When Numa and Godson were a safe distance away, Numa stepped out from behind the shield, handed it to him, and they both became visible again.
“Wasn’t that fun?” she said to him, grinning from ear to ear.
Godson just stared at her. They both clearly had wildly differing notions of fun. He slung the shield on his back by its strap and waited for Numa to say she was joking. But she never did. Instead, she turned and faced the town they had arrived at. There were several wooden houses of varying shapes and sizes, some tall and skinny, others short and wide, some with chimneys and others without, so that the hooves made a zigzagging skyline. It looked like a quaint little town. No bears would most likely be there so Godson felt a little at ease when Numa suddenly shouted, “Let’s go!” and started skipping towards it. But looks can very often be deceiving. And that’s what this town was.
See, when Numa and Godson made it to the edge of the town, they discovered that it wasn’t inhabited by humans. All around them, walking in and out of shops, hammering planks into walls, carrying barrels and pulling wagons, and drawing water from the well in the center, were giant, green ogres. Godson’s jaw dropped as he watched the beasts, fully clothed in very human clothes, but very much not human. Some had teeth stretching from their bottom gums to their nostrils, which were pierced with thick rings, some were carrying wooden clubs, and some had round bellies hanging over their knees while others were built like chiseled statues. Regardless, all of them looked very much unfriendly and very much more dangerous than the bears they had left behind.
Godson turned to Numa to tell her that they should leave, but she had other plans.
“The blue light!” she shouted, pointing.
Godson nearly had a heart attack from her drawing attention to them. And if he hadn’t had the presence of mind to pull the shield out and hid both of them behind it, they would have been spotted, chewed, and spit out before he could even blink. Thankfully, the ogres simply glanced in their direction, sniffed the air briefly, then went back about their business.
“What is wrong with you?” Godson whispered to Numa.
“The next toy is here,” Numa replied, pointing in the distance where a ray of blue light was shooting up from one of the houses. “Follow me!”
“Wait,” Godson told her, grabbing her arm. “I don’t think I like this idea. These ogres look scary. And very hungry. If they catch us, we’re dead.”
“I know!” Numa whispered back. “That’s what makes it fun!” And before he could protest, she was dragging him through the town behind the shield, slipping through walking ogres and passing between their legs much too closely for Godson’s comfort. And when they slipped into the house with the blue light, they found a mother and a father ogre sleeping on the stone floor of a living room, snoring.
Just when Godson was telling himself that this was all starting to feel much too familiar for his tastes, he and Numa both heard a giggle to their left. When they looked, they saw a baby ogre standing in a crib.
“It’s a baby!” Numa said. And to Godson’s horror, she ran out from behind the shield and rushed straight up to the baby ogre. “Isn’t he cute, Godson? I’m gonna call him Shrekky.”
The baby ogre looked up at her and giggled, reaching its chubby arms up to grab her.
Godson ran straight for her, but in the process ran out from behind the shield himself and by the time he made it to Numa’s side, the mother and father ogre were awake and staring at both children standing near their baby.
“This is bad,” Godson said.
Then, as if life were taking this as a challenge, the baby ogre, who had discovered it could climb the crib’s bars to reach them, grabbed the shield from Godson’s hand and dropped back into the crib with it, giggling with delight.
“Hey!” Godson shouted. He reached down to grab it from the baby, but the mother ogre stood and roared. And the sound was enough to send Godson and Numa to the floor on their backsides.
“Whoa!” Numa coughed. “It smells like onions and mud.”
“Little pigs,” the mother ogre grunted, grinning. “Mmmm. Baby will love you, little pigs.” She marched towards them and Numa grabbed Godson’s hand and slid beneath her legs on her way out the back door and into the kitchen. But there were no doors here to leave through.
When Godson and Numa turned around, the mother and father ogre were blocking their only escape, licking their green faces with thick pink tongues.
“Little pigs get roasted,” the mother ogre said.
“No,” said the father. “Little pigs get fried.”
Numa and Godson watched as they went back and forth arguing about what to do with them. Godson thought that this would be a wonderful opportunity to slip away while they were distracted, but Numa seemed to have different plans.
“Whatever you do, don’t put us in the oven!” she begged. “We hate being baked in the oven.”
The ogres looked down at them then at the oven. And in that moment, Godson realized that Numa was trying to trick them into putting them in the oven.
“No!” he cried. “Please, don’t listen to her! Do NOT put us in the oven! I beg of you!”
“Our skin will be too golden and buttery if you put us in there!” Numa added. “My hair will be crispy and his fingers will become toasty and nibbly. Don’t do it!”
The ogres grinned. “Put little pigs in oven!”
“No!” Godson screamed. “Aren’t you listening! Put us down!”
But the ogres grabbed the two of them, opened the oven, shoved them inside, and shut the door.