eighty-two           

            Zach'ry bein' mo' talk'tive. I ask 'bout Mojo an' my necklace, an' Zach'ry tell me dis story 'bout how him walkin' tru de woods when aw o' sudden dey go still:

            "Then in a clearing, Jewel, I saw this tiny man. No bigger than you."

            I's lots bigger dan Mojo Rags but I don' say so.

            "It was that runt, the one that Randy Bates caught and put on display. The one that got away?"

            Him cas' a look at me den, 's if to ask was it me what let loose Mojo. Again I don' say nuthin', but I's thinkin' him s'spec'. Not angry at me, dough; fac' dem eyes kine smile.

            "He waved at me to approach, and when I did, the two of us sat down. All the leaves in all the trees began to rustle, then, with a whispering wind."

            Dat what Zach'ry call' it, "a whisperin' win'."

            "It spoke your name; I heard it plainly. 'J  e  w  e  l'  it called in a  drawn-out spooky voice. Then the little man began to hum—almost sing. I couldn't make out the words, at first; mostly they were sounds. But then, in a different voice, the words came clearlyrics more like riddles warning about 'de fancy-man...'

            Dat be Mistah Eberso'e.

            " ...then discussing you."

            My ears ringin'.

            "Said that necklace was yours and if I failed to return it I would be 'by Jewel denied'. Is that true; would you not have come with me?"

            Have to admit dat necklace do make a diff'ence—'cep' I tell Zach'ry no, I woulda come 'long an'way. Den him turn ser'ous.

            "The wind got stronger, commenced to howl, and I thought I heard you weeping. The little man spoke once more then disappeared."

            I scairt to ask what de las' thin' Mojo say—Zach'ry's face so gloomy. Star' to but him stop me by hol'in' up 'is han'. Res' dat day him grey 's grey can be, 's if los' in a bank o' fog.