Wednesday, February 10, 2016

4. The Wabbit and the Cat Conversion

"We've got to sort out this Brownie," said Lapinette. The Wabbit grabbed the camera and made for the escalator. "It's a bench job!" He shook his head in anxious anticipation and kept out of the way of the camera lens. "I don't want to end up in a box."  Lapinette saw what looked like a red reflection. "There's Skratch!" she said with relief in her voice. "He can help!" Skratch the Cat smiled as he rumbled up the elevator. "New camera, Wabbit? Come on, do me a portrait." "No!" yelled the Wabbit in horror. "It's not working." But just at that moment the camera wriggled from his grasp. The shutter snapped and the flash blazed. For a moment nothing happened. "Aha," laughed Skratch. "It's an old fashioned camera. When do I see my picture?" The Wabbit grabbed at the camera. "You'll have to wait." Skratch laughed again. "Someday, my prints will come." But Lapinette was yelling and pointing - and the Wabbit followed her gaze. Behind the glass screen, a lurid comic strip version of Skratch faded into view. He was waving just like Skratch and his mouth was saying something inaudible. Then he dissolved into nothing. Lapinette looked at the Skratch on the escalator. He too was fading fast and before long the escalator was empty. "Skratch will come back," hoped the Wabbit, crossing his paws. Lapinette looked at the Wabbit with big eyes. "Can you fix it?" The Wabbit looked back. "We'll wait and see what develops ..."

Monday, February 08, 2016

3. The Wabbit and the Lost Enemy

The Wabbit dived to the ground floor and tried to grab the camera in case there was danger. But Lapinette had already positioned it for a selfie and her paw was on the shutter release. "No!" yelled the Wabbit. Now they both had the camera. They wrestled it back and forth but to no avail. It panned around as if it was hunting for an image. Then it stopped and sounded a warning like a factory siren. The shutter fired and the flash blazed. "Ooooh," said the Wabbit, blinking. "Aaagh," said Lapinette rubbing her eyes. Just as before, the camera whirred, gurgled and sloshed. Then as it clicked, a print floated down and the Wabbit grabbed the bottom corner. "What the Binky?" he murmured. Lapinette blinked and strained to see. An arch enemy, a hated Agent of Rabit, glared directly from the image. The Wabbit turned to check where he really was - and caught sight of an Agent who speedily faded into thin air. "Oh look," said Lapinette. "Now the Agent is disappearing from the photo too." The Wabbit shrugged. "He should come back in a second." He glanced behind once more, then back to the photo. But both Agent and image had gone. They waited some time and had several coffees, but nothing reappeared. The Wabbit suddenly seized the camera, took a picture of himself and passed the print to Lapinette. His image disappeared then reappeared. Lapinette did the same. "OK," said the Wabbit and pinched himself to make sure he was still around. "So where's the bad guy gone?" They stared at the camera ...

Friday, February 05, 2016

2. The Wabbit and the Unstable Image

The Wabbit took the camera to a nearby restaurant to examine it in the light. In the cosy company of his fellow diners, he looked it up and down. He pressed every switch and turned every knob. He took the battery out, scraped the terminals and put it back. Finally he whacked the camera on his table. But no matter what he tried, nothing happened. "Oh." said the Wabbit. He made a sound between his 28 teeth that was partly annoyance but mostly disappointment. Just as he'd given up, he heard familiar footsteps and knew it was Lapinette. So he looked over the rail and called down. "I'm up here in the carrot section!" Lapinette looked up and waved. It was a formidable restaurant, world famous for its slow-cooked carrots - and they both met there with monotonous regularity. At that moment the camera whirred, jumped and span out over the rail. Its lens cover popped open and the flash went off, just like the first time. The Wabbit blinked. Now all he could see was a glaring white rectangle. The camera made the same sloshing sound as before, then it gurgled, clicked and ejected a snapshot. The Wabbit made a swipe and grabbed it. There was Lapinette staring out of the photo. Suddenly her image vanished as if it had never been there. The Wabbit rubbed the print with a paw. It was a little damp and smelled of bleach. The Wabbit puzzled as he watched Lapinette's image gradually fade back into the picture but he could hear Lapinette yelling. "Wabbit! Wabbit!"  She was waving something she'd caught in her paw. "Wabbit, you dropped your camera ..!"

