Bosanka said sharply, "Look, Valentine!"
The inside of the clothing store went suddenly dim — or was it the inside of my head? The carpeted floor was now a damp dirt path. The racks of sport clothes were green and rustling undergrowth that led my eye into dark forest depths on either side.
Close by, some thing made soft, nervous churring sounds. Where the sales clerk had been stood an animal like a giant kangaroo, round shouldered and covered with yellowish fur. I heard water splashing on stone as the big animal worked with what it held under the little waterfall — a bunch of wide, flat, purple leaves.
You see," Bosanka said coldly.
At the sound of her voice, the kangaroo-clerk dropped the leaves and began shifting from one foot to the other, blinking at us and anxiously wringing is paws in front of its stomach. Its open mouth showed uneven yellow teeth, and I could see the gleam of its sharp wet claws.
"Bosanka, stop it!" I gasped. I fumbled frantically behind me for the door handle. My fingers touched the rough bark of a tree.
"You see," Bosanka said again. There was a scornful twist to her mouth as she watched me sweat.
"I see, I see!" I jabbered, stepping sideways away from the ex-clerk in a panic.
Bosanka did some quick, intricate moves with her hands, like making a cat's cradle but without string. The foggy air thickened into a white blanket which melted away in an instant. There was the store clerk, coughing and snuffling and poking around under the counter.
I slumped against the heavy glass door of the shop, breathless with relief. The clerk bobbed up again with a wad of tissues clutched in her hand. "Oh, excuse me," she panted, looking wildly around the store. "I don't know what's wrong with me today. Allergies, I think, even if it is still winter. "
"Oh, it's the damp," I agreed hastily. "It can really get to you."
Bosanka uttered a snort and turned to go; what could I do but follow her?