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Henningtom: Part 3
I thought of the scream I had heard back in the forest and suddenly became very, very aware of my surroundings.
“Do you think there is a higgenbottom somewhere around here?” I asked Jiggleweed.
“Of course!” he exclaimed. “They’re everywhere, just like your mosquitoes.” I felt my blood go instantly cold.
“E-everywhere?” I stammered.
“Yes. Which is why I want us to be on our guard. Higgenbottoms can suck a full quart of blood at a time.”
“You’re not really helping my anxiety, you know.”
“Well, I’m just trying to prepare you.”
We were silent for a little while after that, giving me time to look around and familiarize myself with these woods. Everything-and I do mean everything-was tainted a purple color, even the sky. The sun was blue, the animals were all green and some were strange looking, like they had been mutated with others. There was one with the head of an eagle and the body of a squirrel; Jiggleweed called it a “partmouth”. And then there was another with the head of a chipmunk, the body of a seal and the legs of a lion; this one was called a “yagen”. All of the animals fascinated me to the point where I forgot all about the time; I had no idea how long we’d been walking about in this land, and it was starting to get darker than it was before, if that was at all possible. Jiggleweed was leading the way and somehow, though I thought my mind was playing tricks on me yet again, he was glowing. It was as if he had eaten a flashlight or something. I could see everything within a 10 feet radius of where we were.
“How much longer Jiggleweed?” I asked.
“Not very far now, young Maya,” he replied, in the British accent that every animal I had heard whispering had. From up ahead, I could see a faint yellow light.
“Jiggleweed,” I began, “what’s that?” He followed the direction my finger was pointing in and hung his head low.
“I want you to do everything I tell you, and don’t disobey,” he said.
“Walk, very slowly and carefully, to that tree over there.” He guided me with his head to the tree to the right, hidden in mounds of darkness, and I walked there. He scooted himself to the next tree to his left.
“Jiggleweed, what is it?” I whispered.
“That, young Maya, is a higgenbottom camp.”