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

1. The Wabbit and the Photo Converto

The Wabbit was on his way home but when he noticed the carousel, he felt like taking a photo. The Wabbit was seldom ready for such an opportunity. Nevertheless, he delved into his fur and salvaged an old camera he'd modified. Although it had never been successful, he'd kept it just the same and with a smile he switched it on. To his surprise, it stirred and whirred into action. The Wabbit regarded the camera with suspicion since it had never ever worked before. He looked quizzically down the lens. Suddenly the flash discharged with a blinding light. "Aasaagh," blinked the Wabbit. His eyes were yellower than the yolks of a dozen eggs. The Wabbit looked to see what the camera had done. But he couldn't find a thing. Suddenly there was a sloshing sound and a chemical smell. Then three clicks. A print popped out from the camera's rear cover and floated down to the wet cobbles. "Some kind of selfie!" chortled the Wabbit. His humour was short lived. The photograph changed to sepia, then negative. For three seconds it polarised and solarised. Rain soaked into the paper. He watched his image momentarily disappear from the picture, and instantly return. The Wabbit searched frantically in his fur for tweezers. With enormous care he gripped the snapshot by a corner and dropped it into a plastic bag. "There more to this than meets the eye," he murmured ...

Monday, February 01, 2016

The Wabbit and his Adventure Caffè

The Wabbit was late. It was a new caffè and he just couldn't find it. Wabsworth ushered him in. "We're in the back room, everything's laid out." Skratch the Cat waved his cat letters. "They fell off in the night!" Lapinette beckoned for a waiter to bring glue and pinned a flower behind her ear. "What was that for a sort of adventure, I really can't recall." Wabsworth was ready. "It was an oneiric adventure." The Wabbit nodded his head, swayed his ears and looked directly at Skratch. "Oneirics is your territory, feline one." Lapinette butted in. "One of us had a nightmare, because they felt they could not accomplish a task." She stared at the Wabbit but spoke to Wabsworth. "You don't dream of course, being an android." Wabsworth shuffled his feet. "I ... am able to create a trance-like episode that is dream proximal." He threw a meaningful glance at the Wabbit and got one back. Now Skratch became impatient. "A dream in a film moves the protagonists across suppressed or hidden boundaries." Lapinette said, "Ah." She tucked her legs under the bar stool and looked slowly around. At last her gaze fell on the Wabbit, "Sleeping well, Wabbit?" The Wabbit wore a deadpan expression. "Like a dog." His attempt at a diversion went nowhere. Lapinette's gaze kept travelling and settled on Wabsworth. "It's you. You tried to help the Wabbit sleep, by successful-ising his dreams." "If only I could," sighed Wabsworth. He laughed quietly to himself. "That would be a dream come true ..."
[Oneiric: pertaining to dreams]

Friday, January 29, 2016

9. The Wabbit's Door of Perception

Wabsworth watched the Wabbit materialise in the cemetery. The full code notebook was tucked into his fur and, on his head, Jenny's pirate hat took the show. Wabsworth was the Wabbit's android double so he knew pretty much all there was to know about the Wabbit. So he spoke quietly. "What can you see, Commander?" The Wabbit's gaze couldn't let the object go but he managed a shrug. "Perfection." Wabsworth waited some time. He watched a leaf glide lazily past the Wabbit's head and heard him suddenly speak. "This is your dream, isn't it, Wabsworth?" Wabsworth nodded and shuffled his feet. The Wabbit stared again because he could see everything that had ever been and everything that was to come. He smiled. "I guess what I'm seeing is real enough." Wabsworth smiled too. "The cemetery, the writers, the code, the ghosts and indeed this mission are also real." The Wabbit didn't ask why, because he didn't need to. "What about the green door?" Now Wabsworth emerged from behind the gravestone. "That's your door, not mine. What kind of door was it?" The Wabbit thought hard. "A door that looked as if it shouldn't be there." Wabsworth chortled. "That sounds like your kind of door." "The other side of the green door must be here," said the Wabbit. "I want to look for it." He removed the hat with relief. Wabsworth sighed long and hard. "I'll help you," he said, "but we won't find it." The Wabbit sat down in the sun for a nap. "It was passable so it's possible." Wabsworth heard the Wabbit snoring. It was time to hop quietly away.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

