Siste Ordet : Chapter 14
Before I can open my eyes, Sundae lifts me up off the ground, helps me gather my things, and we are on our way. Sundae is hopping for joy and gaining ground fast. I hop myself in an effort to keep up.
We pass a beautiful garden leading to a pond that is just thawing out. I see remnants of snow still clinging on to trees and rocks nearby with the sunlight pouring in. "Where are we going?" I ask.
"You'll see," Sundae smiles and heads past the pond towards what appears to be a giant prairie or farmstead.
As we approach, I notice the terrain switch to gravel and dirt. I can see crop lines far up ahead in the distance, and stems of what will soon become plants or flowers poking out.
As we approach an area filled with linens hanging on clotheslines, Sundae motions for me to be quiet and move slowly.
I stand still listening to the calm and soothing breeze when suddenly, Sundae shouts, "Morti! I know you're here! It's just me, Sundae, and someone I think you should meet!"
Silence ensues. Sundae looks back at me and shrugs their shoulders. They try again,"It's Ø, Morti. No need to worry."
"Show yourself!" I stern voice calls from behind the wall of linens.
Sundae turns to me and motions with their head,"Go ahead, Ø."
Seemingly a bit perplexed and unsure of what I'm getting myself into, I take a few steps forward, waiting for further instruction.
"That's enough," the voice calls over. At this point I'm just nervous, wondering what could be behind those linens.
"Boo," the voice suddenly appears behind my left ear. Startled, I turn around quickly to see a tall and spotted inhabitant wearing a bright tank top, with hazel eyes and big smile glaring right at me.
"Gotcha!" Morti giggles and turns over to Sundae,"You sure you weren't followed?" Sundae nods.
"Here, follow me," Morti flicks their paw, and we head past the linens into a small little hut with a secret entrance. Inside there's tons of plants, bins full of malt, and treasures galore.
"Make yourselves comfortable,"Morti mentions, as both Sundae and I look for a place to even sit. Morti hands us a pitch black baltic porter to sip on, which really hits the spot. Layers of dark chocolate, espresso, and graham cracker dance on my tongue.
"I'd give you both something to eat, but I've been busy you know?" Morti laughs, pointing to all the stuff in the space.
"Our friend Ø was hoping you could shed some light on Bowski's whereabouts," Sundae asks.
Morti takes a big sip from their enamel cup and collects their thoughts before muttering,"Oh Bowski, that old fool is everywhere,"Morti laughs. "In fact, I can't seem to get rid of them, no matter where I go," Morti stumbles laughing hard.
"Have you seen Hamlin recently?"I implore.
Morti puts their paw on my shoulder,"Bowski is in all of us kid."
"But what does that even..."I ask.
Morti sits down next to me. "Let me tell ya something Ø. I used to run around the Springs with Bowski since we were little. As we grew up, Bowski was always getting all the attention for all their good deeds and helping everyone out. As a matter of fact, no matter what I did to try to get attention, it didn't seem to matter."
Morti leans in,"It's like, we were always in the same room together, but never acknowledged each other....Not cause we didn't like each other, but mostly because Bowski was always getting the attention. I couldn't take it anymore. I'll admit, I held resentment, and just started going my own way."
Morti stands up and pokes their head out the hole in the wall, nervous like."Now, I can't get enough of my own dang attention!" Morti looks back at us and chuckles to themselves.
"So what happened to Bowski?" I plead. Morti looks over at Sundae with hesitation.
"Go ahead," Sundae mutters.
"Well, see the thing is," Morti begins. "That's the real crazy part of this whole thing. One day, out of the blue, Bowski said they were gonna go on a long journey to opplysning, and that I needed to stay back to take care of the family. Part of me wanted to go with them. I kind of got used to being the other guy in the room nobody cared about, but thing is, Bowski never asked for favors. I knew I had to respect their wishes. Those were the last words I heard them say." Morti takes another big sip from their cup.
"And you haven't heard or seen Hamlin since?" I ask.
