Tol hadn’t returned, or summoned him, that was cause for mixed emotions. On one hand, he wasn’t required to be an errand boy, patsy, or target for violence. On the other hand, it was likely that Tol was plotting and planning on his own, and anything could happen. None of the options gave Herring the least amount of comfort.
Added to that, Brigitte, of all the creatures in the universe, had appeared out of nowhere.
It didn’t matter if you were in the human world, or the spirit world, a belligerent ex-lover appearing during a time of personal crisis—and offering to do you a favor—was cause for worry. In his younger days, he’d been more than a match for her, and a random visit wouldn’t have been a concern. Now, tied to his former student, and stripped of his former glory? She could wipe the floor with him.
Herring sat against the trunk of the same tree. Indeed, he hadn’t moved since she left. His mind was too active to relax, or allow him to wander on. Day was breaking… and he couldn’t recall how many day’s he’d been there. It might have been hours, though. He couldn’t decide.
When he lifted his perpetually leaking eyes to the sky, he noticed something new about the tree. It bore fruit. Apples.
With a little effort, his limbs were stiff, he stood up and picked one. He turned it over in his hands, examining it for wormholes or defects, and found nothing. He bit into it, and found it crisp, sweet, and almost fizzing with juice.
“Oh.” He sighed. “I’ve not tasted something this fine in a long time.”
The sudden word startled Herring. He yelped, and seemed to fly away from the tree, he moved so quickly. He turned around when he felt there was enough distance that he could defend himself if need be, and heard cackling, joyous, laughter.
“Well, I was gonna say you don’t get out much, but then you fly away! Oh, that were a funny, funny thing!”
“Brigitte! Where are you?” Herring hollered across the field.
“I? I a branch. What you think, fishy boy? You eating my apple! You are a naughty, old fucker!”
He watched the branch transform into the cadaverous form of his former lover. She let go of the tree trunk, and gently dropped to her feet. Disturbed, he looked down at the apple in his hand. It wasn’t an apple anymore. It was a tiny being, with a screwed up face, and an evil glare.
“Mama!” It cried out. “Dis dirty man bit my ass! Save me from the nasty man!”
Scowling, and on the cusp of actual anger, Herring threw the little creature towards it’s mother. It sailed through the air, cursing and screaming, until she caught it.
“Now, now, Maron Ghede, my child, be polite.” She said to it.
“Fuck that, mama! Him ate my ass, and him not even say ‘merci’! I fart on him!”
“Politeness, child!” She screamed and slapped Maron out of her hand.
He bounced off the tree trunk, hit the ground, and rolled to his tiny feet.
“Screw you, mama! You an old hag! You tiny titties make sour cream! I go home and tell papa you no love me!”
“Shut the fuck up, child!”
“Child? I no child! I Stinky Marvin Ghede!” The little being screamed like a teakettle. “I go tell papa!”
Herring watched the little creature, Maron, or Stinky Marvin, run away.
“My apologies, Herring. I not mean for you to see family arguments.” Brigitte said.
“Eh.” Herring replied, torn between disgust and upset.
“I come to tell you I found the powerful little girl. She beautiful, but not so smart.”