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Published by Robert E G Black
Honeysuckle is struck blind in an accident, but a talking mountain cat teaches her a new way to see.
Honeysuckle is struck blind in an accident, but a talking mountain cat teaches her a new way to see.

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: Robert E G Black on Jun 14, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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hindsightrobert e g black When the cart of breadloafs hit her, Honeysuckle didn
t see it, and she was of a mindthat, less Parrow willed it, she would never see anything ever again. But, she
d spent plenty of her childhood exploring every corner of Feedertown that thisday, even without her sight, shecould get about fairly easily. Often, she
d miss a wandering dummalo or watercart by less than aonefoot, much to her mere
s dismay. She was sure Feederfolk marveled at her ability, but mostlyshe didn
t care to impress them so much as she cared to avoid them. With no clearcut morrow inthe town any longer, Honeysuckle wished she could go off on an adventure, never to return. But,she was just a blind jenny, overyoung and helpless to make it anywhere but about town. Shedidn
t even go to Faraway Castle anymore to help with deliveries, something she
d enjoyed thefew times she
d gotten to do it. She occasionally wandered the outskirts of town, or played at theshallow edge of Ravnsbrook, but really her domain was but the town and little else. And, shewasn
t happy.Thisday, she set out eastard from home. She stepped in a pile of Dumslop and got barkedat by a dog
Old Pere Drover
s lazy mutt likely, an ugly old thing called Loper; at least itsounded like him
fore she got to the edge of town, where the Feeders Path headed northard toFaraway. She didn
t turn northard with the road, though. She walked off into the wild about thebase of Etin, the hill that rose up on the eastard side of town, a hill yond which no one ventured.Yond Etin was naught but the Far Range, and on the other side of the Far Range, no one knewbut Ladytime herself, if even she knew. Honeysuckle wanted to go that way, to venture where noone else would dare, but a stray rock caught her foot and brought her to the ground, remindingher that she was blind and could only go nowhere.
Watch your step, jenny,
a voice said from nearby. Honeysuckle didn
t recognize it.She turned about.
s there,
she said.
s Karser,
the voice replied.
And, who might you be?
Honeysuckle said.
re not Feederfolk.
You know everybody in Feedertown, jenny?
t call me that.
I offer the humblest of apologies, my dear Honeysuckle. But you are right in saying Iam not of Feedertown. But, I live close and I know many and much about thisplace, even you.
You know me?
Well, I
ve seen you. Don
t rightly
you, I suppose. Are you a new one to theblindness?
 Honeysuckle nodded.
Few moontimes back.
You get about well, considering.
You are much welcome,
Karser replied. Then, after a pause, he asked,
what bringsyou out from town in your condition?
 Though she couldn
t see, Honeysuckle looked back westard toard town as she spoke.
Hena won
t let me polish things without checking all my work, so figured why bother doing itat all? Don
t make me overuseful, but what do I care anymore? I
m blind; not my job to beuseful.
But, if you aren
t useful, why should they take care of you?
m just a kid and
I thought you weren
t a kid.
You didn
t want to be called a jenny.
Call me girl, if you want. Call me kid. But, jenny
s a whole other thing.
 There was a moment of silence, then Karser laughed.
s funny,
Honeysuckle asked.
I nodded then realized you couldn
t see it. But, yes, you are right. There
s girls andthere
s jennys, and if you don
t want to be the one, Karser
s got no problem with you being theother.
Honeysuckle got to her feet again.
Mind helping me out?
What do you need? It
s nice, you not being overshamed to ask, by the by.
Not overmuch difference tween being helpless and being willing to be helped, Meresays.
Smart woman, your mere.
I guess.
Honeysuckle concentrated her sense, tried to be sure which direction wasexactly which fore she moved again.
What was it you need with the help,
Karser asked.
Oh, just trying to find a particular little nook in the hillside, roughly southeastard of where I think I am, but not all sure after falling.
I could help,
Karser said.
But, it will cost you.
Oh, great.
Oh, I don
t want anything of any real value. Just a conversation, if you will. Not manyfolks will talk to old Karser.
