The Dog House

Miko lived on the furthest edge of town, northeast of the center of Fable. Sandy had never been out this way before and was somewhat surprised when Miko turned onto a narrow dirt road just off the path to Pageturner Ranch. Sandy squinted and shielded her eyes and saw no house, which suggested that Miko must have been living in the adjacent woods at the base of Novel Summit. It was still early in the day, so the sun hadn’t quite made it over the horizon, casting an aura of white light around the imposing peak.

You live in the forest… Do you have your own giant axe or something? Huh…? Oh, not all of the woods around here are the same forest. The mist is far north of here. Just like how Kona’s woods to the south don’t have a hint of nasty green slime monsters. Ugh… I can still feel them on my skin…

Miko’s home wasn’t too deep within. After one gentle turn to the north did it appear at the end of its own road. Miko had no neighbors out here. It was just her and the trees. The house was inside a small clearing with wild uncut grass all around it. It was a humble home with a straw roof, and only small signs of Jill’s tudor style. Instead of being mostly wood, bright, colorful and straight like the other buildings in the village, it was a homely tiny hut. Sandy guessed there were only one or two rooms inside. A small loft’s window was at the ceiling just above the door, and a rounded clay pot rested next to some old wooden steps.

Behold. The doghouse. Huh… Well it sure is, um… Homely? Homely works. But I didn’t want to make it sound like a bad thing. I know you’re not stuck up, Sandy. But yeah, it is really homely. Just the way I like it. Jill made it for me when I first came to Fable. I’m really grateful and I don’t want to change it. She kind of begs me to let her change it. It’s one of her first so she’s all embarrassed by it. But I like it a whole lot.

The inside of the doghouse was even smaller than what Sandy had guessed. It was like a single room in Kemono Cafe, with a bed by one of the windows and a table by the other. Sandy’s nose was immediately assaulted by many hundred strong smells and it was easy to see why. The house was like a dense pantry with deep shelves filled with jars of dried fruit and herbs. Tall tins of coffee stood beside hanging strings of garlic, overfilled bread boxes were used as stands for heavily chipped butter dishes, and there was a whole 3 gallon barrel of oats right next to a tall jar of raspberry jam.

Sandy smiled at the array of flavors, but there was something missing in a place like this. It really did feel like a pantry and not at all like a home. Even Maxine’s most crowded rooms felt like each item had a story. Sandy felt as if she could trace Miko’s morning routine exactly just by looking at the dust. There was a place she slept, a place she washed, a place she changed, and then the door. Miko went to the counter and reached for an empty jar.

Yup, just like I thought. No honey. Let’s go get some. Tea without honey is a crime. You would know! This place smells wonderful. Doesn’t it?! *sniff sniff* Ahh… I forgot I had fresh bread, too. Let’s make toast when we get back. I don’t smell fresh bread… It’s in there. The stronger herbs are just hiding everything.

The two of them turned around and left the doghouse in a hurry. Miko was trying not to dwell on the fact she had such a simple home. Sandy was slightly awkward about it, because she couldn’t tell if Miko was embarrassed or not. She was able to take in Miko’s entire homelime in a ten second glance.

There’s bees out this way. So how do we get the honey without being stung? I have something set up for them, you’ll see.

Miko had taken Sandy a little deeper into the woods where a large old tree stood proudly over one of its fallen neighbors. Both trees had been claimed by a thick swarm of fat fuzzy honey bees. Sandy stood way back from the dangerous buzzing and rubbed her arms nervously as Miko approached a wooden box at the side, crouched over like a burglar.

What is that? A trick Jill showed me. Watch this… Come to momma…

Miko reached to a metal rod sticking out the top of the box and turned it, then quickly put a small jar from her home just below a chute at the bottom of the box. Golden reward began to flow out and fill the jar right away.

How?! Honey at the tap! I see that, but how! Jill says it changes the shape of the hive on the inside so I can get it a jar at a time. I don’t wanna put the work into being a real bee keeper. But this works. There. Thanks, little guys! Oh! Oh, okay. I’m leaving! I’m leaving! Aaaah!

Sandy guessed the bees were not happy about Jill’s invention and the two girls ran from the rising angry sound. Miko crouched low with her honey jar in both hands and bolted in front of Sandy. It took everything Sandy had to keep up, running with knees high in the air.

