Acorn landed with an unceremonious flop onto the other side of the wall, where he was now free to investigate the beast.

“For fuck’s sake,” it grumbled, edging away from him. “Are you even listening to a word I'm saying?”

“Yes!” He scratched behind his neck. “Are you listening to me? This is serious stuff, you... whatever your name is.”

“Marigold,” she finally reluctantly surrendered.

“I'm Acorn.” He stuck his paw out for a handshake. She stared at it blankly and then pecked it. “Good enough!”

“Fine, I guess if I'm stuck with you... we should really go this way,” she said, and then she began to strut towards a worn-looking dirt path.

He followed without argument. “What is this place, anyway?”

“Are you fucking sheltered?” She looked over her shoulder at him. “How do you not know what a chicken is?”

“I thought you said you were a hen?”

“It’s the same thing. You’re dodging the question.”

“I’m not sheltered,” he said, and then he instantly developed a headache as soon as the words came out of his mouth.

“Could have fooled me.”

The two protrusions on his head felt like they were pulling in different directions, threatening to pull his head apart. Was he sheltered? He spent most of his childhood playing with toys by himself. His parents were always there, but they weren’t on his level, because they were his parents. It wasn’t until he moved out that he started learning new concepts, and even then, those were through the lens of Sap and Bark.

Her voice cut through his thoughts: “Look, get in here and be quiet.

He looked up to see that she had lead him to some sort of terrible huge red structure. He thought it looked like a giant cave, but on the outside.

“What the hell are you looking at? Just go in!”