I led the beautiful Megara Fennec, which is to say Megara Capillarie from the home of some unknown person, who was no doubt a chubby little red-head with a checkered apron and a brown bonnet, and out into the town square of Potter Town, where the shadows were growing long, which is to say it was getting late. My valiant steed Hysteria still waited patiently at the well. As we walked, I explained my plan.
“The plan is thus,” said I. “I will fetch from the apothecary a dram of a potion that is known as living death. You will go home and make peace with your parents and then take this potion. It will make you fall into a coma, a semblance of death itself. From you there will be no evidence that you still live: no breath, no heartbeat, and no body warmth. Your family will think that you are dead and place your body in the family crypt. In the meantime, I will send a message to your beloved in Oordport, telling him the entire plan and he will rush to your side, to reach you just as you return to life, having experienced nothing more than a pleasant sleep.”
We reached Hysteria’s side and I turned to smile at my lovely companion, but she was frowning.
“What’s the matter?” I asked.
“Your plan seems fraught with unnecessary problems,” she replied.
“If the apothecaries of the area are wont to sell drams of ‘living death’, won’t someone suggest that perhaps I have been given ‘living death’ when I appear to die of unknown causes.”
“Living death is pretty secret,” said I.
“But not so secret that just anyone can purchase it from an apothecary?”
“No, not so secret as that.”
“What if, when I die, they decide to burn my body instead of placing it in the family crypt?”
“Why would they do that?”
“To save space.”
“You are a member of the family, are you not?”
“Yes, but I’m just a girl, and I’m young. I haven’t had a chance to do anything grand or impressive that would warrant entombing me in a place of honor. Our family has had that crypt for at least a dozen generations and there have been a lot of us. It’s getting pretty full.”
“But you are Lord Capillaries’ only daughter.”
“I am the only child of his current wife, true. But my mother is his fourth wife and I am his sixteenth daughter.”
“Now that I think about it,” she continued. “I don’t think that I would want to wake up in that crypt anyway. It’s got to be pretty rank in there, and there is always the possibility of zombie attacks.”
“Yes, I forgot about zombies.”
“The only people who can afford to forget about zombies are those people with no brains.”
“That is true,” I agreed. “I suppose we could plan to have your body sequestered somewhere else.”
“And here’s another thing,” she said. “What if your message doesn’t get to my beloved in time? Suppose he hears about me dying before he finds out about your plan. He might do something rash—like hurt himself.”
“He wouldn’t do that would he?”
“He might. He’s very passionate.”
“He’s passionate enough to kill himself?”
“Oh yes. He thinks about it all the time.”
“So what do you propose?” I asked.
“Why don’t we climb on your horse and you just give me a ride to Oordport, where I can meet beautiful, sweet Henri and live together with him there.”
“Well, it is not nearly so poetical a plan as mine,” said I. “But I will do it.”