Saturday, September 10, 2005

Fred's Magical Friends

It wasn't far off now. Fred could tell by the way the shadows fell on the ground. Maybe another hour and they would get there. They had too. The animals wouldn't last much longer. He looked in his suitcase to check on them.

Six pairs of eyes looked back at him. Three tongues wagged in anticipation. "Are we there yet?" the eyes seemed to be saying. He tried to give a sympathetic smile. "Just a little longer," he said, realising the animals spoke no English. Or any other language for that matter. They weren't that smart.

"Ouch!" he yelped as he felt a pair of canines dig into his hand. One of the heads had bit him.

"We're not stupid you know!" it barked at him. "Of course we can speak!"

"What?!" he said both shocked and furious. "Then why haven't you bloody said anything all this time!"

"We thought you were stupid. No point wasting time on a silly little boy."

"Why you?!" Fred roared, slamming the suitcase shut. He could hear snickering inside.

It was almost evening. Fred had been walking the whole day, suitcase in hand, through the cruel Australian outback. The sun had beat on his back throughout, turning his skin a flush pomegranate red. Pommy, he could hear the children say. How they used to tease him, snipping and biting away at his dignity in the schoolyard. He would show them now. He would open the suitcase and they would all clamour around him, awestruck at the sight of the strange little animals. They'd probably never seen a flobjobbering dingledoo before.

Actually, nobody had. It was only by the strangest sliver of a chance that he'd met the man at the gas station. Absalom Balaclavius, the notorious eugenicist, on the run from the law. "Running away from home, are you, little man?" he had said, peering with his beady little eyes into Fred's face. "You'll need a better set of tricks than that if you're to make it alive through the outback."

Fred had looked into his little rucksack and suddenly realised how insufficient a cheese sandwich and a bottle of skimmed milk were going to prove in the desert.

"I have twelve dollars," he said putting on a brave face. "What do you have?"

The man had looked at him and a smile had crossed his face. Had Fred been just a little older than his ten years he would have realised that this was the sort of smile that flickered on the faces of reptiles and other predatory creatures. But he was not and he had confused the stranger's malice for an act of kindness.

"I have a magical animal that I have trained to guide people through the bush. I could let you have him."

"I want to see it first," Fred had insisted very smartly.

"No, it is a very shy animal, a magical animal. It does not take kindly to strangers. It only responds to the voice of its owner."

"Well then how will it know I am its owner?"

"I will put a spell on it and put it to sleep. If you are the first person it sees when it opens its eyes then it will know you as its owner."

Fred had agreed. And Absalom Balaclavius, the evil eugenicist, had passed on a mutant to the little boy.

"This, my boy, is a flobjobbering dingledoo," he had announced. "Three-headed, six-eyed fully functional magical animal. It's asleep now but when it wakes up be sure to look into its eyes and it will yours for life. Yes, all six of them and without blinking. Dingledoos are very loyal animals and, if you take good care of it, this one will stay with you until the end of your days, or next week, whichever comes first." Of course the last part was said under his breath but it wouldn't have mattered as Fred was too excited to understand anyways.

"Erm, what does it eat?"

"Cheese sandwiches."

"Oh . . . "

"And milk, make sure to give it lots of skimmed milk," Absalom had said, cackling as he drove off into a cloud of dust, like villains usually do.

That had been two days ago.

For two long days, Fred had walked through the bush with the suitcase, trying to get as far away from home as possible. He hated school. The kids made fun of him. The teachers were rude to him. And every time he tried to tell his Mum and Dad about it they wouldn't believe him. "You're just a lazy fibber, my lad," his dad would say. "No pocket money for you this week." And both his mum and his dad would shake their heads with sadness at the thought of the failure they had raised.

Well now he would show them. He would just run away from home and then what would they do? Go to school and shout at the stupid teachers probably. "You've lost our son! Our clever little angel, we sent him to you this morning. Where is he now!" his mom would scream furiously, grabbing the nasty little headmaster by the tie and whirling him around in the air. His dad would cheer her on. "Faster, Suzy, faster! Keep spinning him until he tells us what they've done to our boy! Oh I miss him so much!" And his dad would collapse into the scabby armchair the headmaster used to bend boys over so he could smack them properly and break down into tears. "My poor little boy! I wish I hadn't been so mean to him!"

Fred could hardly keep himself from turning around and walking straight back home as he thought these thoughts. For two days he had nourished himself on such imaginary victories, noticing neither the cruel summer sun nor the steady depletion of his food supply. Every few hours he had sat down and opened up the suitcase to release the little three-headed, six-eyed animal and dutifully feed it his sandwiches and his milk. He had never seen anything like it before. No one had. It had made him feel magical inside, a keeper of the world's biggest secret.

Not any more though. Not after the animal had bit him. He wished he'd never seen it, never ran into the man at the gas station, never ran away from home. He wished he was in his own room right now, full of dinner and ready to sleep, cuddled up in his favorite Wrestlemania blanket. His mum would peek in around the door and wish him good night, smiling in the dark. Fred could see her face in his mind. He felt like crying.

And before he knew it he was crying. A steady stream of soft, penitent tears was running down his face and he had to sit down.

Suddenly he felt a small tongue lick his hand. One of the heads had come out.

"Get off me, you stupid animal!" Fred had howled, snatching his hand away.

"Fine have it your way," the head had said. "I was only trying to be friendly. Never mind, boys, the eejit doesn't care for our company. I told you it was useless to try."

Another head poked itself out of the suitcase. "Well what did you expect?" it said, sneering at its predecessor. "Stupid boy exchanged his life's savings for a mutant dog. They don't get much worse than that."

"Who you calling a dog?" a third voice squeaked. "I'm a Dingledoo!"

"Yes of course you are," the second voice mocked. "And I'm the Queen of Transylvania."

"Look, Flob, he's making fun of me again!" the third head complained.

"Stop it, Jobber," the first one snapped. "Can't you see we're lost?"

"Another genius! Of course we're lost! Why do you think we're stuck in the middle of the bush with nothing to eat but a stupid fat boy who doesn't know better than not talking to strangers when he's run away from home?!"

He started to eye Fred up and down. "I wonder how you would taste . . ."


Blogger Crazed Teacher said...

aaaaaa!!! tell me tell me what happens next, who was that man, eh how frustrating, dont tell me this was the whole of it id kill the writer who just wrote this much to torture people, or prolly u if u dont tell me the ending soon. come on cough it up.

7:18 AM  

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