By Rachel H Grant
Recap: 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.”
“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 …
Continued from Billy and Teddy and the Magic Maze
They were still standing at the entrance to the maze, now in sunlight rather than darkness. But what lay ahead now interested them: purrs welled in their throat like tears of intense joy.
A forest held out its hands like the embrace of a proud mother cat. Paths wound their way to deep within, pawprints to poetry, paths to paradise … or so it seemed to their activated sixth sense. Feline freedom was before them.
They ran as only cats can, graceful and fluid like sea waves coming to shore, purposeful and poetic. Soon they came upon a large forest glade.
In the middle, rising up like a blossoming flower seeking the sun, a wooden hut on stilts regarded them with tinted window eyes. Every window was a different colour, and there were many windows, as if the hut was a magic lantern, and would light up the forest at night, colours spilling on to the glade like a party of paint.
Billy and Teddy climbed the wooden stairs to the half open door. What lay within?
Rose pink light painted the top step, drifting from inside in a dreamy haze. Mesmerised by the soft light, Billy and Teddy strode slowly through the door.
And stopped in their tracks. The hut was bigger on the inside.
A cat tree stood in the centre, complete with beds, stairs and hammocks on different levels. In the corner, a lamp was emitting the pink light. Above and all around, windows looked out on changing views, of where they knew not.
Plates of cat food lined the walls, as though an army of cats was due to arrive. Wooden branches snaked the walls, more climbing opportunities. The hut contained hours of fun. But it did not interest them. Instead, they moved to the back wall, where three tiny TV tablets (like their parents’ ipad) stood on the floor, looking up at them with winking lights. Then they came to life.
Are you ready to play? Choose a game! Shouted neon lights in cat language.
There were three choices. Which should Billy and Teddy choose today?
Catnip maze – scroll down
Catbed heaven – scroll down
Cat jungle – scroll down
Billy pressed the catnip maze picture. The wall of the house fell down, and before them lay a purple and perfumed maze. The scent of catnip massaged their minds.
They ran in to the maze. It was huge. The catnip brushed against them , a feline fragrance on their fur.
Sensory suffocation overpowered Billy and Teddy. They stopped, panting for breath. “It’s a maze, or a puzzle,” said Billy. “Is it a test to find the middle of the maze?”
Immediately a bubble appeared over them, and relayed Yes in cat telepathy language.
“That answers your question then,” said Teddy. “Which way will we go?”
They ran down tunnels, backtracked, ran down some more, backtracked again, then realised they were completely lost in the maze.
“I am going to try something, trust me,” said Billy. “Everything about this maze is magic, perhaps the catnip is magical too? Watch this.”
Billy reached in to a catnip bush, eating its leaves, and purring as the perfumed poison suffused his senses. Then he sat still, closing his eyes.
“I know how to get there, to the middle of the maze. The catnip has enhanced my psychic powers. I can see it, a heart shaped centre with a pink bush of catnip! And that pink catnip will certainly have an effect if we eat it!”
Billy stood up and then ran, Teddy in pursuit behind. They seemed, at least to Teddy, to go in circles. Then they were there.
The heart shaped centre of the maze was as welcoming as it was strange. A large bush of pink catnip towered in the middle, with a plaque in front commanding: “Say the magic word and summon the golden lion!”
“This pink catnip is special,” declared Billy. “Let’s eat some and see what happens!”
Cautiously, they approached the pink bush, its scent teasing their nostrils like a sweet spell.
As they nibbled on a leaf, a rush of energy roared through their bodies. Exhilaration encapsulated them. A burning sensation played with their shoulders. They looked at each other in alarm. They were both growing pink wings!
They flew in to pink clouds which had formed over the centre of the maze. Then they exited the clouds above a telephone pole, a small kitten crying piteously on top. Billy helped the kitten to climb on Teddy’s back, and they safely deposited him on the ground. They flew back in to the clouds, then descended once more to rescue a cat lost in the countryside. Using their enhanced psychic powers, they again helped the cat on to Teddy’s back, and flew him safely home. And so it went on. Everytime they descended from the pink clouds they hoped to return to the maze, but no there was another cat to save! Having superpowers: not easy! They were reluctant heroes, but mighty knights to the felines they helped on this Day of the Cat.
Finally, they descended back to the maze. As they landed, their wings retracted and were gone.
“I don’t think I will eat any more of the pink catnip!” proclaimed Billy.
“I concur,” agreed Teddy.
“But what about the golden lion?”
