just where is she?”
“Whoever are you talking to, Henrietta?” a laughing voice filters down through the canopy.
“Myself, of course,” I reply, fisting my hands on my hips as I turn to the sound. “I’m a perfectly fine person to talk to, don’t you think?”