8. The Wabbit and his Point of View

The hat span towards the Wabbit and the Wabbit watched it spin. But everything moved slowly. Skratch's three heads were shouting. "Catch the hat." Energy from the blue blast coursed through his body and the Wabbit's fur felt electric. Somewhere to his right, Jenny covered groans with curses. He slowly held up a paw and looked at it. It pulsed with a cold blue light. Time stopped. The Wabbit wondered whether he could start it again and flexed his paw to see what would happen. The hat started to spin slowly and Jenny's curses sounded like they needed new batteries. The Wabbit flexed his paw twice. The hat froze. All was silent. Ghosts eddied around him but they couldn't touch him. Again the Wabbit flexed his paw and now the hat was coming at him fast. Skratch's voice was a high pitched wail. "Your piece of the code! Put it in the hat." But the hat flashed past the Wabbit's head. Jenny caught it and flung it at the Wabbit. The Wabbit grabbed. Suddenly he had the hat, but it was as slippery as a wet bar of soap and it wriggled away. The Wabbit held up his paw and its glow bathed the hat in blue light. The hat flopped lifelessly to the deck. Jenny was calling. "Put on the hat, Wabbit." The Wabbit stooped and picked it up. He tucked his piece of the code into the lining with the others. Then he carefully placed the hat on his head ...

Monday, January 25, 2016

7. Skratch and the Three Head Leap

Skratch the Cat was used to heights, but he didn't appreciate any help. He went with the blast anyway and wrapped a sinewy limb around a rope. Then he swayed to and fro and took in the view. Jenny had vanished down a ladder and he'd lost sight of the Wabbit. Eddies of air snaked towards him and tore at his fur like piranhas. One by one his cat lettering plunged deckwards and even though he kicked and clawed, he could do nothing to stop his piece of the code escaping his grip. "Pesky ghosts!" hissed Skratch. It was a bit of luck that it fluttered past one of his two extra heads. A single cat snap rescued the code. Skratch purred gently but it was a moment's luxury. He let go of the rope and in free fall, dodged the ghostly eddies and took back the code. His other head was gazing at something and through its eyes, Skratch saw the Wabbit in the midst of a blue blast. They looked one and the same. Skratch caught a rope and paused for a moment and thought, "Who's dream is in charge?" A voice seemed to speak. "Only the Wabbit has nightmares like this." Now he could see Jenny in a corner of the half deck. The strange air was around her like a swarm of bees and he heard Jenny curse as they ripped her hat from her grasp. Skratch's heads spat as one. He let go of the rope and with a single leap, pounced onto the lower deck. Ninety feline teeth snicked as they fastened on Jenny's hat ...

Friday, January 22, 2016

6. Jenny and the Ghostly Blast

The blast took them by surprise. It was all the more sudden since it arrived without warning of sound. But the shock wave sent Jenny spiralling down into the ship and she cursed as her automatic and her hook clattered down the ladder. Then she caught sight of the Wabbit's reflection. He was sailing through the air in an elegant trajectory and appeared to be coping. Jenny looked away and back. Skratch was waving and yelling something about the code but she couldn't quite make it out. Then she felt something tugging at her coat. Whatever it was, the thing grabbed her hat and threw it at the bulkhead - so she tried to bat it away. "No-one touches my hat!" she yelled. There was nothing to be seen. Just a disturbance in the air like heat on a tarmac road. But it was there all right, grasping and groping Jenny with invisible fingers. "You scurvy, jelly-boned apology for a piece of a ghost!" shouted Jenny. The spectre replied by trying to detach her boots. Jenny kicked it to no avail and looked up again. Now she saw the Wabbit waving and pointing and she realised what it was. She reached into one of the many coat pockets and touched her part of the codex with a paw. The spectral claws loosened. Then she heard a drawn out sound like the dying gurgle of a drowning pirate. The thing seemed to draw back and she was free to tumble. Jenny hit the deck and rolled into a corner and mumbled to herself. "I'm in one of the Wabbit's nightmares ..."

