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I felt like I might tomber on the florcuvva. ?Urfup. I had nevah slozerixed I could urfup tellment trestot. That meant the wholeship, seriom. But, Miley, I wasn’t pretta. ?Leave my trav, just like that. ?Bandon all my cuzmos. Still, there is nevah any choice, I savved that. At that litters flickofamint, I also realised everything was bout to change for me.

I was sturbed, partlon cause I savved that reallon it was Greenvressis him…herself who had sisted on mostof the changes that led to our termin design. Sure, I had sillitated, but the more I thort ont the more I realised that he, she had led that creative surge. I had just allowed his, her genius to exostep.

Wever, by that usk, I had been maticallon urfupped. My darsk throbled with newinf. ?Unbelievable, intit. I had gone from normynorm vailer having to trav all the hours Miley made, to a vlady of vlesher, as urfupped people onlon dip and flip ficiallon four hours a day.  I would be much plusher…. way more bits and likes to festidrong exo for voddies and vlatticubes. My vail would now notclude any plaiting, nor dying, reaming, vurling or vloming. All I would do now was design, problon on my ownioni, in some indicube in some massive Siety.

Darskinf montred me where I had to troe. Address onlon, no Sietyinf. The job was at Shwervemanshon, so not too reachy: a tenninit boo-ride. Shwervemanshon is a massive bloklok taining all the biggest trilly fashwerve houses.  I had to prettapare. I set my darsklarm for newusk, as I needed to just my moufleur to be as bangup as posslob. Lucklon I had practised loads. I set my slozerlok to strongtretch and uppiprugs on lo-dose (obvion you canti have hi-dose at home), as toolmond needs anintzibitov help on their first day at a nouvotrav.

I got out of my slozerlok quitehigh as I donti often do uppies. I had had multiple slozerixes during the night. Now it felt like I could overstand everything more clearlon.

I had a fokka peer in the mirruv, darskstraining with stration. ?What did I wanti look like. I decided not to self-refer too blatelon, like not all green, just two straglog thin referencing stripes mongst a mass of greyish-vlu vurls. I put in a largish propper, ooh, paynfullon shizzos that, just nough to create a mild Outpout, and vlossed my vlips a pale pink. I vurled my vressis all in the same rection, and gelled them there firm. As a termin touch, I put one silvastic clit-hancer through my clitpiercing. I sav clit-hancers are slightlon exoshwerve, but people sociate them with the totlon thirties when bissliss was so up and the trilly fashwerve dustry leaptexo as most portant of all. I wantied to look bislisslike and how I was prettado anything the nouvo vail could throwat me.

I left the partmo, exostept my bloklok and got strate on the boo. I doded ixes all the way but was too petriffob to zorb anything. I reached Shwervemanshon by eight. I had been told to straightdrong to the fifty-first vel. The sensor took me up. It was mirruved and I was lone so I got a chance to mire my moufleur. The Outpout and pinkened vlips exostood nicelon gainst the foncy-grey hardened vurls of flair.

The sensor rived at vel fifty-one. I steptexinto a pale urple riddor. Ixes rected me to a cubby to the right. I was mitted and taken to an urfupdarskfitting. Sitting there in the dark with a soothing zicstream, I thort bout things. ‘Urfupping your filters, colours, sound,’ they dixed.

I exostept, mazed at the trilly quality of my nouvo pikups.

A scurity tadarsed at the door. He had green vressis, and yes, you’ve guessed it, the vringe, vadderangle, vurls, all of it. He used his mote to tripflip his vadder as I troed throughinto a huge cavernub area full of state-of-thart indi-cubes.  High vaults bove us were hung with plushyplush velvy curving curtains. Moving lights played mongst the curtainfolds.

Bout ten dells were strutting on a fakie-red-carpet in frontov rows of seated media people. The dells all had the new green look. I darskooed for a mint, miring my creation. All gether in a glinting, groomed row like that, I could blep it reallon was a fokkadokka design. I felt proud.

A man troed ward to meet me. ‘Nerd to make your quaintessence,’ he said.

‘Nerd,’ I plied.

One man was tadarsing hind a tablon, pulling ixes ontosplay. He turned round to bleppat me. His vaddervanilli waved from side to side. He had not gone for the green, but had a spensive–blepping dark red sunray hanced by a flittaking bright pulse and long dishioned blond and orange vressis, sewn with silver threads, sweeping the floor. Hmm, his flairdresser was doing grooty trav.

‘So, Kedda,’ he murtered. He dronged wardme and allowed his vaddervanilli to brush gainst my moufurls politelon. ‘Gratulation on your urfupping. I am Iffer, Genital of Topinf.’

!Miley. I had heard of Topinf, a nucleus specialising in the mozzlon boundary-pushing shwervixes. ?Who hanti. !Topinf vailed for Miley herself.  !I would nevah in my follest slozerixes have spected I would be vailing for Topinf, !let alone Topinf’s Genital.

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I took the boo home. Fore I could even tube a cutty, Broze splaypeared. Asked if I’d had any tresting trav. Too right, I said. I told him bout Greenvressis, bout our developing design. ‘!Olk,’ he dixed. ‘Sounds wellfokka. Keep it up. Our doptive always said, with your skills, you would be in the elite one day, Ked.’

‘But, Broze,’ I said, ‘this chap is welleird…?I donti even tink he is a chap.’ I whispered: ‘He had a fakie.’

‘Yea well, Ked, takes all sorts. Life would be dullard if people were all the same. This Greenvressis chap, fakie or no fakie, is a fokka ting if he’s helping you do grooti designs.’

‘You’re right,’ I said.  Greenvressis and his siccideas were deflon fokka.

‘You mark my words, Ked,’ said my broze, ‘you’ll be vailing for Miley herself one of these days.’

It was wellierd he said that, because you would not believe how velochy things can change. The next day, three blokes were standing waiting at the salon door when I got to trav.  They all wantied xactly the same as Greenvressis, who I scuvered was called Pliny. They were after the same vressis, vadderay, zlicked vringe, mote and all.

‘We troobi dat Pliny,’ one said.

‘Yeah, we troobit,’ said another.  ‘Need it for this aftube’s topslot catwalk.’

‘The Pliny is the big shebang,’ dixed the third.

I siddered them. ‘!Oh my Cyrus, we gone and set off a nouvo fashwerve all by ourselves,’ I vlatted.

I travved all foretube. I vailed on one, telling the other two to drong off and get a cutty on the corner, but they dinti troe. Just sat there waiting their turn. The middle one had quiteamintive vaddervanilli. I told him if he zired to look the same as Greenvressis he would have to have some vuction and put on a lengthening cone at nights. He said he dinti mind, he just had to have the nouvo fashwerve.

