Monday night, Bast the Egyptian cat goddess…
(“That means you’re like the queen of all kitties,” Benjamin said.
“Yayy!!” Eury said.)
…made her first sojourn into the world of Voidville. She took a map, a canteen in case she got thirsty, and a magic wand to bash any enemies upside the head. The domain she traveled seemed at first glance to be small — roughly the size of a little girl’s bedroom — but it soon opened up into a vast desert vista.
“It’s very hot,” the Horror Host told her, and Bast flopped across what might have appeared to be a bed, but was actually a sand dune.
“Water,” she gasped. She opened the canteen and shook it over her mouth, but only a drop dripped forth. Oh, woe, if only she hadn’t drunk it all just a few steps after entering the desert!
“Suddenly, an imp appears,” said the Host, placing a top hat-wearing teddy bear in front of her. “He offers to fill your canteen if you’ll do him a favor…”
“No!” cried Bast, and knocked the imp across the room with her magic wand.
The Host scrambled to retrieve the stuffed animal and put it back in front of her. “He reminds you that you’ll die of thirst if you don’t have any wa–”
“No!” she shouted again, and smacked the imp so hard it bounced off the far wall and almost landed back where it started. She shrieked with delight as her foe tumbled close, and pointed her wand at it. “Zap! Zap!”
“Oh, please, mighty queen of cats, I beg you, do not zap me ag–”
“Why are you talking like that?” Eury asked, confused.
“I’m doing a voice for him,” Benjamin said, pointing at the prone bear.
“That’s not what the pimp sounds like!” she protested.
Benjamin half-coughed, half-laughed. “Imp. Imp. So what does he sound like?”
They spent half an hour trying on various voices between the two of them before Benjamin could come up with one that suited Eury. But before they could find out what insidious bargain the imp planned to offer Bast, Mom knocked on the door and the desert vanished.
“Bedtime, sweetie. Bedtime for you, too, backup sweetie.”
Eury gave Benjamin a big, unsolicited hug. “Let’s play again tomorrow,” she said, and hurried off to brush her teeth.
“Sounded like you two were having fun,” Mom said.
Benjamin smiled. “She’s got a big imagination.”
Mom put her arm around his shoulders as they left Eury’s room. “Runs in the family,” she said. “Your Dad’s novel, and my…did you know I used to sing? Did I ever tell you that?”
“I kinda remember you singing me to sleep when I was little,” Benjamin said. He felt tired. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d played with Eury for so long. When she was a toddler, maybe, and hadn’t developed enough of a personality to be irritating.
But then he thought about tonight, and how wild and creative so many of her ideas had been. Who knew, she might grow up to be a writer like Dad.
She might even outdo Dad and actually finish a book…
“No,” Mom was saying. “This was back in college. I was in a band in Houston — that’s where I met your dad. I was Joan Jett before there was a Joan Jett!”
They reached Benjamin’s room, and Mom took fresh pajamas out of his chest of drawers — something she hadn’t done for him in ages. She laid them on the bed as Benjamin asked, “Why did you stop singing?”
Mom looked down at the PJs, smoothing out their fabric in a repetitive motion, back and forth, back and forth. It took her a while to answer.
“…I decided to be a grownup instead.” She looked up from rubbing the pajamas into uniform flatness. “And it was the right choice. I wouldn’t have had you two if I hadn’t settled down. I wouldn’t have been able to do…well, lots of things if I hadn’t settled down.” She stepped from the bed and hugged Benjamin. “Take care of your teeth after your sister gets done. I’ll be back around to tell you goodnight in a little while.”
With that, she left his room. He heard her walk down the hall. Probably not to his parents’ bedroom, but to the study, where he could hear Dad’s electric typewriter click once in a while as words were formed with the slowness of rock striation.
Benjamin got his jammies on and, once Eury had vacated the bathroom, brushed his teeth and used the Water Pik.
The night was taking on a little chill, and Mom had already turned down the thermostat for the evening. Benjamin was thankful for the warmth of his blankets as he slipped under the covers. He shivered for a few seconds until the bedclothes had soaked up enough body heat to make a perfect cocoon.
As he lay half-dozing, Mom peeked in on him. “Good night, honey. Thank you for playing with Eury.”
“S’okay,” he murmured. He was too warm and cozy to stay awake much longer.
“It sounded like you two enjoyed yourselves,” she said. “I’m glad.”
She said something else, but he was gone by then, claimed by slumber for another night. As the night drew on, he curled up beneath the covers, limbs drawn tight against his body as though shielding himself.
In his dreams, a beautiful queen had abdicated her throne to live among the peasants. A witch had stolen her lovely voice, divided it in two, and hidden its halves inside the souls of her two peasant children, who didn’t understand the treasure they carried within themselves.
And even as some part of him — the intelligent, clinical, part — dissected the dream and knew exactly where it came from, the other part — that which wanted to remain a child more than anything — got swept up in the story conjured by his mind.
And there in his dreams, he was unaccountably sad.
Today’s Words: 1011
Total Words: 12700
Notes: Nothing to mention tonight. Goodnight, y’all!
I’m attempting to write a Halloween-themed horror novel in October! Visit Day Zero for more information or Day One to read from the beginning, and check out Countdown to Halloween for more blogging that’s altogether ooky!
(And the cat is Valentine — I figured the presence of a black cat would make things that much more Halloween-y!)