spider time, post 17

Everybody agrees that Murphy’s plan might even actually work.

“That was actually a pretty good plan, Murphy.  Very suitable and, in context, logical.” Lee sounded a bit surprised, and no one could blame him. He doesn’t get to say stuff like that to Murphy very often.

“Covering your tracks with real tracks,” said Pounce admiringly, coming back from checking out Murphy’s trail. “Somebody who was just waking up from being frozen would be clumsy, too.”  Murphy went hey, in a mild way, and Pounce had to backtrack (pun, ha ha) by pointing out that a cave girl would probably have very good woodcraft.  Because for her it will be just, well, craft.  It’d be her everyday knowledge.

“And that’s why it works,” I told everyone.  “Like Murphy said, it’s a good story.  And a story is what’s going to save us here.  If everybody tells the cops that a sideshow attraction, which everyone thinks is fake anyway, just got up and walked away, they aren’t going to go looking for a live person.”  I stopped short.  We all did.  Even Murphy, who had been pretty pleased by our reaction to his best crazy idea ever.

We stopped and turned and looked back at the reason for it all, the Frozen Cave Girl. It was getting light fast and it was easy to see her, lying there in her giant ice cube, in her tiger skin for a dress, with her bone in her hair and her spear beside her and two more toes sticking out of the thinnest place in the ice  beside the one that I’d jabbed with my knife.  Her eyes were closed again, making her look like a strange sideshow Sleeping Beauty, but on that one toe, there was a single drop of blood.  She was real, and we’d rescued her, and she was melting fast.

“I agree,” someone said.  A deep voice. A grownup voice. “It’s a really good story.  But maybe you need to tell me the rest of it.”  A shadow stepped out of the shadow of the trees, a shadow that solidified into the shape of a person.  The shadow went grey, then spiralled away into the deeper part of the fading darkness.  Leaving a man, a broad shouldered young man in a grey hoodie, navy blue army pants and black boots.  His hair was black with one white piece over his forehead and he was wearing goggles and an expression that told us our luck had run out.

Foursquare!  It was Foursquare, who is a real actual superhero just like in comic books—the superhero who protects Kekionga and stands up for truth and justice in general.  He gets his name from his four super powers (one of them is his Overcast, sort of a cloaking power, which we’d just seen) and also from how honest and reliable he is.  We might lie to other grownups right and left—all kids do. We have to, if we want to be able to work on our projects in peace.  But there are a few people you just don’t lie to. Lee’s sister Shan, because she can see right through it. Pounce’s grandmother, because she already knows everything.  And Foursquare, because he’s just that impressive, standing there looking at you in that marble statue way.  He makes you want to be just as honest as he is. Mr. Spit says lying to him might even make you a villain, and while we may not be exactly perfect, nobody wants to be a villain.

So we told him the truth, starting with the storm at the fair.. He listened carefully to the whole thing.  That’s one of the most heroic thing about Foursquare: he treats everybody fairly and doesn’t take you any less seriously just because you’re a kid.  Then he squatted down to look at the Frozen Cave Girl.  She opened her eyes again and it was easy to imagine that she almost smiled at him.

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