Why? What did you do? You said you live close, but there aren
t naught close but hills.You living out in the hills, that would make you what
Not banished exactly. I
ll explain as we go. Come forard. I
ll lead you to where youneed to go.
 Honeysuckle stepped forard, her hand out and up, expecting Karser to grab it and leadher, but he didn
m not up so high,
Karser said.
m sorry. I didn
t know. You
sound old so I thought… Are y
Dwarrow or…
renot Shee, are you? That would be mazing.
I am neither Dwarf nor Shee,
Karser replied. And, that was when Honeysuckle loweredher hand and found his shoulder.She jumped back. He wasn
t a human of another size. He was a cat, a talking mountaincat.
re mandath.
She started to panic, wanted to turn and run, but she would stumble forsure if she tried to get froard fast. And, this mandath would be upon her fore she could getanywhere, mayhap even fore she could scream for help. And, she
d be not just blind but dead,and who would care? Her mere and pere, sure. Her brotere Basil mayhap. Her catcousin BethPilgrim, mayhap, except they hadn
t really been friends sithence fore the accident. And, probablyno one else. A few folks would notice her absence, Hena Raker for one, but they wouldn
t missher, would probably go on better without her than with her. So, this was it. Her life wascomplete, and she hadn
t even had her reapday.
Why are you crying?
3She hadn
t realized she was crying, but there were tears in her eyes. Couldn
t see with
em but she could still cry with
em. It made a twisted sort of sense to her, a pathetic sort of sense.
re a mountain cat. You
re gonna eat me.
m not going to eat you. I told you, I just want a conversation. And, please do not think me rude like a lion, saying I won
t eat you then making a liar of myself once our conversation isup. I swear on all I hold dear that I will let you live and be safe.
 Honeysuckle knew she couldn
t get froard. She hoped someone in town just happened tobe looking her way, but if someone was, surely they
d be screaming already, calling for help, forReen Fletcher likely. No one was screaming. No one was watching. It was Feedertown. If the sunwas up, folks were busy working. They didn
t have time to look after helpless blind girls.
 have a choice,
she said to Karser.
You want to eat me, you
ll eat me. Least I could do is talk awhile first.
You don
t trust me, and you seem a bit of a cynic and a pessimist, but I guess that
salright in one your age who
s had her sight taken. Now, put your hand on my back and comewith me.
 Hesitly, Honeysuckle put her hand on the mandath
s back. He was soft to touch, buttougher than any of the dogs his size in Feedertown, more muscular. She wondered if he wasoverstrong for her to ride him about, but she didn
t dare suggest he let her do as much. No needto unnecessarily anger the mandath. Death might be coming, but it didn
t have to come quickly.
This nook you seek,
Karser said.
Is it a grassy one, with some flowers at the southardedge, tucked in close to the rocks?
It is. Tev.
Right, tev. Not my favorite of flowers, but they do well.
 Honeysuckle laughed, despite herself.Karser asked,
s funny?
 Honeysuckle replied,
I just hadn
t thought of mandath having a taste for flowers.
We don
t eat them, if that
s what you mean.
That wasn
t what I meant.
Oh, ok then. Here we are.
 Honeysuckle could feel the grass neath her feet. It seemed like the right place. She satdown, removed the cap her mere made her wear when she went out, then laid back on the grass.Though her eyes didn
t work, she could feel the sun in this spot, could tell it was bright and thesky was clear.
On a clear day,
she said.
Oh, nothing,
she said.
ve a shiny spot on your head,
Karser observed.
s bronze. From my accident.
Accident? Oh, right. You said you
d only been blind a shorttime.
 Honeysuckle nodded.
Hit by a cart full of breadloafs. Knocked down. Head hit a rock orsome such thing.
Piece of my skull went into the…”
Honeysuckle sat up and turned to facewhere she thought Karser was, her left. She reached into the neckline of her Kurt, fished out astring necklace and lifted it show Karser the object tied to it.
I got Reen to give it to me,
shetold him.Karser leaned close and sniffed at the object.Honeysuckle looked down at the piece of bone in her hand, though she couldn
t see it.She could imagine it, a gleaming bit of white, virtually unidentifiable.
s the

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