“I would like to meet a golden lion,” said Teddy.
“But what on earth is the magic word?” wondered Billy.
“How about PINK? Or CATNIP?” shouted Teddy telepathically.
They would never know which word it was, but they no longer needed to.
A spinning cloud of gold descended from the sky. The cloud dissipated to reveal a mighty golden lion.
His eyes sparkled with golden orbs, a window to a soldier soul within.
“You have uttered the magic word. I am here to help you, Billy and Teddy, dynamic duo of feline fame. I am the keeper of all feline knowledge, of Planet Earth and the whole of our cosmos. Secrets reside in my golden heart; words of wisdom whisper in my mind. I will give you one secret today, just ask the question.”
“Why do cats love catmint?” blurted out Billy.
“Really? That’s your question?” hissed Billy.
“That’s a very good question,” affirmed the lion. “It is extra-terrestrial, designed by cat loving aliens to help the cats of Planet Earth. Humans have this notion that aliens may visit Earth to spy on them. There are some who don’t – they simply love cats, and wish to monitor them, and who wouldn’t. They couldn’t care less about the humans. Cat mint is a gift from the gods, the advanced aliens, for your pleasure and healing.”
“Wow,” muttered Billy.
“Would you like to go home now?” asked the lion. “I can take you.”
“Yes please!” chanted Billy and Teddy.
The lion roared. A cloud of golden dust engulfed them. Then they were back, at the space capsule, safe where they had left it.
“How do we program this to arrive back earlier in time?” asked Billy.
“Don’t worry, we’ll just be late,” said Teddy. “And next time, please ask the lion who Ambrose really is.”
The space capsule whirred, as Billy and Teddy closed their tired eyes.
Billy pressed the catbed heaven picture. Why couldn’t they have an adventure where they just slept, for once? The wall of the house fell down, and before them lay a green meadow littered with catbeds of various colours and sizes. Billy yawned. An afternoon nap, what fun.
Billy and Teddy ran among the beds, testing each, trying to find the perfect one.
Billy eventually chose a bed in the shape of a large mouse. Feline fun sparkled in his eyes.
Teddy chose a bed designed to be a tiny house, with a doorway and an elaborate turreted roof. His own little castle. He snuggled in to the soft blankets within.
Billy drifted in to a delightful dream, the glow of relaxation unfurling within like the most beautiful flower in the world. He was in a large garden with various cat climbing frames and other feline comforts. In front of him, a toy mice spun on wheels. “Chase me!” it squeaked. Billy pawed it happily, a toy that could speak! And without the wild animal smell of a real mouse.
Meanwhile, Teddy dreamt of a castle, a magnificent mansion with room after room to roam. He ran over plush carpets, sinking in to them like sand, and up spiral stone stairs. Then he found another cat bed in one of the bedrooms, like his own, a miniature house with blankets inside. In he went, and drifted off to another dream, within a dream. Again he was in a castle, and again he found a new bed. And so it continued.
Billy grew bored of the toy mouse, and strolled over to a bush of pink catnip, breathing in its sweet perfume like the scent of heaven. To his surprise, a pink cat jumped out of the bush!
“I am Magenta, guardian of the pink ray,” said the cat. “I can teach you to heal using the power of pink. You can heal your humans, they will never suffer a cold again! Then you can walk your street and send the pink healing light to all your neighbours. Everyone who meets you, will be blessed.”
“Well, I am up for that,” purred Billy.
Teddy woke from his tenth dream within a dream, to find a white cat licking him. “Hello,” she said softly in his head. “I am Reflecta, an angel of dreams. You are deep within your subconscious, in a many layered dream state. I can answer any question. You may not remember when you awake, but the knowledge will come to you again when you most need it.”
“Okay,” said Teddy. “I would like to know who Ambrose really is, where he comes from, and that question of all questions …. Why did he choose us?”
Reflecta began to speak, as Teddy descended to his dreams once more.
Billy and Teddy awoke at the same time, and came together, sleepy eyed, dreams dripping from their whiskers. “Did you dream?” asked Billy. “It was very special,” said Teddy. “I met a white cat angel. She said something very important, but I can no longer recall.”
“You have awoken!” It was Elliot, Master of the Maze. “Are you ready to go home, or would you like to learn about the secret of the maze first?”
Will they go home?
Will they learn the secret of the maze?
If you would like to learn the secret of the maze with Billy and Teddy, keep reading.
Elliot escorted Billy and Teddy to the heart of the maze. They ran down never-ending corridors until they were there, the centre of the mystical maze. A wishing well was in the middle.
