Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Monday, May 26, 2014
[Background photograph: Mick Warne]
Friday, May 23, 2014
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Monday, May 19, 2014
Neither the Wabbit nor Rabbit Jenny could do the slightest thing about what happened next. Thoth the Whale expanded to giant proportions and the undertow from his wake trapped both Lepus and Unut in a vice-like grip. The Wabbit looked at his instruments and shrugged and gave up as the Unut was hauled across the ocean. On the Lepus, Jenny tried fighting with controls but to no effect. But somehow, Thoth glided on the ocean surface like a hydrofoil. The Unut's video link sparked out, so the Wabbit looked away and tested the ship-to-ship radio to see if it was working. There was a whoosh from the speaker as if the sea had got into the circuits, but Jenny’s voice cut through like crystal. "We have to run with the whale, Commander." "I hope he really knows where he’s going," sighed the Wabbit. Jenny’s eyes narrowed. "The Goddess Unut sent him?" "She tends to interfere," said the Wabbit. There was an awful noise as the hull of the Lepus rumbled then groaned. "Will she hold?" asked the Wabbit. "She’ll hold," said Jenny, "she’s been through worse." "Brecan’s Cauldron?" asked the Wabbit with a shudder. The radio whooshed but it couldn’t cover the clarity of Jenny’s voice. "I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts." Now silence fell, except for the roaring of water past hull. "What can Wablantis look like?" murmured the Wabbit. "Ignorance is the mother of fear," responded Jenny. "Who’s the father?" smirked the Wabbit.
Friday, May 16, 2014
It was the Wabbit’s watch and he was looking forward to a quiet one. Dusk settled across the ocean and he relaxed and glanced at monitors and yawned. But he kept an eye on the progress of the Lepus and to break the monotony, occasionally spoke to Captain Rabbit Jenny on ship’s video. He was looking over to the Lepus and smiling to himself when he noticed the previously calm waters were a little disturbed. So he called Rabbit Jenny - but just as her face swam into view, something leapt from the sea with an incredible splash and made a series of low booming sounds and clicks. Foam spurted as the creature’s tail threshed. "I see it, Commander," said Jenny. "You could hardly miss it," said the Wabbit. "Hang on. It’s communicating with my bridge crew," said Jenny. "Do they speak whale?" asked the Wabbit. Jenny raised a paw. "We can decode the sounds. I’ll patch you through a translation." The Wabbit listened intently. "I am the Sea God!" boomed the whale, "and I am thrice great." "That sounds very familiar," thought the Wabbit and he spoke to the monitor. "Jenny, his name is Thoth. Confirm he is thrice great, or we’ll be here all day." Threshing tortured the water and casually sprayed both ships. "I am to assist you find the Lost Island of Wablantis." The Wabbit addressed Thoth directly. "Thoth, do you know where we’re going?" A jet of water shot in the air and a piercing wail shook the vessels. "I am thrice sure!" The Wabbit looked at Jenny in the monitor and shook his head and winked - and Jenny winked back.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Monday, May 12, 2014
Saturday, May 10, 2014
"That can't be the end of the story," said Skratch the Cat, "it's much too exciting." "Yes," said the Wabbit, "we want a coda." Pirate Jenny stared with amusement at her glass and gulped the contents down. "Indeed," she said, "there must be an end, so here's the tail." Lapinette smiled and applauded. Pirate Jenny waved an arm and spoke. "On the deck of the Lepus, Rabbit Jenny opened the third and last of her packages and took out a sack of coins. Then she shrugged off her blue tunic and told the Quartermaster to have the coins made into buttons to be stitched into her uniform. She hardly looked back as her ship slid away from the ratty coast, but she caught sight of the rows of washing she’d left as a warning - and watched as a breeze blew in and filled the garments." Pirate Jenny stopped and lifted her glass in a toast and so did everyone else. "The clothes should have billowed, but under Jenny's gaze they started to jerk and kick in a grim gallows jig. Her nose twitched as if she'd smelled something sour and she turned away from the coast. An ancient and grizzled mariner grasped her fur and asked where they were going. Jenny took his hand gently. A bolt of electricity shot up the mariner’s arm and prickled across his shoulders, but when it reached his heart it felt warm. She told him they would follow the Southern Cross and the mariner asked for the name of the port. Rabbit Jenny shook her head, smiled and pointed out to sea. “We have a secret rendezvous with someone special.”
Friday, May 09, 2014
Pirate Jenny’s audience was on tenterhooks as Jenny’s eyes hardened and she took another deep draught of rum. She looked around her audience but Wabsworth couldn’t restrain himself. "What happened next?" he breathed. "I will tell you," smiled Pirate Jenny – and she did. "Rabbit Jenny stood and looked at the harbour she had watched for so long. Behind her, voices grew louder and louder until she could hear every word. They were bringing the prisoners in, bringing them to her. And they wanted to know what to do with them. She heard one ask if they should kill them now or later and all the sailors took up the cry. “Now or later, now or later?” Their voices echoed through the shabby alleyways and the shattered buildings of that ratty town. Rabbit Jenny stared and stared until she realised they were asking the question of her. So she took the second package from her bag, unwrapped it and using the hook on her injured paw, extracted a blood-stained towel. Then she lifted it high above her head and waited - waited as only Jenny could. Everything became quiet - even the splashing of waves on the dock. The sailors watched Jenny’s paw and it was unnaturally still for what seemed like an age. Then way up in the air a seagull screeched. With a sudden movement Jenny brought the towel down and breathed ... “Right now.”
Thursday, May 08, 2014
Wednesday, May 07, 2014
Pirate Jenny wore an intense expression, so wrapped in her story that her glass of grog remained untouched. Her eyes narrowed and it seemed to everyone listening that they were really there with her in that awful shabby hotel. Jenny suddenly lifted her glass, drained the contents and spoke. "Even though the shape seemed far out to sea, Rabbit Jenny recognised a ghostly ship and could make out frantic activity on the deck. She grasped her hat firmly, straightened her red rose and braced herself. Suddenly the harbour lit up as the ship wheeled to port and cannon fire burst from her bow. The town shook and plaster fell from all the walls of the hotel." Pirate Jenny stopped and waved her hook, pretending to pick plaster from her ears. Now her voice grew menacing. The hateful guests cowered in their rooms and prayed for deliverance but Jenny casually turned from the window. Bending slightly, she levered a loose floorboard with her hook and took out three wrapped objects, which she placed in a small bag." Pirate Jenny paused because it looked like Wabsworth was going to ask about the objects, but he merely nodded, so she nodded back and carried on. "Rabbit Jenny returned to the window. Seeing that the ship had closed on the town she turned to light a lamp behind her - so that her silhouette could watch. The massive cannon on the bow of the ghostly ship swung right and left, up and down, blasting the coast until every building was flat. Except that is ... for one ratty little hotel.
Tuesday, May 06, 2014
The Wabbit and Lapinette watched Jenny the Pirate as she stood akimbo and swayed her body back just like a pirate should. Everyone was desperate to hear the next bit of story, but they stayed very quiet until Captain Jenny began again. Rabbit Jenny watched the harbour from an attic window in the ratty old hotel, but she did watch. Never a night passed when she didn’t. Her eyes grew tired and her limbs grew weary but she wouldn’t give up. Night after night she watched while the hotel guests slumbered. Long after the dubious deeds were done and the dock became deserted, she continued her vigil and she missed nothing." Pirate Jenny stopped, took another swig of rum then frowned at her empty glass. The Wabbit hopped forward and quickly refilled it while Pirate Jenny continued. "Her task seemed unending. But one night when the moon crept behind the shadows, a shape appeared on the distant horizon and came quietly closer. Rabbit Jenny looked far out to sea and when she saw it, her heart slammed three times under her fur." Jenny slammed her glass three times on the table and when everyone jumped, she smiled. "She went swiftly to a small cupboard, took out a special hat and put it on her head. Then she slid open a drawer and from a recess at the back extracted a flower made from red cloth. Carefully pinning the flower to her hat, she turned to watch as the shape cut through the limpid waters like a knife. It made no sound whatsoever and Rabbit Jenny kept watching. But she got ready to move."
Monday, May 05, 2014
Jenny, the Pirate Chief, took another sip of rum. She closed her eyes for a second and when they opened they seemed to flash. They looked like diamonds catching the light and they clearly said, "No interruptions." Her brow furrowed and her lips pursed as she went on. "In her meagre quarters in the ratty hotel, Rabbit Jenny cleaned her wound and applied bandages. Although spikes of pain shot through her paw, she did not feel hurt exactly. Hurt was something Rabbit Jenny would not allow and she refused to show anything resembling distress. Yet deep inside, some anguish spasmed that was quite unlike the injury to her paw - because it couldn’t be bandaged. Jenny lifted the hook that she’d found in a drawer and gripped it firmly in her injured paw so that she could pick things up. She tried it a few times until she became practiced, then she washed the bloodstained towels and hung them out to dry. And just like before, Jenny ironed each one and folded it neatly. But bloodstains are hard to remove and even though Jenny laundered the towels well, each one bore signs of Jenny’s pain. She gave each towel a name that was impossible to forget and returned to pursue her nocturnal vigil. Rabbit Jenny wasn’t going to give up, but she became wilier. Every night after that she was careful to look behind her. But she also looked up at the moon and silently chanted the list of names."
Friday, May 02, 2014
Jenny the Pirate Chief paused in her story and asked for grog. So Lapinette twitched an ear slightly and a waiter instantly appeared with a new bottle of Seven Fathoms rum and 5 fresh glasses. Jenny poured herself a healthy libation, drank it back in one gulp and set the glass down on the table with a crash. Then she began once more. "One night, Rabbit Jenny stared and stared out of the hotel window. Usually, the guests were too drunk to see her and even if they did, they were incapable of movement. But something woke them from their torpor and they noticed her staring there and started to talk. They whispered to each other, “what’s she got to stare at?” and pointed at Jenny and made circular motions with their fingers as if she was mad. Jenny was absorbed in watching the dank harbour so she never saw the guest advance. With one finger on his lips he crept up on Jenny and with a sudden swipe and enormous force, he smashed the window down on her paw." Lapinette and the Wabbit flinched back but Pirate Jenny held her head high. "If the guest expected her to cry in pain, then he was sadly mistaken because she made no sound. But Rabbit Jenny turned and her eyes burned into those of her tormentor until he shielded his face and turned away. With blood running from her paw, she hopped past the guests and into her quarters ..."