Through sheer hard grind, I got through all three of them by bloffeetime.  They sferred me some likes and troed off. During my tenninit break, I lined Dunqui. ‘?You tubing,’ she asked.

‘Yes, velochy, hanti got a mint, got queues dronging on,’ I vlatted. ‘You wonti believe it, Dunq, I got a new thing troeing on with the trilly fashwerve.’

‘?What is it.’

‘Scalled a Pliny, it’s only, wait for it… H13 green vressis, split into stinct vlocks, with a suttle vringe xinches bove the gnangle.’

‘!Cloof’ she slaimed. ‘?Vadderangle.’

‘Obvion, since like three daysago, ninety.’

‘?Buvflair.’

I could hear Dunq pulling ixes exmogga and sembling them.

‘Lotsa, paler H13 green vurls peeking through a metallic vadderay, thin rays.’

‘Uuuw,’ she darsksighed. ‘Vice. You got your dij on that vulse, vlady!’

‘Tanky,’ I said. ‘I have been getting quiteafew plimentos raysamont.’

I sferred her an ix of the green vressis. Dunq bobbed and morflitted through her oftinf and vamped it all up a bit, hoiked the imix. She sent it out on vlogix within tenninits. By the aftube I had a new line of blokes waiting. ‘Oh Miley,’ I sclaimed, darskooing at them all. ‘Have to call inforsemints.’

I darskalled FaddyFalon Timps. Ordered four vailers just for the aftube, maybe for the next day too. I just had time to chuck a whole load of stentions into the last of my dye before the timps turned up. I straited the new neeks and, since the queue was throbling, we just troed at it: dying, vlombing, plaiting, cutting the vringes and then zlicking and snippisnipping into them to give them that natural look. Luckily FF Timps are always well-trained. They have nifty blingers and get what I’m montring them first time. We had to call Bowares to get a nother vat of that horbil H13green stuff in. I litters dinti even get time to tube a cutty, all aftube. Five of us were vailing flat out.  For blokes with short flair, it took even longer as we had to put in the prettadyed stentions first.

I flitted some likes to FaddyFalon, and sferred a centidge to MileyMuns too. Best to keep up with your Emmemms daily therwise they’ll be after you.

At home, I stepped into my blopak for a freshnub dryclenz. The kems and the wind did their vail. I felt better, but my blingers were still aching. I put on Killapayn prugbluvs to numb them up.

I had to troe exo. Needed some prugs. If you’ve litters vailed your blingers off all day, you need a good vlatt. Liza met up with me and we troed down Festivoy. Tubed three tripvoddies, ordered a retroverdose, which obv is only safeprugs as they would never let you realinfoverdose, got straight in a vlatticube and vlatted our vlips off for bout four hours. We were hauled out just after midnight and chucked exofest.

My darsk throbling with staddered newinf, I sloggered home at one in the morning. Someone splaypeared as I drapped in the door.

‘?Where you been, vlady,’ the person sclaimed.

?Was it Dunqui. It sounded like her, and she was surrounded by all her stuff, but it dinti look like her.  To be fair though I could hardlon bleppa her I was so stroyed.

‘?Dunqui…is that you,’ I slurred.

I tried to set my darsk to better saturation and contrast.  Difficult, as my blingers were still numdup from the prugbluvs. I fiddled drunklon with tilt and shift. That was better. !Oh. !Dunqui’s vapearlies had gone. !Her what-had-been-bangup-but-maybe-were-not-bangup-no-more silky stentions sewn with vlu lace had gone. !She had H13 green vressis. !Miley. I had nevah evah bleppaed Dunqui strutting one of my designs fore.

‘!You not just got your moufleur on the pulse, vlady,’ she sclaimed. ‘!You litters the big shebang.’

Yop! I couldn’t believe this. Maybe the prugs had put me in some sort of tastical slozerix. Had I reallon managed to chieve a bendgend fashwerve? I coudnti dix a thing, I was that moved, and still that stroyed from the vlatticube.

‘!Olk,’ said Dunq, pouring me ixes of bothsex slebs with the nouvo look, ‘you litters have done it, vlady. The bendgend. All the girls here are wantiing one. ?You know what this means, donti you.’

‘No…?I litters donti have a cluebo in hellion,’ I slurred.

‘It means….you going to urfup, vlady.’

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I climbed into my slozerloc and had wellierd slozerixes about red, open darskiddenflappas and bright vlu darskiddenbleppas looming at me exomist.  I woke up midnight darsgasping in panink. Thank Miley we’ve covered all that shizzos up and moved on. I donti tink private parts should be bleppaed or parled on. They are private. Like zactly. Private. And anyway, how on Mileyship would anyone get by without their darskinf?

This all vert-hurt my thortpac so lucklon next day it was the Kend. Thank Miley for the Kend. Two days of chilled times. I laxed, ported lotsix into my darsk and zorbed. I tubed healthy joococtions. I tretched in my tretching chamber, pulling zistant bands to the latest wobberrap my broze sent me. After thirty mints I frizzed my vressis, put in a quick double-colour streak with a simple orange and black stention and went out for a cutty with my friend from beauty school, Niella. She hearts to updress, and was looking fokkadokka with glittery diamond fakies bringing out her propped mouf. We tubed cakeycake, moving on to kol at about xoclock. We met up with Liza, who had tarted up her mouf with some rather exoshwerve plakkiplaits at least, thank Miley. We tubed trip voddies and became stantly runk. Obvion after that we flipped our liddergauze, tubehaled a quikpliffa each, had a good vlatt, and passed exo in a vlatticube gether. Fokka night.

Greenvressis turned up again trestot Monday. The colour was growing on me. The dye was spensive, and I realised that in the light it had a grooty urple gleam. As I was upvlombing his furls, he said, ‘It zires one last thing.’

‘Yeah….what?’

‘A mote.’

Onestlon, cuzmos get the zarrest ideas in their murky thortpacs sometimes. I don’t let on that they’re totallon bonksfest.  ‘A mote, !Sure.  !Siccathort. Might just set it all off…’

We fitted one just low the vadderbase. I put the controls in his bluv. He tried it out. !Olk, it was ackshallon fokkadokka. The mote made the vaddervanilli jump just slightlon, causing the vressis to flash their grooty gleam.

As I was waiting for Greenvressis’ likes to darskload, Talika said she was troeing exo to the corner jop. Greenvressis waited til she sappeared, then, exo nowhere, slipped a bluvved didge under his flairline and gave a sharp tug. I darsgasped as the whole flairy green area came away from his groyn. !Behind it were vlips. !Big vlips with brown flair and china flowery beads. I couldn’t believe it. I had not spected fakies. I certainly had not spected such a sophistokid fakie. ‘Shh,’ he…she whispered, ‘our time is coming. !Be pretta.’