“This well,” confided Elliot, “holds the energy of all children’s dreams and wishes, on Planet Earth. It keeps them safe. Drinking its waters: all your dreams may come true. It is a magic well. Sometimes we take children here, the lost and the unhappy. Then we return them, with the power to realise all their dreams throughout their entire life. But mostly we just tend the well. It becomes deeper all the time, as more children are born. If you jumped in there, you would fall for hours. And when you reached the bottom, you would be in a child’s dream, with the power to help it, change it, or destroy it. This is why this maze, and our forest and meadows, are in another dimension. We keep dreams secret and safe. Do you dream, Billy and Teddy?”
“Yes,” said Teddy sarcastically. “I dream about being back at home, and no more adventures.”
“That we can arrange,” said Elliot. “Come back with me now.”
Cat Jungle shouted Billy telepathically. The screen changed, to reveal a variety of large cats. Choose your avatar, announced the screen.
“What is an avatar?” wondered Billy.
“I think we choose a cat character to be. Look – a tiger!”
Teddy touched the tiger on the screen. The wall of the hut fell down, to reveal a rainforest, beautiful, exotic and utterly enticing. Teddy raced in, as he turned in to a large tiger!
Billy surveyed the screen thoughtfully, and then touched the lion cub picture. He too entered the rainforest, turning in to a golden cub.
Teddy raced through the rainforest, enjoying his strong and supple body. Then he stopped. Another tiger approached.
“I am King Teo. I am Ruler of Tigers, everywhere. You are Teddy, are you not? Enjoying your avatar? I have a special mission for you, if you dare.”
Teddy’s eyes sparkled with an adventurer’s angst. “Of course I dare.”
“Save the Highland Tiger,” said Teo. “Your Scottish mini-tiger. They are endangered, as humans would say. There are very few left in the Highlands of Scotland.”
“But how can I help?” asked Teddy.
“Ask your friend Ambrose. Tell him hello from Teo. Oh, and watch out for the dinosaurs. This is an adventure playground – with all the thrills of a scary fairground ride! Take care, my friend.”
With that, Teo was gone.
“Highland tigers?” mused Teddy. “We already had an adventure with them.” Princess Leiana, the most beautiful cat he had ever seen. Read about this adventure
Then he heard a roar. Fright flamed inside, as he ran from the terrifying tyrannosaur rex. Of course it was not real, he was in a pretend reality, he knew. He looked round. The tyrannosaur swooped over him, and then was gone in a puff of smoke. In the sky, the words “8 lives left” appeared. Great, thought Teddy. Eight more deadly encounters to go.
Meanwhile, Billy ran through rainforest, like a mouse chased by a cat. Then he saw her. His mother.
She lay in a tree cavity, cubs around her. “Welcome, Billy,” she intoned softly in his head. “We have been waiting for you. We knew you would come one day. My children and I, we would like to visit your planet. We have heard of all your adventures, they are the stories I tell my children to send them to sleep. Thank you for coming.”
“What is this place?” asked Billy.
“This is a dimension between dimensions. It is a playground where many lessons can be learned. All the cats here, we police it and keep it safe. There are dinosaurs here too, but they are not real. They enhance the learning experience, that’s all.”
“Can I join you?”
“Of course, come lie here.”
As Billy lay on top of the other cubs, sleep reached out and claimed him, the mother’s loud purr like the music of a thousand church choirs.
When he woke up, he was back in his normal body, and in the hut once more. Elliot towered over Billy and Teddy. “You’ve awoken at last. It is time to take you two intrepid explorers home.”
“Did you see a dinosaur?” asked Teddy.
“No, I just slept.”
“You two,” scolded Elliot. “You are the most lazy adventurers ever. I hope to see you both again, and something tells me I will!”
“What do you know about Highland Tigers?” asked Teddy.
“Scottish wildcats are the most magical felines on Planet Earth. If you are called to help them, you must, it will be the most rewarding adventure of your lifetimes.”
“I have no idea how to help them,” complained Billy.
“In time, you will see the signs. You will know what to do. Humans need to wake up and value their native creatures. Highland tigers are the most magnificent wildlife in Scotland. One day, their true worth will be known. But for now, hometime …. And knowing you two, that means more catnaps!”
“Roll it on!” sung Billy. “My catbed awaits.”
Deep in the Scottish Highland forest, a wildcat stood still. He could feel something coming. Something … good. What was it that glimmered in his heart? It was hope.