A Steampunk Christmas The Adventures of Bel & Soni
@2011 Lowe Runo Productions LLC/So Nice Productions
It was midnight in the Village of Odds and Ends. The Christmas Bells rang at midnight, and Santa had arrived at the home of two little girls.
One had yellow locks of hair, as pretty and as smart as could be for a little girl of her age. The other was not like the first.
She ran when the first walked. She shouted, when the other talked. She leaped when the other cautiously considered consequences. She was more curious than her catâ€Ś
and even her cat thought the second little girl was daft.
The first little girl was named Soni. The second was called Bel.
Both little girls were excited to see what Santa had brought them. The presents rested patiently under the tree. That was something that Bel could not do. Wait!
She did try, oh she tried. She waited and waited, holding her breath, clenching her fists, and about to burst. Blue in the face, she could not wait any longer. She just had to know.
The black cat was curious, and remained close by the tree. Bel looked at Soni. “You gotta see this!” she said.
And so it began. Bel had unwrapped the largest gift,
and was pleased at its contents - a strange robot mouse, and it barely fit the box. A curious item to say the least.
It began to walk around the tree.
Soni could not resist, and opened the second gift, a calculator. All seemed to be in order.
Bel was delighted. Even Soni was at first amused. But it was an unruly beast, with a short fuse and a long tail.
For Bel, it was a dream come true. The robotic mouse leaped upon the dining table, decorated for the evening feast. “I love it,” she exclaimed, in awe of the toy! “Oh, this is so terrible, terrible,” said Soni, under her breath.
Soni knew what was about to happen next. Bel, looking at her sister - maybe once, twice, thrice - and she DID IT! She opened the front door.
The mouse raced out the door through the streets.
The cat chased the mouse, with the two little girls in pursuit.
And the story begins.
The three were on their way!
Bel, such a hoot, was up for any adventure.
Soni, usually the smarter of the two, refrained barely a second. Nonetheless, being young and slightly curious, for an ounce of wonder is enough for such matters, she tagged along, joining in the madness, as they ran through the village on Christmas in the early morning hours of darkness.
The cat followed closely behind the mouse, thinking perhaps it was edible. But Bel, as always, was more curious than the cat.
The girls soon became aware they were no longer in their Villageâ€Ś
rather in a large factory city of rotating gears and gadgets, and towers, curvy pipes and hollowed ramps that connected building to building.
The mouse slipped away in the night to play, as the girls were bewitched with the sights of the city.
Bel began testing this and that, exploring here and there. Soni watched on with awe, careful not to fall. Then, as in cases, like this, when things go awry, apart from oneâ€™s guardians with no supervisor to spy, when little girls misbehave in the midst of the night, now with a breathtaking view of mortality in sight.
On the edge of a ramp, and the moon as the lamp questions need to be asked, and problems must be solved, a solution that might even require thinking to be involved.
Two little girls, gears spinning through their heads, thinking this, and then that, even what if, what if, they went splat. Soni thought to herself, â€œHow awful it would be for a pretty girl like me - to end Christmas like that.â€?
The tower bell proclaimed the arrival of Christmas morn, with authority, six tolls of the bell rang loudly and clearly. The winter sky still dark. The girls grew weary, and truthfully it was kind of scary even for Bel, being so far in the air, and so so far from home.
Moreover, they had to get back before their Uncle and Aunt awoke. Oh, Bel was desperate for ideas, and so she inquired of the cat. Now that was a stretch.
But all was fair game, and the cat might actually know, a twitch of the tail might give them a sign. And it is more than some legend, cats land on their feet.
They are masterful explorers, all know that, and all possibilities had to be explored, none left undone.
The girls watched as the cat scratched its head, thinking of this and then that, but mostly cheese, milk and fish frying in a vat. And Bel thought, "This cat is of no use."
Soni muttered "We are certainly in trouble, certainly in trouble now."
Just then, out of nowhere, the mouse ran past the cat. Teasing the cat to chase it, like this and like that. The cat lunged toward the mouse, and caused quite a scene. Its paws were no match for its metal back plate.
The force thrust the cat forward, knocking poor Bel off to her fate. The cat tumbled too, with Soni soon after, all falling down from the ledge toward the ground.
One girl fell with eyes wide-opened, the other had them shut tight. Both were in flight. Bel grasped a limb and reached for the cat, and Soni grabbed for this and for that, and finally the cat, catching its tail as she sailed by.
The robot on its way down bounced off a cog or two to slow down its fall.
Belâ€™s fingers grew tired, and the cat was in pain with its tail being pulled, being stretched. Soniâ€™s hand began to slip off.
The girls had to let go, and thought this was it. And they fell to the ground. And they heard a big splat.
It was a vat of sweet pudding in which they found comfort, not hitting the ground. But the cat, where was that? The mouse, it was gone.
The girls were too tired to move, and they noticed they were home. How could that be? And furthermore, they were sleeping, with their heads upon the dining table near their eggnog pudding, having not finished their dessert on this night, passed out in slumber. And the cat nearby watching, having found its way home.
The aunt and uncle smiled to themselves. With the little ones sleeping quite deeply, they could put out all the toys around the tree, and maybe enjoy some tea, quietly, without noise or mischief. It was still Christmas night, and the girls never left the house, or did they?
Sometimes curiosity makes us ponder; sometimes it is only our mind that wanders. What makes a story real, a place real, is if you believe. Now that is not the morale of this tale. Alas, this story has one more beginning... It was midnight, Christmas Day, in the Village of Odds and Ends.
And so the story goes, two little girls on Christmas Day. One had lovely locks of yellow. She was not like the other. She slept through the night. The other little girl, she was not like the first.
She was wild, crazy, and free and she wondered, “It’s Christmas! Where’s the mouse?”
So off went two, the second little girl with the cat by its side. The first little girl remained snug inside.
Epilogue If curiosity doesnâ€™t kill you, technology might. Or it might add some spice into your life. Itâ€™s all how you think of this, and then that. The cat returned home, after she conquered the night.
The mouse never made it home. It was discovered at the city square, with various parts strewn here and there. An odd sight for even the Village of Odds and Ends. Who did this dastardly deed?
All I can offer up as a hint is, Bel was more curious than the cat.
Merry Christmas 2011. Happy New Year 2012, from Sonicity Fitzroy, Belinda Barnes, and Kara Trapdoor. Thank you to Lowe Runo for special effects and animations and this and that.
Special Thanks to Kara Trapdoor, featured as the “cat.”