So the plan was to take the honey and run?! Yup! What else do you do with bees?! I … don’t know! I always got honey from a store! Mail dogs can’t afford everything at the store… Not when there’s art to buy. Oh my gosh, this again. So I’ve got this idea I’ve had in my head since forever. Hear me out! Imagine a master canine detective who can sniff out any crime! Figures.

It didn’t take long before Sandy knew this was going to become a tradition of theirs. The small table in the corner of Miko’s home was perfect for what it needed to be. Miko loved being a host for once and spoiled Sandy with thick slices of toast, smothered in jam and drizzled with honey that couldn’t be any fresher if they tried. Miko proved to be very knowledgeable about tea and unafraid to go big. She boiled a black tea with cinnamon and apple slices to make something Sandy kept going back to until it was gone. And she agreed quickly, every tea was better with honey in it.

So she’s got on this trench coat and a fedora. Think you can draw those? It’s been forever since I’ve even seen a trench coat. Those are pretty old-timey where I’m from. I do mostly cartoony stuff… I don’t think you’d like it. Do you think you can draw a revolver? Miko! I’ve always thought detective stories are so cool. They always open with something dramatic, too. From the moment she walked into my office, I knew she was trouble. Oh wow! You can do that voice perfectly! Sends shivers down my spine when the story opens like that. Like we get to see the crime first and then learn about the world alongside the case. And a car chase. There’s got to be a car chase somewhere in it or it doesn’t count! Mmm… So, Miko, that reminds me. You seem to know a lot of stuff that I’d recognize from my world. But no one looks like you where I live. Where are you from? Hmm… Sorry. Should I have asked? I’ve thought a lot about that too. Like you knowing what TV was. Is there anything you can tell me about your home? My home is right here. But I get what you mean. Fable’s a strange place where a lot of people “just wind up.” And if I knew more about where I came from, I’d tell you. I really would. You don’t remember? Not a bit. I have a lot in my head about where I’m from, but I don’t remember things I should. … How? It’s scary, Sandy. I know it’s hard to accept but I really don’t know. I was Kona’s first passenger, you know. No, I didn’t know that! She’d just found the Escapade and was learning how it worked. When all of a sudden, it woke up all by itself and began to move. Kona tells me that she hopped on at the last second and rode into the tunnel, not knowing where it would go. You’ve seen all that inky black stuff outside when the train’s doing its thing, right? Hard to miss. The train came and got me in the middle of all that. It didn’t go to a new world to find me. It just found me in the middle of nowhere. Oh no… I’ll tell you what I told Kona. I don’t have anywhere to go back to and I don’t even remember it. So if it’s all the same to you, I’d rather leave it at that. I may sound strange sometimes, but it’s just because I’m not from around here. Just like you. It’s okay. I don’t want to talk about it if you don’t. That’s good. Because I really don’t want to read into it too much. Whenever I think about other places, it makes me worried that my time in Fable is going to run out.

The light out the window turned a bright hue of orange. At first Sandy didn’t notice, but when a new color of bright magenta started to mix in both Sandy and Miko turned from their conversation to look outside and looked on with shocked faces. The orange and magenta light were fighting for dominance just off the road, swelling over one another like paint being freshly mixed in a bucket of sky blue. Miko got up right away to go look and bolted outside. Sandy came up behind her much more slowly, trying to grab at Miko’s wrist.

Miko, I don’t think we should be too close to this! What the heck is it?! I’ve never seen it before! I was hoping you’d tell me!

The colorful lights began to turn on one another. The chaotic fluid patterns of light found balance and became a whirlpool, pushing against one another until they spun in the sky like a firework! Sandy pulled Miko back several feet! But then, right in the center of the colored light, the sky tore open and revealed a new starry sky behind it. Sandy’s heart leapt as she watched a silhouette on the other side push forward into the center and leap into their world!


A woman pushed through the portal with all her might! But she was at a strange angle… She looked around in shock just as gravity began to take hold and began flapping her arms like a bird in a panic!

Wait whaaaaat?!

Sandy and Miko looked on silently as she fell to the ground with a heavy *FWUMP* and laid as still as a sack of potatoes. The colored light in the sky vanished into a puff of purple static. A tiny device fell from the sky and bounced off of her head into the nearby grass.