8

The chair that Mamma had been sitting on was still there. The buildings were the same, except for the hole that had been opened in the Registry of Lost and Found for them to escape. The rest of the street, on the other hand, looked completely different. The yellow patches of grass had turned green, and full of daisies and other flowers. The air felt surprisingly clean, not the dry and hard air that they usually breathed. The sun was still high in the sky, but on the West, signalling it was already the afternoon.

Erin made sure that her clothes looked proper, and her hair was combed. Once she was done, she nodded at Mamma. She looked expectant, a bit nervous, even. Mamma took Erin’s hands in her own.

“It’s going to be OK. I’ve seen to it myself. Go, well, Your Majesty” she kissed Erin’s hands, and then let her go. Erin disappeared in thin air.

“What is that supposed to mean? Where has she gone?” I asked.

“Yeah, what about that?” you added.

Mamma looked at the point where Erin had been standing on for a few seconds. You got on her way and started to wave your arms at Mamma Luca.

“Earth calling Mamma, Earth calling Mamma, please respond” you yelled.

Mamma seemed annoyed. “Wooh, calm down, I’ve spent two weeks sitting in that chair, barely standing any moment, just to keep all of you safe” she told both of us. Then turning towards you, she added: “Also, when did you become so sassy?”

You elongated your face, looking upwards while you inhaled. You hummed for a couple of seconds and then answered. “I think it might be a consequence of having had Mary Clark messing with my mind”.

“Oh. That actually makes sense” Mamma seemed surprised that she had not thought about it before. “Do you want me to help you with that?”

“Let’s leave it. It may come in handy”.

I interrupted your conversation. “Hey, let’s get back to the point here. What about Erin?”

“Yeah, what about that?” you chorused.

Mamma gave me a weird face. She was bewildered. “It’s only normal that she doesn’t know a thing, but John, you should know”.

“Well, I don’t!” I was confused.

Mamma raised her hands. “Stop this. We cannot interrupt her. She has to finish her duty. I will tell you about all of this later”.

“When is later?” you asked.

“When the chicken pees” Mamma answered.

You thought about it for a few seconds before making the whole connection. “What a bitch! That means never!”

“That tongue, young lady” she reprimanded you.

“Sorry! It’s the… you know…” you pointed at the area where the brain usually sits.

“So now, what?” I asked.

“Now,” Mamma stated, making clear that there was no acceptable excuse, “now you both need to get cleaned up from the grime that you have taken on in the Registry of Lost and Found. We’re going to Main Square”.

“Oh, hell no”.

“It’s not like you have an option” Mamma answered.

“Anne, run while I distract her!”

It was too late. Mamma tied both of us up with a spell and started to walk towards Main Square. Before leaving the street, she cast a spell to close the Registry of Lost and Found and to send the chair back to your new place. She then walked at a leisurely pace, showing obvious signs of having been sitting for way too long. We tried to swear, shout and escape, but Mamma would not free us. I even tried some magic, and I was unable to fight against her.

Main Square was empty, and the trees looked brighter and more alive than ever. We went to the centre, next to the Sacred Lemon Tree, and Mamma freed us. She made four jugs and three glasses apear, and she filled all four jugs and one of the glasses. She freed us and took the glass that was full, and offered one glass to each of us.

“You guys need to drink. You have been in the Registry of Lost and Found for a month” she told me. “And you have only been there for two weeks, but went all the way to the depths of the place, and met the toaster. You both need purifying”.

“So, how much do we have to drink?” I asked.

“Two jugs. Each”.

Two jugs? Each?” I shouted. “Absolutely fucking not”.

“We are not leaving this place until you’re both fully purified”. Then pointing at you, she said. “See, Anne has taken her first glass, and it’s not that bad”.

I looked at you. You took the second glass and swallowed. You grimaced at the acidic flavour. I took the glass and served my first glass. I acted as if I had to start drinking, but then the glass slipped through my fingers. I let it drop to the floor and break into a thousand pieces. The juice spilled all over the floor, making a small puddle.

“Oh, my bad… So sorry…!” I acted out.

“It’s OK, thank goodness that I’m proficient at magic” Mamma answered with an evil grin, as the juice and glass pieces started to float and recompose into the glass of juice that had initially been there. I was not happy at all. “There you go” she offered.

“Damn it!” then I saw you finish your first jug. “Stop that! Stop drinking, Anne!”

“Don’t listen to him, Anne. You are doing really well” Mamma said. “Now, get going. If you don’t drink it yourself I’m going to force it down you with a tube”.

“I dare you” I said, proudly.

She snapped her fingers. A plastic funnel attached to a tube appeared.

“OK, OK! No need to get that out! I’ll drink it!” I said, taking the first glass and gulping it down my throat.

All of my being burnt. My body and my soul had a hard time swallowing the lemon juice. I looked at my two jugs. I still had a lot of juice to go. I could vomit right then and right there. I felt the contents of my stomach pushing up. I took my hand to my mouth.

“I think I’m going to vomit…”

“You better push all of that back down to your stomach, or I’ll need to fill the jug again”.

I couldn’t. A black liquid came up my mouth. When I was finally straight once again, Mamma cleared everything up with a spell and gave me a glass of lemon juice.

“See, it’s starting to make effects. You need to get all of that out”.

I drank it. This time it did not feel that bad. It was still acidic, and gave me the shivers, but I didn’t feel like dying. I saw you were done drinking your two jugs. This kept me drinking until I finished my own two jugs. Mamma clapped.

“Well done! Now, just to finish the cleaning up process…”

She snapped her fingers once more, and we were suddenly soaked with lemon juice. We were both shocked.

“Why would you do that?” I shouted.

“God!” you shouted. You moved the hair out from your face.

“We’re finished now. You both are clean now. Now go get changed. It will soon be sunset, and we are meeting in Anne’s house for dinner”.

“My house?” you were surprised.

“Yes. I have arranged it so that we get dinner in the terrace. We have a new Spanish chef…”

That night we dinned. Erin, Ba’al, Mamma and a few more joined in your terrace. Finally reunited.

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