The Tiger and the Tree Girl

This is just a story piece that came to mind whilst driving.  Fae Apoc, about 15-20 years after the apocalypse. 

🐅

There was an accountant in the slave market.

Vepki was fairly certain that the man wasn’t actually an accountant, not some fifteen or so years after the world had ended.  There were probably still places that needed such things, but Springfield wasn’t one of them.

The accountant was reading the signs above the cages – rather like a zoo, Vepki thought, which was more appropriate than most would know.  He smiled, a snarling expression that would probably scare away the accountant.

That was fine.  He didn’t particularly want to be purchased, anyway.

The accountant was coming straight for him.  The man was fussy, wearing little wire-rimmed glasses and an outfit that looked almost pressed.  How did he manage that?  Vepki could see the mended tears, as very carefully sewn as they’d been.  He wasn’t one of the rich, one of the fae, one of the sheltered that still could find and afford – or create – new clothes.

The man peered at the label over Vepki’s cage and looked at him.  Vepki could almost look the man in the eye, despite the cramped conditions of the cage.  He smirked. “Like what you see?”

Even that was pushing the bounds of his orders, but what would they do?  Punish him?  He sneered.

The man coughed.  “What are your best Words?”

“Kwxe,” Vepki snarled.  He had to tell the truth.  He didn’t have to make it easy.  “Eperu. Qorawiyay. Aposyntheto.”

To his surprise, the accountant nodded.  “What does the first one do?  And the last one?”

“Makes heat and force — and dismantles things,” Vepki answered less willingly.

“And how about plants?”

“Huamu?  I can do that okay.”

“Good.”  The accountant nodded.

“Little man,” Vepki snarled, a warning, “I am not for you.  I would hurt you.  I would destroy you by accident.”

“Oh, not for me.”  The man gave him a very sincere, very worried look.  “There’s a girl-”

Vepki groaned.

“Not like that.  There’s a woman.  She’s working on planting trees and crops across the whole continent.  A fae woman.  But she’s about to head into Springfield.”  The accountant gave Vepki a look that was entirely not mathematical.  “She’s going to need someone like you.”

Vepki considered that.  “For that, I can cooperate.  Within limits.”

“That’s the best I could ask.”  The accountant nodded.  “I will buy you, then.  And I can explain more on the ride back to her.”

Vepki settled into a crouch to wait.  Out of the cage, soon. An accountant, soon.  A woman who planted trees, soon.

He could almost taste it – perhaps not freedom, but a longer leash.  Perhaps a chance to fight.  Perhaps blood.

What’s more, he could taste curiosity in himself.  Trees across the whole continent.  

Vepki smiled.  This might be fun.

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