His instinct must have been what woke him from his deep slumber. After the ritual the other night, he and Garibaldi had sat together at the massive table that had been brought out to the meadow for the event, and stuffed themselves full with tender and delicious victuals until they leaned back in their chairs, half-asleep with satisfaction. They groaned and rubbed their bellies, when Daddy-O suddenly realized he hadn't noticed Noel around since before the ritual, when he'd told him to go away in no uncertain terms. With a great yawn and a stretch, he changed the angle of his head just enough to sniff the aromas surrounding the table and the meadow without having to move his bloated body, and didn't sense Noel anywhere. "Hey...hey Gar...you seen Noel in a while?"
"Hmm..?" Garibaldi had barely responded, "Noel? Mmm...no. Not since I left you sitting on that stump before things began to pop off. He's probably passed out in a bush somewhere, dreaming about 'getting some' from that nymph." He chuckled to himself and smiled, "Idiot. I hope she doesn't kill him...or maybe I hope she does. At least that way I get my den back sooner than later. Speaking of which, I'm about done in, you want to call it a night? I'm happy to walk you back to your place."
"Yeah? That would be cool, thanks. I'm falling asleep right here, and I wouldn't mind getting back home before I pass out completely." While Daddy-O staggered to his feet, Garibaldi dozed off and fell out of his chair, which woke him instantly, and he sprang quickly to his feet, blinked his eyes, and turned in a circle to sniff at the breeze, discerning whether or not there was any threat in the air. Daddy-O smiled and shook his head when he heard the soft thud of Garibaldi's body hitting the ground, and the subsequent rustling that accompanied his quick recovery and reconnaissance. "You too, huh? Well, let's blow this taco stand while we're still both somewhat awake, and able to make it back to my place without going too far astray."
Shaking his head to clear it, Garibaldi yawned, "Aight, let's do it, my man." Making their way out of the meadow, they shook hands/hooves/tentacles, gave and received hugs, and called out their thanks and good-byes to the many who still lay littered on the ground, on the table, and up in trees. Garibaldi led his friend safely home, and sauntered off sleepily back to his own den, which was still several miles away. Daddy-O had stumped over to his comfy loveseat, and gone face-down without even removing his tattered clothing, which had certainly seen better days - like yesterday, when he'd put them on before the whole Bacchanalian had yet to go down. Sleep came instantly, and deeply.
But now, there was something awry, and his senses alerted him to the danger through his slumber. It felt like a pricking on his skin, and he knew better than to move, and let whatever may be intruding into his space know that he sensed its presence. His heart thumping in his chest, he listened intently to the small cracks he was hearing, coming from somewhere over by the laundry hamper. What could it be? Sniffing the air slowly so his nostrils wouldn't flare noticeably (in case whatever-it-was was watching him for signs of wakefulness) he tried to make sense of what his adrenaline-flooded synapses were telling him. That Noel was sitting on his floor, over by the crevice that served as his closet, cracking and eating walnuts. What the hell..? How should he address this trespass, and blatant disregard for his privacy? He didn't much care for Noel, in general, but he could sympathize with his situation...somewhat. This, though...this was beyond what he was willing to accept.
Daddy-O decided to meet the challenge head-on. "What the fuck are you doing in my den, Noel," he intoned gravely without moving; no hint of welcome in his voice, no sign of friendship.
"You know I didn't like, mean anything by it, like, it's not breaking and entering or anything. Just needed a place to...you know...to...like, have a little snack, that's all. Yeah, just stopped in for like, a snack. Want a walnut? Just like, tilt your head back a bit, and I'll, like, toss one in your mouth."
Sighing heavily, Daddy-O hauled himself upright and stretched sleepily. Walnuts were a rare commodity in the forest, and as much as the thought of one set his mouth to watering, his desire for the dry, soft nut-meat was less than his desire for removing Noel from his presence as quickly as possible. "You are cruising for a bruising, Noel...I swear I'm fixing to leap across this room, and tear you to pieces for my breakfast."
"...Cruising for a bruising," Noel guffawed. "That's so, like, 1950's of you, like, the spirit of the sock hop is alive and well, and, like, living in a cave in the forest!" Laughing at his own joke, Noel stood up to stretch his legs. As he shook them out, he continued, "Like, why do you even, like, dress like that? And, like, talk like that? And...and...hey, what are you doing? Hey! Ow!" Daddy-O had raised himself up off the loveseat, rolled his shoulders and his neck, then sprang across the space between them, and pinned Noel to the wall of the cave, pressing hard on his windpipe with his forearm.
"I thought I told you yesterday...leave me alone. I don't like you, I don't want you in my den, we're not friends, and your presence is a nuisance to just about everyone I know. So - if you get out of here the second I let you go, I promise I won't kill you...today. Tomorrow? Well...we'll just have to see about that, now, won't we?" Noel was struggling and gurgling under the pressure of Daddy-O's muscular arm, his face turning colors the blind werewolf couldn't see. Managing at last to croak out some form of positive affirmation, he ran for the entrance the moment Daddy-O chose to release him, coughing and choking as he stumbled out into the forest, snot running from his nose, tears streaming from his eyes, shit staining his pants. Smiling to himself, Daddy-O picked up the remaining walnuts he could feel strewn about the floor, cracked one in his fist, and enjoyed the delightful treat that had made an unexpected appearance in his day.
"That settles that," he said with finality, as he made his way back to his beloved loveseat, grabbed the hand-knitted afghan slung across its back, and curled himself into a ball beneath its warmth to enjoy another few hours of blessed rest.
for this week's whirl, I decided to continue the story I began last week. hope you enjoyed it! follow along at: