Friday, October 31, 2014

The Wabbit and the Hasty Hallowe'en

The team gathered at the rear of the old abandoned hospital for the hastily arranged Halloween party. They lit the remnants of their old fire and soon it was a hearty blaze. Shadows flickered spookily on the roof as the Wabbit turned to face an imaginary audience. He threw his arms wide like a bat and his voice bounced around the buildings. "Did you ever hear ... ?" asked the Wabbit. His audience drew a breath. The Wabbit started again. "Did you ever hear about the giant two-headed rabbit that wandered the Rannoch Moor crying for its lost soul?" They all shook their heads. "Neither did I," smiled the Wabbit. A loud groan creaked around the room beams. "It was just a joke," complained the Wabbit. "That wasn't us," said Lapinette. "Not guilty," said Skratch. "I distinctly heard a groan," said the Wabbit. "I thought it was more of a moan," said Wabsworth. "The same kind of moan the Bunnyman made?" said Skratch. "Oh, he only comes at midnight," said Lapin. "With his bloody axe," said Jenny. The Wabbit thought for a minute. "What time is it?" "It's just past twelve," said Lapinette. The Wabbit sighed with relief. "Well he won't be coming now." Just at that moment they heard a dreadful clattering of teeth and a voice moaned. "So late. Oh so late." "Late for what?" asked the Wabbit. "Late for the party," moaned the voice of the Bunnyman. The Wabbit turned to his audience, plucked a hidden speaker from his fur and grinned. "That Bunnyman is axing for trouble."

Thursday, October 30, 2014

14 The Wabbit and the Devil's Surprise

The Wabbit and Wabsworth made their way home, but there was something altogether spooky about Vinzaglio Metro. "I guess its nearly Hallowe'en," said Wabsworth, "shall we have a party?" The Wabbit grinned and tipped his hat back. "Why not!" "You can come as a cowboy," suggested Wabsworth. "Ghost Rider from the Sky," laughed the Wabbit. They chuckled for a while. "Did you hear a moaning?" asked the Wabbit. "Must be the escalator," shrugged Wabsworth. The Wabbit shook his head. "There it is again, listen." They stopped and waited. "I heard groooooh-grooooh to you," said Wabsworth. The Wabbit's fur tingled and his voice trembled. " He's back!" Wabsworth scrunchled against the wall as the hatless head of the Devil floated just above the escalator steps. It made grinding sounds that echoed from the Metro walls and it whispered threats of all that was Hell. The Wabbit stood his ground and snarled through his 28 teeth. "Egonebay oulfay iendfay!" The head turned very slowly and met his eyes. "I will cut off your head and put it on backwards." "On me or you?" asked the Wabbit. The Devil's angry retort was like the creak of a rusty tap. "I will put you upside down in a hole and set your paws on fire." "What about the snakes?" asked the Wabbit. "Any snakes in the hole?" Now the Devil's voice was like a saw. "Enough snakes to shake a stick at. Then I'll poke you with that stick." The Wabbit winked at Wabsworth and spoke to the Devil. "Are you coming to our Hallowe'en Party?"
[Egonebay oulfay iendfay: Pig Latin - Begone foul fiend]

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

13. The Wabbit's Date with the Devil

The Wabbit tipped the brim of the hat and it touched his glasses. Everything became hyper clear. The Devil was there of course, but the Wabbit ignored him and looked past to see Parakalo the Dove winging swiftly away. There was Wabsworth, his android double. He raised a paw and Wabsworth gestured back. "You were supposed to come alone," sneered the Devil. "We did come alone." The Devil heard the Wabbit and Wabsworth speak precisely as one and his voice weakened. "Give me my hat." The Wabbit was icy calm. Jazz played inside the hat and he listened carefully. He could hear spaces so he filled them with his own notes and tapped out rhythms with a paw. Wabsworth improvised. Bojangle sounds filled the portico and every tap drove the Devil lower. "I want what's mine," he gasped. The Wabbit gazed implacably as the Devil pleaded. "Give me my space. Give me the chord." The Wabbit looked down. "Want to hear it?" The Devil felt something he had never known. Fear chilled his every fibre. The Wabbit made a spooky sound that whined into existence like an overheating dynamo. Unable to muster strength, the Devil crumpled and grew infinitesimally small. The last thing he saw was a giant paw as it scuffed his remains on the sidewalk. Wabsworth hopped over to embrace the Wabbit and they danced to the last strains of music. "Devil got my sole!" sang the Wabbit.

Monday, October 27, 2014

12. The Wabbit and the Devil's Exit

The Wabbit and his team rushed through an atmosphere with a strange colour and an even stranger smell. It was a smell that had long deserted Porta Susa Station - and it tasted of steam locomotives and fire and sparks and hot oil. Summoned by Lapinette's amulet, Parakalo the Dove swooped through the dim light towards Jenny and ex-Cardinal Lapin. With one eye on the Wabbit and the other on the station's exits, he took charge of communications and the roof was alive with coos and clucks. "Where's the Devil now?" sighed Lapin. Jenny sniffed. "He's there - down in the metro still." Parakalo navigated the walkways and stairs like an eagle and peered in every corner. "He's trying to find his way out." he cooed. "The Wabbit bought some time," said Jenny, "but he has to fight this one on his own." Lapin stroked his Cardinal's robe and muttered a prayer. "Exorcizámos te, ómnis immúnde spíritus, ómnis satánic potéstas." For a moment something cleared around the Wabbit and he turned to speak with Lapinette and Skratch. "This is far enough for you both. I'll take it from here." They both looked crestfallen and hugged the Wabbit. In the midst of the embrace, the Wabbit shrugged with difficulty. "It's just me and the Devil and this Hat," he grinned, "what can possibly go wrong?" Lapinette let go of the Wabbit and with a delicate touch of her paw, she pressed her secret amulet. Up in the station roof, Parakalo gave a faint coo then suddenly wheeled and soared off at speed ...

Friday, October 24, 2014

11. The Wabbit & the Devil in the Way

Skratch and the Wabbit found their exit blocked. With a screechy wail the escalator moved towards them bringing the Devil with Lapinette in his grasp. He pointed and his finger shook with fury. "Give me my hat and I'll let her go." The Wabbit couldn't give him the hat even if he wanted to. "You lie!" scoffed Skratch. "It's my job," said the Devil. "Then no hat," shrugged Skratch. "Anyway, it suits the Wabbit better than you." The Wabbit looked past Lapinette and scowled straight at the Devil. "You can take a rabbit from a hat, but you can't take the hat from the rabbit!" The Devil shook Lapinette fiercely again and again. Then he shook her some more. Her legs flailed and her teeth chattered but the Wabbit noticed her clutching something - an amulet that started to glow. At that instant, something happened to the album inside his hat. It span and as it picked up speed, an enchanted tune whipped up like an old phonograph. "Play it, Wabbit," murmured Skratch, "Play it like it's yours." The Wabbit concentrated. His eyes narrowed and music whispered from the station loudspeakers. The Devil looked up and his grip on Lapinette slackened. Her amulet glowed fiercely and just as she chafed at the bonds that tied her paws, the Wabbit willed the music to boom through the station. With a grinding crash, the escalator stopped dead and the Devil dropped, clasping his ears in pain. Lapinette twisted free and rolled towards the Wabbit. As the Devil writhed in agony, Skratch and the Wabbit pulled Lapinette away. "How do you like your elevator music?" asked Skratch. "Holy minimalism!" yelled Lapinette.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

10. The Wabbit & the Sound of the Hat

The Wabbit had the Devil's hat but as he hopped outside, he realised he was somewhere completely different. He was not outside by a long chalk. He plodded forward anyway because he was in the metro. He even knew roughly where he was - but of why he was there, he knew nothing. The hat gripped his head and made a soft noise so the Wabbit grasped it by the brim and straightened it. Now it seemed to play a tune, but it was off key. Sometimes it was flat and sometimes it was sharp. He managed to make out a rhythm, but it was a rhythm of suffering that chilled his blood. He heard lyrics but the words were out of sync and the Wabbit could hardly distinguish them from each other. So he tried to repeat the words. "The sign, the chord, the groove, the album." His words popped, clicked and crackled and sibilants hissed along the tracks like railgrinders. Then another sound seemed to call his name. "Waaaaabit!" The Wabbit kept his nerve. "By the prickling of my ears," he murmured, "something wicked this way steers." That phrase didn't sound right to the Wabbit and he was about to revise it when he heard the call again. "Wabbit! Wait!" The Wabbit put his head down and ploughed forward. But the voice called again. "What's this for a diabolical adventure?" The Wabbit relaxed and turned. In the distance, he saw Skratch scrambling along the rails and he had never been so pleased to see him. "You scared the Hell out of me!" he grinned.

