Billy and Teddy and the Magic Maze


Billy and Teddy knew the ingredients of a good cat’s life: food on tap, mice to chase, and a summer house to sleep in. But there was another recipe at work in their life: Ambrose, regal Cat Elder Ambrose who turned up unexpectedly and demanded their help on important missions. Billy and Teddy did not agree that every one of their missions had been important, but that is another matter.

On this mild August summer evening, Billy and Teddy were indeed sleeping in their summer house, warm and undisturbed. Until they heard the whir of the time capsule …

“It is me!” announced Ambrose redundantly; who else would it be? “There is no time to waste. There are two frightened children who need a pair of cat heroes!”

“Children? I like children,” commented Teddy.

“Fiona and Fergal, cat lovers and very lost and scared. This will be your first mission to a magical place! Have I never told you, that the magic and mystery adult humans love to add to children’s stories is actually true? There is much magic on Planet Earth after dark. As you are about to find out!”

“Where are we going now?” said Billy in his I’m so not resigned to this telepathic voice.

“No less than a magic maze! In the village of Hazelhead, many hundreds of miles away, but that’s no problem with our space capsule!”

“Are they there now?”

“Yes, no time to be lost! Fiona and Fergal are eight years young, but they will feel much older after tonight. They thought it would be fun to go out after dark to the local park to spot hedgehogs. But they are lost in a magic maze that has engulfed the park! It will not be there in the morning. And if we don’t rescue them, neither will they! They will be whisked to a Neverland type place, never to return. But with your cat psychic direction skills, you will guide them out of the maze. You will be their knights in shining fur and glowing whiskers! Time to go!”

“Ambrose, one day you must explain to us why you can’t do these missions yourself.”

“Spoilers! One day you may learn more about me, but not now. Come along, my knights in glowing whiskers!”

The space capsule took them to the edge of the maze. High hedges towered over them. It was dark, but cats have night vision so this was no problem for Billy and Teddy. “Directional antennae working?” asked Billy. Teddy consciously turned on his psychic direction powers. “Working.”

They entered the maze, moving to where they felt the children were. The hedges kept moving, confusing but not stopping them, not invincible Billy and Teddy! They ran around the shifting sides of the maze, until they finally heard the chatter of children. Seconds later they were there before them, two bewildered children hugging each other in fright.

Photo by Michael on Unsplash

Billy and Teddy began meowing and rubbing around the two siblings. Their magic was greater than the maze, for no one can resist a fluffy cat, least of all scared little children.

Fiona and Fergal grinned despite their fears. A cat is magical, even more magical than a mysterious moving maze. Billy and Teddy decided to find the way out, looking back to ensure they were being followed. They were.

They ran through the changing lanes, the hedges swooshing as they moved around them. Fiona and Fergal kept up, hope lighting their dark path ahead in addition to the torches they had brought with them.

“Hello and stop!”

A tall figure attired in green leaves stood before them. “I am Elliot, Master of the Maze. I am here to take you to a far-off magical land, a place where all your dreams come true and where fairy stories are real! But you must stay here in the maze. It will take us all there.”

“No way!” screamed Billy and Teddy telepathically. “We are taking these children home!”

“Intelligent cats! But my magic is stronger.”

“But we can travel in time,” boasted Teddy.

“Really? You’re not Billy and Teddy are you? The famous time-travelling duo?”

“We just might be.”

Fiona and Fergal listened to what was, to their ears, a one sided conversation.

“Who are Billy and Teddy?”

“It seems some very special felines have come to your rescue tonight!”

“And we’re taking them home now,” said Billy as he growled.

“Don’t you want to see the special dreams I can make come true? Yes, for all of you including you Billy and Teddy! Wouldn’t you like a more peaceful life, no more adventures all over the world? Time to rest and play in peace, in a paradise where every day is sunny and toy mice come back to life again and again after you catch them!”

“No!” hissed Teddy. “The children are coming with us.”

A doll’s house appeared in Elliot’s arms. “Fiona, I know you wished for a special doll’s house! This one is all yours.”

Fiona laughed and stretched out her arms. The doll’s house was so large it hid her face. But her delighted chuckling could be heard if not seen.

“And Fergal, here are some football boots for you!”

“Fabulous!” breathed Fergal.

“That’s enough!” shrieked Billy. “They can have the toys, but we’re taking them home now.”

“Okay, you can take them home, but only if you return here and come with me! Such wonders I can show you! There are many in my land who would love to meet Billy and Teddy, famous cat conquerors! What do you say?”

Billy and Teddy looked at each other. “What would Ambrose say?” muttered Billy. “He never need know!” rejoined Teddy. “We have a time machine! We can take as much time as we like!”

They stared in to Elliot’s eyes, but picked up no danger. Only laughter and joy.

So they escorted the children home, following them through the dark streets and then rubbing around their legs in goodbye. As the children opened their front door Billy and Teddy slowly retreated. “No! Come with us!” beseeched Fiona.

However the cats could feel their new adventure calling them. They hurried round the corner, the night a cloak around them as they disappeared. Fiona and Fergal stared after them. Fiona picked up her doll’s house, and entered the house. “I think we will see those two again.”

“I know,” said Fergal. “I believe when we see them again, there will be more magic. Bigger than these presents, bigger than anything we have ever known.”

Billy and Teddy found the maze once more. Elliot was waiting for them at its overgrown entrance. “I knew you would come back. Curiosity is after all a cat’s weakness.”

