“Oh do please come on,” said Lucy.“Well I’m nearly ready now,” answered Mrs. Beaver at last, allowing her husband to help her into her snowshoes.“I suppose the sewing machine’s too heavy to bring,” said Mrs. Beaver.
“Yes. It is,” said Mr. Beaver, “a great deal too heavy…”
I loved reading to the girls. They were nearly too old for it now, but I hoped they’d indulge me for another couple years. The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe in particular held a special place in my heart. My grandparents had read it to my father time after time and my father had read it over and over to me when I was a kid; I suppose I was passing the tradition on to my kids. It always made every place we went feel a little like home to me, and I think my little ones felt the same way.
…”Come on,” cried Mr. Beaver, who was almost dancing with delight, “come and see! This is a nasty knock for the witch. It looks as if her power is already crumbling.”
I closed the book.
“Aw come on Dad,” Arra protested. Then Aya: “We want to see Father Christmas!” That was the twins for you. It was almost like they finished each other’s thoughts sometimes. Sure as hell finished each other’s sentences.
“Sorry, later. I’ve got to go see a woman about maybe doing some vet stuff.”
“I thought you didn’t do that anymore. I mean, since the fire and everything.” Aya said.
“I don’t. But if I’m the only one around then I might just have to. Someone’s gonna have to take care of all the sheepses and horsees.”
“Daa-ad,” Arra punched me in the arm.
“Ow!” I laughed. “Yeah, yeah, I know, cut out the baby talk. Alright, we’re gonna swing by the Parker’s cabin on the way so you two can stay with their girls.”
“Nice! Emily and Liza are sooo cool,” Arra said as we got on the cart, “and Karyn ain’t bad either.”
“Aw, give her a break, she’s only three.” Aya replied. “I’m sure she’ll be twice as cool as you when she’s our age.” Arra stuck her tongue out at her sister.
Ten minutes later I pulled up out front of the makeshift Bio Lab and hopped out. I had told myself I’d never treat another animal again, but it looked like I might just not have a choice. Well, I was about to find out. I took a deep breath and walked in. Seemed like I was just catching the end of a conversation.
Linda (Karyn, Liza and Emily’s mother) was just saying, “I’m hungry. Let’s go to mom’s.” As I opened the door three heads turned my way.
“Hi Sally, Linda. Mariana I presume?” I asked, smiling. I extended my hand to a hard-eyed blond. “Connor Benjamin. Sally here mentioned you might be able to find use for a vet.”
“You’re a vet? I was getting worried we didn’t have one onboard. Damn right I can put you to work,” Mariana replied.
“I should probably also let you know I’ve got a doctorate in zoology. I’m hoping it might come in handy in dealing with the new species we encounter planet side.”
“A doctorate? You didn’t tell me that,” Sally chided playfully. “Any other tricks up your sleeve we don’t know about?”
“A few,” I shrugged. “But like I said, I haven’t worked with animals in a while. I’m sure it’ll come back to me quickly though. Come on, let’s walk and talk. I could certainly use some of that food Linda mentioned.”