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

5. The Wabbit and the Dream Ship

Skratch watched the Wabbit thrust the page into his fur - but was unprepared for what happened next. The ground was swaying, but not the same ground. These were the planks of a sail ship. Skratch watched the Wabbit carefully because he seemed nonplussed. He let his two extra cat heads float off for an extra look around. Wood groaned and canvas flapped but under all that noise, Jenny's voice was unmistakable. "I'll have no interlopers in my dreams." Skratch saw the Wabbit pull the codex page from his fur. "This is no ordinary dream, Jenny." From behind Jenny's back, a snick of a safety catch echoed along the deck,  "I can't be sure you're the Wabbit." Skratch smiled as the Wabbit shrugged. "OK. You are the Wabbit," snapped Jenny, "I didn't see you salute the ensign." "We're all in a dream," said the Wabbit. "Tell me about it," sighed Jenny. "Thieves took a secret code," hissed the Wabbit. "We have the missing page." A sudden impact rocked the craft and Jenny's voice barked commands. "Battle stations! Prepare to repel boarders." The Wabbit turned to look. "What ships' armaments do we have?" It was Jenny's turn to shrug. "Broadside cannons." Skratch knew the Wabbit had hoped for more but heard him speak clearly. "Let them think we're stupid." Another violent blow shook the hull. Jenny bellowed. "Give them a volley. Aim too high." Waves rocked the ship as cannonballs dropped aimlessly. The Wabbit tore the code in three, then gave Jenny and Skratch a piece each. "Now what?" asked Jenny. "We wait," shrugged the Wabbit.

Monday, January 18, 2016

4. The Wabbit and the Missing Page

Skratch took the Wabbit aside. At that moment, rays of light shot through the trees to paint dappled shadows on the Wabbit's ears. Skratch handed over a single page of an old manuscript. "With your permission, I'll tell the story." The Wabbit scrutinised the parchment and turned it over. "The occupants of the cemetery ..." Skratch had hardly begun when the Wabbit interrupted. "Spirits." Skratch nodded his heads. "These are rather famous spirits with lot of time at their disposal." He paused for effect, but the Wabbit didn't look up from the page, so he went on. "Writers and philosophers all, they collaborated on a codex that would open the Gates of Perception. "Most unwise," muttered the Wabbit and he flipped the page over again. "Eventually," meowed Skratch. "that's what they thought too. So they removed this vital page and hid it." Only now did the Wabbit look up. "When was the codex stolen?" Skratch thought the Wabbit far too sharp for his own good and placed a cautionary paw across his shoulder. "Stolen last week." he sighed. The Wabbit shrugged annoyingly. "The Codex is worthless without this page." He shrugged again. "So whoever took it will be back." "And they'll be looking for that page," said Skratch, "... which is now yours." At last the Wabbit's 28 teeth assembled into a grin. He rolled up the page and shoved it deep into his fur. "First they have to find us ..."

Friday, January 15, 2016

3. Skratch and the Astral Plane

The voice came from the old graveyard. Tombs lay in dense undergrowth and they ventured in. Skratch hovered slightly above the ground and seemed quite content. "I'm on the astral plane," he purred. "I did not summon you." The Wabbit felt slightly vexed. "You're dreaming," he with a shortness that surprised Lapinette. "No, I was meditating," meowed Skratch, "and now I'm in touch with everyone in this cemetery." Lapinette butted in. "Why have you got three heads?" Skratch nodded them all. "I met Cerberus and we got chatting about heads and numbers." The Wabbit became impatient. "Why are we here?" Skratch's left head nodded. "You, Wabbit have to perform a task." The Wabbit shook his head vigorously. (He had only one and felt it quite enough.) "Who says?" he snapped. Skratch's three heads bobbed. "The occupants of the graveyard." The Wabbit scowled.  "I have enough managers," he said. "Let them talk to the Department." "Skratch's heads meowed all at the same time. "I'm afraid they insist on you, Wabbit." "And what if I remain untasked?" asked the Wabbit. Skratch hissed three times. "Then I'm afraid we all remain here." The Wabbit thought hard and his nose twitched. "What about you, Wabsworth?" Wabsworth groaned. "I don't think I can cope with a three headed Skratch for long." "OK," said the Wabbit. "You Lapinette?" "Let's see what they want," smiled Lapinette and she waved at Skratch's heads. The Wabbit shrugged. "Maybe three heads are better than one ..."

