We, that is, all but Ecko who opted to stay with Drake inside, rushed to the garden just in time to have more traps flung at us, though not with force enough to hit anyone - traps of all shapes and sizes, I might add, both makeshift and store bought. There was a great deal of rope which might have seemed innocent enough were it not for the blocks of wood and the massive nails which had been driven through them every which way to make impromptu flails, tree branches which someone had sharpened into stakes, a variety of tangled razor wire… and the traps; I could see at least one bear trap in the mix, and several smaller but no less painful leg traps.
And still there was a small mound of them at the feet of the masked woman, who though standing still, seemed a constant blur of motion. It was a wonder no one had been killed in our frequent treks through the woods or on my fruit gathering expeditions. My heart just about fell into my stomach with the realization that Lullaby, and even Trina upon occasion, had been running around in the woods unattended. It was only pure chance that neither of them had run into one of the traps. Ron seemed to be of the same mind as he edged forward to stand between the woman and Trina. Even Sunshine could have been killed if he’d walked into the bear trap or been brained by one of the flails.
Our erstwhile protector? savior? trickster? twitched and suddenly she was away at the edge of the woods. She moved again, more slowly this time as if to give us a good view of her abilities but still a blur. She paused in another patch of woods and turned her head towards us once before disappearing entirely.
You might be asking why I might not trust this stranger who may have just saved one or more of our lives…
- She wore a mask. Not the normal proxy fare, true, but a mask all the same. It was almost a crest of feathers and subdued color like some kind of unassuming Mardi Gras or Mummer’s mask, if there is such a thing. Everything about her gave the illusion of some leggy bird, an ostrich or an emu… something fast and dangerous if you ticked it off. From her blog, I'm assuming she's meant to be a roadrunner, though I don't know much about them outside Wile E Coyote cartoons.
- She came close to the wall, but didn’t enter the garden. She only threw half an arsenal of traps at us and left the rest in a neat pile just outside the grounds. If she was a friend, if she meant us no harm, she could easily have approached us one on one, without the cryptic BS and the dramatic introduction.
No… I don’t know if we can trust this newcomer. There’s no reason to believe she didn’t create these traps herself for dramatic effect. She’s warned of a traitor, if this is the same woman who’s begun dropping hints to us, but it could all be a snow job to make us trust her enough to be careless.
I had no appetite when we returned to the house, nor did anyone else but Sunshine who seemed nonplussed by the fuss despite the little growl he’d given as the newcomer threw the second handful of traps our way. I let him have what he wanted of the porridge along with the road kill he brought in wanting me to do something with it. He’s been bringing me little presents of dead things, some fresh and some not so much, and making eyes at me until I put it near the fire for him. I don’t think he cares if it’s cooked so long as it is “prepared” with everyone else’s food. Cute, but absolutely disgusting at the same time.
Shady, who’s had no appetite for too long than I care to think about, is outside right now, going through the traps to see if she can use any of it to improve our defenses. Waste not, want not, I suppose. But it doesn’t make me feel better, not with kids in the house who could easily walk right into them if they’re not careful.