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Notes - 29/14/106

by Alex Dally MacFarlane

Name: Beeotter

Exterior description: A thin creature a metre long, with another metre's length in its forearm-thick tail. The whole body is covered in fur striped yellow and black. Its head is flat on the end of the body, with no discernable neck, and is dominated by a pair of black many-faceted eyes. A double pair of translucent brown-orange wings is its primary means of transportation, although the six stumpy legs suggest some motility when it has landed.

I saw the beeotter from afar, resting on the statue in the centre of the Square. I approached it cautiously. If I had learnt anything since my arrival in this place an unclear time ago, it was to never assume benevolence from its peculiar inhabitants.

Gravel crunched under my shoes; it was impossible to walk quietly in this corner of the world, when the crumbled remains of the buildings that stood around the Square lay thickly across the ground. As I approached the beeotter, a spindle-thin building fell and, seconds later, another sprouted up in its wake, like a stone flower growing at accelerated speeds.

When I reached less a metre's length from the statue, the beeotter leapt from its perch and, wings flapping, buried its sting in my thigh. It moved so quickly I had no time to react. I merely collapsed to the gravel, gasping in shock.

And I heard a voice.

It said: I am a clue.

The beeotter died, stuck into me. I awoke, agonised but with my mind afire.

It occurred to be that this was probably another of the world’s tricks, but I had not entirely given up on hope.

I did what a biologist does when faced with an unknown creature. I laid out my tools from the pack on my back and I dissected.

Interior description: Its innards are laid out in a mess of lines, circles, squares. They intersect, merge, divide--as I watch I see new roads form, old buildings fall. They are confusing. They are a map of this place. There is no exit, no way back into my old world. That door long ago crumbled. But there are places I might like to go.

I pulled the sting from my thigh, cleaned and bandaged the wound. Several days passed where I could walk only far enough to gather stone-fruits from the buildings surrounding the Square. In that time I worked hard to preserve the beeotter--plucking a hollow glass-fruit from the plants around the buildings, filling it with a mix of water and concentrates from my pack.

And then I began walking, holding my map out before me and choosing my path.

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