“Dude?” François ventured. “We gotta find Pendragon, but fast! Do you have any idea what could happ…”

“No shit, Frankie?” Sebastian feigned amazement. “I know exactly what a circus would do to someone like Pendragon. Look how they treat their animals! Why would the treat Pendragon any different?”

“Okay, okay. You don’t have to rip my face off, wiener.”  François gave his brother a sideways glance. “Lookit! Phydeaux’s going bat-poop. Pendragon must be near!

With that, the trio made a wild-ass dash for the big-top and hopefully, Pendragon. Phydeaux led the way with the slobber-fraught stuffed tarantula, Agamemnon, dangling from his mouth.

“Whoa, this place is mobbed!” Sebastian observed. “But then, word probably got out about their special feature.”

“Bunch o’ assholes.” François shook his head in disgust as Phydeaux strained at his leash. “C’mon, let’s push through.”

Phydeaux piloted the brothers through the masses of circus-goers to the back of the tent. There, they found cages stacked upon cages containing various specimens of never-before-seen creatures.”

“Hey! There he is!” Sebastian shouted, as a frantic  Phydeaux steered them to the last cage on the left, top row. “But who’s that in the cage with him? And what are they doing?

“I think it’s a girl and don’t look!” François attempted to shield his brother’s eyes. “It’s too much for you.”

“Knock it off!” Sebastian swatted his hands away.  “Jerk!”

“Ooooh, I’m scared!” François held out a quivering hand. “Look, I’m shakin’.”

“You should be.”

“Yeah, okay, Sebo.”

“Gross.” Sebastian had turned his attention to Pendragon and his cage-mate. “Lookit how they’re staring at each other. You don’t think…I mean, like, they could be in love, do you?”

François shrugged. “Might be. They both have that sloppy ‘stars in their eyes’ look. I wonder what they’re talking about.”

The boys moved-in closer only to hear Pendragon’s apparent love interest tenderly chanting The Song of Solomon 2:16. 

“Yep, it’s a girl, all right.” Françoise concluded, reading the name plate on the cage. “Says Pendragon and Xaviera.”

“Yuck. This is just. so. yuck.

“He doesn’t even recognize us!”

Sebastian coaxed Phydeaux to drop Agamemnon. He then picked it up and held the toy up to the cage. “Pendragon, look! It’s Agamemnon!”

This inspired nothing more than an irritated glance from the enamored homunculus.

Pendragon,” Sebastian grabbed Agamemnon and pleaded. “Don’t you remember?” He shook the stuffed tarantula at the cage bars. “C’mon, Pendragon. Please!”

This time, Pendragon threw a protective arm across the shoulders of his beloved Xaviera. The lovers then turned their backs to the boys and their cat-dog-cat.

Several moments passed before either boy found his respective voice.

“C’mon, let’s go home.” François took Agamemnon from his brother’s grasp and tossed the soggy wad in a nearby trash barrel.  “It’s late.”

“He’s better off with his own kind, anyway.” The empty words caught in Sebastian’s throat. “I’m sure gonna miss him.” He trotted back to the trash can to retrieve Agamemnon and shoved it in his back pocket.

“Me too, Sebo.” François scooped up Phydeaux and gently slung him over his shoulder. “Me, too.”

Thus began the long trek home.

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