At a certain point in a day spent at the Cheerful Springs outdoor mall, one begins to view conditioned air as treasure: a pale and liquid leprechaun gold, one that cruelly evaporates beyond the confines of PetSmart or Home Delights. Ethelbert cannot simply stay in one store, of course. They’d chase him out even if his prey weren’t on the wing.
There is no breeze at Cheerful Springs.
Ethelbert stalks its boundaries, brain thick with heat and hunger, having long ago given up on hope of a map. It’s here, somewhere, trundling along in its innocence. He’ll find it. He’ll feast.