‘!Pretta?’ I darskchoked. ‘Prettawhat?’

‘Prettarun.’ He…she put a didge to his vlips. ‘We’ll get you exo, Ked,’ he..she whispered, ‘don’t wuzzo.’

I wantied to dix that I dinti zire to be ‘got exo’, as I was fectly sicca where I was, and that I hadn’t been at all wuzzoed until he..she exoblew my napses…but I was too shonked to parle.

His likes had sferred to my darsk so he, she stuck his…her fakie back down and stood up, clipped it back to its bangup ninety-degree angle and troed off. I was so shonked I dinti even realise I problion should have pressed my fliplarm. Was he…she from the zistance?

It was hard to tell. I was afeared. Would his darsk not pick up even his whispers? Did he have a way of unabling darskinf? I had seen reports on my splay that some people had gone off-grid, with riculoso zults. Who would rush to help you, if you were ill, fureggs? Darsks send constant healthinf to dotters so they can monitor you. Now that’s sensible, and that’s normynorms.

Dammidams.  I had troobied vailing with Greenvressis. I dinti zire him…her to be zistance. I dinti zire the spambort van to come and take him…her screaming wayway.

I told myself I was wuzzoing for nothing and it was problion allsicca.  Fakies aren’t against the law. He…she had problion gone temps a bit loopiloop, right?

 

 

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After Katoline’s three vampoos for the magoline, my spiney ached. Tubed a killapayn. Early aftube I started vlombing and plaiting. I took over from Dalla on spamduty for an hour. I canti believe this diculous trav hasn’t been autommed. But tristlon, only humans can be proper spamspotters, as them infhackers are so sharpysharp. !Miley. !It’s demeaning.

A chap came in ziring a lengthening cone. We used to do them all the time, but that was before shorter vaddervanillis became all the shwerve. Then a striking vlady with thick pink-painted vlips and florlong black vurls turned up. She siddered me, darsktipping. ‘I troobi your beads and knots and pearls,’ she said.

‘I can easlion do beads and knots and pearls for you if you troobit.’

‘No, I’m… I’m after an Outpout.’

‘You do alpretta have an Outpout,’ I said, siddering her swollen vlips.

‘Yeah,’ she snapped, ‘but I zire a Dashpout.’

I was afeared. A Dashpout, the most streme form of the trilly fashwervable Outpout, is a throwback from the late thirties. A Dashrim, which creates the Dashpout, is more tensitens than the more normynorm tempy softproppers. Dashes are not easy to sert, nor to stract, so people keep them in for several months, or til they get fected. I have done Outpouts for vladies, course, but nevah a Dash. I did have to put one on a mannequin for my last xam at school. They’re riculoso, that’s the problet. It was Kitti-two, the last of the Kardashi dynasty, who made Dashes all the shwerve then promptlion deddered of fection from her tretchwounds.

Wever, who am I to argue? I’m just doing my trav. Gotta keep the cuzmo happihapps. I made the vlady send consent through to my darsk. I fetched a sterile Dashrim from the drawer. I jected the mons and vlips with killapayn, vlombed her thick vressis away from her whorl, wiped it with antisep and serted the metal spikes swinefully, twisting til they bit. Then I pumped up the rim. I litters would never do this to myself because once the killapayn has worn off, a Dashrim will ache. Must admit though, the way it forces the pout up and out is pressive. Even when you’re dronging up the street, people can litters see right into your whorl. You are montring your trueinf to the world. It’s the ultimate in confessional, which is bangup. Everyone is wantiing to know the real you, like deep inside you, but litters.

I sat exo on the bench with my moufleur in the smogga. It might be looted but at least it’s cool. You don’t want your make-up to run. You see ixes from the thirties where people’s vascara had run. They dinti know much then. And the fashwerve was so basic. ?Like vlipliner under your whorl. No one would do that now, unless they were carrying off retro trilly well. It’s all about the upper line now. A strong, fiddent upper line. And the way they used to put vanilliliner all the way round the vadderbase…it’s presk larious. Now, it’s more suttle, yet also more bold. Katoline is constlon banging on about bold. Some people just get it stinctively. I do. I was born with the knowledge. My doptive says the day I was louvered to her door, age one day, I was alpretta trilly sinnated by design. You just pick it up from all around you.

I had the vantage of growing up in my doptive cuddlecupple’s quiltigymna. A quiltigymna is more about the feel-fokka factor than normal gymnas. My doptive and her partner Rissa had thirty pummelcubes and ran a bar too, where you could hire safeprugspace or vlatticubes. Safeprugs came in after the monstrol Festideath. Not larious, ten thousand dedders in one night from looted prugs. Now of course, everything’s legal and better tested so you’re less likelon to dedder… less you’re hookton vlattivamp, course.

Vlattivamp makes you feel fokkadokka though. You rampit rough, you’re like wild or something, oozing fiddence. My friend Shadda, she got deddered on Vlattivamp. You can just litters fiddence yourself exolife. You have so much fiddence that you forget to have fear. And you take more and more, in one seshal, til you’re vlatting so hard your midden aches and your moufleur weeps. You dedder rough, real and wild, but… you dedder.

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It was getting on for termins.  The flor was tablowed in snippyvressis so I moptup the streaks of dye and tivated the aftopull.

On the way homeyhome I tubed a cutty at the corner jop. Liza was still vailing as she needs the bits. Her vressis are so long they brush the flor. ‘They’ll be trippin you up,’ I dixed.

‘They are statement vressis, Kedda.’

‘Yeah, tever,’ I said. She donti bleppa that it acshi donti look that fokka having your vressis so long. Hers are quitegrooty though, with beads and shells and thin urple streaks all the way down. Her vinehous black nest trudes quitefar. It rather scures her naturellon pouty vlips, that’s the only thing. A bit of a waste.

She sat down side me exo on her bench for a mint. We darsk-sinked and zorbed the day’s catwalk freshtuff. Top dells from Ladvadd were strutting soft-vurled vressis. I spotted my broze, in a trilly-polished monokrom onsomb flecked with glitter and mirruvs. My bezzi Blokka from Beauty School was just behind him with a stravagant array of white feathuzz litup with pulse hancing his ninety-degree vadderangle. Not much gets past this man. You can always tell it’s Blokka, as he takes tiny steps, litters three inches at a time. Trip trippity trip, that’s Blokka, and he wonti be hurried.

Two zistance girls dronged past Liza and me, shouting ‘Fight! Fight! Donti put up with it!’ We dinti even mention them, as we’re so tired of it. All over, they are. Another came past and tripped up over our feet. ‘TRUEINF WILL OUT,’ she cried. She rolled over, her sal nodeccoed moufdreds spilling exo round a flappy nopout, picked herself up and troed off.