Monday, October 20, 2014

9. The Wabbit & the Devil's Own Error

The Wabbit and Lapinette sauntered into the record store alone. What they had to do was audacious - and everything had to be perfect. The Devil stood by the jukebox and he was sarcastic. "It's my small furry friends," he sneered. "Have you found my album and my sign?" "We can't agree on the sign," said the Wabbit," so it doesn't really matter." "You dare meddle with me!" screamed the Devil. The Wabbit stuck out his tongue and wiggled his ears. The Devil roared with fury but in his distraction he failed to notice Lapinette climb on a chair. The Wabbit knew Lapinette was very, very good at one particular thing that always made him smile. So he waited for it all to happen and addressed the Devil directly. "How's your singing voice, Devil? Missing a little verve?" The Devil's head turned and it was all Lapinette needed. With a flick of both paws, she tipped the Devil's hat and it span like a frisbee. "Aaaaagh!" shouted the Devil. "Give me back my hat!" But the hat spiralled across the record store. Now the Wabbit could see inside and he knew he was right. He adjusted his head, made his ears into spikes and with a deft movement that would have astonished a soccer forward, he caught the hat on his head and loped from the store. The Devil was seized by rage. He too had glimpsed inside his hat and he felt like a fool. Lapinette carefully backed away but she couldn't resist triumph. "Devil," she said softly, "don't you want to get ahead?" The Devil looked up mournfully. "Better get a hat," sang Lapinette.

Friday, October 17, 2014

8.The Wabbit : the Devil Rides Out

On the rooftops of the Bavarian Quarter, they watched him move out. "Do you suppose he gave up?" asked Jenny. Lapin shook his head. "The Devil never gives up." The Stetson loomed large across the city and Lapin drew a sharp breath as it cast a shadow over a church steeple. "Where's the fiend going?" he muttered. "I think I know," said the Wabbit. "He'll go back to where and what he knows." "The Devil is treacherous," said Lapinette. Lapin nodded. "So where is his circle of treachery?" They turned because the Wabbit was muttering and they could hear him. "It's all about something round." "We know that already," said Lapinette. The Wabbit looked up. "I know I'm missing something important." "Try to relax," said Lapinette. "You'll think of it at once." This always had the opposite effect and the Wabbit shook his head. Jenny intervened. "Stare at something and let your eyes go fuzzy." The Wabbit had no problem with this approach so he did exactly that. He stared and stared at the departing figure and let the whole scene drift out of focus. Everyone waited. The Wabbit's eyes turned into strange spirals. "I have it!" yelled the Wabbit. "Eureka?" smiled Lapin. "I told you so," said Jenny. "Explain!" yelled Lapinette. The Wabbit grinned somewhat weakly. "I know where he's going and I know where the album is." "We've cracked it," said Jenny smugly. The Wabbit teeth set in a grimace. "We'll have the devil's own job to get it."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

7. The Wabbit and the Iron Shield

They found themselves caged under a gloomy sky with ex-Cardinal Lapin. "The Devil can't get reach us in this place," said Lapin. "Cold iron binds him." "I can't believe you're here," said the Wabbit. "Did you get time off?" "For good behaviour," chuckled Lapin. The Wabbit shrugged pleasantly and smiled while Lapin patted his back. "Not even the Wabbit can fight the Devil alone." "We'd have managed," said the Wabbit, "so what do I call you these days?" "Frankie, like you used to," said Lapin. Lapinette was beginning to show impatience and held up the disc. "What about the Devil's lost chord, Frankie? What about his sign?" "That's not his disc, it's mine," laughed Lapin. "But now the Earl of Hell thinks we have his disc," grumbled Jenny. "Exactly," said Lapin. "He has to deal with us." The Wabbit was frustrated. "So where exactly is this album with the sign?" Lapin threw back his head and gurgled. "He has it himself, but he doesn't know." "Let's sing," said the Wabbit suddenly. Lapinette clapped a paw across her brow but Lapin and Jenny started to hum. It was evil sounding - dissonant, jarring and spooky at the same time. The Wabbit threw in some tritone chords for the sake of dread but he stopped as Lapinette's falsetto bounced without warning from the iron mesh. "We shall beset the ancient foe," she trilled. "for we doth seek to work him woe." The sky cleared. "You put the devil on edge," said Lapin.

