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Glamorgonia touched the wall again. A well-formed ripple blobbed away from the touch epicentre and soon another glutinous pair of eyes formed in the wobbling nucleus. “This one doesn’t say much unless it’s about a particular subject,” said Glamorgonia confidentially to Ado; then under her breath, “and I’m afraid it’s someone that you’re going to get to know very well during the next few years.”

A young boy-man jumped out and did what appeared to be a little tap dance. He had a sparse growth of hair around his smooth chin and when he smiled, yawning holes, where once healthy teeth had been, seemed to mock the watchers. He was dressed in dirty tee-shirt and short trousers that had a large tear in the seat and he wore mud-covered shoes topped with thick woollen socks that puddled around his ankles. His eyes darted around the landscape as if looking for something, or someone. His face screwed up, his legs bent and a great rippling exploding fart split the silence causing everyone, including the eye-wall, to take a sharp step back.

“Ahhhhhh,” signed the being, taking a deep breath of the noxious odour that spread out from the general focal point of his bottom and, rubbing his hands gleefully, he burped loudly, taking the rumbling sound across the entire pentatonic scale.

“Jack Tar’s the name,” he spat, spittle explosively clouding his words and, turning around, deftly dropped his trousers, wiggled his white bottom towards Ado who guffawed appreciatively. Taken aback by Ado’s reaction, Glamorgonia first expressed surprise then looked to the skies in exasperation, her head shaking imperceptibly.

Jack’s smile was indeed infectious and even Fefe stopped sucking his thumb to giggle a little. The boy stood with his fists on his hips and looked up at the eye-cloud, his whole face smiling, “I am our sense of fun and skylarking, Ado,” he said, “I am naughty ‘cos there’s nothing good about following rules ‘n stuff like that. It’s fun to break ‘em and see the look on people’s faces. Fefe and me have had great fun. But, although I am a bit of a bully and love a practical joke,” he raised a dirty thumb towards the two boys, “I will see us good.”

“Watch this,” he said winking, then jumped towards Glamorgonia and pulled the string of pearls from her neck, breaking the fine thread and making the pearls cascade, a riot of clattering, bouncing jumble, to the ground.

Then, laughing at the sharp intake of breath and Glamorgonia’s ineffective obstruction as she, too late, raised her hand to her shapely breast, he jumped back into the wall, his laughter echoing around the wasteland with a sound like the raucous chortle of a Cracksovian tar-parrot that had managed to escape unharmed after robbing the entire contents of fat Maiden Sloethorpe’s well-stocked pantry. The rippling bloop wobbled to nothing as Jack Tar’s eyes became lost within the eye-balling horde.

Glamorgonia casually raised a shapely finger and, as if in a motion picture that had suddenly been paused, the pearls immediately forgot about escape and froze in the air in mid-bounce then, reversing trajectory, slowly moved back towards Glamorgonia where, instead of reforming themselves in the fine necklace that had been draped charmingly around strategic parts of her shapely body, they softly nestled themselves into her hair looking like stars in a dark, if somewhat hairy, firmament.

“As you can see, Ado, some of your personalities require a little, shall we say, cultivation. But I am sure that deep down, although he is someone who does not fully grasp the concept of benign authority, this particular one is not a bad person. However, to learn to, err, negotiate with him, you will perhaps require to be equipped with the right tools,” said Glamorgonia gently patting her hair into place, “and you must hope that he does not fall in with the-Worng-Crowd, of which Steinfrank, latterly mentioned by Petunia and Joslin, has the potential to be a part.”

Patting her immaculately coiffured hair into place and settling herself down again after so much excitement, Glamorgonia rested her shapely finger on her lips as if thinking then reached out in an elegant fashion and touched the slowly rotating, quivering octoplasmic barrier again.

A small figure with a shock of untidy hair and large black glasses, stepped out and looked around as if he had lost something. On one thin wrist he carried an immense eagle that looked far too heavy for such a slight figure but which he carried with as much ease as if it had been made of air. The bird sat quietly and wore a red leather hood that covered its eyes and that was adorned with a spectacular flowing plume made from thin golden strands, and its head was tilted as if listening to compensate for the loss of its sight. It sat calmly on the boy’s wrist as if waiting for instructions.

