As he slowly returned to consciousness, Patches was careful to give no sign. It might be called playing possum, but a cat knew how to do it just as well (better, really). His eyes remained closed and he strained his ears to pick out details in the chaos about him. There was Miss Angeline’s voice, the profanities were sounding desperate. Could that be Johnson? The high-pitched cries of the savage, bloody fairies made him want to wrinkle his forehead.
A weight landed on his stomach, he couldn’t help but let out an “oof!”. He cracked his eyes to take a peek and saw Decca on his stomach, wielding a knife. “Oi! Back off ye mangy sprites!” Opening his eyes a little wider, Patches saw a veritable cloud of, well, mangy sprites, hovering around him. Decca slashed his knife about again and the cat caught a glimpse of the manic gleam in his eye, “One or all, I’ll take ye!”
Patches couldn’t understand the screech-y fairy language, but Decca seemed to well enough. The turtle was surprisingly effective with his knife. A fairy darted too close and his claws knocked it askew in the air. “Not so bloody quick!” The cat decided it was a lot simpler to remain “unconscious” and let his apparent ally take care of the dirty work.
His eyes almost closed and focused on what was happening, he almost didn’t hear it above the sounds of the battle happening atop him. Gradually he became aware. It was a strange almost whistling sound. It was a bit like the sound that could sometimes be heard when driving at high speed with the windows down.
The temperature suddenly plummeted, but just as swiftly a warmth, like spring coming out of a frigid winter, arose. Patches had to let his eyes pop open. A mighty wind was coming up about him. The mangy sprites were whipped away and Decca clenched a claw in the cat’s shirt.
“And what’s this then, cat?”
He just shook his head, but had no time for a response. When words might have come an inadvertent screech was there instead. Patches and his passenger were hurled into the air. They didn’t whirl like something from a classic movie, no, they went straight up and then abruptly to the left. The cat kept his eyes wide and alert, but when they went through what seemed to be a wall of dust he was forced to close his eyes. Sight was important, and he didn’t want to lose it.
When next his eyes opened, he found himself lying in a cave with Decca still clutching his shirt. He looked around. It really was quite a nice entryway for a cave, not as rugged as one might expect. It might even be considered…Baroque? His eyes lit on a large pile of boxes nearby. He detached Decca, setting the dazed turtle aside to investigate a bit more thoroughly. Circling the boxes, he spied a label. He blinked and checked again. Sitting before him were 10 cases of…shaving cream?
“Don’t you be messing with me japes!” An indigo man appeared before him. It was clear that the most common adjective used for him must be “wee”.
The cat’s throat cleared, “I am not looking to interfere with any, erm…japes. I am, however, curious as to where my companion,” he gestured at the reviving reptilian punk rocker, “and myself have found ourselves. The how would be nice to know as well.”
Narrowed eyes and a cocked head met his query, “You didn’t mean to arrive yon?”
“No, ‘yon’ was not our goal.”
“Ach, then you must have been caught up in me delivery,” he rubbed his hands together gleefully, “Oh, when me japes quantify and exacerbate by pure chance ’tis a glorious thing!”
“Ah. Yes. Well. Where might we be?”
“Oh, you are in the lair of the dread dragon Fauntleroy. You can call myself by the name of Finnegan, I’ll call yon,” he gestured at Decca, “Brannigan. And you, me boy, shall be…Giles!”
“Now help me me boys, there’s japes afoot!”
Patches found himself loading boxes of shaving cream onto a cart with very silent wheels. Decca was directed to the top of the pile with a cheery, “Your blade will come in right handy, Brannigan me friend!”
The two confused animals played along. They didn’t know where, besides the lair of a dragon, they were precisely. Since the being who called himself Finnegan had accidentally brought them there, it seemed he was their best chance at a return journey. Patches pushed the cart and Decca kept a sharp eye open.
Soon they found themselves alongside a dragon. With much grimacing and sweeping arm motions, the impish indigo man instructed them in their duties. Decca opened the boxes and handed canisters of shaving cream to the cat who tossed them to Finnegan. In short order, the wee man had filled the dragon’s two foreclaws completely with shaving cream.
A grin split his mischievous face nearly in two and he motioned his minions back. The animals took cover in a sheltered nook and watched as Finnegan floated above the dragon’s nose. A gigantic ostrich plume appeared in his hand which he gently brushed across the giant protuberance before him…