RajWorld Scene

Marmolines are a bit like a cross between a marmot, a squirrel, and a raccoon – furry, cute when they are asleep, and thoroughly nasty marsupials that will destroy anything not made of concrete and steel, or so it seems. There is a shield around the army camp that is supposed to keep them, and larger creatures, out.

Kor and Tomás both made those gestures that she’d learned translated, “We really do not want to speak about this matter so we will pretend it has not been mentioned so that it will go away.” Her father did something similar, and Rigi added it to her list of multi-species-applicable indicators of male-ness. Rigi tipped her head back, resting it on the chair, and studied the interior ceiling of the shelter tent. The hanging lamp cast shadows in the corners and she wondered if she ought to check for webs and dust the next day. One of the shadows moved. Rigi focused on it. It moved again, and she caught a glimpse of eye shine. “Dear, Makana, I hesitate to say anything for fear of interrupting an otherwise lovely evening, but it appears that a marmoline or something similar has gotten in. There in the corner of the ceiling, above the wash-stand and water tap.” She stood and eased out of the way. “I believe I will step outside for some fresh air. Come Martinus.”

Kor joined her for a moment before going to his own quarters. After losing most of one finger to a marmoline, he preferred to shoot them, something Rigi had asked that he not do inside the house. He did not believe in using the low-power stun setting, and she’d had to tidy up after a blast-splattered tumble-gnaw once already. She bowed and he departed, disappearing into the darkness, his black fur blending into the chilly night. Rigi heard swearing in Staré, Tomás said a few words she vaguely recognized because Uncle Eb had used them once, something fell over with a loud clatter, and then something squalled. Another louder clatter followed, and three thumps.

Shrieeeeeek! Krack. “The marmoline has been dispatched, dear,” Tomás called. Makana came out the door holding the remains of something the size of Martinus’s head. He had a firm grip on it just below the neck, and the thing’s head faced one-hundred-eighty degrees from the front. His ears remained back and he’d bared his large front teeth. Makana ear-bowed and took the carcass out to dispose of it. Tomás appeared. “The body is too small to be worth skinning or eating.”

She kissed him on the cheek. “Thank you, dear.”

“Andat distracted it, I cornered it, and Makana managed to grab it by the neck, then twist the head and snap the neck.” He ran his hand over very short-clipped black hair. “I believe your chair can be mended.”

Later that night, snuggled in her husband’s arms, Rigi mused sleepily that true love was killing marmolines without breaking anything irreplaceable or hard to repair. Or shooting a hole in the house.

(C) 2017 Alma T. C. Boykin. All Rights Reserved.

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