Snoogle Hunt

Reading Time: 4 minutes
(Image created by Geordie Morse using Firefly.)

“This,” Glinda Sidesparkle proclaimed, “has to be the most undignified thing I have ever done.”

“Bush-walking?” Snark glowered.

“Walking through a bush, more like.” Glinda’s necklaces and crystals clanged and jangled as she swatted aside low-flying bugs. Waste-high reed-like grass tangled the sleeves of her second finest robes. Her robes were muddy to the knees, dragging twigs and muck in her wake.

And being stepped on.

“Get off my robes, Snark!” She turned to smack at him.

“Cease endlessly loitering in the path,” Snark growled.

“Path!” Glinda paused so abruptly the six foot necromancer slammed into her, tangling himself in the wild frizz of her white hair. Glinda waved a white diamante-studded glove at the waist-high grass. “This is hardly a path, Snark. This is a swamp!” She dropped the last word to a whisper, like she didn’t want to foliage to hear.

“What?” Tootles Grandark shouted, some distance ahead.

“We’re lost!” Glinda called.

“The path, Tootles!” Snark shouted.

Glinda pressed a hand to her ear, glaring at Snark.

The third member of their party thrashed and crashed his way back through the long grass, beaming.

“Well, we’ll hardly find wild snoogles on a well-trod pathway, will we Snark?”

“Hardly find a pathway now,” Snark grumbled, checking the sleek fall of glossy, salt and pepper hair across his chest. “On account of being lost.”

“What what?” Tootles held a hand to his ear.

“You got us lost.” Glinda snatched leaves from her curls.

“I got us what?”


Snark huffed a sigh. His black robes had fared better in the mud then Glinda’s stark white, or Tootles burnt orange robes. Unlike them, Snark had not dressed down. He’d arrived gloved, cowled, and in his very best boots. And carrying a very large sack. He had not been clear what the sack was for.

You always bring a sack bushwalking, he had said.

Pockets! Glinda had countered. You put things in your pocket. And demonstrated.

“I have twigs in my hair.” Glinda touched her manic frizz. Raw, untamed, allowed to be, she had shouted at Snark on their first overnight trip together at Dragon’s Beach, when he has asked, discretely, whether she required the loan of his hairbrush.

Snark’s glower increased. “Actually, that’s a…”

Glinda raised a hand. “Touch me and I will blast you across this swamp, Snark!”

“What’s happening?” Tootles asked. The elderly healer was two decades older than they were and as spry as a teenager, bouncing back through the grass.

“Snark, being creepy,” Glinda reported. “Glowering and looming and stepping on my—Snark!”

“Glinda, whining,” Snark glowered.

The wind shushed and rippled through long grass. Afternoon light rimmed the leaves on the distant trees. Insects cruised past the feathery heads of the reeds, giving them suspicious looks.

“Tootles,” Glinda said. “We’re lost.”

“We’re not. I come here all the time.” Tootles swung about, squinting.

“Into a swamp?” Glinda whined.

“A swamp?” Tootles looked delighted. He slodged about. “Just a bit damp. The snoogles love it out here.”

“Snoogles,” Snark huffed. “No proof, at all, in any way…”

“The sunlight!” Tootles continued loudly, waving a hand. Bushwalking had been his idea. It made a nice contrast to Snark’s cocktail crawl last Sunday and Glinda’s craft day the week before, he had said.

“Sunlight mean less klumps,” Tootles beamed.

“Klumps?” Glinda eyed her feet. “Those nasty boulders with teeth? The ones that…?”

“Eat people’s knee caps,” Snark reminded her. He checked his sack.

“A snoogle’s mortal enemy!” Tootle agreed.

Something slashed out of the green, shooting between their feet. Glinda screeched. Tootles whirled. Snark booted it off the path. A football-shaped ball of red fuzz flew over a bush.

“Hells-fire and ash…” Snark gasped.

Glinda clutched her chest, crystal rings clanking her crystal pendants.

“Was that a Klump?”

“A snoogle, I think.” Tootles adjusted his glasses. “They don’t usually jump like that.”

“Jump!” Glinda glared at Snark. “It was kicked!”

“It ran past my feet,” Snark said. “And…” He gestured awkwardly. “Jumped.”

“Squealing?” Glinda demanded.

Snark hesitated. “Yes,” he said.

“Perhaps it’s close by!” Tootles set off into a thicket of bushes.

“I doubt it,” Glinda huffed. “Kicked like that. Why did you kick it, Snark?”

“I did not kick it.”

“…specifically out here,” Glinda said. “Looking for…”

“…ran past my foot…”

“…you, assaulting rare, delicate wildlife.”

“Moving it aside.” Snark gestured at his fancy (muddy) boots.

“Kicking them about!”

“What’s happening?” Tootles asked.

“Snark, kicking completely harmless…”

“I did not…”

Something exploded out of the dense bushes, knee height. Glinda shouted. Snark squealed and grabbed Glinda. The thing spun an about turn and doubled back underfoot. Glinda kicked it. It sailed off, barely missing Tootles’ shoulder.

Tootles spun about. “Did you see…?”

“Ah…” Glinda hesitated.

“They really are unfortunately shaped,” Snark muttered.

“Yes,” Glinda agreed.

They studied the long glass.

“Two in one day!” Tootle crowed.

“I’m pretty sure it was the same one,” Snark said. “Concussed.”

“Bouncing about like that!” Tootles crashed back toward them. “Maybe a mating frenzy?”

“Not any more, where I kicked it,” Glinda whispered.

Snark snorted a laugh. He cleared his throat.

“Ah, Tootles,” he said. “Maybe enough for the day? This sun.”

“Yes.” Tootle looked delighted. “Yes, of course. Did you have fun?”

“It was different,” Snark agreed politely. He paused, gently plucking something from Glinda’s hair.

“A Thartean seed pod,” Snark explained, showing her a small, fluffy seed. “Exceedingly rare. Caught in your…” He politely did not describe her hair.

She took it from his gloved hand, looking surprised. “Thank you, Snark.”

“It requires quite a complex planting ritual to get them to sprout in captivity,” Snark said, wincing as Glinda tucked it into one of her many pockets.

“Perhaps that could be the adventure, tomorrow?” Glinda suggested. “Tootles?”

“A Thartean seed pod?” Tootle shrugged. “Not my usual cup of tea. Delicate, contrary buggers. But, something I’d be willing to learn more about. We did commit to stretching ourselves in new directions.”

“I feel suitably stretched,” Glinda reported.

“My hamstrings, especially,” Snark said.


Edited by a Sophie Gorjance.

Nicole Walsh is a cat enthusiast from the east coast of Australia who loves fern gardens and long dresses. She writes short and novel-length speculative fiction and urban fantasy that span from a little bit dark, a little bit amusing through to a little bit steamy. Her work is featured in 30+ magazines and anthology spaces. Her second novel, steamy sci-fi-fantasy mashup The God-Wife Reborn is releasing through June 2024. Visit Nicole at: and