Jardin des Plantes

Morag stood on her own a little distant from the empty, rusting cages. She shivered a little as she saw the others wander around. Miss Henderson saw her and came over.

“I’m not that keen on cages, truth be told,” said Morag when Miss Henderson arrived. “I got picked up one time in London and put in one for a while until my father came and found me.”

“Sounds awful,” said Miss Henderson. “Were you scared?”

“Terrified… and there was nothing I could do. If I’d opened ma gob I’d been in worse trouble. Luckily the other dogs in the cage were pleasant enough,” said Morag. Miss Henderson’s eyes went wide.

“Can all dogs talk?” she whispered.

“Oh aye,” said Morag, “we all had a big natter about philosophical epistemology.”

“You’re teasing me,” said Miss Henderson quietly.

“Sorry Felicity,” said Morag. “This place gives me the creeps.”

“Me too actually,” said Miss Henderson. “I feel quite on edge, thinking about what happened. I notice Miss B… Miss Bell… Sabine hasn’t joined us.”

“I believe she is trying to make the church look presentable for the anticipated return of Emile,” said Morag. “You’re none too keen on her are you?”

“I’m sure it’s not my place to have an opinion,” said Miss Henderson primly. “She just seems a little… showy to me.”

Morag chuckled quietly.

“And impertinent, forward, ill humoured,” said Miss Henderson, “and extremely inappropriately dressed for a lady of her age.”

“But apart from that?” said Morag. “Ah look, here come the Jennings now.”

“Anything?” said Sir John to Morag and Miss Henderson.

“Not really,” said Morag.

“It feels nearly right, but not quite,” said Marie, looking around her. Morag noticed her eyes were a little red. Marie in turn caught her looking.

“I used to come here as a child, with my aunt,” said Marie. “I never came after, you know, and I was remembering how nice it used to be. Then I remembered that my aunt was not who I thought she was, and that I don’t know who was who.”

“What building is this?” said Sir John. “What does that say beneath these plants?”

He pulled aside some foliage from the sandstone structure they were standing next to.

“Oh, it’s the door to the aquarium,” he said.

“That’s it!” said Marie. “That’s where it will be. Does the door open?”

“It’s rather stuck,” said Sir John leaning on it.

Miss Henderson barged into the door, and she and Sir John nearly fell in as it swung open. A dark passageway lay behind.

“Should we explore?” said Sir John hesitantly.

“I… think something is coming,” said Miss Henderson standing back. They all looked as something formed in the air at the end of the corridor. As it headed towards them it gathered more form, but remained translucent. It arrived at the door and the shape was clear. Two eyes, two huge tusks and a multitude of whiskers stared at them.

“What are you?” said Morag.

“I am the Walrus,” said the avatar of the water key.

“G… g… good God!” said Sir John.

 

Le kiosque du Jardin des Plantes

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