Unpublished, but intended for the Abyss.

“Twin moons!”

“No, a pair of marbles!”

“I see pearls.”

It was a game they played frequently in the forest, wandering around till one of them spied an engaging shape or object, whereupon they’d take turns announcing what it could be.  Braden, the older of the two, usually tried to think of abstract interpretations, and Breza liked seeing toys or useful items.  Yesterday they had amused themselves for an hour with a tin can on a stick.  There was no hurry to this game, it was not a competition; they congratulated each other as often as they argued over what the other saw.  Neither minded at all if ten minutes passed wordlessly in pursuit of a new interpretation.  The twin objects disappeared from the bush in whose leafy center they had been spotted.

“Hey, come back,” shouted Breza impulsively, to which Braden responded, “Do you really think it’ll listen to you?”

But he was as surprised as she, since the subjects of their game were not supposed to disappear.  Rustling sounds and faint footfalls only augmented the strangeness of the moment.  They glanced at each other, then trotted around the side of the bush in time to glimpse movement – adult human sized movement – in the trees ahead.  The pair dashed forward for several minutes, but spied no further signs of whatever they’d seen.  Thenceforth they often felt eyes upon them, but to their knowledge, they never again came so close to the hulobate.

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