One quick peek

Milo decided his shorted-out, massively spazzing neurons were ill-quipped to deal with this kind of sophistry just now.

He sighed, lolled his head, and nestled his ear against the passenger window. Then, noting that the whirring noise seemed to crescendo as he did so, he willed himself to look out of the glass again. Just one quick peek...

Swirling all about the van, he could barely make out what looked like hundreds of alebrijes, their bright colours pale in the muted moonglow.

They were underneath, holding the van above their tiny heads, and working above the van grasping rain channels, door handles, the radio antenna, rivets -- anything they could grip with tiny hands, paws, teeth or beaks. Their tiny wings beat fast like hummingbirds', and the earth passed quickly past, not too far below. The van, considering its boxiness, cut a surprisingly graceful arc, the wind whistling around the body and the alebrije-laden mirrors.

"Are those...?" Milo trailed off again.

"Sure are." Callie said. She turned and stuck out her tongue.

Milo decided that the terse trucker thing was every bit as annoying as Callie's usual persona.

"Quiet!" came a stage whisper from behind. "You'll wake the babies!"

Milo looked back and could just make out Furlonger's gaunt silhouette hovering in the darkness. Carl motioned to the futon, where Molina and Lenore lay sleeping and unaware, she cradling Armand between them. Molina's scooter was up on its kickstand against the very back, a faint oily miasma of fuel and grease in the air around it.

Milo decided awake wasn't something he wanted to be just now, either. For he once got what he wanted. Callie was too occupied with steering to interfere in her usual way, and the alebrijes were all busy outside of the van.

Just as he began to zonk out again, the van's nose dipped, and steadied on a straight downward arc. At the sudden, stomach-dropping downhill sensation, he again felt like woofing his crackers.

Before he desperately shut his eyes tight against the inescapable queasiness of his swirling mind, and the spinning landscape below, Milo saw a huge trapezoidal apron of hard-looking desert starting to grow ahead of the windshield. Beyond was something that looked curiously like a long, moonlit airstrip, flanked by huge, luminous animal shapes and geometric patterns etched into the hard mountain earth, as if sketched by godlings in primordial sand.

Milo faded into merciful unconsciousness.