Ever Present

“Karl, have you noticed lately, how The Author has become actually involved in his own stories?” Veronique’s finger-grip tightened, creating what-would-become a permanent crease in the tightly woven and durable synthetic fibre of Karl’s jacket.
“Well my darling, I can’t say I have been concentrating of late on no writer.” Karl trudged a hesitant foot forward, re-balancing himself to take into account the minute transfer of his lover’s weight spread out across the backs of his body and thighs. “The truth is,” he continued, “my first and foremost priority is to see us out of this immediate and perilous Borgesian landscape that we find ourselves caught up in.”
As if his statement had pulled the trigger of a large handheld megaphone, a chorus of creature noises volumed-up, perhaps startled and warning of an imminent, potential danger. Karl stood stock-still, while utilising his top two front teeth to bite down with moderate pressure onto his lower lip. Working independently, the two figures scanned the swaying canopy of branches, leaves and twigs, swooshing several metres above their heads.

“It’s him!” Veronique hissed.
“Who? Him? Where? I can’t see him!” Karl’s feet sploshed and splashed around in a slight panic, inviting the stagnant swamp water to ingress through the stitching of his shoes. This brought with it a feeling of disgusted discomfort. “Oh God, this is awful!” Karl screeched. “I’m effectively standing in a outside toilet that services all manner of different creatures!” Karl’s feet sank deeper into the shit-based silt.
“Oh Karl, it smells so!” Veronique wrinkled her nose.
“Veronique, I can’t promise you I will get us out of here.” His shoulders dropped as Karl stared into the sad eyes of his murky green reflection below. “But, I do have a small square of silk cloth, roughly folded into the shape of a triangle and poking out of my breast pocket.” The lover braced himself, firming his grip around his darling’s ankles. “Try to shove yourself along up onto my back, into a more traditional, piggy-back style of being carried. Then, reach over, retrieve the cloth and hold it tightly about your nose.”
This way,” Veronique affirmed, “I maybe able to hold onto you with just one of my arms, hooked around your neck and shoulders!”
“Exactly-so.” Karl begat a quiet, nervous laugh signalling uncertainty, as he re-imagined the strategy several times over in his mind.
“Are, you, ready?” Veronique already looked to be shunting herself upwards.

“Hey stop that now!” Thundered a voice with a force that lifted many of the small, locally situated shrubs and flowers out of the ground, while retaining their root systems mostly intact.
“What the fuck was that?” Karl spat out the words using much of his remaining energy. Exasperated and exhausted by his task, he wobbled about, trying desperately to withhold his load.
“It’s him, The Author!” Veronique’s thighs clenched instinctively, causing Karl to wince as several of his major internal organs fought for space.
Stop what you are doing! Or you will fall into this stinking swamp and that could be the end of you both!”
The air around the duo filled with a minty freshness, which momentarily, they both found to be uplifting.
“You use mouthwash?” Veronique asked the The Author, in a quizzical manner.
“Yes, I do, every morning, regular as clockwork.” Replied the disembodied voice.
“And, before you go to bed?” Karl’s intuition told him ‘no’.
“N-n-no, not before bed.” The Author stammered hesitantly. “Just in the morning. I really can’t be doing with mouthwash in the evening. No, unless it is a special occasion, perhaps company maybe.
“You old hog!” Veronique chipped in.
Karl wobbled some more, despite the recent weight repositioning. “This is getting… difficult. I’m not sure how much longer I can hold you out of the swamp, my dear!”

“Author! Won’t you even reveal yourself? Can’t you help us?” Veronique held ever tighter, her arm around her lover’s neck.
“If it comes to it, I will lay down and you can stand atop, until rescue happens.” Karl’s words sounded dank and hollow, resigned now to a watery ending of his very own life.
The sound of a deep sigh, filled the airwaves. Both diminutive fictional characters stared upwards, diminutive by comparison only to an also fictional, lily white coloured hand, descending swiftly through the trees.
“My childs,” boomed the voice, “I will save you.”
As Veronique struggled like an attention-deficit kitten and Karl sank down onto one knee, a giant thumb and index finger closed-in and hoisted them far, far upwards, way up beyond all the tall greenery and through several layers of clouds.
“Have you noticed,” Veronique whispered into her man’s ear, “how faulty and limited his vocabulary is?”
“What was that?” The Author inquired with a tang of suspicion reflected in his tone.
“Oh, um we were just noticing how chilly it is, this far up.” Karl’s woman-for-life did not blink. “Quite a contrast to being on the ground!”
“Yes,” Veronique’s extraordinary lover loyally backed her up, “it’s the wind, very chilly. I wish I’d brought an overcoat!”
Don’t you ever stop moaning?” The giant hand-owner retorted. “I’ll tell you what, I will write you both into a jazz club. There, you Veronika, you will play the piano…”
“Veronique.” Veronique inserted, under her breath.
“And you Carl…”
Karl.” Karl rolled his eyes.
“You will play the drums.”
Puzzled, Karl’s eyebrow kinked.
“Now little ones, ready yourselves, close your eyes both and the next time you open them, you will have been teleported right out of here.”

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