Our zorbstream had been trupted so we undarsk-sinked. ‘Bit of a shame, with that vine, how you canti sern your vlips,’ I dixed.

‘Yeah, but least I donti have to bother with vlitox, vlipstick, all that,’ she said, ‘and I couldn’t do without my vine.’ She patted it fondlon.

Someone must have bothered to call spambort on those zistance girls, as the van swooped past us.  I dinti say anything. I dinti like to tell Liza that her vine, any vine, looked tellment exoshwerve now.

I took the boo two stops home. The sensor took me up thirty vels. My splay was glittring. It was my bezzibez and topvizer Dunqui. I can tell when she’s zausted, as she props a cushol tween darskside and shoulder. ‘?Termined trav,’ she asked.

‘Yes, ?you.’

‘Only just.’ She pulled a vresstip across her whorl: ‘I’m tellment termined.’

‘?Articles.’

‘Litters all day.’

‘So ?what’s the latest trilly fash.’

‘Hmm…mod piercings mainlon.’

I know lotsinf on mod fashwerve, thank Miley, as I used to vail in a mod sessories jop. Obvion, tween vaddervanillis and moufleurs you gottaspect a wide range of constantlon vlopping modiffs.

‘?Also reretro vapearlies,’ dixed Dunqui.

‘!Vapearlies, ?who would’ve ixagined.’

Dunqui keeps me bangup. She savs what’s dronging on. Sometimes it’s me telling her though, it’s zarre: it’s like I’m on the flor, strugging away, while she’s just rubbing about it. Rubbing’s not hard, scooping ideas exof the smogga and popping them onsplay. She donti have to darskpeer all day at vadderangles like me.

But I have to have Dunqui, as she gives me fiddence, and you have to have fiddence in yourself and your topvizers to be a fokka fashwerver. Without Dunqui, I wouldn’t sav, I’d be guessing. And you canti reallon guess with the fashwerve. It’s just too random to believe and changes every couple of hours. Even with all the darskinf you can zorb, you canti dict it.

‘Eh,’ she dixed, ‘your mate Blokka.’

‘?Yeah. I just bleppaed him onsplay.’

‘?With the feathuzz.’

‘Yeah. Bit takkytak for him, I thort.’

‘That design… it is takkytak, cos it’s bitchybitch Yana’s.’

‘!No.’ I sclaimed. ‘?He vailing for Yana.’

‘Must be. He problion donti sav she’s a bitchybitch.’

Dunqui used to trav for Yana so if she says Yana is a bitchybitch, then that is trueinf. But Blokka donti care. He does anything to get ahead, and Yana designs for Miley: you canti get higher than that.

‘?You want the close-ups,’ asked Dunqui, snorting through her darsk. She sent me through a 360vidix of Blokka’s nuwlk. Showy for sure, fokka even… but not tasteful. The long, white feathuzz splayed out from his vadderbase, vurling round his hips. A pulse shuddered his neon-vattooed vaddervanilli every second. As the pulse litup, the neon flashed, staining the feathuzz with pale greens and pinks. Hmm, pressive though.

Spired by Blokka’s turnout, fore I troed to sloze that night, I threaded forty-six thin stentions into a red dyerod and forty-six into a black, darskpeering at them for an hour til the colour was just perfyperfs. Next morning, my slozerlok tipped me exo trestot. I straightened my vressis and tatched the newly-dyed stentions. Added beads, with quiteplicated knotting in coloured threads. Monsright: I stuck a new vapearlie with a mirruv effect, quitedgy. Monsleft: I stamped a grooty vattoo of a mithylephant. I was prettatrav.

That day my first cuzmo was Greenvressis again.  ‘These presk florlong vressis are noying,’ he dixed.

‘You ziring a vringe?’ I sudgered.

We decided on xinches bove the gnangle. I was zlicking into it when he set his voice on hibuzz :‘You know… you said that in a couple of weeks, everyone will have a vadderay?’

‘Yes,’ I plied, vlatting at the buzz. ‘I bet you it’s trueinf. I have a top fashwerver forming me.’

‘In less than a year,’ he tinued, quietlon, ‘get this, no one will have a darsk. They’re gonna be soso last year.’

Was he trying to petriff me? His voice was gentle, so I dinti sav, but I felt like I might be being slightlon rassed. Rassed in the trav-place. I tended I hadn’t heard. I dinti say anything. I just rinsed zlicks out of the vringe, and, vailing velochy, vluffed it exo with the smoggastream. I zired him exof my jop immedion.

Later, at homeyhome, during my freshnub dryclenz, I thort bout what he had dixed. I couldn’t help it. It had sown a petriffix in my heart. What had he meant? Can you even take off a darsk? Is it not raw bludders underneath? I have nevah bleppaed one what wasn’t on a darskiddenfront, and I have never bleppaed a darkiddenfront without a darsk. How would a person without a darsk be nected to Mileyhole? Would they just not be nected and how would that even be allowed? It was imposs, and daygolass. The very thort made me feel like I might tubemitt. I felt like I felt when I first got porned onsplay. I membered something horrolob what my old bezzi Tratta once told me. In his trav for the Pleese he had to watch OldNetInf. He said how, on there, litters no one has a darsk, but they troe round parling and meeting chuther yet suffocate their poor vaddervanillis and moufleurs under layers of terial. I asked if that was just mith but he said no, it was realinf.

It’s just horroblon porno. Petriffy. We have to protek chuther from it. You have to be prettapress your fliplarm.   Yet in all my months of studying shwervistory, no one evah mentioned OldNet. Most people donti even sav what it is. I have heard of it, but I’m still not sure: maybe Tratta got it wrong and it is just mith. But all what Tratta told me stayed with me and I couldn’t help thorting bout it sometimes. He dinti seem like a person who would parle falsinf.

I can’t magine not having my darsk though. It’s my skintelligence. It’s like magining all the terial and skin being peeled off your foot or your arm. My darsk is my tection, my curity from the morseless spam in this world. Without filters, you’d obvion be instantlon toowhelmed by ads, you’d be screaming in payn, on the flor. No one could handle that. Also, everyone savs that if your darsk comes off, you canti resp. The air got staddered in 2032 with the Big Nukeyflip. It’s all smogga now.  We all need sophistokid resping filters. Darsks matically sort out light vels too. When vues become paynfullon bright for your dk-bleppas, the darsk dulls them for you politelon.

