The Frozen Cave Girl is melting …
We knew that after the crash and sproing episode (and yes we owed somebody a Victrola and we’d have to figure that out later) that our time was limited. Somebody had to have heard that. Some of us started checking out the box and the stand the ice block was on, while the rest of us looked around for anything useful. The Frozen Cave Girl was just lying there in the ice, looking cold and asleep. Murphy’d stationed himself by her head, watching her with way more attention than he usually gave anything. You could hear him wishing that she’d open her eyes, that she’d maybe help.It was Nina who found the rolled up carpet in a pile of junk in the darkest part of the tent. The original idea had been to find a piece of canvas (hopefully a spare rather than a piece of the tent, though I had a pair of shears with me, just in case) roll the ice block onto it, and drag it away into the woods. But as soon as Nina, with a little help from Lee and Pounce, got that carpet unrolled, you could see it was going to be a million times better. It was a Persian rug like in an old fashioned book, really thick and covered with leaves and scrollwork and paisleys. Even in the light of the battery lantern you could tell it was really colorful, mostly red, green and gold with bits of pink, blue and cream color. Fancy, yeah, but Pounce whispered that the colors were pretty natural and broken up in little pieces almost like camouflage. And it was huge, big enough that even counting room for the Frozen Cave Girl and her ice cube and room for a team to grab it and pull, there was enough left over to cover everything up. Get it back the tall grass under the shadow of a tree, it’d be hard to see if we had to hide it during the day.
Plan made. The stand the block was on was kind of flimsy, so we pushed it onto the edge of the rug, and sort of collapsed it. It went faster than Lee had anticipated. To be honest, we sort of dumped her feet first onto the carpet. Kind of hard. There was another cracking sound and a whole big corner of the block chipped off and lay there melting. Murphy gasped and pointed. “Look,” he whispered. “Her toe.”
Spit looked at him like he was crazy. “Toe, schmo. Get up here and pull.” But the rest of us followed Murphy’s shaky point. And, yeah, it looked sure like if you got your finger right into one of the crevices in the cracked edge, you could just touch one of the Frozen Cave Girl’s toes. If you dared.
Who was the bravest? Who knew, or could guess, what a frozen person would feel like? Or, conversely, who dared to scratch or scrape that toe to see if it was wax or plastic? Everybody looked at everybody else. Nina put her hands behind her back. Pounce shook her head. Lee was one step from being sick. Spit just wanted to get going and Murph looked like he’d been hit with his whole imagination at once like it was a big rock. It was up to Moose and her trusty pocket knife to do what needed to be done. As usual.
At least this way we’d be able to stop before we actually burgled anybody. I kept telling myself that and took a deep breath. Then I touched her toe, the piggy toe on her left foot. And it felt—frozen. Just plain frozen solid. Knife, then. I flipped out the smallest, sharpest blade and took the tiniest little scrape.
The Frozen Cave Girl’s eyes snapped open– bright blue. Did her mouth open a little bit, too? Like she was trying to talk?
Nina grabbed Murphy by the collar from behind and got her hand over his mouth just as he started to yell. Mr. Spit, with Pounce, and surprisingly, Lee, started pulling as hard as they could and block slid out of the tent like the rug was a sled. Nina followed, dragging Murphy.
I wiped my knife on my pants and put it away. Shut the tent flap and laced it up. Turned off the battery lantern and hung it back on its hook. The Frozen Cave Girl was already in the woods as the darkness closed behind me.