The Exception, later on; or
The Meeting of the Sore Throat and the Honey Fingertip

I'm tall enough to see above the table now and I know one day my fingers will be thick and clogged. I see your knuckles - my wrists are smaller. You’ve been scratching at me for years. I’m going outside. I’m going up the Round Road. There are fingers with gold out there and you’re here. I don’t care how cold I get - at least I’ll be able to feel myself swallow.

With that our young heroine, an exceptionally brave Sore Throat, ran out of the kitchen and into the dirt. She did not go straight to the Round Road - it was too dark out and there was a storm. She did go to the Barn where there was a strange light coming through the windows. She went around back, crawled under the broken board where she cut her stomach on a cracked jar, just missing a pile of salt.

(See: It is a dream or a dare)

Tonight there was something other than potential gargling inside the Barn. There were people the color of honeycomb, asleep with their fingers resting in bowls. From across the Barn, there was one eye open and then another from a face unlike any she had ever seen. In the kitchen there were only hard lines and hard looks - this was different, like polished stone against your cheek. This was her future at a glance - amore mio.

Neither one of them could move. Caught in a stare down. Don’t blink or it might all be gone when you open your eyes. Was this for real? Yes.

Our Young Honey Finger Tip thinks to herself

There’s gonna be trouble.
There is a delicate balance -
An unspoken mutual agreement that no one,
with faucet fingers does anything at all
with a Sore Throat, other than leave a bowl, EVER.

She stares at her, decides

All that doesn’t matter.

Our Young Sore Throat terrified of waking up any more Fingers, thinks

I’ll follow you anywhere.

They have a conversation from across the barn. Very quiet. Information is shared about glaciers, the formation of the Barn, the roundness of bowls, the elegance of... Again, everything changes very quickly. New plans are drawn up.

The Young Throat first protests,

I want to go with you!

but in the end agrees to stay mostly in the barn and sometimes in the kitchen because the air is very cold. The storm is heading up the Round Road and it is important that neither one of them perishes.

Here is their plan -

In the morning, the Young Tip will hide when the other Honey Fingers leave the barn. Then she will stay one more day and one more night with the Young Throat and after, run as fast as two days to catch up with the other Tips. There is still a great fear of drowning in puddles. Additionally, any further complications that could arise at this most difficult time in the dry dry world, are not desired. The Young Tip will send the Young Throat honey every day. The Young Throat will not desert the barn or the kitchen until her Tip returns from the other side of the Round Road.

They are sure the epidemic will be over by then.