Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original; + unrelated.

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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original; + unrelated.

Postby Q.U. » Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:02 am

On the way back horror vacui was even worse. Because I was in a hurry. It sometimes happens, that during journeys like this haste leads one to his own demise. A small mistake in the calculations and suddenly you're in Florence, year 1348, during the Black Plague epidemic. Or in Paris, in the night of twenty third to twenty fourth August 1572.
But luck was on my side, I got exactly where and when I wanted.

* * *

The Hatter was right, and didn't exaggerate when calling the whole hideous group a bunch of show-offs. They made everything to be impressive, and for the impression. And so was the case this time.

A lawn located among acacias attempted to mimic a cricket field, with little success. For the impression half-circular goals were placed on it, in cricket jargon called arches. Les Coeurs, about ten of them, held the game tools in their hands, the little hammers called mallets, and some things supposedly imitating balls, and looking like curled hedgehogs, were rolling all over the lawn. The lead of the bunch was obviously the red-headed Mab, fitted in fancy clothes and packed with jewellery. With a loud commanding tone and powerful swings of her arm she pointed the positions which Les Coeurs were to take. Her other hand was located on Alice Liddell's shoulder. The girl was watching the queen and the preparations with interest and reddened cheeks. Of course, she had no clue that what was coming was no cricket game, but a gory and impressive execution. My appearance on the scene, as usual, caused some commotion among Les Coeurs, which Mab quickly silenced.

- Oh, I'm sorry Chester. - She said coldly while twirling the ruffles on the brim of Alice's dress with her hand, armed in numerous rings. - I'm sorry but we already have a full set of players. Which is one of the reasons why you didn't receive an invitation.

- It's okay. - I yawned, demonstrating my incisors, fangs, carnassials, premolars, and molars, a whole load of tooth enamel and dentine. - It's okay, Your Highness, I would have had to decline such an invitation either way. Cricket is not my game, I prefer other games. And as for the full set of players, I'm also assuming you have some in reserve?

- And what is it to you, - Mab narrowed her eyes. - what we have and what we don't?

- I'm afraid I must take Miss Liddell with me, I'm hoping it won't spoil your fun.

- Oh. - Mab returned my demonstration by showing her teeth while trying to imitate a smile. - Heh. I see. Just tell me one thing, why does our constant bickering for hegemony must always revolve around taking away each other's toys? Do we have to act like children? Can we not, after agreeing upon a place and time, settle what we have to settle? Can you explain that to me, Chester?

- Mab. - I retorted. - If you wish to discuss such things, please do inform me of such a time and place, ahead of time. Today I'm not in the mood for discussion. Besides, the players are waiting. So I'll just be taking Miss Liddell and I'm off, I don't want to be a bother.

- What the hell for – Mab always ended up sounding like an old hag whenever annoyed. - and what damn reason do you need this brat for, cat!? Why do you care? Or maybe it's not about the brat at all? Huh? Tell me, cat!

- I already told you, I'm in no mood for discussion. Which also includes answering questions. Alice, come to me.

- Don't you even dare to move, you snotty brat! - Mab locked her grip on Alice's shoulder, and the girl's face paled in pain. Her dark eyes seemed to show that she began to understand what this game was about.

- Your Highness. - I looked around and noticed that Les Coeurs began surrounding me slowly. - Would you be so kind to remove your gentle hand off of the child's shoulder. Immediately, if you please. Would Your Highness also instruct her minions to back away a safe distance.

- Really? - Mab replied while demonstrating more teeth. - And what if I'd rather not? Could you tell me what then?

- I could. Then, you filthy hag, I will also act improperly. And I'll rip the guts of all your shit-worth bunch.

That's where talking ended. Les Coeurs simply jumped me, not even waiting for Mab's command to sound and her hand to finish her ruling gesture. They jumped at me as a whole, as many as there were, the whole bunch.
But I was ready. Fur came off their game card-decorated clothes. Fur went off them, and me, but mainly them. I flipped on my back, it made me much less mobile but I could attack with the use of all four of my legs. My efforts began to pay off, as several Les Coeurs, marked with my claws and teeth began to retreat, ignoring Mab's yells, who with very graphic and unorthodox words told them what, and out of what, were they to rip from me.

- Who even cares about you! - Alice suddenly yelled, adding some new tunes to the ongoing symphony of chaos. - You're all just a bunch of stupid game cards!

- Oh yeah!? - Mab roared, shaking the girl violently. – You don't say?

One of the Les Coeurs, with long curly hair and a black club sign on his chest, grabbed my tail with both hands. I hate such forceful acquainting so I ripped his head off. But others were already sitting on me, making a use of their fists, heels, and cricket mallets, all while wheezing loudly. Those bastards were damn obstinate. But so was I. After a while it got a bit more loosely around me. I could switch from positional to manoeuvre warfare. The lawn was almost all red by now, and damn slippery to it.