Greenvressis had so shaken me up. I wantied clutch onto my darsk with both bluvs. I would feel so ked without it. So sposed. And also like I was being horroblon rude. I can hardlon parle bout porn.  I mean, I have heard of darskiddenbleppers being uncovered, upperblepperflair, lowerblepperflair and all, but darskiddenstrils? Reallon? Darskiddenflappers? Is that even possib? I’ve only evah bleppaed glimpses of dk-flappers on spamporn. If they were closed I could almost handle it. !But what if they were open? I think I might faint if I bleppaed a darskiddeneel.

I once caught a xidental spamflash of shiny whitish darskiddenscessors, which made me feel queamish but I’ve nevah, evah bleppaed a darskiddeneel, thank Miley, but Tratta told me on OldNet they’re all over, peeping exof darskiddenflappers, or even sometimes totalexo and waggling around. He even, to my sprise, splained that ‘what Miley did’ was cisely that. I donti believe it but parrently she sposed her darskiddeneel a lot. Too much. It freaped out the crowds, nukeyflipped their thortpacs and caused some kind of volt which led to the Big Festideath. This forced her to think up her trilly creative pollogy, which I donti have to splain, cos litters everyone learns bout it in fashwervistory as it is obvion the most trilly portant thing to have evah happened.  But anyway it zarrelion meant everyone suddlion savved who she was, which in turn led to life-hancing darsks and her being lected to run the universe.

Ugh though. !Those flappy darskideneels. Did people reallon use to have them exo? Vijible? Daygolass, that’s what I dix. Petriffy like a horrolob wet snake from mith.

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 Pearly cover

Chapter 6.

Shelley the cello gave a great gusty sigh. ‘Well, Obi was quite a good oboe in his youth…’

‘Hunh, quite?!’ spluttered Obi. ‘Don’t listen to her: I was top-notch, kid, top-notch.’

‘…and, new, he was bought by a top conductor, a wonderful musician, for his talented grandson, Gabriel. Gabriel and Obi played together for many years. When the boy was sixteen, they reached the final of Young Musician of the Year. Unfortunately Obi’s reed caught on Gabriel’s jumper, splitting just as they were to go on stage. The boy grabbed his spare, which was not properly broken in. Despite this, Obi managed well. The piece went wonderfully…until a high E flat, which came out a disastrous squeak.’

‘Oh,’ I murmured in sympathy.

‘Things went from bad to worse,’ said Obi. ‘Gabriel, of course, had forgotten to clean me, so there was water under one of my keys. Every time he tried to play a C, it came out as a B. Not a thing in the world I could do about it. The piece was in B flat, so it sounded particularly bad….wincingly bad.’

‘On coming off stage,’ said Shelley, ‘Gabriel entered the Green Room, yanked Obi’s three pieces apart, pulled his arm back, and threw them at the wall, one at a time, with all his strength. He then just left him there, crumpled and smashed on the floor.’

I don’t quite know how I did this, but with superflutan effort I managed to pull air from the room to let out a small but gruesome howl. I couldn’t bear this story.

‘It wasn’t his fault,’ said Obi quickly. ‘He didn’t mean to do it..lovely lad..’

Gosh, was he extremely forgiving… or was he blind? In a flash, I wondered if I too had been blinded… about Lucy. When she had left me out, had it been that she felt too lazy to put me away? When she had left me at school, in a cold locker, for more than a week, had it been on purpose, to avoid practice?  Yes, yes, I saw that it was true.  I had cared about her a lot more than she had cared about me.  As I realised these things, I felt all the light of my soul seeping out into the darkness around me.

‘Eventually another contestant gathered Obi up, wrapped his broken body in cloth, and took him to a repair shop.’

‘They, they managed, in the end….’ creaked Obi.

‘…They managed to patch him up, so he’d be fine for beginners, is what he’s trying to say.’

‘Yeah, so when I was taken out of my case, which was not often, I had to play ‘Twinkle, Twinkle’, and ‘Old MacDonald’, you know…’

We sighed. We did know.

‘….badly.…from playing Albinoni and Cimarosa.’ Obi sobbed. ‘Oh, how are the mighty fallen.’

Eventually we slept. The next day the flute-mender hummed tunes as he replaced my pads. I recognised one. Silvia and Madame had played it to us once. It was ‘L’Après-midi d’un Faune,’ by Debussy. I liked it so much I couldn’t help sparkling a little in time with his humming. When the mender had replaced all my pads he started to play. It was without warning and, not being ready, I squeaked nervously into harmonics. ‘Ooh, steady on, old thing,’ he said. He started playing the faun.

Oh, I can scarcely tell you what it felt like.  The peace that suddenly envelops you.  It’s instant and it’s out of this world. I had heard a nightingale sometimes outside Lucy’s window. It sounds like that. Or like the calm pools of water I had heard about as Lucy read aloud from Greek myths. Cool, limpid runs of notes tumble and fall. It feels like your mind is being stroked by an angel, which allows you to be full of wonder at the whole of creation.

The flute-mender stopped playing. ‘Hmm, you’re not so bad,’ he said. I tried to glint again at him. He picked up a silver cloth and gave me a polish. I heard a scratchy noise. He was writing something on card. ‘£250,’ he said. ‘Someone should buy you for that.’ He put me in the window on a stand. At least it was light. I could shine a tiny bit and glint at the world.

I stood there all day. The other flutes were mostly all new. Sweet babies, they knew nothing. They had not even played their first tune.  I told them stories, of music and love and life, Yankee Doodle, Molly Malone, Morning has Broken, all of which I had learnt from the pieces I had played with Lucy. They sighed and longed for life.

For the night, I was taken out of the window and placed back on the workbench alongside other instruments.  ‘Obi,’ I called.

He answered with a groan.

‘Do you know ‘L’Après-midi d’un Faune?’ ‘ I whispered.

He sighed. ‘Pearly, my dear! You are asking an OBOE! How could an OBOE not know the faun? I’ve played it with an orchestra, several times.’

‘But…it’s for flute, isn’t it?’ I asked.

‘The flute starts off,’ he answered, ‘but after a little while the flute hands over to the oboe…they share the melody.’

‘Can you…? Do you know…? Why is it so…wonderful?’ I asked him.

He sighed. ‘I’m getting you, lass….I know it’s special, but… nobody really knows.’

‘Is it..maybe…magic?’ I asked. I was scared he would laugh at me, but he didn’t.

‘That particular mixture and blend of notes sets the atoms buzzing at a frequency which activates something special in humans and in this world…’

‘But what is it, that special thing?’

‘It’s to do with ancient memories, the soul, freshness, childhood, perfection…the fact we all came from a star, something timeless and beyond us all….’

We all came from a star? Was that why I could bend light? ‘So…the faun…taps into all that, does it?’

