As part of this year’s Bath Festival of Children’s Literature, twenty children’s authors are taking part in an ongoing story project which has been moving from blog to blog for the last week or two, with each author continuing the story as it travels. It’s my turn today so you can catch up on the entire story by clicking the links below, then read my contribution that follows it:
Part 1 by Rachel Beckwith http://bathkidslitfest.wordpress.com/
Part 2 by The Etherington Brothers http://theetheringtonbrothers.blogspot.com/
Part 3 by Annabel Pitcher http://www.annabelpitcher.com/blog-news/
Part 4 by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell http://www.stewartandriddell.co.uk/immortals_tour.php
Part 5 by Hannah Shaw http://hannahshawillustrator.co.uk/?news.html
Part 6 by Carly Bennett http://carlybennett.blogspot.com/
Part 7 by Lauren Kate http://laurenkatebooks.net/category/blog
Part 8 by Marcus Sedgwick http://marcussedgwick.blogspot.com/
Part 9 by Alan Gibbons http://alangibbons.net/
Part 10 John Boyne http://www.johnboyne.com/category/blog/
And now here is Part 11, written by me!
Meanwhile, somewhere deep out in the ocean, in one of those places you only ever hear about on the shipping forecast (Dogger or Cromarty or German Bight or some-such), Cynthia, Mistress Moon, was still feeling exceedingly sorry for herself. Salt water is not good for a cheese complexion and even the Sea of Tranquility, where giant leaps had once been made for mankind (and Cynthia could tell a few tales about that particular escapade!) was now slowly melting like a fondue as the Queen of Tides sat on the bottom of the ocean bed sniffing dolefully and weeping slow gloopy Dairylea tears onto the seaweed.
And whilst the Moon wept, the oceans lay still. The tides had fallen silent; the coral had stopped singing; the river estuaries were cracked and dying; and the fishermen drew up empty nets time after time on silent listless seas. For without the Moon’s magnetic tug, there were no tides, no ebb and flow: the sea was a giant millpond, locked in watery stasis.
Something needed to be done and done fast and Breton the garlic loving Angel-Fish was starting to lose patience with the teary-faced Moon.
‘M’lady, zis wilting on ze sea bed like a giant ball of melancholy mozzeralla, it is lunacy!’ he said, flinging his fins around dramatically in the way that French Angel-fish sometimes do.
‘Oh, how you mock me with etymology!’ Cynthia sighed loudly, frightening a baby zebra fish which had ventured close to the Sea of Clouds crater just below her left ear-lobe.
‘Pah!’ said Breton. ‘Lunacy, lunatic, loony, lunambulism – which is a kind of sleepwalking believed to be related to ze moon, in case you were wondering,’ he explained in a helpful aside. ‘Zese are only words, my lady.’
‘Words with my name in them!’ trilled the moon, more than a little melodramatically (she had an artistic streak in her and had once, in her youth, considered auditioning for The X Factor).
‘But, ma cher Lune,’ said Breton. ‘Have you not also heard ze word illunis? It means without a moon, and it is one of ze most melancholy mournful words in ze whole dictionary. And that, my lady, is ze perilous and pitiful predicament our leetle planet finds itself in ever since your departure.’
‘You’ve survived eclipses,’ said the Moon, a little poutily. ‘And once a month I fade away to a mere crescent and nobody seems to mind that very much.’
‘But, zat is absodoodle different, my lady!’ protested Breton who would have twiddled his little French moustache at this point – if only he’d had one.
‘And since the whole werewolf-obsession started, I’ve become very self conscious about my weight, I’ll have you know!’ Cynthia went on. ‘It’s not nice for a girl to feel that scary doggies will go round biting people just because she puts on a few pounds.’
Breton sighed loudly and wondered, not for the first time, whether he would ever truly understand the complicated vagaries of the female heart.
Just then Cynthia’s faithful maid servant Egeria the water-nymph appeared. From a distance she looked like a mermaid (she was in fact the very mermaid Scribble and his crusty seadog companion had been pursuing across the ocean) but as she drew nearer you could see that what had appeared to be a glistening tail was in fact a fluid tunic of fabric so finely woven, so iridescent that it seemed to mirror the very phosphorescence of the tides. And in her midnight hair hung myriads of tiny silver stars that twinkled and shone liked the constellations themselves.
Egeria drew near and curtseyed low before the Moon. ‘Greetings, your Selenic majesty,’ she said, in a voice as soft as starlight. ‘I have seen the boy.’
‘The blue boy?’ asked Cynthia, perking up suddenly.
‘Indeed, m’lady. He is coming for you along with his companion the fisherman. He believes he can rescue you.’ Egeria glanced nervously up at her mistress through pearl-strewn lashes.
‘Fine,’ said Cynthia with a little pout which caused a lump of crumbly cheese to slide down off the Sea of Crisis (located on her left cheek) crushing a couple of hapless crustaceans who had been scuttling across the seaweed below, ‘Let him!’
‘But my lady…’ cut in Egeria.
The moon turned her big doleful lunar eyes onto her maidservant and said, ‘Why shouldn’t I allow myself to be rescued for once?’
Egeria said nothing, but simply lowered her pearlescent lashes.
‘Ahem,’ Breton coughed significantly.
‘Yes,’ said Cynthia, a trifle crossly.
‘Well, I make no claim to be a classical scholar, ma cher lunar lady,’ Breton said. ‘But I have read a lot of Percy Jackson and even I know zat Cynthia, goddess of the moon (sometimes also known as Artemis or Diana),’ he added in another of his helpful asides, ‘is famed for her independence, her vow never to be beholden to men.’
The Moon looked piqued. A small shoal of brightly coloured fish swam giggling over Sea of Nectar, a large crater located just inside her right nostril. ‘I suppose so,’ she conceded.
‘Zen surely you will not allow yourself to succumb to every out-dated female stereotype by playing ze damsel in distress in zis tale,’ said Breton, who was now getting into his stride, ‘just hanging around, waiting to be rescued by a flimsy male protagonist: a mere boy with ze mute button permanently switched on and body hair issues…’
‘Actually, our young hero, Scribble, has started to shed his hair,’ said Egeria in her quiet celestial voice.
‘He still looks like a Smurf to me!’ declared Breton flatly. ‘Not that I have anything against Smurfs. But ze point is, ma cher Luna, you can control the tides, speak to the creatures of the deep; you tug your twin, the sun, out of the sky night after night and send her dancing to the Hesperides. Surely you aren’t waiting for a mere boy to come along and save you. Zat would be such a cliché! So unbecoming to a symbol of female potency and independence such as yourself.’ He paused. ‘Don’t you agree?’
‘Hear! Hear!’ said Egeria, fixing Breton with a smile so strange and beautiful it set his fins all-of-a-flutter.
‘Hmm!’ sniffed the Moon, her big milky eyes now wide and thoughtful. ‘Well, I suppose you might have a point.’
So, there you have it. To find out what happens in the next exciting instalment you’ll have to wait until September 30th when you can read Michael Thorn’s entry at http://www.achuka.co.uk/achockablog/