"Only in my dreams and once in a while when I'm feeling down," Morti says calmly. "I miss Bowski just as much as you do Ø, and I've known the fella my whole life. But I'm still here, and if there's anything Bowski ever taught me, it's to stay positive and appreciate what we have."
With tears in my eyes, I barely mutter,"Yeah, I see what you mean. Well it was good to..."
Suddenly, Morti perks up and motions for us to be quiet. I look at Sundae, who looks at me in confusion.
"I know you're in there Morti!" A loud and deep, boisterous voice comes from beyond the walls. "Come out with your hands up and I promise not to shoot."
Morti looks around and begins to move frantically, knocking a bunch of things over, until finally giving up. "Okay! Okay! I'm coming out. But don't hurt my friends! They have nothing to do with this."
Morti motions for us to follow them out with our hands up. My adrenaline is kicking in, as I clench my fists and hope that things will be okay.
We exit the hut, met with a large wooden stick looking thing pointed straight at us. "All of you, step forward, and keep those hands where I can see them."
As we all finally head out of the shaded area, the sheriff's eyes grow larger. "Sundae! What are you doing with crazy old fool?"
Sundae steps aside, approaching the sheriff,"Everything's fine Snowballs. My friend Ø here and I were just chatting about Bowski".
"Well, I still have to take you all to the station to get this all straightened out. Backup is on the way to confiscate your hut, Morti." Snowballs proclaims as they tie Morti's hands up with rope, and we are all led to the sheriff's station on foot.
Oddly enough, when we arrive, it's the only structure in the Springs that is still covered in snow. We enter and sit at a round table near an open window overlooking the pond nearby.
Snowballs in April walks in and pours a few pints of this deliciously smooth and clean oak wood smoked kölsch for all of us to drink, even Morti, which I find intriguing. I finally notice they have a wooden leg.
"Well Morti," April begins. "I've honestly gotta say, you've made these last few years really fun.
Morti looks confused.
"Not sure what I'm gonna do now with you in custody. The Springs are finally at peace," Snowballs leans back in their wooden stool laughing to themselves. "Sundae, what I tell ya about hanging out with this crazy cat?" Morti pats Prairie's shoulder. "Renshaw's always getting into trouble."
"With all due respect, April. I think you're only seeing one side to Morti," Sundae remarks. "I've know Morti since we were all little ones. Sure, Morti likes to have some shameless fun, running around causing a raucous and stealing some things, which is definitely not acceptable behavior, but deep down there's a fella that really wants to be loved and appreciated."
Snowballs looks dead at Sundae for a few moments, taking a sip from their kölsch, and then all of a sudden breaks out in laughter,"HAH! You almost got me there Sundae." April gets up to pour another drink.
"See the thing is, Morti's been stealing malt from Cole Thumper in Buckstaff Bluffs, plants from Chauncey's farm, I mean the list goes on and on. This isn't just a petty thief we've got right here in front of us. This here's a mastermind."
Morti laughs,"Mastermind? Heh, yeah I highly doubt that."
Sundae gets up and walks over to Snowballs and motions over to me and Morti. "See the thing is, Ø here is my guest, and has been looking for Bowski all over this island and can't seem to find them. I knew Morti would be the best person to help. You gotta see the good in that Sheriff. I mean, you remember what happened to your leg right?"
Snowballs looks down at their wooden leg and then looks away in disgust. "You don't have to remind me Sundae. All I gotta do is walk every day to remember. I'll tell you what, seeing as though Morti has been kind enough to help you fellas, we're just gonna take all the things that were stolen in that hut of yours Morti, and I'll let you all leave in the morning, but not before that, you hear?"
We all look up and nod. Sundae pats Snowballs on the shoulder,"Thanks April. Appreciate the good gesture."
Soon after we are all in the holding cell, feasting on poached shrimp and delicious lamb roll smørrebrød before all passing out on the floor eagerly awaiting our dismissal in the morning. Although, I must admit, this whole experience has been strangely very accommodating...