The next village they came to appeared deserted. The fields were overgrown with weeds and debris littered the streets. The houses and stores were all in a state of disrepair. Shingles were missing from the roofs and most of the windows were broken. The trio searched the first couple of houses for food and drink. Each residence was incredibly filthy. A thick layer of dust covered the broken furnishings. Alex wrinkled her nose at the various aromas they encountered.
“Phew!” she said. “Smells like your room back home, Pete!”
They searched a few more houses but found nothing edible. The well in the center of the village was dry as a bone and filled with dead leaves. Wearily, they went out to the fields to see if there might be something there. Briers and thistles scratched them as they went up and down the furrows. Mike found a few miserable looking potatoes but they were so rotten that not one decent bite was available.
“This is ridiculous!” cried Pete. “We're going to starve to death!”
“Stop exaggerating!” snapped Alex. “We'll just walk to the next village and hopefully be able to get something to eat there. Or we might even come across berry bushes or something like that along the way.”
“What are we going to do about water? We can survive without food but we have to have water.” Mike reminded them.
At that moment a scream rent the air!
“Help! Help! A lion in the streets!”
The trio looked at each other for only a second before they all jumped to their feet and bolted for the nearest house.
Panting and shaking they struggled to bar the heavy, wooden door and then peered cautiously through the tiny window. Minute after minute went by but they saw and heard nothing from the outside. The door creaked loudly as they finally pushed it open and took a peek.
“I don't see a lion.” said Pete.
“What do you mean you don't see a lion! Are you blind?!” shrilled a voice right behind them. “Close the door! Close the door before it charges in here and eats us all!”
Before the three could even respond, a tall, skinny man pushed them out of the way and once again barred the door.
“Who are you?” demanded Alex.
“Do you have any food? That's even more important.”
“Be quiet, Mike.”
“You be quiet Alex and stop bossing me around. You're not MY sister!”
The man put his hands over his ears.
“Stop it! Stop it! STOP IT!” he screamed. “Do you want the lion to hear us?”
“There isn't any lion.” said Pete. “We looked. No lion.”
“Well, there is too a lion and he comes by my house every day. That's why I can never do any work. I have to stay inside all day long so I will be safe.”
“What do you do all day?” asked Pete.
“Well, I usually just sleep. It's too tiring to cook or clean.”
“So we've noticed.” said Alex under her breath. “Are you the only one in the village? We looked in some of the other houses and couldn't find any one.”
“Or any food.”
“Be quiet -”
“Okay you guys. Let this gentleman speak. What is your name, sir?” inquired Pete.
Before the man could answer, a loud roar erupted from the street!
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