Monday, October 13, 2014

6. The Wabbit and the Great Escape

There was a vicious crack as Jenny blew open the doors and the Wabbit and Lapinette were out and running. "What's she got in that hook?" yelled Lapinette. "Astrolite G," shouted the Wabbit. "You don't cut corners," panted Lapinette as she clutched the precious disc. "One day you'll destroy the whole city." "Throw the disc!" commanded the Wabbit. Lapinette tried very hard to throw it but the record remained attached to her paw. "You have to throw it" repeated the Wabbit. " I can't," she sighed, "it's stuck fast." "Does it have the sign?" yelled the Wabbit. Lapinette ran the edge of her paw round the inside of the record. "It has something, I can feel it." The Wabbit glanced down to make sure of a record he'd grabbed on his way out. "Why that one? yelled Lapinette. "Bourbon Street Blues," grinned the Wabbit. "Up here!" A familiar voice issued from above and, as if by magic, an arm appeared. "Now's the time," yelled the Wabbit. "It's now or never!" Lapinette summoned all her strength, concentrated on the disc and willed it to fly. The record shot from her paw with enormous speed and straight into a waiting paw. Bits of record store were still settling in the street but they heard the voice murmur. "Gotcha." "I wasn't expecting you, your Holiness," puffed the Wabbit. "Where is the foul transgressor?" asked the voice. "Still inside the store," said Lapinette. There was a rather jolly laugh. "Shall I command the Devil to depart?" The Wabbit smiled. "He finds it hard to take instruction ..."

Friday, October 10, 2014

5. The Wabbit and the Devil DJ

The Wabbit and Lapinette followed the Voice. "Hey Wabbit, can I play you a request?" A sinister figure sat by the record decks but he didn't turn. The Wabbit shot a warning glance at Lapinette and adopted a cheerful voice. "Play Misty for me." The figure snorted. "Which version?" "Errol Garner of course," smiled the Wabbit. The figure barely moved. Melodic piano chords filled the store but his voice rose above them. "Of all the stores, in all the towns in all the world, you hop into mine." The Wabbit swayed quietly in time to the music but his eyes were on the figure as it stiffened. "I was there you know," it growled. "I was there at that famous jazz session with the masters." "Must have been a great evening," said the Wabbit lightly - and the figure half turned. "It was great because of me!" There was a vindictiveness in the figure's voice that chilled Lapinette to the bone. She clutched an old disc behind her for the simple reason that she couldn't let go - or maybe it wouldn't let go of her. Under her paw she could feel the centre was scratched and the ridges made a strange sign. "They stole something from me," said the figure. "They took what was rightfully mine." "Oh that's in the past," said the Wabbit, "they've gone, they all passed away." Now the figure tilted his stetson back and a ghastly laugh bounced from the wall. "They died to regret it!" Lapinette gripped the disc fiercely and the disc gripped her. "I'm late for rehearsals," she mouthed. "We'll be off then," said the Wabbit. But as they made for the door, locks turned and bolts slid ...

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

4. The Wabbit and the Hidden Album

Jenny led the Wabbit and Lapinette to a part of the city neither of them knew. She said it was the Bavarian Quarter and although they both shook their heads, they eventually found themselves in a music store belonging to a certain Herr Glückspilz. Jenny kept a lookout in the street, while they both rummaged through ancient albums. "I suppose we're in the right place?" asked Lapinette. "Herr Glückspilz said we might get lucky," replied the Wabbit. They examined each record closely. "Legendary cakewalk classic?" suggested Lapinette. "Too early," said the Wabbit. "Modern Jazz Quartet?" murmured Lapinette. "Too late," said the Wabbit. They rummaged more without success but when the Wabbit noticed a flash of blue, he squeezed a paw between the shelves. "I found something," he said, tugging at an album that was stuck at the back. "Did you feel that cold draught?" said Lapinette. "Something ruffled my fur," said the Wabbit. They both looked round. "Everything OK?" mimed Jenny from behind the window. The Wabbit was suddenly aware of a large poster. "Which Beatle wore a Stetson?" Lapinette screwed up her nose and sighed, "It's U2 who have hats." The Wabbit tried to dislodge the album by shaking it but it was completely stuck. With a deft movement Lapinette plucked the album free and the Wabbit squinted at the title and read it aloud. "Dealing with the Devil." All the lights went out. "Who better?" boomed a voice.