‘The faun takes us back to before there was time. I think the composer managed to transcend, do you understand the word?.. transcend this world during the writing of it…Maybe he ate some dodgy mushrooms or something…. Ravel’s the best for that, makes the humans’ hearts soar…that’s one you should play.’ He hummed a snatch of it. ‘That’s the Daphnis and Chloe, have you tried that?’

‘I would, if only somebody could take me there,’ I said.

‘One day, somebody will,’ he promised. ‘Flute players can’t keep away from it. Not half of them can actually play it properly, mind…’

We talked about harmonics, resonance, tone, deep into the night, softly as the youngsters wanted rest.

The next day, I became aware of a new presence in the mender’s shop. All of us felt it. Dusk fell. We waited, straining our senses into the silence. ‘So…who are you?’ we whispered finally.

A low voice came through the darkness. ‘I am Alto…the story-teller.’ She sounded bigger than us, deeper and older. That night, all night, draughts whistled through her. She told stories of tunes: powerful melodies that change the world, that transfix and brainwash people. She told us of orchestral works, enormous concerts held in huge echoey spaces, the wonder of being an essential part of such creations of genius. As the night grew colder and darker, one of the older flutes beside me snatched at a passing current of air and managed to flutter, ‘Aaaltooo, teeell us about the Ooold Maaan’s Caaave.’

A shudder ran through the flutes. Everyone had heard vague rumours of the Old Man’s Cave. ‘Don’t even go there,’ groaned Obi.  ‘Honest, you don’t want to know.’

‘Ohh….the Old Man’s Cave,’ murmured Alto, ignoring him. ‘I had a poor battered friend, a piccolo…tiny scrap of a thing, called Pixie. He’d been left for a couple of years, damp, in a mildewed case… finally got chucked to the Salvation Army. An old codger bought him for four pounds fifty. Then…this old man…’ Alto coughed and her voice dropped even lower, ‘… took my friend, took Pixie into this room, this…dungeon…’, we all strained to hear, ‘…full of the corpses of old instruments, all mutilated, deformed. He put Pixie into a vice, twisted him into a spiral, attached fishing wire and hung him off the ceiling….he had become a mobile.’

We gasped in horror, ‘A mobile?’ If I could have hidden my head under my cleaning cloth, I would have.

‘Too scary, too scary,’ snorted the trumpets.

‘Why do you torment yourselves so?’ hummed Obi. ‘Forget about the Old Man’s Cave. It’s just a story…only half true. Or not even slightly true.’

We moaned softly, traumatised to the core. The rising moon glanced through dusty panes. Alto was getting into her stride: ‘There, Pixie told me, hang flutes of all ages. Spinning grotesquely around in the half-light, they are forever split into head, foot, body. They no longer speak, no longer sing. Dying musical instruments fill the ceiling space. Floating head joints, foot joints, swinging piano keys, spinning mouth organs, deformed trombones, cracked OBOES!’

Obi, despite himself, gasped in fright.

‘Dented cymbals, tangled triangles, ripped bongoes….and the silence….the silence is appalling…’

Alto fell silent. We all held our breath, imagining the quietness of this grey world. ‘But why?’ squeaked a baby trumpet. ‘Why would he be so cruel?’

‘He doesn’t know it’s cruel. He’s an artist. He is making art out of redundant objects.’

We finally slept as dawn was feeling its way through the windows. After that night, I tuned out and tried to sleep when Alto was telling her horror stories, as they made me unhappy.

A week later a raspy-voiced fellow came in, in a bit of a hurry. ‘I just need a flute. Any flute.’

‘What do you want it for?’ asked our mender.

‘Oh, ensemble, improv, knockin around. Doesn’t have to be great.’

The flute-mender’s hand hovered over several flutes. I could just tell he was going to pick me. As his hand pulled me through the air I whistled, ‘See you again, Obi!’

‘Best, kid,’ said Obi from the window, glinting sunshine at me from his keys. ‘Bach sonatas every morning: it’s the best workout.’

‘Bye friends!’ I shrieked as I was pulled apart, put into my case and handed over. My life was about to change: I was to become a working flute.

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Sally-Anne, thats me.

Sally-Anne, thats me.

 

Chapter 21.

LittelBaby and LittelBrudda had looked up from there werk. Neether of them cried owt. May be thay had known we were on borowed time. Suddernly the copper biside me let go my arm and dropt to his nees. I thort that was odd. Then he let go of my hand cuffs and fell flat on to his fase, his hare in the edgis of the streme. I looked up the streme. LittelBrudda had anuther large flat stowne in his hand and was bringing his arm back. Thwack! The stowne hit the humungus thug what was sitting on Duncan, on the side of his hed. I saw it all in slo moshun as LittelBrudda aimed again and down fell a massiv police woman, who topperled side weys, mowth opern in mid showt. The larst man, a mussly skinny chap not in uniform, ducked but not farst enugh. LittelBaby had parsed LittelBrudda anuther rock, wich sored owt of his hand and thuded hard in to skinnys cheke. Down he went.

There was a silence. Jus the gergling of the streme and the tweating of berds.

LittelBaby clapped her hands. ‘Oo good atta trow de stownes!’ she said.

‘Yeh,’ said Duncan faintly. ‘Not bad, LittelBrudda!’

A car dor slammed bihind us. Three more men stood there, with guns, glaring at us thrugh goggels. The guns went kuh chi kuh, kuh chi kuh, like geting redy to fiyer. You often here that sownd in the moovies but not often in rele life. LittelBrudda had anuther stowne in his hands. ‘Dont, LittelBrudda!’ scremed Duncan.

It was such a high screme that I wantid to showt ‘Your a gerl, your a gerl,’ but I realised it wasent the moment. Quite often I have to kerb my inpulsis.

‘We give are selvs up!’ I showtid. ‘Plese dont shoot.’

There was a crack of a gun. Three cracks. I thort ‘oh shit, have I bene shot?’ But I dident fiyul eny pane. I looked at Duncan. He was still standing. I looked at the babies. They were still standing in the streme. The three men buckeled at the nees. One of there guns went of, but in to the trees. Who had brogt them down? It was a mistery. The leves jus shimmered in the silence.

Then there was a cracking of twigs. Some one walked owt of the bushis. It was CrazyStranger with a gun in his hand. ‘What…?’ I croked. He terns up all over the plase.

‘Iyum sorry, Sally-Anne,’ he said, ‘that I apere to be following you arownd all over the plase.’

‘Well, it is a bit weerd,’ I said, ‘but thank you, eny wey.’ I noddid at the three flatterned blokes.

‘There not ded,’ he said. ‘Its salt. Theyull come rownd in a bit, we shoud move.’ He put owt his hand. I shook it. ‘Iyuv bene looking owt for you for a long time, Sally-Anne,’ he said.

