“So, you just found them lying on the street like this?” Cala asks, looking at the two pitiful figures now safely deposited in the chairs of the little reception area on the ground floor of the Guardia station.
“Sí,” Nataniel replies, sitting on her desk. “Must have not come from far away. They could barely stand, let alone walk.”
“Look, look! It’s so pretty!” the young man currently identified as one of the seemingly nameless kitchen staff of the Singing Cockroach says, pointing at a far corner of the Station and gawking, his mouth opening and closing slowly like that of a particularly lethargic fish. His eyes shine in glassy fascination.
Nataniel sighs with a knowing, commiserating glance at Cala. “There’s nothing there, amigo.”
“What’ya mean?” the young man insists, salivating. “Look at the fountain! Mmm… chocolate…”
“Is he saying there’s an invisible chocolate fountain in here?” Aliyah asks, leaning over her desk to peer in the general direction being pointed. “Cool! Where?”
“Right there, Miss!” the young man exclaims, leaping to his feet and running to look something currently and most definitely not occupying the corner. “And look, there’s hippos swimming in it!”
Aliyah rises from her chair and walks over to where the man is standing and pointing excitedly. She looks and looks, even tries to touch the seemingly invisible fountain with her hand, only to finally give up and stomp her foot on the wooden floor in frustration. “Aw, man! I wanna see it! Where did you get those powers?”
“Aliyah, they don’t have powers,” Cala scolds her. “They are hallucinating.”
“Aww, they have a baby floating around!” the young man by Aliyah’s side coos. His brow furrows. “At least, I hope that’s a baby…”
Aliyah looks from him to Cala, to the corner and back to him, and finally decides to go with what she knows.
“All right, then. No hippos at the station. Check!” she says, walking back to her desk. “So what else have we got?”
“Llamas! Llamas everywhere!” comes the cry of the owner of the Singing Cockroach.
Aliyah’s head shoots up. “Llamas? Really? Wow!” she exclaims excitedly, only to turn to Syro almost immediately. “What’s a llama?”
Syro explains in a patient tone, “It’s a Camelid characterized by its adaptation to life in high altitu…” he trails off, catching Aliyah’s look of utter confusion. “It’s a bit like a tall sheep with a long neck and an unusual tendency to spit.”
“Oh… Kinda like Aunt Cora, then,” Aliyah mutters.
Sitting by Cala’s desk, the owner of the Singing Cockroach beckons to the Constable, leaning towards her in that complete disregard for the concept of personal space that severely drugged or drunk people seem to share.
“Pssssssst! They want me,” he whispers.
“Who wants you, Felix?” Cala asks.
“The llamas,” Felix whispers, his words carrying throughout the room, much in contrast with the supposedly expected effect. “Look at them! It’s in the eyes. They want to…” His eyes widen in terror. “…breeeeeed with me.”
“Well, at least someone finds him attractive,” Alyiah mutters.
“No! Not the bells, not the bells!” Felix yells, climbing onto Cala’s desk and curling into a fat, greasy ball of sheer horror.
“You got some serious problems, my friend,” Nate says, tapping the terrified man on the shoulder.
“And now they’re eating all the crickets!” Felix whimpers, pointing meekly at the floor. “Stop them!”
“Nuh uh! No way I’m getting near those llamas!” Aliyah says, shrugging. “They sound nasty.”
“Aliyah…” Cala softly admonishes as she stands up and rolls up her sleeves. “Right, let’s get these two in a cell where Syro and Nate can examine them safely and you and I can go feel the streets for these new drugs.”