The kite was still in Downey township but in free flight. Had been since its string slipped the hand of a seven-year-old just learning to fly kites, and the wind grabbed at it and took it higher than it had ever gone before only to desert it so suddenly that the kite almost careened straight into the ground. A kind updraft just managed to save it. And so it had gone, with - at first - everything telling a terrifying story to the kite. It would go up and never come down, lost, drifting forever among those cold points of light called stars. It would crash, its spine breaking, to be trampled underfoot by uncaring people. Lightning would turn it first to flames and then ashes. It would go into a river and end up a skeleton stuck in the muddy bottom, its body dissolved to nothing. Suddenly, a rowdy gang of gusts came bucketing along and began tossing it back and forth until the kite didn't know up from down. Then was yanked to a sudden stop when its string caught in a crow's nest. The crow had pecked it free only to have some zephyrs pluck it up and away to play with it. When they tired, a breezy bunch blew it along a highway and over a town before dropping it. Where it landed on the Cresswood side of an old sign marking the town-line between Downey and Cresswood. Sprawled in a nest of soft grasses, thick lane dust settling beside it, dappled shadows and weedy flowers above, it knew it was lost, but felt somehow at home. And at peace.
The snail had been all day working to get out of Mrs. Pomeroy's garden where everything was dusted or dabbed or coated in things intended to kill snails. It was going across the lane to Downey with its rich clover fields, wild lettuces and tender leaves, getting out of Cresswood and beyond Mrs. Pomeroy's reach. It admitted loving her cabbage and her spinach and of course her Boston lettuce. Loving too well and perhaps eating too freely. In the snail's opinion she should argue her beef with the Gods who made snails to love such things, not kill the messenger. It made its way out of the yard and to the lane, its shadow a dark shape in front of it. It knew how far over time it could travel and knew that once it was across the lane, its shadow would lie behind. By its calculations, it should reach Downey's fields by nightfall. But on this journey it knew it was friend of none, prey to many, and that the dangers of lane traffic were dire. In time, it was safely across the lane, had mounted the verge and gotten almost to the Downey side of the town-line sign when a big Thing fell from the sky and landed directly on top of it. Getting free took so long that when it finally escaped it was weak and cold and night had fallen. It could nibble-rasp some grass and shelter under the Thing. But what if the Thing was one of Mrs. Pomeroy's traps? Reaching Downey meant safe cover, good food and sleeping the sleep of the Just. So, good luck to the Thing. Especially if Mrs. Pomeroy happened on it. For itself, on to Downey with its rich fields.
Cresswood girls have found the kite and it now flies frequently
and happily over Mrs. Pomeroy's gardens.
The snail has found
wild watercress, a new and lasting passion in its life, and is
more than satisfied with its move to the bounties of Downey.