My Exploding Cat

Just stories and drawings really, no actual fissile felines.

Chapter 4

For that year, nobody really did anything. School went on. The lunchroom smelled, always, like burnt hash browns sprinkled with baby barf (which was pretty much what they served), the classrooms, always, like somebody had just passed gas (which was often true), and the students like, just maybe, they needed Mom to buy them new undies (need I say more?).
The teachers rambled on. They made the children complete pointless activities such as writing a letter to themselves, sit through boring notes that nobody studied or brought for use on tests, and lectures on things that barely, if at all, relate to school, such as bubble gum and road rage. It was, perhaps, the most boring year Daniel and Sophie had experienced, but maybe that was because they were expecting the books to say in some deep voice, “YOU ARE READY,” or to be zapped and teleported to Opposite-land, or drink a magic potion and suddenly have all this magicky stuff or be completely clad in iron or leather atop a large black steed.
But none of that happened, or at least, Daniel didn’t notice it, and if it did it happened very slowly, trying not to be detected because it was afraid of looking like a cliche. For some reason, Daniel and Sophie had been propelled to talk to their books. Most of the time, the two kids had nothing to do with each other. They had all their classes together, but they were the ones who didn’t talk. They had a reputation to keep up.
Daniel started to spend most of his free time at home in his room with Mage. The weirdness of having a talking book had somehow vanished, and Daniel was used to it. Sometimes (or, actually, most of the time), Mage wouldn’t say much except for a few sentences that made no sense until they were contemplated for a while, or a few of the words were looked up in the dictionary, or looked at from a different angle. But Mage was always right, somehow.
Sophie lived in her own little world, and most of the people she didn’t like, or ignored even though she did like them, weren’t in it. This category included Daniel, and as far as she was concerned, she didn’t have to meet with him or do anything with him until the quest to get the books back. Nobody had said anything, but all of them knew that they would have to pass the books in the Mirrorworld through two mirrors. Tress chattered on and on with her, and it always seemed that when Sophie stopped talking to eat, or go to bed or school (which were pretty much the only times she did, with Tress anyway), she always knew something more than what she started with. She never really noticed this.
And then it went from Sophie living in her own little world to Sophie actually, in insane terms, living in her own little world. She’d babble on, and smile sweetly at everyone, and say things like, “I saw a faerie in the garden yesterday! She was picking some flowers to put in her hair.” It got very, very creepy, especially to Daniel, because he knew he couldn’t do this quest thing on his own. Or even with Mage. Sophie was scaring him.
He decided there was only one thing to do, one person who had spent most of the time with Sophie. More than anyone else.
Daniel brought Mage along, who requested to have a minute of private talk with Tress. Daniel suspiciously walked out of the room and closed the door. He tried to listen in, but Mage said, “Daniel, get your ear off the door!” Daniel skulked away. Sophie was sitting in the bathroom, babbling away to herself.
Daniel didn’t like the way the books were acting right now. He wondered if they would tell him the truth. They seemed like parents who had just been asked the Question and were discussing whether they should tell about the stork or do the lecture about when a mommy kitty and a daddy kitty decide to get married…
That was it. Daniel decided that there would be no more of this. He stepped silently up to the door and very carefully put his ear right near the wood, being especially careful not to touch it.
“Daniel!” yelled a voice from inside.
Daniel fumed. Why were they so anxious to not tell him what they were talking about? He stayed right near the door anyway.
A sigh came from inside. “All right, fine.” And then, for some reason, they let Daniel hear their conversation.
“Yes, he’s a very stable boy. I don’t think he’ll get too… you know. Probably he’s read his share of fantasy fiction. He’s read anything and everything he can get his hands on. Encyclopedias. Thesauruses. Biographies. He’s read through Yale graduates’ thesis and looked up on that one dictionary site every word he didn’t know. He does this because his family didn’t buy a dictionary and the library doesn’t have one. If they did, he’d read that, too. The libraries he’s been to are out of new material for him to read, so what does he do? He rereads them! It’s insane!”
“Yes, he is a literary one, isn’t he?” Tress asked. “I think we should tell him, but tell him that before you say anything about Sophie.”
Oh no, Daniel thought. Secretive books are never good.
“Daniel, come in, please,” Tress called. It was a good thing Sophie’s parents went out right after Daniel came in. This would be hard to explain.
Oh no, Daniel thought, again. Polite, secretive books are even worse. I’ve seen this attitude before.
He opened the door. “All right, what’s the jabber about telling me about something before something about Sophie? ‘Fess up.” He folded his arms.
The books stared blankly. The room was silent. They could still hear Sophie babbling on the toilet.
“Um, you weren’t supposed to understand us. We were speaking another language.”

This entry was posted on Sunday, September 13th, 2009 at 8:01 pm and is filed under Mirrorworld. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Chapter 4”

  1. Sonia
    7:12 am on August 7th, 2010

    Daniel can see change in the other characters, and we can see the change in them. But is Daniel changing? Can’t wait to read the next chapter!

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