Monday, October 06, 2014

3. The Wabbit and the Devil's Due

It had been a long day and the Wabbit had turned up nothing from the markets. He made his way along the porticos deep in thought, but something was nagging. Something more than thinking. Something palpable. "I don't remember that mural," he muttered. "I remember you, Blue Glasses." It seemed to come from inside his head but the voice echoed round the portico roof. From the corner of his eye the Wabbit saw his ears make pointed shadows on the sidewalk and as he hopped they curled slightly towards him. The Wabbit quickened his pace. "We're looking for the same thing, you and I." This time, the Wabbit knew the voice was behind him. Keeping both eyes fixed ahead, the Wabbit shrugged. "I'm just looking for an old album." His voice was the merest whisper but the ghostly voice responded. "I want it too. It has my sign, it's my due." "I've seen no sign of a sign," whispered the Wabbit, "but if I see one, I'll let you know." The Wabbit heard a long laugh. "How can I trust you?" "Trust me as you would yourself," said the Wabbit quickly. Jagged flickers of light crept along the roof but the Wabbit ignored them and gazed steadfastly into the night. Up ahead he could see tables and chairs and people dining on pizza and chips. "The devil's work," shuddered the Wabbit. A cold blast split the evening, chilling the Wabbit's fur and bringing howls from the diners. At that moment, something Skratch told him popped into his head. "Every sign has two sides." "Just like a record album," thought the Wabbit. "Just like me," howled the Voice ...

Friday, October 03, 2014

2. The Wabbit and the Wrong Record

The Wabbit heard a voice call, but he didn't turn a hair because in markets you never knew what might happen. He'd already seen police patrolling with soldiers. "Contraband," he muttered. The voice called again. "Wabbit I found this!" The Wabbit clutched his spoils fiercely to his fur. Of the secret record with the secret sign, he had found no trace, but he had acquired a rare single. Finally he turned. "Jenny!" he said affectionately. "I didn't recognise your voice." Jenny held up an album. "Is this the sort of thing you're looking for?" "It might be," said the Wabbit, "but it's a re-issue." Jenny smiled and rocked slightly. "I found a place selling old records." The Wabbit was delighted. "Markets aren't what they used to be," he chortled. Jenny agreed. "Nothing but ladies' clothes and jujus made in China." The Wabbit nodded vigourously. "I remember I could get anything here. I got a left-handed circlip opener once." "And you still have it in your fur," said Jenny. The Wabbit nodded, because every time he tried to throw it away, he found a use for it. "The record salesman told me an outrageous story," said Jenny. The Wabbit's ears twitched. "He said he'd seen the devil." The Wabbit tried to be nonchalant. "What did he look like?" "A bit of a dandy. Stripes, black waistcoat." "Did he say anything?" asked the Wabbit. Jenny looked serious. "Daemones non operantur nisi per artem." The Wabbit looked thoughtful. "What do you think?" asked Jenny. "I think he's the real deal," said the Wabbit.
[Daemones non operantur nisi per artem: Demons do not operate, save through trickery.]

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

1. The Wabbit and the Devil's Chord

"Wabbit!" The Wabbit turned slightly. "Hello Skratch." Skratch could see the Wabbit was disgruntled and approached with caution. "Anything wrong?" The Wabbit sighed a deep sigh. "Look what they're doing to my city." "It's maintenance Wabbit," said Skratch. "The old gates will be as good as new." "I don't like things as good as new," said the Wabbit. "I like things the way they were." Skratch knew it was futile to argue so he changed the subject. "We need to talk," he said, "we have a critical mission." The Wabbit brightened immediately. Skratch became grave. "We need to find something." The Wabbit shrugged. "It's something unobtainable," purred Skratch. The Wabbit waited with anticipation. "Years ago some famous jazz musicians got together." The Wabbit's eyes glistened as Skratch continued. "They played a session only for their families." "Someone made a secret recording," said the Wabbit immediately. Skratch was astonished. The Wabbit grinned. "I would have." "Wait until you hear this," breathed Skratch. "A limited pressing was made and scratched on one disc was a sign." The Wabbit inclined his head. "It was for a chord. A chord that's never been heard." "What?" yelled the Wabbit. "Everyone died of course," miaowed Skratch, "and the records were junked." "Only that copy survives?" said the Wabbit. Skratch nodded. "Intelligence suggests it's somewhere here." "There's something else, isn't there?" said the Wabbit. Skratch shook his head. "They say the devil lost that chord." The Wabbit's fur stood on end. "And he's trying to find it!"