Sue woke up early, poked her juicy head out of her warm shell and immediately remembered why she felt a deep sense of concern. She noticed Mrs. Fraser watering roses next door. It was too late to expect to see Twinkly this morning. Certainly Twinkly had already met Mr. Bird and was undoubtedly on her way down the road to meet a fairy friend. Or maybe she was already back. Sue sighed. Snailing her way over to Twinkly's trap door would take most of the morning.
Looking up, Sue spotted Mr. Bird. He quickly looked away and flew from the top of the grape arbor.
"He's going off to plot my demise," thought the pouting snail.
Later, Twinkly heard Sue's shell bump against her door and ran up to the surface, taking the stairs two at a time.
"Sue! Hello! I have so much to tell you!"
"Hmmm," replied Sue.
"The robin is helpful! He flew me over to meet Zoe! You are going to LOVE her! She is thinking about moving to our garden and I think Mr. Bird will do as he promised. She is tiny and my age and has the most beautiful black hair and her wings are just a bit sparkly! I can't wait for you to meet her!"
Sue looked away and changed the subject.
"Your friend the bird was stalking me today. I looked up and saw him aiming his beady eyes at my head."
"Why would he want to bother you when he feasts on earthworms every morning?"
"Because snail head is a delicacy and you know this because I've told you stories about my cousin and his unfortunate run-in with a crow."
"Sue, don't be so negative. I think Mr. Bird will bring Zoe over tonight. You and I will be drinking lemon balm tea under the nasturtiums and we'll have one more friend to talk to."
Suddenly the evergreen bush stirred and a yellow beak poked through the tiny branches.
Sue shuddered and tucked her head inside her shell. Twinkly looked up and welcomed Mr. Bird.
"Hey! Are you getting ready to bring Zoe to us? I have a bed all ready for her and I've spent the morning in the kitchen making petunia wine."
Mr. Bird narrowed his eyes. He couldn't take his gaze off of Sue's shell.
"I told you I would bring her tonight. Where is my thistle tart?"
"I haven't made it yet. I have to shimmy up the rock wall and gather the thistle seed that drops from the bird feeder. As soon as I can, I'll make you a tasty thistle tart."
"It's nice and cool under this shrub. Do you mind of I stay here for a while?"
Twinkly looked at Sue's shell again, sensing great danger.
"No, I have a lot to do to get ready. Couldn't you go over to Mrs. Fraser's and eat some black sunflower seeds?"
"I suppose. I was hoping your shy friend would pop her ju - I mean her head out of her shell so we could get to know each other."
"She's awfully shy and sort of mad at me for inviting Zoe to live here."
Without as much as a scant good bye, the bird flew away. Not wanting to take any chances, Twinkly gathered Sue's shell in her tiny arms, kicked up the trap door and carried Sue down the stairs.
While Sue warmed by the fire, Twinkly poured a tiny mug of tea. Twinkly loved her tiny mug, left out in the garden by Mrs. Benson's daughter Jenny years ago. Twinkly knew the mug had human lettering painted on the side but she did not know that the print spelled Jenny. What a tiny fairy sized treasure it was. Sue slowly extended her head as Twinkly held the warm and fragrant tea to Sue's mouth.
"Sue, don't worry. I want you to stay down here where the bird can't see you. When we return tonight, I'll help you position yourself behind the watering can and hopefully the bird will forget about you."
"Sort of like you have. Is that what you mean? I'm sure I can take care of myself. It isn't the first time a bird has eyed my head. No, you go ahead and enjoy your adventure. I'm planning one of my own. I intend to attach myself to the bottom of the red wagon. When Mrs. Benson plants the pansies she brought home, I'll have a little ride and stay out of harm's way."
Twinkly sat down on a tiny stool made from a bottle cap and toothpicks.
"You'll like Zoe. She's smart and industrious. She knows how to draw vegetable juice from garden produce and she wears gowns made from corn silk."
As Sue planned her journey to the red wagon, a rustle in the forsythia bush was attributed to the morning breeze.