Cissy finished tying the yellow bonnet below Terra’s chin and stood up. The bonnet matched her cute little yellow dress. Where was the boy? He had been here just a moment before. It seemed so odd. Human children were almost unable to move when they were born, but by their second year, they were almost as quick and wild as lizzie offspring.
“Hyah!” shouted Augie, jumping out from behind the door.
Cissy threw her hands up, shaking them in mock fear. Terra squealed and then laughed, just as she did every day when her brother jumped out at her.
“Now come,” said the reptilian, scooping up the girl, and taking the boy with her other hand.
“Where are you off to?” asked Mrs. Dechantagne, when they reached the foyer. She was still in her night dress, though it was well past noon.
“To the store. Yuah come too?”
“Not this time. I have a headache. I’m going to take a nap.” She looked down at the children. “You both look precious. Give Mama a kiss.”
First Avenue was one of the most well traveled roads in the colony, at least on the east side. It stretched from Town Square to the small homes of Zaeritown, along the way passing the largest homes in Port Dechantagne—some deserving the title of mansion. Dozens of lizzie work crews were here, laying bricks on the roadways, pouring cement sidewalks, or installing little wrought iron fencing around the trees that were designated not to be cut down. Many of the lizzies stopped to stare at the female with two human children.
A large male who was pushing a wheelbarrow in the opposite direction from the Dechantagne children and their nanny, Cissy knew him only by his human name of Zinny, hissed “khikheto tonahass hoonan.”
“Kichketos tatacas khikheto tonahass hoonan?” asked Augie, looking up at Cissy.
“Talk hoonan,” she ordered.
“What did he mean you ate a human?” asked the boy. “Who did you eat?”
“I not eat… Cissy is lizzie. Cissy act hoonan. Tsass khenos khikheto tonahass hoonan. Lizzie on outside Hoonan on inside.”
“That’s stupid,” said the boy. “You don’t act like a human. You just act like Cissy.”
She reached out a clawed hand and tousled his hair.
The inside of Mr. Parnorsham’s Pfennig store was crowded with patrons, both reptilian and warm-blooded. The proprietor, a bespectacled older man with very little hair who was shorter than Cissy, waved over the shoulder of his human customer as they came inside. Cissy walked the children through the aisles to the toy counter. It was a small twenty four inch square counter divided into six inch square compartments, each with a different type of toy. There were rubber bouncing balls, toy airships, tin soldiers, doll sized tea cups with saucers, and wooden dogs which could be pulled by a string. Augie immediately went for the red-coated tin soldiers, pulling them out one after another and comparing their poses.
“I wanna see,” complained Terra.
Cissy lifted her up so that she could see over the top of the counter. She picked up two of the soldiers and held them close to her face.
The bell above the doorway rang again and another female lizzie entered pulling along two human boys by the hands. Cissy recognized Sanny, who had worked in the Stephenson home, working her way through the other patrons to the toy counter.
“Tsaua Claude, Tsaua Julius,” said Augie to the boys.
“Tsaua Augie,” they replied, not quite in unison.
The boys immediately started in on a conversation about the tin soldiers and the limited number of poses that were available for them.
“Did you see Angorikhas this morning?” asked Sanny quietly in the lizzie tongue.
“No, I didn’t see him today. I know who you mean.”
“They say he disfigured Szarakha and blinded one of her eyes.”
“The Kordeshack maid; the one the humans call Sorry.”
“Why did he do that? And if he did, why is he still here?”
“You know why,” said Sanny. “Szarakha khikheto tonahass hoonan. And as for the why… you know the humans don’t care what happens to us.”
Cissy abruptly stopped the conversation with a wave of her hand, as she looked down to see the three boys paying careful attention.
“Inghaa nicta Cissy…” said Augie.
“I won’t let anyone hurt you, Cissy.”
“Little child not to whorry. Cissy is fine.”
“I’ll punch that Angorikhas right in the goolies,” pronounced Augie.
“Yeah,” agreed Claude Stephenson, though his younger brother seemed less sure.
Cissy hissed mirthfully, partially at his sentiment and partially because she understood that he had no idea where the goolies might actually located on a male lizzie.
“I want the park,” said Terra. “Park, park, park! Let’s go!”
“Yessss,” acknowledged Cissy.
She bid farewell to the other nanny and ushered the children to where Mr. Parnorsham stood behind the counter. Augie had a tin soldier in his hand and when Cissy picked up the little girl to set her on the counter, she saw that one of the small red-coats was clutched in her fist as well.
“Two soldiers. Three Dillingdoe’s. Account.”“Two toy soldiers and three cold bottles of Billingbow’s sarsaparilla and wintergreen soda water. That’s one mark fifty two P on the Dechantagne account,” said Mr. Parnorsham.