Monday, 7 October 2013

GiGi and the Cat- The Purgatree and what GiGi found there.

Dearest Em,

And now for the draft of the third chapter of your little sister's book...

Is it peace, or war? Civil war, as I think
and that of a kind
The viler, as underhand, not openly
bearing the sword.
                                       Tennyson, Maud

"WHAT IS IT ABOUT A CAT, that I ought to be able to remember?" said GiGi, more to herself than anyone else, as anyone, or anything for that matter didn't seem to be there- it was just this big tree- straight in front of her.
Just then, she noticed the book that she was still clutching, and she did remember that she had been reading a poem, one that somehow sounded all at once familiar, yet not quite the same. GiGi opened the book and read the second verse.

"Beware the 'Ware-of-All" my Girl!
The mouth that snipes, the claws that snatch,
Beware the Monstrous Crow, and Shun,
The frumious Can-all-Snatch!"

All of a sudden, the sky became dark, and the sound of flapping wings filled the air- but GiGi could not see what it was that was flapping- it somehow didn't seem real- which was an odd thing to think right now, GiGi reasoned. As she looked towards the house- she caught sight of something slipping out of the Tower, and then slither down the wall, just as a creature flew out of the tree, and plucked up another from the ground beneath it. All three headed for the Tree, and all at once stopped there, one clinging to the trunk, the other two disappeared up onto the branches.

The creature who clung to the trunk was breathing heavily and sweating. He stared at GiGi for a minute, whilst trying to catch his breath.

"It's the Monstrous Crow, it's the Monstrous Crow!" The creature wiped his forehead with his hands (well GiGi thought that's what they must be, he used them as feet to run with too- but hey, what's normal today?) "You must listen to me-or it will get you, go, or they will get you in the end! It's always been the same. It won't change. I should know, better than anyone here."
With that, his eyes darted right, then left, and his head turned a full circle, before he dived head-first into a murky 'puddle' it looked like, right there under the tree. 
Almost immediately, a toad hopped up from a branch of the tree into a higher one in a clearing, and fixed a lidded eye on GiGi, who felt rather chilly all of a sudden. The toad rocked, and it too had a rather heavy sort of breathing she noticed.

"Get out you, get out while you still can!" GiGi wasn't sure if she actuall wanted to speak with the toad- so she stood still and folded her arms and just looked him in the one eye he stared at her with. All was quiet for some time, whilst he rocked and stared. He then made a sort of gutteral belch which wasn't at all pleasant to witness and opened his slithey mouth again;
"I told them all. I told them. It's curtains for them. HAH! They think they'll be there for Christmas, FOOLS! I told them once, but they wouldn't listen, so I have come back to tell them again. FOOLS!"
Satisfied by this, he lowered the heavy lid of the one eye that stared and turned his back on her.
At this point, a cackling crackly laugh was to be heard from within the tree, accompanied by some rustling and scratching, and a head appeared out of the branches.
"And who might you be? " asked GiGi- as she had now met three creatures of a like she had never before come across, and she thought them rather bad-mannered in not introducing themselves at least, what with their warnings of doom and gloom and telling her to get away.
"Harpy Lapette, my pretty. Harpy Lapette."
"Isn't he lovely, my Slithey Tove? He's mine, all mine...Not Ethan Safertie Pseudolar, I don't mean him dear- he doesn't even come up here. He just hides in the murky waters, no good to me there."
She muttered to herself, and put out a claw to search the branch where the toad was last, and satisfied that he was still where she wanted him, she cackled and continued...
"Come here my pretty, come up into the Purgatree. All you need to do is see things differently". GiGi rather thought she was seeing things differently today, and started to say so.
"No, no, no, NO!" said Harpy. "I'm not going to listen to this! Don't be as stupid as you look. that is NOT what I am talking about. You need to listen to all the warnings, all the grumbles, all the difficulties. You need to listen to it all, until it makes your head spin. Then, you must be very fed-up with it all, very fed up indeed. Then, you must decide that they are all right, you are wrong, and there is no hope at all! That's the way. And it is all the better if you start telling the others too. Tell them they are wrong, tell them thew Monstrous Crow is coming. Tell them, it's all hopeless, and no good can come of it, none at all".
GiGi did rather feel as though her head was spinning listening to all this gloom, but felt no compulsion to join Harpy in the tree. Harpy resumed her discourse.
"Come here my pretty. Come up into the Purgatree, if you have anything to offer me of course. Because if you have, I shall break your skin and have you for my supper. I start with the eyes, they are really quite all that I need. Mustn't put on too much weight you know!"
GiGi shuddered as the Vulture cackled, and GiGi caught sight of a tail, with an arrow-like point on the end, which flicked around the trunk, and disappeared behind it.
Just then, Ethan Safertie popped up from the murky waters- and shouted at her;
"Don't you go talking to the Cautionary Tale whatever you do! His words are worth a thousand pounds a minute. There'll be nothing left in the bank if you do that, and then what will become of us" He wiped his brow again.
"You're wasting your time Ethan. She's got nothing to offer us! No new eyeballs for supper tonight. At least I shall keep my figure." Harpy then called to her Slithey Tove, telling him not to move too far from her, as she may need something from him presently.

GiGi realised that actually there wasn't much point in talking to this miserable bunch, no wonder they were all in the Purgatree, she thought. Looking up at the sky, she couldn't see any Monstrous Crow- just the lilacs and blues and pinky orange hues of the sunset- and the Woman's face which appeared again and looked straight at her, and then down towards a gate.

It may have been GiGi's fancy, but the Woman appeared a bit less pale this time. In an instant she was gone, but GiGi now felt she was a kind of Queen. "Yes" she said to herself "That's it! She wants me to let her in to her Castle. The cat knew that all the time, wherever it has gone. I must tell the Bored, when I go to the meeting". But GiGi didn't think that it was quite time for that yet, and opened the gate and set off up the hill towards the Wilderness beyond.

So there we are Emily, better get on with the next chapter now- Mummy looks rather ready to bring you your sister quite soon!

Your ever-loving Grand-Mother, GiGi xxx

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