Within ten minutes the two dragons lay in the field of daisies, stubby wings fluttering back and forth, asleep on their backs, gently snoring, and Lila and Uncle George pinned against a tree.
“You haven’t been completely honest with me, George. All these fanciful things… a talking rabbit! A swarming troop of bees, a good path and a bad path… And you’ve been vague, through this entire walk we’ve taken, about yourself, your past. And your future! And it’s the future that bothers me, Uncle George. Well, the past bothers me too. But you and I seem to be brought together. And I don’t know why. And because you seem to give me less than straight answers, I’m having trouble believing in you and what you say you represent.”
“Well, there’s a story there,” said Uncle George. “You’re right. The rabbit is the one who talks. The bees, a flying squad, so to speak, providing dramatic - and sometimes scary - support…”
Lila said, “Over the years I’ve heard the song about ‘Puff, the Magic Dragon.”
“And Stuff is his cousin - and he also is a magic dragon. Puff is the performer, but when Puff needs things… for example, a hare in a hat, it’s his cousin Stuff who puts the rabbit in the hat. And the girl in the box. And the cards in a special order. Puff is the magic dragon. But without Stuff, he’d be nowhere.” Lila started to interrupt but Uncle George held up his hand. “I know you have questions.”
“I sure do! What about Sandra? What about the mysteriousness of the house? What about the syringe in your eye? That potion’s chemicals that went into your system?”
“Perhaps this will explain it all.” And Uncle George put a hand on the eyepatch that covered the eye that he couldn’t see with. He swiveled the patch to the back of his head. In an instant, Uncle George was transformed. He suddenly became taller. His rough clothing changed into formal wear, his workman’s cap to a silk top hat and a cane appeared in his hand. The bees appeared; the hare hopped to a stop and Puff and Stuff the magic dragons woke. And Lila could see herself in the reflection of the pond. She’d felt nothing. But now she too was taller, younger-looking, and as if to match Uncle George, she was in a formal gown.
“Whoa! What’s this?” She looked further into the pond’s reflective surface. And she saw the truth. And as we read, the truth shall make you free.
Freedom was what they celebrated, as they danced, hopped, buzzed and stomped around - because dragons stomp, they don’t dance - the field of daisies on that summer afternoon.
When they all plopped to the ground, tired, Uncle George swiveled his eye patch back in place. And all things wonderful disappeared. And it was a middle-aged woman and older gentleman both in work clothes, two elderly dragons, and a frantic rabbit who in addition to being a magician’s assistant, had been featured in his own walk - or hop, as it were, through life, as he had spent time with Alice. There they all were.
Lila had a feeling that Uncle George had been waiting a long time for her to reach a certain stage in life. Now he had come for her and at the same time he’d brought together the other members of this strange little troop. She could see the future and she wasn’t sure she liked what she saw.