Alice kicked Mab in the ankle with all her strength. Her Majesty cursed horridly and whipped the girl's cheek with her palm. Alice fell down, landing on one of the Les Coeurs, who just tried to get up. Before he threw Alice off himself I scratched one of his eyes out. And the one who tried to stop me got both eyes scratched out. The remaining two bailed, and so I could stand up.

- So, dear Queen of Hearts? Perhaps we'll call it a day? - I Wheezed out, licking blood off my nose and whiskers. - Maybe we can finish it later, agreeing on the time and place beforehand?

Mab gave me a mouthful of words, in which “side-stripped motherfucker” was the least offensive, yet the most repeated term. It appeared she wasn't willing to leave this conflict for another day. Several Les Coeurs managed to cool off after the initial shock and began preparing for another attack. I was already quite tired, and pretty sure one of my ribs was broken. I stood in between her and Alice.

Mab let out a triumphant roar. The bushes of acacia wandered apart all of a sudden, like the Red Sea. And out from the green, cheered to battle by the yells of Les Coeurs, came a Bandersnatch. More accurately it was a big, well-grown specimen of a Bandersnatch. A tough and frumious Bandersnatch.

- I'll make you into a nice hat, Chester! - Mab yelled out while pointing me with her finger to instruct the Bandersnatch who he is to attack first. - If there's enough fur left from you after this, I mean!

I'm a cat. I have nine lives. I believe I forgot to mention, however, that I already used up eight of them.
- Run, Alice! - I yelled. - Run!

- But Alice Liddell didn't move an inch, petrified. I couldn't blame her. The Bandersnatch scratched the lawn with his claws, as if trying to dig up a subway station, or a tunnel under Mont Blanc. The dark-red fur stood up on his back, which made him seem about twice the previous size, even though he was sufficiently big to begin with. Muscles under his skin played the Ninth Symphony, his eyes lit up with fire. He opened his jaw in a way that flattered me greatly, and then he jumped at me.

I fought valiantly, I gave it all I had. But he was bigger, and bastardly strong. By the time I managed to push him off me he'd already given me a beating. I was barely standing.
Blood flew into my eyes and dried up on my sides, and the sharp end of one of the broken ribs was determined to find something in my right lung. Alice was yelling so loudly that my ears were ringing. And the Bandersnatch just swept the grass with his balls, shook what remained of his ears, and looked at me from under his mauled eyelids. His mouth opened again, but then he suddenly closed it. Instead of jumping at me again to finish me off he just stood there like an ass.

I looked behind me on reflex, and I'm telling you, last time I saw something like this was in Griffith's Birth of a Nation. For there, out from the forest Calvary was charging. But that wasn't US Calvary, or the Ku-Klux-Klan. It was my acquaintance, the so-called Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. He looked like Saint George straight off Carpaccio's painting, and armed with a vorpal sword, shining in the light with brilliance.
You wouldn't believe it, but the Bandersnatch ran away first with tail tucked between its legs. Les Coeurs saved themselves with retreat as well, at least those who could still walk. And the last to leave the battlefield was Mab, walking away hastily. But I saw all that like through an aquarium filled with borscht. And a moment later...

Promise you won't laugh.

A moment later I saw a pink-eyed rabbit looking at his pocket watch taken out of his vest. After which I fell into a dark endless pit.

I was falling for a long time.

I'm a cat. I always land on all fours. Even if I can't remember any of it.
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Re: Q.U.: Operation Lightning; (T); Original; + unrelated.

Postby Q.U. » Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:11 am

- Ah. - Charles Lutwidge Dodgson said suddenly, resting his elbow on the wicker basket with sandwiches. - Do you know, cat of Cheshire, that sweet feeling of sleepiness, which comes to you after awakening in a summer morning, when the air rings with bird songs, a nice breeze comes through the open window, and you, settled on the bed with your eyes half-closed, watch the slowly moving green branches, and the surface of the water rippled with golden waves like still in a dream? Ah, trust me cat, that pleasing feeling borders deep sorrow, the amazing feeling which fills your eyes with tears like an amazing painting or a magnificent poem...
You wouldn't believe it, he didn't stutter once.

The picnic went on as it was. Alice Liddel and her sisters were playing noisily on the edge of River Thames, one by one going onto the boat at the shore and jumping back off. Every time either of them happened to fall into the shallow water they'd scream loudly and lift their skirts up high. At those times Charles Lutwidge Dodgson sitting next to me would pay more attention to them and blush slightly.

- And I have loved you oh so long... - I hummed silently under my whiskers, figuring out that the March Hare was actually right about something.

- Pardon?

- “Greensleeves” Nevermind that. You know what, dear Charles? You should describe all of that. The story as it seems slowly grew and developed into where we are now. It's time for you to write it down. Especially since the beginning is already done.

He was silent. His gaze did not come off the happily yelling Alice Liddell, lifting her skirt up so that her underwear was showing.

- There's a half of life dividing us. - He suddenly said quietly. - And time, passing away at cruel speeds. She will never even think of me in her upcoming adulthood.

- I'd suggest prose. - I couldn't hold the sarcasm. - Poetry won't sell.

