Chapter Twenty-Two: In a Dream

Duck had been following her fox-boy through the sea of tall green grass for so long that she was half asleep on her feet. She was so tired and so worried by the spider-webs in the sky that she was starting to wonder if she had somehow dreamed it all.

Certainly, her conversation with Shippou, if it could be called a 'conversation', seemed unreal. "Are you a youkai?" he'd asked. She had no idea what a youkai was. They had stared at one another for a long time after that, until he apparently decided that she was not, in fact, a youkai (whatever that was). "My name's Shippou," he had explained, then. And that was that. She had been trudging along after him ever since.

She wished they could stop for a nap, but she knew fear would keep her awake, as would the certainty that she needed to tell Shippou about the webs in the sky. They were important. She knew it, without knowing why.

But no matter how much she quacked and flapped her wings, he could not understand her. So they just kept walking. And walking and walking.

She knew they had been walking for a very long time now, but it seemed that their surroundings never changed. The webs in the sky and the green grass all began to blend together.

Shippou seemed to have some idea of where he was and what he might be looking for, but he did not see fit to share any of that with her.

It was starting to feel like this must be a nightmare, and if she could only wake up she would find Fakir waiting to comfort her like he always did.

But Fakir was nowhere to be found, and Duck could not wake up.

Note: This chapter is based on fanfic_bakeoff's March 2012 Secret Ingredient: Lucky. Although in this case, perhaps unlucky would be more suitable.