The boy looked first at Glamorgonia, then appearing to notice Ado and Fefe for the first time said, “Oh, hello Ado,” said the boy, “my name is Hainry, and I am……,” he looked towards Glamorgonia, “what was it again?” he queried, “Oh yes, I remember,” he smiled as Glamorgonia made to answer, “I am our sense of curiosity, enquiry and interest.”

Hainry was wearing a knitted sensible jumper and seemed to be distracted as he talked. He raised his fingers to his lips, his eyes to the sky and paused, thinking deeply and then seemed to notice the immense bird waiting calmly, its powerful and deadly looking beak close to his right ear.

“Ah yes,” exclaimed Hainry as if in relief, “this is Ponget.”

He swung his arm to bring the eagle to within a whisker of Ado’s face, a movement that made Ado recoil in alarm. Hainry placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder and curiosity crept over Ado like a warm spring day chasing the shadows of a cold night. He moved his head back to be almost on the same level as Ponget’s who appeared to be looking at him as if she could see perfectly, despite the thick red leather of the hood.

“Ponget is a Slinuronian Egol and she has a very important role to play in our trajectory together. But, um…” Hainry stopped and thought again, “I’m afraid I can’t remember what it is at the moment.”

“She is your enthusiasm,” whispered Glamorgonia to Ado helpfully.

Hainry eyes brightened, shining sparks of instant animation, “Oh yes, she is definitely enthusiastic. I can’t wait to show you how she can fly.”

“Can I stroke her?” asked Ado and Fefe instantly sat up, his eyes sparkling and his hands clapping in excitement.

“I think so,” said Hainry and he held the bird steady as both Ado and Fefe gently stroked her shining feathers.

“Anyway,” continued Hainry, “as I say, I am our sense of curiosity and love reading, exploring and finding out new things although, sometimes I get a little distracted. I also love nature and science. Have you read this book yet?” and making to reach for his back pocket he realised that there was nothing there. “Oh dear, I seem to have left it behind. Well, anyway, I love to read and things. Yes.”

“Don’t worry Hainry,” interjected Glamorgonia, “You and Ado will have lots of time to get to know one another and I am sure that you will have lots of wonderfully interesting things to explore together.”

“You bet,” said Hainry, then, “Would you like to see Ponget fly?”

The two boys nodded vigorously and, whilst Glamorgonia recoiled on her couch and rearranged her hands, clinging to the loose garments that demurely wrapped her shapely comfortable body as if she knew what to expect, Hainry reached up and took the ornate red hood off Ponget’s eyes. Then he held his arm above his head and whistled a high piercing note. Suddenly imbued with the energy of the hunt, Ponget snapped upright, imperiously surveyed the scene around her, and unfolded the most enormous pair of brown wings that were decorated with intensely bright yellow lead feathers. The wings seemed to span the entire width of the eye of the cylinder in which the small group was collected. Then, using a motive push from Hainry’s steady arm, she took to the air, her wings gathering purchase in the thin air and sweeping her skywards in graceful loops above the small group, the downdraft raising a minor storm of dust and pebbles that tugged at clothes and ruffled hair, causing Fefe to hide behind Ado for cover. Although Glamorgonia clung to her robe, Ado noticed that her hair remained untouched and perfectly coiffured throughout the windy take-off.

The majestic bird flew upwards on strong beating winds and, as she did, Ado could feel his spirits soar with her, blood rushing to his face. From the corner of his eyes he saw Fefe creep out of his shadow, put his hands in the air and stand on tiptoe as he watched the bird fly higher and higher, his mouth wide open and his thumb forgotten.

No-one said anything as Ponget soared beyond their sight until she seemed to reach the very top of the bondle-cloud, a tiny black dot against a purple sky.

“Wow,” said Hainry, “I always forget how beautiful she is and how wonderful it makes everything feel.”

He turned to the boys and giving Glamorgonia a big smile he said, “Now I have to go because after flying Ponget is always hungry and I have to remember where I left her bowl, but I’ll see you again soon Ado.”

And with that he turned to move back calmly into the flobblewall and the ectoblob closed in after him leaving a feeling of calm confusion.

The calm did not last for long, because at that moment…

Gnob appeared.