He looked at me and grimaced a bit.
- Could you... hmm... become a bit more material? - He asked. - It's annoying to watch just your smile floating in thin air.

- Today, my dear Charles, I cannot deny you anything. Too big is my debt to you.

- Let's not talk about that. - He said embarrassed and looked away. - Anyone in my position... I couldn't let her... and you... get killed by my own fantasy.

- And thank you for that. And while we're at it: where in the world did you manage to get that shiny vorpal sword?

- Get what?

- Forget it. We're getting off the subject, Charles.

- A book describing it all? - He began pondering again. - I don't know. I'm not sure I would be able to...

- You would. Your fantasy has a power that can break ribs.

- Hmm – He moved his hand as if trying to pat me, but he changed his mind in time. - Hmm, who knows, maybe she... would like such a book? Besides, the University doesn't pay much, it would be good to get some extra money. Obviously, I'd have to publish it under a pseudonym. My job as a teacher...

- You need a good nom de plume, Charles. - I yawned. - Not just because of your job, your family name is no good for a cover. It sounds as if someone dying of Pneumothorax was trying to spell his last will.

- Unthinkable. - He faked offence. - Do you have any ideas? Anything that would sound better?

- I do. William Blake.

- You're deriding me.

- Emily Brontë.

This time he fell silent, and remained so for a while. The Liddell ladies found a duck mussel on the shore, the yells of joy were endless.

- Are you asleep, cat of Cheshire?

- Trying to.

- Then sleep, you sunbathing tiger. I won't interrupt you.

- I'm lying on your sleeve. What will you do when you will want to get up?

He smiled.
- I'll cut it off.

We remained silent a longer while, watching the river and the ducks swimming in it.

- Story writing... - Charles Lutwidge Dodgson said suddenly, looking like someone who awoke in a summer morning. - Writing is a dead art. Twentieth century is upon us, and that century will be the age of picture.

- You mean the new game, invented by Luis Jasquess Monde Daguerre?

- Yes. - He confirmed. - I mean photography. Literature is fantasy, and thus a lie. The writer lies to the reader, leading him into the depths of his own imagination. He sways him with ambiguity. Photography never lies...

- Really? - I moved the end of my tail, which among us cats signifies mockery. - Photography is not ambiguous? Even that kind of photography which depicts a girl, age 12, in a slightly uncovering pose, lying on a bed in nothing but underwear?

He blushed.

- Nothing to be ashamed of. - My tail moved again. - We all love beauty. I am as well fascinated by young cats, Charles Lutwidge. If I were into photography like you are I wouldn't be searching for different models either.

- I never showed any of those p-p-p-... photographs to anybody. - He unexpectedly began to stutter again. - And I n-n-n-... never will. Though there was a time, I m-m-m-... must say, when I had some hopes for photography... of the financial nature.

I smiled. I bet he didn't understand why. He didn't know what I was thinking. He didn't know what I knew, when falling down into the endless depths of the rabbit hole. What I saw, and knew, among other things, was that one hundred thirty four years later, July 1996, four of his pictures depicting young girls aged eleven to thirteen, all in romantic Victorian underwear, all in ambiguous, but erotically suggestive poses, will be auctioned in Sotheby's and sold for forty eight thousand five hundred pounds sterling. Not bad for four pieces of poor quality paper. But there was no reason to tell him that.

I heard a sound of wings. Edgar sat on a willow nearby, and cackled calling. Unnecessarily. I knew myself that it was time.

- It's time to end the picnic. - I stood up. - Goodbye Charles.

He didn't show any surprise.
- You can walk? Your wounds...

- I'm a cat.

- I almost forgot. You're a cat of Cheshire. Do you think we will ever meet again?

I didn't reply.

- Will we meet again? - He repeated.

- Nevermore. - Edgar replied.

* * *

And that, my friends, would be about it. So I'll make it short.
Once I got back to the Wonderland the afternoon went on undisturbed, because time goes by a bit different around here. I didn't go to the Hatter and the Hare though, to drink the bottle I won together with them. And to boast another, after the stubborn Shakespeare, success in fixing the future of world's literature. I didn't go to Mab, to try to soften the conflict with a banal chat filled with compliments. I went to the forest, to lie on the bough, lick my wounds and warm my fur up in the sun.

The sign saying “BEWARE OF THE JABBERWOCK” had been broken off and left in the bushes. Probably done by Jabberwock himself, because he tended to do such things. He liked to surprise others, and a warning sign just spoiled all the surprise.

My bough was right where I left it. I got on it and let my tail down in an artistic fashion. I lied down, previously checking if Radetzky was nowhere around.

The sun was warming me up. Borogoves happily wandered among the tumtums. And the mome raths outgrabe. The slithy toves were doing something on a tree nearby, but I didn't know what. It was too far away.
It was a golden aftrenoon.

Twas brilling and mimsy. As usual.

Actually, read about it yourselves. In the original. Or in any one of the translations. There's so many of them after all.

Original: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cos-sie-konczy- ... 8&sr=1-105
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