Wy was lying on her stomach. In front of her was a sketchpad that she was furiously drawing in. There were marks everywhere from where graphite lines had been brutally erased. The picture of the wombat was just not working no matter what she tried. With every line and curve she tried to drown out the memories of what had happened. When she did remember what had happened, she tried to tell herself that it did not bother her. It did.
A shadow blocked her light.
“What’s wrong, Wy?” Australia asked.
“I know nothing when I see it. That is not nothing. It is also not something that could be mistaken for nothing. This is something that is not nothing and is bothering you more than nothing would be… Or something like that.”
Wy dropped the pencil, pushed herself up with her hands and slid her legs under her so she was sitting on her knees.
“You know that contest I entered?”
“Of course. It was an art contest right? I liked watching you work on the painting.”
“I got second place.”
“That’s wonderful, Wy!”
“No! It is horrible. Kugelmugel beat me!”
“Is that all that is bothering you?”
“It is a big deal! I was always the best artist out of the micronations but now with Kugelmugel I’m second best.” Tears started to run down the face of the Australian girl. She tried to mentally tell herself that she was too adult and mature to cry, but they kept on coming.
Australia sat down next to her and wrapped his arms around her. He always loved Wy’s art, but he was sure she didn’t want to hear the stock phrases everyone hears in those cheesy movies and dramas.
“New Zealand and me are going to go meet up with America, Canada and Mexico for a camping trip in a few days. Do you want to come along?”
Wy made a face at that.
Australia chuckled. “I thought that might be your reaction. Well, how about this then, the two of us go to the beach and you teach me how to make some nice pictures.”
Wy carefully considered it before nodding.
“Great, I’ll pack us a lunch and we can go tomorrow at half past the crack of dawn.”
Australia spent the rest of the day preparing the picnic while Wy looked for drawing supplies that would be easy for Australia to start with. For once, the defeat at the brush of Kugelmugel really was out of her mind. When it was time to sleep, she found it difficult. Every five minutes she kept on getting out of bed to check to see if it was morning yet. When she did fall asleep it was much closer to dawn than it was to dusk.
Hours later Wy woke up. There was the undefinable smell of falling water. Her little body tensed as she opened one eye. Valiantly charging against her window were water soldiers falling from the heavens.
She was out of bed and her room, running to another window as if it might be bright and sunny on the other side of the house. Wy stood there, staring out the window and grasping at the wall.
“When is the rain going to stop?”
“They said it is supposed to rain all day.” The way Wy’s face fell broke his heart a little. “We can have an indoors picnic.”
“That is stupid!”
“No, it isn’t. I used to do it all the time when I was growing up. See, when all of us, me, New Zealand, America and Canada were growing up, sometimes there would be periods were all of us would be staying at England’s house. He didn’t like us getting in trouble or eating treats between meals. So what we would do is we’d have America cry and make a fuss, distracting the bastard. Me and my buddy would then steal his money. We gave that to Canada and send him out to buy our favorite foods, pretending he is French to throw off suspicion. Then we would all hide out and have a secret picnic without England knowing.”
“That does sound kind of fun, sort of.”
“You get changed, I’ll set up everything.”
“Oh, alright, I’ll try it once.”
When Wy returned in shorts, tank top and flip flops, Australia had already laid out a blanket. He was taking out the sandwiches and a thermos of lemonade when she sat down next to him.
“I wish the others were here.”
“We used to tell stories about Wyst at our picnics.”
“Wyst? Who is that?”
“You never heard of her?”
“I just asked who she was, of course I don’t know who she is!”
“Wyst is a hero in the world of Gaia.”
“What is she like?” Wy could not hide the curiosity in her voice.
“Well, it all started…”