A cool breeze blows off the Berry Bay onto a lone figure holding onto a compass. Instead of an arrow pointing towards Cardinal points, a small puddle of what looks like liquid amethyst vibrates softly. High above, a mighty dragon ship roars a signal and the figure smiles up towards the sky. What other reaction is appropriate to seeing a friend float down hundreds of feet hanging onto a purple lacy parasol.
The figure on the shore is a young man with a maroon coat and dark grey pants. He stands barefoot next to a man in a tuxedo who’s facing the ocean with a conductor’s baton in his hand, as if waiting for a cue from the young man.
The lovely damsel begins to descend a bit faster. As the young man scratches his beard wearily, he notices her descent, which prompts him to look over to the man in the tuxedo. “Ease her down a bit, maestro; if you’d be so kind.”
The man facing the ocean begins to move his baton gently while overlooking the ocean and the subtlest, gentlest breeze blows precisely, catching the parasol perfectly and halting the young woman’s descent. The barefoot man reaches up his hand to ease her down to the ground as if she were stepping down from a set of invisible stairs.
“Thank you, J.D.”
“Thank the maestro, dear Claudi.”
She curtseyed towards the conductor who nodded satisfied with his control over the melody of the wind. Turning back to J.D., Claudette looked over her friend. “You’re looking a little tired, and a little thinner. Everything all right?”
J.D. flashed his trademark grin, “Aye, luv. Just a lot on the plate at the moment and worried about Jane.”
“How is she?” Claudette asked, controlling the concern in her voice. “Your message seemed urgent.”
“She is well although I wanted to see if you could help me ease her dreams. The ocean of her mind has been a bit rocky lately, as has mine.”
“Hence you telling me to come prepared and to provide backup.”
“Precisely. Did you bring the pencils?”
She scoffed lightly and pulled open her purple suede coat. Underneath, she wore a black and purple shirt and the embroidery on both garments was something J.D. could have looked at in detail for hours if there weren’t more pressing matters at hand. Instead, he focused on the rows of pencils on either side of her coat.
“That’s great,” he said shortly. “I promise we’ll toast on giggle suds soon.”
Claudette held up her left hand as if to stop him. “No explanations needed, J. As for the help, I suspect you plan a full break out.”
“You already know me so well,” he replied with his smile.
“Thought so. We’re going to need two friends then.”
“Great. Where do we start?”
Claudette thought a moment before replying. “The Down Pond.”
“Well there are two. Do you mean the one before Up Mountain or the one beyond the Webbed Bridge?”
“The second one,” Claudette answered.
J.D. closed his eyes and held the compass in his left hand. The crystal liquid rippled and spun until it pointed back and to the left of them. “Off we go.”
“On foot?” asked the young woman incredulously. “I think not mister. Jane won’t be made to wait.”
She pulled out two Easter eggs from one of her coat pockets, cracked them open and two tiny kangaroos hopped on the floor. One was lime green while the other was violet. Before J.D. could even ask about the size of the small animals, Claudette took out a bag with what looked like neon cotton candy floss. The tiny kangaroos jumped eagerly towards her hand and quickly ate up all the candy.
“I’m guessing that’s not cotton candy,” J.D. said.
“You are correct,” she responded looking at the small animals as they slowly began to swell and stretch. When they had grown eight feet tall, she nodded in approval. “It’s spandex candy, not cotton. I needed to stretch them out a bit.”
J.D. shook his head and smiled. “So where are the saddles?”
The two giant kangaroos looked at each other and puffed, while Claudette smiled.