The Zoo Man, Pt. 14

Clarence led them through the camp, winding around the wagons and the people. The three of them walked in silence, and Hannah’s mind flitted like a nervous bird back and forth between worrying about Mama’s anger and feeling bad about how things had gone with Franklin.

“You didn’t have to walk us out here,” Hannah said when the three of them had reached the road that would lead her and David back to their home. “I really don’t think we would have gotten lost.”

“I suppose not. It’s true that most people find their way, but sometimes it helps to have a guide go along with you. Someone to help you get there faster.” He paused for a moment, shrugged. “Sometimes it’s nice just to have the company.”

Hannah shrugged. “I wouldn’t really know.”

“Too young yet. But you’ll learn in time, I’m sure.”

They stood there in silence staring at each other. David was already walking towards home, paying no mind to the fact his sister had lingered behind him.

“Will you be around for very long?” she asked.

“A few nights, and then we must move on.”

“My mama’s going to be cross when she finds out I ran off. I don’t think she’ll let me come out again.”

Clarence smiled. “Mothers are always cross when their children wander. But we’ll return in time. Perhaps we’ll see you then.”

He turned then and he left. As the Zoo Man always did, he left.

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