She walked into my office looking flat as a board. I mean literally flat she only had two dimensions.
“What can I do for you sugar?” I said. She told me that she was fictional character and had somehow gotten herself trapped in reality.
She was only a work in progress through, hence the two dimensions.
Her author was a recluse and she needed my help to find him.
I asked her if she has a name. She said she hadn’t been given one and then asked me to pick one for her.
“Why don’t I just call you Sugar?” I said. She seemed to like it.
Sure, I took the case… if anything just to find out what this dame was all about.
She took me to her author’s last known location which was a run down building just outside of the city.
The inside proved to be much nicer than the outside. His walls were lined with books and he had boat load of small house plants included several twisting bamboo plants.
I found a large globe with tacks stuck in it here and there. Sugar found a book on dog sledding and a blue print of cargo ship.
There was a pile of cut up travel brochures spilling off the kitchen table.
“Hey, look at this.” She said pointing at a message made from the letters cut from the brochures and glued to the wall.
“When the sun sets the water steams the air.” She read. “What does that mean?” I wondered.
“You think he went to California the land of the setting sun?” I offered. “No I think he means the Tropics. Look see a setting sun steaming the ocean. Maybe he’s referring to the humidity down there. “She said.
“Hey you’re pretty sharp.” I said “Not really I’m just written that way.” She shrugged.
She was kind of funny too.
I looked down and saw that he had a tack stuck in the Cayman Islands and when I looked up Sugar’s head had become 3 dimensional. “You’re starting to fill out.” I said with a little shock in my voice.
We jetted down to the Caymans and picked up his trail on a remote side of one of the smaller islands.
It took us a boat, a truck and a donkey to get there but we eventually found his little cabana.
As we walked along the beach on the final leg of our journey the sun was just beginning to set. “It’s so beautiful.” She glowed. “Happens every night.” I said blankly.
“Take a look at this.” I said as I grabbed her hand and lead her over to a cluster of rocks that jutted out into the water.
We sat there for awhile and watched the sun set as the water lapped all around us. “Look at me now.” She said with a bit of pride.
Her heart had grown enough to completely fill in her chest. She looked great.
“I guess we should get back to work.” I said.
Sugar searched the cabana while I questioned some of the locals. Nobody had ever heard the man.
Luckily, Sugar found another riddle in the cabana. “The lights in the sky dazzle but never rise. “She read. We simultaneously said, “Alaska!”
There was a clue in his last novel that lead us to believe that he might be hiding out in a small town named Kotzebue that was just inside the Artic circle.
We went straight to work just as soon as we landed.
Sugar found a local that knew who we were talking about. He told us that the author stayed in a cabin a few miles out of town. He offered to take us there by dog sled.
We hopped on the sled and off we went over the tundra. As we approached the cabin we saw another dog sled pulling away. It was him!
Our guide mushed his dogs and the chase was on.
The wind was viciously whipping our faces and the next thing we knew we were caught in the middle of a blizzard.
Our guide took us to his yurt and his wife fed us some freshly smoked reindeer meat.
Now I thought the meat pretty good but Sugar was in a frenzy of new flavours. She ate all the exotic Eskimo grub she could get her hands on before she passed out.
I looked down and saw that her stomach had filled out maybe a little more than she may have wanted. The next morning we found another riddle nailed to the door.
The riddle read, “Honorable masters of the blade serve it raw.”
At first we were both a little confused by this one but then I remembered seeing Japan marked on the globe.
We made our way to the nearest big city, Nome and found out he was booked on a cargo ship that was leaving five minutes ago.
We rushed down to the docks and managed to catch the ship just before it pushed off. “He has nowhere to go now. “ I said with confidence.
Sugar wasn’t so sure. She had a special connection to this guy. “I don’t think he’d lead us here if he didn’t have a plan to escape.” She said.
“You’re right.” I said “The question is – why did he lead us here?”
At that moment the next riddle in the form of a paper airplane came floating passed my face. I turned and caught glimpse of him darting around the corner.
I took off after him so fast that I almost ran right outta my shoes. We chased him through every corridor, on every deck and even through the belly of the ship.
He dodged between the churning engines and hidden passages like he’d built the ship.
“So that’s what the blueprint was for.” I said adding “This guy really knows how to hide.” “He knows how to be found too.” She quipped.
We lost him but we knew he had only so many ways to leave the ship so we spent the rest of the day watching the vast, open ocean skate beneath our feet.
I noticed that she was looking a little pale. You feeling alright? I asked.
“I’m just not used to all this rocking.” She said. “Don’t worry Sugar you’ll get your sea legs.” I assured her.
And sure enough by the end of the day her legs had filled in. She had a nice pair of gams.
When we arrived in Japan we placed ourselves at the exits of the ship but somehow he managed to give us the slip. Then I remember the paper airplane riddle.
“In a forest strong as steel all will be revealed.” It read.
There was a bamboo forest just outside of the little fishing village where we were docked. As we shoved our way through the thick green stalks we came to an opening.
Sugar’s author was sitting there in the lotus position waiting for us. “I have to get back in there back into your mind. You have to finish writing me.” Sugar pleaded.
“I’m afraid that‘s not possible.” He said as he rose to his feet and drew a Samari sword. “Look behind you.”
He pointed at another sword in the trees. “So be it.” She muttered through her grinding teeth.
The very second Sugar took up the sword he charged at her.
They fought for what seemed like hours. The forest around them was leveled by their slashes.
At some point during the fight Sugar’s arm had filled out. Finally swinging fro a bamboo limb, Sugar kicked the sword from his hand and planted her sword at his throat.
“Give it up!” She demanded “I want back in there! Now!!
“All in good time my dear.” He said raising his hands.
“First I’d like to thank the good detective for helping you to find me and myself. Here’s your money sir.”
He said handing me a sizeable wad of cash.
“Now then, let’s take a look at you. This little adventure is better than any back story I could have thought up. Come back to me my darling. I have a story for you to live in.” He said with open arms.
She dropped her sword and approached him. Just before she vanished back into fiction she peered over her shoulder at me. And mouthed a sincere “Thank you.”
I was happy to have met her. I hope I get the chance to see her again if only in my mind’s eye as I read her character in a novel.