There was more crackling of under growth bihind him and a dumpy lady with a rownd red fase was standing there. I thort I was having one of my vishuns. ‘Mum?’ I wispered.

‘Well, Yes, and No, Sally-Anne, my love,’ she said.

She all weys has been a bit odd, so I jus ignored that strange rip lie. ‘What are you doing here?’ I arsked, not berlieving my eyes.

‘Me and Prefeser Snow go back a long wey,’ she said. ‘To nine munths bifore you were born, Sally-Anne.’

‘Weyull explane in a minit. Get in your car and follow us,’ said CrazyStranger.

We quickly swept up are blankits, tent and food and rammed it in to are crappy car. We followed CrazyStranger along a windy root for abowt forty minits. All the time, I was saying to Duncan, ‘What? What is that? Why woud Mum know CrazyStranger all this time?’ We went owt of the woods and on to a bigger rode, along anuther windy lane, thrugh a cupel of villigis, thrugh a ford, parst a farm and we parked bihind a pub where there was a littel play grownd and got owt and let the babies play in the swings.

CrazyStranger sat on the botterm of the slide. He sihged. He lookt quite old and tiyerd. ‘Your muther was the surogut for my very ferst, originle, succes full attempt to bring a neyanderthal being in to the werld, Sally-Anne.’

‘What?’ I was gob smacked. ‘Was she? Why did I never mete that neander thingy then? Did it ever live at are howse?’

Duncan garsped. He was looking at me. ‘Oh my god,’ he said, ‘Sally-Anne, its you!’

I stared back at him. ‘Am I a speri mint?’

‘Yes, you are,’ he said.

‘Wow,’ I said. Lucky it dont still mene chewing gum then.

‘Well, it dont make no diffrence,’ I said, ‘seeing as how I dont evern get properly what one is!’

‘Thats why your dad left,’ said my Mum, ‘He coudent cope with you being so…diffrent. Thogh Iyud only agreed to do it for him! To pay of his dets, the un grate full….’

‘Is that why Iyum a freek? And why pepol dont make eny sense…?’

‘Your not a freek,’ said CrazyStranger staring at me with….love, I think it was, ‘you are a wonder, and thats also why you were chosern to bring LittelBaby into the werld. The sientists had tried again and again but the babies were all weys miscarried or still born. They figered you were the only one who coud do it.’

I thort back to how it all startid. ‘So Jess was pade to get me to Wantababy….’

LittelBaby was in the swing, going ‘Weeee! Weeee!’ My mum was pushing her. It made me nerely die of happy ness wotching them, so I coud hardly consentrate on all this stupid speri mint stuff.

‘Oh, yes…thay pade Jess, thay pade Wantababy, thay pade Frances…it was a teme effert.’

‘You were manipulatid,’ said Duncan. ‘It menes cuntrolled,’ he addid, ‘like a puppit.’

Ooh, it made me feyul weerd that pepol had been wotching me, and plotting me like that. And oh shit, Frances was NarstyLady….Still, I was glad she wasent LittelBabys rele mum…who was LittelBabys rele mum then?

‘Who is LittelBabys rele mum then?’ I arsked CrazyStranger.

‘Her rele mum? Her rele mum….and your rele mum…two different wimin, lived sixty thowsand yeres ago, in a cave in Romania, in a big famly group of Neyanderthal. But you, and the babies, you are cloned….’

‘Cloned menes like copied, Sally-Anne,’ said Duncan.

‘…yes, like copied, from three of the children of those two wimin. There remanes were fownd in a beautifle cave on a hill side. It was luvley, tidy, all the speres lined up, pichers on the walls and a harth, or fiyer, in side.’

I knew that. I had sene the cave, I had sene the piols of fer, the fiyer, the brambels at the entrunse, the view. I had smelt the smoke, the animuls, the children, the love. In those vishuns I must of been seeing memries parsed on from my rele, aynchent muther and farther, or memries parsed on from my oridginle self. Was it like I was getting eccows of her feelings? Iyum not clever enugh to know.

‘Does that mene I have lived bifore?’

‘Not quite. Some boddy pritty much ixactly the same as you lived bifore.’

‘Why did you help us get away from the laboratry?’ I arked. ‘Do you…not like,’ I coudent really say Bludshoteyes, ….’ that Procter Docter man what kept the babies in cagis?’

‘I dont like them precisely bicause they kepe babies in cagis,’ he ansered. ‘Docter Procter wantid to kepe you in a cage, for your hole life, Sally-Anne. ‘

My hart clenched with horrer. If I coudent be owt side and fiyul the brease on my fase evry day, I think I woud die. He continewed: ‘I had a massiv falling owt with Procter and his stupid son, with me insisting on having you broght up by your suragut and having your freedum. But I never dremed they were hatching a plan to get you to be the surogut for a new generashun of battery caged neanderthal. They were one step ahed of me there.’

‘So you fownd owt I was pregnunt…’

‘And I vowed to help you kepe your baby owt of the cagis….’

‘But I woudent lisen…I thort you were crazy!’

‘I dont blame you for that,’ he laughed, ‘but I all weys had watched you from afar, taking notes and injoying the fact you were loving the owt dors, loving to darnse. You are a true oridginle, Sally-Anne. No boddy else sees things the wey you do.’

Who else had said that to me? It rang a bell. It was the lady who gave me the book to write in. This book. ‘The lady…’ I said, ‘The lady who gave me the book…’

‘Yes,’ said Prefeser Snow. ‘My wife, Cecilia. We were really hoping you might rite some of your advenchers down, as it woud be a fasinating rede.’

‘Shes going to,’ said Duncan.

I dident even know then that I really coud rite it all down. But see, I nearly have, and Iyum nearly at the end of the story so far. My hand akes fit to bust I hope you know.

I lookt over at my mum pushing the babies in the swings. ‘I have one more queschun,’ I said, wispering. ‘Why did you choose my mum/not mum? Like, shes not…..’

‘Bicause ferstly, she agreed to do it. You dont find meny who are brave enugh. Also, she had a high persentige of neyanderthal genes,’ said Snow. ‘Her blud test rejistered highist in the like leehood stakes of being abel to bring you in to the werld.’

Duncan carried on talking to CrazyStranger. It was to sientific for me so I went over to the swings. My mum was laughing. I dident think Iyud sene her laugh in yeres. ‘Look, Sally-Anne!’ she said. As the babies came for werd in the swing she was hi fiving there littel swinging fete. ‘Hi five! Hi five!’ Thay were screming with dilight.

‘Mum…do you want to buy them littel rabits?’ I arsked her, with teres prickeling bihind my eyes.

