"You've been impossible to get a hold of."
"Yes, I know. I've been neglecting everything. You know you could set off the alarm or something if there was an emergency," I say, "Wait, was there a problem I don't know about?"
He glances at me but keeps walking. Mr. Gryphon and I are strolling through the Forest of My Imagination. It's nighttime and in keeping with tradition it's the same temperature here as it is right now in my beloved City which means it's uncomfortably cold outside.
"You haven't answered my question," I say looking at him. He's right, of course. It's been far too long since we've had a conscious chat.
"And you haven't been around," he stops walking. The moon is out and the air is hard, cold, sparkling. The dirt path we're walking on is only a little moist. My toes are cold. The trees, the leaves, everything is just slightly damp.
He faces me and his wings flutter for a moment like they might open. At least his claws aren't showing. "Miss Turtle, let's get a few things straight. I'm not a piece of furniture or some picture you add to your blog page for fun. I'm not Benedict and I'm most certainly NOT your Sherlock."
"Well, you sound somewhat like him and you're tall enough. Or rather he's tall enough." I smile. I know it pisses him off but I can't help it. I love the idea of him being my Sherlock, running around in a wool trench that costs a thousand pounds wearing a narrowly cut beautifully tailored suit but it's only a temporary personal indulgence like everything on this blog.
"I'm serious. Very series," he says. His ears twitch and he frowns. He looks closely at me. "Why aren't you wearing your gloves?"
"I forgot them. In my backpack." I can see the vapor from my breath. I shove my hands deeper into my pockets. He approaches, looking grim, and then opens his arms. I go to him and he opens his wings, wrapping them around me. He's warm, furry, and feathery.
"We need to get back and have some tea," he mumbles. He strokes my hair.
"I've hurt your feelings. I'm sorry. I've gotten so much writing done but I haven't been around lately. It's been longer than lately, hasn't it?"
"Yes," he says. He sighs. "There are no problems here. Everything is fine. We've just been missing you. I most of all."
"I haven't cleaned my apartment or done my laundry in ages either. I have so much catching up to do. So much more to write. Mr. Gryphon, how the hell did I get anything done with I was working regularly?"
He doesn't answer. While he's with me all time, he's right. I've been neglecting him and this world of mine. Everything keeps going on, of course. My characters all have their own adventures I'm just not thinking about them consciously. Even he has adventures but he can only do so much when I'm not there. Gryphon and Mock Turtle are always together but when I'm not paying attention, he's usually waiting around for me.
"I'd tell you not to wait so much but I know it won't do you any good. I hope you know I'm serious," I say.
"I know you are. I've made your point by posting this here on SF Life and not on Fainting in Coils," he says. He stiffens. Something is walking through the forest behind me. He relaxes. "One of the frogs." I nod. There's a trio of frogs wearing waistcoats and tails who stroll around playing two violins and a cello. They play when we have picnics, in the reading room of the Library, in the dining room, whenever they feel like it. The frog walks by, wrapped deeply in a warm winter wool. He smiles and waves then goes off towards the Library.
"I'm going to revise 'FailSafe' and add some more side stories. Mr. Gryphon how I wish I could draw. I would love to illustrate it!" I say this so he knows I really have been thinking about him lately.
"Your drawings of me are just fine."
"Yes, but those are sketches, mere copies of other works. I can't figure out how to do my own characterizations."
He squeezes gently. If he hugged me too tightly, he would hurt me. We stand there in the forest at 2:00 a.m. It's time to go back to the Library for tea but we don't move. The night is so cold but it feels magical.
"Something's going to happen tomorrow," he says.
"Yes. I wonder if it's going to be as important as they say it will be," I say. I look up at him. "I really do love the idea of you being Benedict."
He snorts. "I'm much better than him. Certainly more elegant."
"Yes, you are, Mr. Gryphon, indeed you are. Much more elegant than any mere human being could be."
There's a sudden burst in the starry skies above us, an impromptu meteor shower. We both look up. What with stuff happening tomorrow, the gross underestimation of the number of stars in the night sky, and the sheer number of brilliant gifts in the Universe, it's no wonder I'm feeling blessed and lucky.