Isaac’s Adventures Underground: Chapter Twenty-one

Knowing that the queen was behind him listening, Isaac felt his mind start racing. Would she feel insulted that he thought she was scary?   He didn’t want to be dragged away by the guards. This time it might not be as easy to escape. What could he say to fix this?

“I’ve never met someone as important as she is,” he said quickly. “I’m not really sure how I should act.”

“I’m sure you’ll be fine,” the butterfly said.

“Who is this?” the queen asked sharply. “And why is she staring at me?”

“I’m a butterfly,” the butterfly said.

The guards rushed past Isaac and surrounded the butterfly. “She has extra eyes,” one of the guards said, examining the eyespots on the wings. “They’re really big.”

“Perhaps she’s here to spy on us,” another guard said.

“I can’t see with them,” the butterfly said.   “They’re just for show.”

“Showing what?” the first guard asked.

“For decoration,” the butterfly said.

“I thought you said they were for show,” the second guard said. “But now you say they’re for decoration.”

“Mighty suspicious.” The first guard turned and looked at Isaac. “And you, you were here with her, weren’t you? Perhaps you’re a spy too.”

“He did show up out of nowhere,” the second guard said. “Maybe he’s the one that brought the wind that spoiled the picnic.”

“I shared my baseball with you,” Isaac said.

“He did do that,” the first guard said. They turned and looked at the butterfly again.   “So, what do you have to say for yourself?”

The butterfly flapped her wings and looked thoughtful. “One morning, the warm sun came up and pop! –I hatched out of my egg onto a large green leaf. I was a tiny, and very hungry caterpillar. I started to look for some food.”

“I thought you said you were a butterfly,” the second guard said.

“I am. I just used to be a caterpillar.”

“Mighty suspicious. And you didn’t answer my question.”

The butterfly shrugged. “Then maybe you asked the wrong question.”

The queen started tapping her foot. “This is taking too long,” she said.

Isaac coughed a little, to catch everyone’s attention. “I think she knows Miss Muffet.   Maybe Miss Muffet can tell us what you need to know.”

“Miss Muffet will be bringing the honeydew barrels soon. Very well.” She turned and began walking away. “Guards, escort the butterfly to the game and keep an eye on her,” she called over her shoulder. “And bring the baseball.”

The first guard looked at the butterfly. “Am I keeping an eye on her if her eyes outnumber my eyes? Or is she keeping an eye on me?   Wouldn’t that just be her spying again?”

The second guard thought for a moment and then counted on her fingers. “If we both keep an eye on her, then I think we’re even. If we find someone else, then we’re ahead.”

“That is where the eyes go,” the first guard said.   “Come along butterfly, formerly known as caterpillar. We need to find someone to help us keep an eye on you.”

The butterfly launched into the air and started to fly in the direction of the baseball game. The guards scrambled to keep up. “Hey, that’s not fair. We’re supposed to be watching you. You didn’t say you could fly,” one of the guards yelled.

“Bring the baseball,” the other growled at Isaac as they ran past.

Isaac picked up the baseball and followed them back over the hill.   “Throw it over here,” several ants called. He tossed it towards the pitcher, who had to take a step forward to catch it. Then the queen stepped up to bat and the game began again.

Luckily, this time the ball landed close enough to the crowd that someone else ran for it and tossed it to the pitcher. Isaac looked for the butterfly. She was fluttering over the crowd watching the game. A group of guards were staring at her without blinking.

Isaac turned to an ant standing nearby. “What inning is this?” he asked.

“Who knows,” the ant said. “I don’t think anyone is keeping track.”

If no one kept track, how would they know when the game was over? Isaac started to worry that the game would never end. If the game never ended, would he ever get home?