Landsquid left his house through the front door, carrying a basket of freshly made chocolate chip scones (which are the best kind) over one tentacle. He steeled himself, then quickly hurried down his front walkway, around the fence, and up to his neighbor and arch-nemesis Alpaca’s front door. He paused for a moment, listening, but there was no movement.

Landsquid hadn’t seen or heard from the Alpaca since he had attempted to take over the blog at the beginning of June. He’d been on house arrest ever since. Oh, Landsquid had been mad at first. There’d been the whole incident with being locked in the Alpaca’s basement with the ceiling turtles. FOR A WEEK. But at least he’d had some cocoa and Cheez-Its, and the ceiling turtles weren’t too bad, as long as you ignored them trying to gnaw on your head fins.

Landsquid paused for a moment to wonder what had happened to the ceiling turtles. Were they still in the basement? Had they escaped and made their way out into the wide world to find someone else’s head to drop on, or had they infiltrated the main part of the house, where the Alpaca was forced to stay?

That could be why Landsquid hadn’t seen him in a while. Hm.

Although, if the Alpaca was dealing with a ceiling turtle infestation, he’d been much too quiet about it. Landsquid had gotten used to the loud yelling that often drifted over the fence at even the most benign of times. But now, he’d been quiet for months. Landsquid was worried. It’d taken years to build up their relationship to the proper level of arch-nemesis-ness.

Before he could chicken out, Landsquid straightened his basket of scones and knocked soundly on the front door. At first, there was nothing, but then a long, strange dragging noise, just barely audible, started towards the door. It did not sound like the Alpaca at all. Landsquid clutched his basket tighter and debated fleeing. What was that noise, all slithery and light? He had horrible visions of some sort of forgotten creature, long resting in some deep, dark place, burrowing its way to the surface.

That could also explain why he hadn’t seen any ceiling turtles either. They’d be the first–and possibly the last–line of defense.

The door opened. Landsquid drew back, ready to flee if necessary, but it was an alpaca, wearing a ridiculously long afghan. Upon closer inspection, it was the Alpaca, though his usual mustache and monocle were nowhere to be seen. Instead, along with the afghan, he was wearing some sort of bonnet, and he had a pleasant smile on his face.

“Uh,” said Landsquid, thoroughly baffled. “How are you holding…up?”

“Oh, fine, fine,” said the Alpaca. “I’ve taken up knitting, you see. Very calming. Cheap–well, for me, anyway–too. Don’t have to leave the house, even if I could!”

Around the Alpaca’s fluffiness, Landsquid could see what looked like several ceiling turtles, crawling around on the floor, of all places, wearing turtle-shaped sweaters and booties.

“You should come in,” the Alpaca continued. “I’ve just got some new yarn spun. It’s a lovely shade of light yellow. It’d really bring out your eyes.” He kind of leered as he spoke. And now the typical ‘I am contemplating great evil’ leer that Landsquid was accustomed to, but more of a ‘I have been around yarn and ceiling turtles for too long and would like to knit you into a full-body stocking from which you will never escape, and then I shall feed you bon-bons and talk to you as if you weren’t really there’ sort of leer.

“Oh, no,” said Landsquid. “I’m afraid I can’t now. I’ve got to…wash my hair. But I brought you these scones, as, you know, sort of a ‘Don’t worry about trying to conquer my livelihood and feed me to ceiling turtles’ thing, you know.” He thrust the basket at the Alpaca. “Hope you like them. But I must be going I’m afraid. Yes, yes, well, I’ll see you later.”

He backpeddled up the walk and back towards his own house. As he went, he thought he might have heard the Alpaca whisper, “Yes, yes, you will.”

Of Sulking Alpacas and Scones
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Books by Kit Campbell

City of Hope and Ruin cover
Shards cover
Hidden Worlds cover