Billy and Teddy looked at each other. Were they doing the right thing?

A wind swirled around them. They shivered as the cold night sky stared down with no feeling, only deep darkness that hid unknown secrets. Perhaps they would find out a few secrets tonight.

“We are ready,” said Billy simply. They stepped in to the maze, as it twisted and danced around them. Magic kissed them with a silken mother cat tongue. Despite themselves, they purred. For cats can never resist magic. They closed their eyes. When they opened them, it was like every dream of theirs had come true at once. They began to purr in earnest. In fact, they might never stop purring …

To be continued …

Nureyev Dreams

By Rachel H Grant


Nureyev slept in the early morning sun, dreams caressing his soul. Peace painted his feline body in beautiful shades of grey. The picture was a perfect moment, a photograph of purity.

In the open window, a dreamcatcher fluttered. Magic unknown played with its feathers.

It was usually Nureyev who played with the dreamcatcher. Its magic was infectious. He stirred in his sleep, as the dreams of other people surrounded him, a silent crowd awaiting a nod, a call to action. Nureyev began to purr. The waiting dreams flew up, through the dreamcatcher and out the window. A mission was in motion.

Nureyev stirred in his sleep, as though he could feel the wind of dreams all around him. Little did he know, but as a kitten a witch placed dream-making energy in him. He was an experiment, a living test subject in handsome grey fur. He ran away from the witch’s house, finding a home he was happier with. The witch never witnessed the transformation of her guinea pig, or knew of the dreams created, cared for and set free.

Nureyev opened his eyes. The dreams of a stranger stared back. He could feel it, he could almost see them, the shadows of dreams unborn. Nureyev knew that nothing is more pitiful than a destroyed or unrealised dream.

Reluctantly, he climbed out of his comfortable bed. Out on the street, he soon saw her. The child pregnant with a dream. Life a mystical midwife, he ran across the road and rubbed around her. “What a lovely cat!” breathed the girl.

She would return home, unaware of the change in her aura, oblivious to the dream energy all around. A week later, it arrived. A gift from her elderly great aunt. Almost exactly the dream dolls house she had imagined! Large, full of tiny furniture and pretty dolls. It was everything she had wished for.

In the neighbouring street, Sonia stared at the pair of ballet shoes. She had brought them with her own pocket money. But her parents had said that the closest ballet class was too far to go each week. She could cry.

Later that day, Sonia encountered a grey cat in her garden. She stroked him happily, she loved cats! Little did she know, the blessings in his heart. But five weeks later, when the local ballet teacher decided to start a ballet class in her village, she had forgotten all about him.

Tom wished for a brother, he was a lonely kid with few friends. One day he found a grey cat sleeping on his bed; it must have come in a downstairs window. The cat behaved as though he were his best friend, jumping up in delight to rub around him.

Nine months later, Tom gained his little brother. He had long since forgotten about the friendly cat in his room.

Nina longed for a best friend. She was bullied at school and deeply unhappy. One day, a cat followed her down the street. She stopped and petted it. Perhaps she should ask for a kitten. But her mother would not approve, she was too house-proud.

Two months later, a new girl moved to the town, and became her trusted best friend. Nina had never been so happy.

So Nureyev continued his dreamcatcher days, receiving no thanks but savouring so much satisfaction. He didn’t know what he did … but he knew he did something.

Then one fateful day, it was time for Nureyev – not for a dream, but for a nightmare to come true.

His parents were moving abroad, and there was no room for him in the suitcase! He ended up in a very strange place, lots of different people by day, nobody by night except the other cats he now shared his life with. Little did he know, he had moved to a cat café.

Everyday, he met new people. And every day, new dreams were born. His potential for pursuing good was now one hundred fold what it had been. However, although he spread such happiness, he knew none himself.

One day, a young woman played with him, joy in her eyes. Her own cat had died days before. Naomi knew straight away that she wanted this cat: a dream devoured her heart, demanding that she fight to make it real. She begged and begged the café owner for Nureyev. Eventually, the owner agreed: her dream sealed with a thank you cheque and an unbelieving smile.

So Nureyev had found his forever home. It was not just any home. There was a dreamcatcher over the door, its familiarity damping his new home fears. The house itself was huge, his new owner apparently very rich. There was a cat playroom just for him! And a large garden to explore and make his own.

Finally, after so many years giving to others, his own dream had been delivered. Soon, he forgot about helping people. Enjoyment became his existence. There was nothing else to wish for, he had it all.

Far away, another cat woke up one day, and thought: “I know how to make dreams come true.” Sometimes he dreamt of Nureyev, a large grey cat with gleaming eyes. Then he forgot about him. A personal adventure to spread happiness had begun. Dreams followed in his wake like a heaven-sent shadow.

Nureyev slept in the early morning sun, a children’s lullaby in his head. Contentment stroked his handsome features. The picture was a dream in motion.

Above the door, a dreamcatcher fluttered. But Nureyev did not wake up. His dream was too good; awake and asleep, all of life was one big dream come true. Memories of deeds gone past floated in his head, and then were gone. Nureyev purred as he dreamed, and the sleeping world purred with him. Then his dream faded, and real slumber claimed his soul. There was no need to dream ever again. Dreams were for the disheartened; he had left them far behind. A new life beckoned. Nureyev smiled inside. There was nowhere to run to anymore. Paradise purred for a better day. That day had come.

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Photo by Kasya Shahovskaya, on Unsplash