They had reached one border of the cemetery. About forty yards beyond the last of the graves, the woods began, and sitting in the growing shadows under the first line of trees was an old wagon.
Chunk had stopped in front of it, and was now looking back at them.
“It’s like one of those gypsy wagons.” He wasn’t sure why, but Mapleface had dropped his voice to a whisper.
“There’s writing on the side, but I can’t read it from here.’
“Well, if Chunk’s not afraid…”
“Chunk is part small child, part animal, and part simpleton. We’ve been over this already. He’s not smart enough to be afraid.”
They walked closer to the wagon, not in a hurry now that Chunk had stopped.
There was writing on the side:
THE LANDS DOWN UNDER
LET HIM FIND YOUR LOVED ONES
PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE
TRAVEL THROUGH HIS CRYSTAL
“Do you suppose that’s how she got to….wherever she is?”
“The Lands Down Under. Is that where she’s gone, Chunk? Is that the Oz you spoke of?”
Chunk broke into a huge smile, which made him the most beautiful thing either of them had ever seen. He was all innocence and goodness, and whatever he knew must have been a great comfort to him, and Tweak and Mapleface would have to take their own comfort from that.
“So if he sent her through, maybe he can bring her back,” reasoned Tweak.
“What if she hasn’t found Utoh yet? She may not want to come back.”
“She’ll have to come back eventually. I know its hard to lose someone, but there has to be a point where she lets him go.”
“The least we can do is go in and talk to this Professor.”
With a vigorous nod, Chunk led the way up a small ramp at one end, where the only door was.
The inside was bigger than it appeared possible, although the only furnishings were a messy daybed, a large table, and two chairs. In the center of the table was a large crystal ball, glowing just enough to light the room.
In one chair was a heavy-set man, slumped over the table.
“Oh, my gosh!”
“A dead body, a dead body! What do we do?”
“Because dead bodies are never found in a cemetery, is that right?”
“They usually have the decency to stay in their graves instead of flopping about where anyone can find them.”
“Wait.” Chunk was seated on one end of the bed, his legs drawn up so that his knees were under his chin. He was calmer now, perhaps because the other two had finally had the sense to follow him.
“For how long?”
“Where will we sleep?”
“Where will we pee?”
“Should we go back and get some food?”
“Is there a refrigerator in here?”
“Cold cuts. I could get some bread and cold cuts. And lemonade.”
“Where should we put the dead guy?”
“Look, he’s not even really a man. He’s got the bottom half of a caterpillar.”
“So he must be Professor Larvae. He’s part larvae.”
“No, he’s a caterpillar.”
“Caterpillars are butterfly larvae.”
With a grunt of annoyance, Tweak finally gripped the back of the man’s coat and hauled him up to see his face. He only had a little hair, white and bushy in a ring around his crown, but his mustache was as thick and proud as any.
And it was moving ever so slightly. He was breathing.
“Oooh, he’s alive.”
“Do you think he has any cold cuts?”
“I think he’s unconscious, or else he would have woken up by now.”
“What do we do with him?”
“Do you suppose he’ll die if we don’t feed him?”
“What do you call someone like that, anyway? A caterperson?”
“Call him Wizard.” Both of them turned and stared at Chunk, amazed that he’d spoken so many words, and yet, he wasn’t even finished.
“Call him Wizard, and wait.”