The Silver-tongue Ice Lout is a perserverant breed and the colder it gets the hotter it feels. The more distant the flame the faster he runs towards it, but never directly. He spirals into this infinite dance until the flames lick at his fur and bite his ears and he himself is so mad and hot and confused that he spirals back where he came from. Tongue unthawed, he licks his wounds and dances back around the fire. This ceremony is his favorite and most dreaded! He whips himself up like a king feast in oil and syrup and spins into the flame, catching the end of his tail ablaze. The silver tongued lout rumbles “Should I lop it off or merely douse it?!”. It creeps up his spine and begins to spread. In a panic the creature grabs its tail and devours it whole until all that’s left are a flame and a mouth eating each other.

River awoke with a lump in his pants.

“What a strange dream, huh Gigi?”

The bear’s pumice eyes stared back, confused and somewhat concerned.

“I think today I’ll be encountering… Monsters….”

River jumped off the bed and through his closet, landing in a jumble of clothes.  In this crawlspace there are two shoeboxes, a screwdriver, and a candle on a plate. Hunched over, he thrusts his index finger into his little pocket and grasps at a smooth surface.  After shifting to his bum and extending a leg he loosed the lump; an oblong orange stone. Turning it in his hands he noticed it looked a bit like candy corn, one of those with a broken tip, with a lighter ring around the base and a rusty sunset-colored crag in the top.

River pressed the stone between his hands and bowed his head. He sat like this for several minutes before opening his hands.  He studies the surface of the rock. “I see!”

In one smooth motion River drops the rock on the plate with a “clank,” removes a match from his left ear, and strikes it on the rock.

“Haha!”

He triumphantly lights the candle and sets to work carving in the rock with the screwdriver.  “Won’t need this for monsters,” he giggles as he sets “LUST” in the box. “How about…”

He scans the rocks: BEAUTY, FUNNY, FEAR, LIES, BIG, SILENCE, are all near the surface. He grabs Funny and Fear, “Monsters need to laugh most of all! And… they…”

He looks at his clothes up and to the left while digging his fingers around the bottom of the box, searching for the right feel…

“they… need that too!” He closes his palm around the gem and breathes the world in a breath. He holds it, holds it,

Then lets go.

“Let’s go Gigi!”

He slips Vans over his bare feet, grabs the bear and slams the door behind him, followed by rocks clacking and a whistled tune glowing softer and softer.