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2. The Wabbit and the Sadness of War

Wabsworth and the Wabbit followed the soft haunting voice. "It's Lapinette! said Wabsworth. "What is that song?" "Shhh," said the Wabbit. They listened. Wabsworth touched the Wabbit gently. "La Locomotiva," said the Wabbit finally. He looked up and down the rows of anonymous graves and with a sad shake of his head, he murmured, "the flowers of the forest are a weed awa'." Wabsworth decided to stay quiet but he studied the scene. Then he spoke. "Are we are in Lapinette's dream - or is she in ours?" The Wabbit was entirely uncertain. "Should we disturb her?" whispered Wabsworth. The sun filtered through the trees and shadows sharpened. Suddenly Lapinette turned. "How did you get here?" "You're dreaming," said the Wabbit. Lapinette scrutinised them both from head to toe. "You look real enough to me." The Wabbit smiled pleasantly. "Look at your paws." Lapinette gazed down. She could see through them, so she reached out and gingerly touched a gravestone. Her paw passed through it as if it was air. But the more she stared, the more substantial her paws became. Eventually she was solid. The Wabbit sighed with relief and explained. "I came though a green door into Wabsworth's dream routine." Lapinette was pleased to be opaque and became chirpy. "Is it possible we're in a collective dream?" "A collective dream is a movie," said a grave voice ...
[La Locomotiva: revolutionary song about a train driver by Francesco Guccini
Flowers of the Forest: Ancient Scottish bagpipe tune commemorating the Battle of Flodden]

Monday, January 11, 2016

1. The Wabbit behind the Green Door

Wabsworth, the Wabbit's android double, was dreaming for the very first time and found himself hopping in a quiet graveyard. He felt a peace he had never experienced and was smiling to himself, when he heard the crunch of gravel. "Wabbit!" sighed Wabsworth. "What on earth are you doing here?" The Wabbit materialised and waved tentatively. "I'm afraid I broke in." He noticed Wabsworth's quizzical look and shrugged. "I broke in through the green door." A few translucent leaves fell. "You're in my dream," said Wabsworth, "and my dream doesn't have a green door." The Wabbit shook his head and held up a paw. "I scraped my paw and it's green and it hurts. So this can't be your dream." "I didn't dream a green door," insisted Wabsworth. The Wabbit ignored this and looked around at names on gravestones. Some of them he knew had passed on and he felt sorry. Then he spotted a few who hadn't but he rather wished they had. The Wabbit puzzled a bit then addressed Wabsworth. "I came through a door from the street." Wabsworth rummaged under his fur to switch off his dream. But nothing happened. Wabsworth's teeth set rigid. The Wabbit took pity. "Well since we're here, we'll have a look around." Wabsworth's face lit up. "It's well tended, maybe there's a caretaker." The sound of footsteps on gravel broke the silence and the Wabbit grabbed Wabsworth's shoulder. "We'll take cover and watch." Then they heard a familiar voice ...

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

The Wabbit and Boredom

The Wabbit hunched in front of his favourite door. The sign said it was a school, but he had never seen anyone go in or out. So if he was bored he would stand in the street and wonder about it. "What's really behind the green door?" he thought. This kept him occupied for a full five minutes until he got restless. He stomped his feet a little. The Wabbit was between missions, a place he didn't like to be. He preferred to be in the thick of things, not the thin of things. No creature he knew got as bored as he. They all went on vacation or pursued a favourite hobby. Wabsworth his android double liked to bathe in a spa in the hills and return smelling of sulphur. Lapinette went to the furdressers and it took all day, sometimes two. Skratch the Cat attended week long movie marathons and emerged blinking through rectangular eyes. That wasn't to say the Wabbit hadn't tried. He'd taken up several pastimes, few of which had been successful. His jigsaws always missed a vital piece which he later found clinging to his fur. In an attempt at a giant collage, he found himself permanently glued to a table. His sallies into motor sport did, however, meet with success. But they were usually marred by some incident. In a cross country motorcycle trial he was well ahead but pitched into a hole with his scrambler on top of him. There he remained for some time until spotted. The Wabbit thought and thought and thought. Then it came to him in a flash. "Thinking is a hobby!"