Saturday, 21 June 2014

'The New Dog' by Collette Lord

In Chester’s Wood Muffin spotted a deer, and raced after it wrenching his lead out of the boy’s hand. Jason set off in pursuit.  What would mum and dad say if he returned without the dog from his first solo outing with their new pet?
He stopped.  Listened.  Thought he could hear a quiet whimpering. Easing himself through the dense bracken, he found himself falling into a deep warren, encapsulated in the arms of a rainbow.  Jason landed with a soft thud on a carpet of green cake.  Shafts of sugary light dripped honey sandwiches, as custard tarts floated tantalisingly past his mouth.  As he stood up he heard a squeaky voice.
‘Tea?’ enquired the dormouse.
‘No he wants coffee?’ shrilled the Queen of Hearts. 
‘Give him milk then,’ shouted the King of Spades. 
‘I don’t want tea.  Thank you.  I’m looking for my dog, Muffin.  Have you seen him please?’ Jason asked.  A young blonde girl who was plaiting the back legs of a blue caterpillar glared at him.
‘I’ll get in real trouble if I’m not back with dad’s dog for supper.’
‘You eat dog for supper?  Really?’ asked the Mad March Hare.
‘I don’t know why that’s weird, eating dog, Lewis did,’ said the Queen as she put a pink donut under her crown.
‘Lewis who?’ asked the King, drinking tea from a thimble.
‘Caroll - Lewis bleeding Caroll’ snapped Alice. ‘He hated dogs. Came here years ago he did, stole all our dogs for his Chow Mein Café.  Should have called it Setter Snack Bar or Basset Bistro if you ask me.  Then, cheeky ghet, pinches our life-style as well, steals our ideas, without a by-your-leave, no copyright fees, no contract, no nuffink.  Then disappears into my Vanish Me bottle and we ain’t never seen him since. And he stole the dormouses’s darning mushroom. Famous writers?  Stuff ‘em, thieves, the lot of ‘em, they don’t blinking care for no other bugger’s careers.  Our wonderland story was ready for publishing.  Rabbit Hole Press were going to print.  They’d have paid us squillions, we’d all have been in the blooming Caribbean by now.’ 
‘Tea?’ asked the dormouse of no one in particular.
Jason retreated behind a giant dandelion.  But before he could decide what to do next, the rainbow swooshed around him again, snuggling him up into its silky cocoon.  
Back in Chester’s Wood, Muffin was asleep under a bush, and leapt up excitedly licking Jason’s face.
‘Where did you go with the dog darling?’ mum asked, watching TV.
‘Wonderland.’ He said quietly.
‘Yes dear, that’s nice. Have you put him in his kennel?’
‘Yes, mum.’
 ‘Night night dear.  Oh, your biology kit’s ready for tomorrow, don’t forget you need a little mammal for dissection class.’

Behind her back, Jason grinned, as he felt the warm little body struggling to get out of his inside pocket. He gave her the customary peck.  “Yes mum, I’ve got it covered, night night.”

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