Swamped Chapter 15 Page 3

“I don’t suppose you’ve got another broom?”

“Nope. Just the one. I bet pest control will have something better, though.”

You let out a sigh.

“Then get me over to the mail records. If I’m stuck here, I may as well get some work done.” You swat an owl away. “Or try to, anyhow.”

“Right, it’s been a while since I sent you a report, hasn’t it? The owls are most interested in the crows anyway, they’ll probably leave you alone if you stay still. Just don’t use a feather pen.”

He clears a path over to his desk, and holds out the chair for you. You sit down before an owl decides to take a seat.

“Records are in the bottom drawer. I’ll unlock it for you.”

He does, and you start sorting through. Ugh, it’s been nearly a year since his last report, hasn’t it? There’s a large pile of these to check.

At least his prediction proves fairly accurate. A few owls do get close – one even roosts on your head – but they’re not really getting in your way. It could be far worse.

You’re now Grey. Greenbags just handed you a letter for Dean, who’s gone missing. It seems to be a nature letter from his pen-pal Shrike.

Except… some of these letters look a little off, in a way that’s all too familiar to you.

But then you check the back and see a notice scrawled by the Postmaster. Seems there’s a problem in the roost – some kind of infestation, but you’re having trouble working out what the pest is. He doesn’t have the easiest handwriting to read, it looks like he said “owls”. But that doesn’t make any sense, you’ve never heard of owls in the swamp.

You suppose you’d better ask him before working out what equipment you’ll need. The hidden message will have to wait.

“Come on, then,” you say. “Dean may not be here, but we can get the squad together and…”

“Er, it’s just you and me,” Greenbags says. “Aside from Dean, the rest volunteered for patrols tonight.”

“And Ash, of course, didn’t stop them,” you sigh, shaking your head. “Just like the repair squad members. Too eager to help, forgetting that their main job is every bit as important as patrolling. Captain Long wouldn’t have let them leave like that.”

Greenbags shrugs.

“So, uh. Are we going on ahead by ourselves, or should we see if we can find anyone else on base?”

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Suggestions:

neither, circumstances force your hands

Those tall brothers were on hold for a swimming-recon mission, but the order to go out’s been delayed. If they’re just sitting around, they can probably help out.