8.2

Jessie and Vortran were already up and talking outside as the men emerged the next day. It was nearly noon, the bright sun forcing Mark and Sam to retreat inside again for coffee. Yik seemed no worse for the wear when he finally woke up, and wandered off towards the other ship. Vortran poked her head into the kitchen and found both men with their heads down on the table.

“You guys hungry?” She asked. Mark groaned in response, while Sam struggled to sit up.

“I think we’re just going to sit here and rot for a while, thanks.”

“S’what you get drinking a Pascal’s booze.” She went back outside and found Jessie  sitting on a low hanging branch looking out into the woods, “Careful up there, kid. I don’t move fast enough to catch you if you fall.”

“I’m looking for Mr. Jerret!” Jessie pulled herself up a little higher, standing on a branch.

Vortran frowned as the branch creaked a little, “Maybe he’s at the other ship. He wasn’t here last night.”

“He was here for a little bit, I can smell him still.” Jessie climbed back down and started toward the other ship.

“He didn’t smell that bad.” Vortran joined her, struggling a bit to keep up with her quicker footsteps.

“No, not like that. It’s a different smell cause we’re the same.”

“Okay…” Vortran decided against further questions, focusing on not tripping over debris before they reached the other clearing. Yik was there, picking up sticks and sorting them into piles. He waved as they approached and went back to his task. Vortran climbed into the other ship and checked the rooms. Nobody was inside. “I guess he’s wandered off for a bit. I’m sure he’ll turn up.”

Jessie frowned and scanned the edges of the clearing again before sitting down on one of the logs to watch Yik work. Vortran joined her and watched Yik scurry about, picking up twigs and sticks and occasionally bending one. A few snapped and he tossed them into the firepit. Once he’d amassed three decent sized piles he sat down in the middle of them and started grabbing some out of each pile and weaving them together.

“Um… Mr. Yikikik?” Jessie spoke up finally

Yik looked up at her expectantly, two twigs half-twisted together, “Yes?”

“What are you doing?”

Yik looked down at the mass of twigs in his hands, “I am bored, so I am making baskets.”

“But that’s a bunch of sticks.”

“It will be a basket when I am finished.” Yik’s ears flattened a little.

“How?”

“It…” Yik looked down at what he’d started and his tail twitched violently, “I do not know how to explain, only to show.” He started again and Jessie hopped off the log, moving next to him to watch.

“Can I make one?” She asked as his basket started to take shape finally. He kept weaving silently for a moment.

“Let me finish this one, and then I will try and teach you.” He grab another handful of sticks and started incorporating them. Jessie watched him silently, occasionally leaning in a little too close. Vortran watched from her perch on the log as the sun started a long descent towards night.

Yik finished his basket and attempted to teach Jessie to make one for most of the day. By the time it was getting dark Sam and Mark had reappeared and Mark started the fire up again while Sam and Vortran watched Jessie and Yik work. Jessie finally managed one that didn’t fall apart and handed it to Sam immediately before running inside to get something to drink. He held it gingerly and gave Vortran a sour look as she snickered. It was lopsided and had a large gap in one side but held together as he set it down on the log. Yik set his second basket inside the first one and set them safely away from the fire before heading inside for food himself. Sam took the basket back with him to the other ship and returned a while later with Calvin, as the others were heating up food. He set the man down next to a log and sat on the ground next to Jessie. She stretched out on the log to lay her head on his shoulder and watch the fire.

***

Mark and Yik carried Calvin back to the other ship again while Sam carried a sleeping Jessie back and Vortran lagged behind, carrying Yik’s baskets. There had been no sign of the vagrant all day but Sam left the door open just in case before he crawled into bed. The ship lights turned off automatically, leaving the area in darkness.

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