‘Oh, yes,’ she said, blinking rapidley like she had jus wokern up, ‘I do! I want to buy them rabits, and books, and ice cremes. I just had to come with the Prefeser, and see my grand childrun, and say good bye, cos….your going of… for a time?’

‘Yeh, were of to an ilund,’ I said.

I hugged my mum/not mum good bye. She felt wunderfley sollid and warm. ‘Dont eat too meny donuts and thanks…for being brave enugh to bring me in to the werld,’ I said.

‘Your a very speshul gerl, Sally-Anne,’ she said, ‘and dont you ferget it.’

‘I carnt ferget it, Mum,’ I said. ‘Its jus part of being speshul, you dont ever get to ferget it!’

On the way up to the top of Scot Land we terned up the radio and sang along lowdly. We sang ‘I want to brake free-hee!’ and ‘Were all Going on a Sunny Holiday!’ Are crappy car was back firing and fucked up but we trundeled along happiley, and sloley.

‘We can get up the top this time for shure, Sally-Anne,’ he said.

‘To the Orknees?’ I said. We had talkt abowt this a lot.

‘Yes, the Orknees.’

As we drove, I streched in to the back and held LittelBabys hand often. And LittelBruddas. I wantid to explane to them that we woud for ever be in danger but I thort may be thay all redy knew. Thay are so clever. Thay know things. More things than I do.

‘You know, Sally-Anne,’ said Duncan.

‘What Duncan?’

‘You dont have to wurry eny more abowt NarstyLady. There not going to be arfter us no more.’

‘How come? I thort thay woud be arfter us for ever.’

‘CrazyStranger, he said that as soon as we were of, he was going to hand his self in.’

‘Hand his self in?’

‘Yes, he said hes eighty two now and he dusent mind being in prison for NarstyLady if it menes that his speri mint, thats you, and the babies, can be wiold and free.’

I startid to cry with gratty chood. What a gift. I realised that if CrazyStranger loved us that much then it ment I was kind of his dorter.

Duncan startid laughing. ‘He arsked me what he shoud say if thay arsk him why he set light to her hare.’

‘What did you tell him?’ I arsked.

‘I said, ‘just say you gave her a fag so she coud have a larst smoke on her wey down the river.’

We coudent help it but we chuckeled and chuckeled abowt NarstyLady and her por berning hed all the way up to the top.

We stopt in a wood to camp, the night bifore are crossing on the erly morning ferry. When ever the babies were in naycher to gether, its like we coudent kepe are eyes of them. Thay had a beautifle bright grene shimmering light arownd them. You coud see spex of dust darncing in this light. It was like enerjy, like as if I was seeing enerjy. It moved in curves, like waves. I was addictid to wotching the babies.

LittleBrudda had soft gowldern hare all over his boddy. It was soft and moved in the wind, like the wind was brushing it. He gazed up at the sky, up at the moon. He only moved when abserlutely necisery. He charntid softly, like ‘oom, gana, wana, gana, oola moona noooog.’ He coud clime trees really well. I dident see no harm in it. I let him clime. Theres no sense taking some one owt of a cage and puting them in to anuther one, bisides wich, he was making up for lost time. ‘You go as high as you can, LittelBrudda!’ I called. So up he went, hand over hand, foot over foot. Duncan came back from finding wood for the fiyer and he looked arownd and saw LittelBaby sitting in a littel nut tree picking cob nuts. ‘Where is LittelBrudda?’ he arsked.

I pointid up in to an inormus beech tree. ‘Sally-Anne,’ said Duncan. ‘You are completley barmy! He is a baby!’

I saw that LittelBrudda was right at the top. Oops, it was bit high. ‘He might be a baby,’ I said, ‘but he is very strong and very good at climing. Bisides wich, I know what he nedes bicause I am a neander thingy and so is he.’

‘LittelBrudda!’ showtid Duncan. ‘Are you all right?’

‘Me or righ Dung Dung!’ the baby charntid back, swinging from a brarnch, miols abuv us. ‘Me high, me high, wid di berdies, no wurri!’

Duncan startid climing up. LittelBrudda showtid down to me: ‘Sally-Anne! Sally-Anne! No wurri, me hi five di toptop leves fo oo, Sally-Anne!’

Duncan went up as high as he coud to help LittelBrudda get down, but Iyum telling you, pepol like LittelBrudda…. not that there are eny, as he is uneke…. dont nede no help. He was a jenius climer, a proper legend.

We realised that night that it was LittelBabys, and there for LittelBruddas, ferst berth day, the 31st of Octoba, 2023. We lit a fiyer and sang ‘Oh dragen fly with your wings so blue,’ and ‘I….have bicome…comfterbly num,’ and ‘Happy Berth Day to you hoo.’

Next morning at dawn, porpusis lept all arownd are bowt. Slanting sun light berst thrugh clowds to glint on the dark cherning waves. Seles poked there heds owt of the water to wotch us go by and uther sele famerlies viewed us from rocks. LittelBaby was fasinatid. ‘Ooh, ooh, LittelBrudda!’ she said again and again. ‘Sele for oo. Sele for oo. Baby sele dere!’

The bowt stopt a cuple of times at rimote, wind brushed ilunds but we did not get of. We were heding as far awey as possibel from the sivel eyes ayshun. ‘Vanish, LittelBaby,’ I said, ‘thats what we nede to do, even if that CrazyStranger Snow is hanging owt in prison for us.’ I squezed her. We had a sete on the deck. She kissed my cheke and cuddeled in side my red puffa what I got from Oxfam. I looked at my luvley famerly. Duncan was in his big grene jumper with moth holes in it. LittelBaby was waring her hat with the fer lining, grene flowerey dungarees, and wellies. LittelBrudda was waring red trowsies what Duncan fownd in Sue Ryder for him, a brown fleese and a tartan hat with furrey ear flaps. They were all so gorjus I wantid to hug them tight to me for ever.

LittelBrudda was clutching on to the rales, wotching the fome bihind the bowt and the gulls weeling over the sparkeling sea. He had that far awey look in his eyes. He crooned on a mono tone: ‘Goo nana wolla noo noo….Flana gonoo omma wooooo.’

‘Spirit is evry thing,’ translaytid LittelBaby, popping her hed owt of my puffa, ‘life is a fract chured sperience, but in the end, we are all one.’

‘Duncan?’

‘Yes, Sally-Anne?’

‘Whats fract chured?’ we said together. We laughed.

‘It menes brokern,’ Duncan said.

Its lucky that I can under stand Duncan, and Duncan can under stand LittelBaby, and LittelBaby can under stand LittelBrudda, uther wise in are famly there woud be a bit of a langwidge baryer.

The End

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