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Henningtom: Part 7
“Right then,” he said. “Off to see Yoka.” I coughed once more as we headed off.
For the next couple of minutes, Jiggleweed sang to me. How many people can say that? “I’ve just met a bright green deer with red antlers, one that lives in another world and can sing!” Not many people, I’d wager.
“Can you hear the yagen when its lion legs pound?” Jiggleweed sang. “Or see the partmouth’s beak touch to the ground? Can you travel across the world, to visit the pollywig girl? Oh, no one can pretend; that this is not Henningtom.” His voice soothed me, and I was almost asleep when the sound of rushing water came to my ears.
Looking up, I noticed we had reached a river. It was fairly large; it stretched across the forest for about 20 meters and extended all the way down on both sides so that I couldn’t see where it stopped. Jiggleweed set me down on the ground, and after a couple wavers and wobbles, I was standing almost as straight as he was. I felt like I was getting sicker by the moment, and my head was starting to make me feel dizzy and disoriented.
“Oh no, you cannot go to sleep just yet, young Maya,” Jiggleweed told me when I was about to doze off. He was drawing another map in the dirt and I was feeling faint.
“Why not?” I asked him, bobbing to and fro. “I’m very tired. Maybe for just a few moments Jiggleweed?” I was about to fall to the ground under me so Jiggleweed came behind me to hold me up.
“No Maya, you mustn’t. There is something you must know; when you enter Henningtom, you must enter and stay awake for a full, complete Henningtom day or you will die here, meaning you can never return.”
“Well what if I don’t want to return? All I’ve gotten from this place is fear, anxiety, and a massive headache. Why can’t I just sleep for 5 minutes?”
Jiggleweed shook his head-something he did to me a lot-and said, “Maya, when you meet the Queen and finally start to realize why you’re here, you’ll find it is all worthwhile. I just wish you hadn’t of eaten a gigberry before you saw her.”
Jiggleweed went back to work on his map and I tried to stay awake. Before long, he exclaimed that he was done and had determined the best route from here. So, on we went. I was starting to consider Jiggleweed a friend. I hadn’t known him for very long at all, but he risked his life for me, carried me on his back because I could no longer walk, and was taking a day’s worth of a detour just so that I could get better. I thought that was what friends did. None of my friends back home would have done any of that for me… They would have laughed in my face and kept walking. I wonder why I hadn’t seen it that way before. I guess it just takes a humongous sickness to get a person thinking straight.
“Okay, we’re going to stop here and rest for a bit,” Jiggleweed said. “My back is starting to hurt from carrying you.”
“Okay,” I responded. Then, without any warning whatsoever, I started to fall asleep.