The True Adventures of Jay B R Wokky, Web Serials

Jay B.R. Wokky Ch. 12.5 — Felix Helps Out

Ch. 12.5 — Janine looked up at Old Bob’s kind face. “I need a few things from the castle. Will you keep Freddie here until I come for him?”
“You can’t go back up there. It’s too dangerous.”
Janine shook her head. “No one will see me. I’ll take the servants’ staircases. Everyone is at the ball.”
“She’ll have ordered the guards and servants to capture you if they see you. And don’t forget Paul, who is hunting you.”
Janine bit her lip. How was she going to run away without supplies — clothing and food? And what about her books?
Old Bob opened a cupboard, took out a knapsack, and began to fill it with bread, cheese, apples, and a leather bag full of water. He slid out a drawer and then handed her a pair of trousers, a boy’s shirt, and a gray hat. “Step into the bedroom and change. Put your hair up under the hat.”
Janine took the clothing and went into the small bedroom. An enormous black and brown tabby cat sat on the bed. He began to purr.
“How interesting,” said the cat. “A princess. The youngest one, I’d say.”
Janine ignored the cat and began to peel out of her torn, dirty dress.
“Are you running away?”
“Yes.”
The cat licked a paw. “You should go to the Tulgey Woods.”
“Will I be safe there?”
The cat laughed. “No one is safe in the Tulgey Woods. But you’ll be safer there than here.”
Janine groaned. “You’re probably right.”
“If you decide to go on o Wonderland, I have a cousin there who will help you. Ask for Chessy.”
Janine changed into the boy’s clothing and re-braided her hair, then tucked it under the hat. When she looked back at the cat, he had faded away. Only his smile remained.
Janine went back out to the main room of the cottage. Old Bob gave her an old buttoned coat and sturdy boots. He stuffed a toothbrush into the knapsack.
“Will you go with me?” Janine asked. Old Bob had always treated her with kindness. He had been her friend since the first time she had toddled into the stable yard.
“I cannot.” His eyes told her he wished he could. She didn’t ask why. He tucked a small glowing ball into the front pocket of the knapsack. “This will help you see the way. Just tell it what to do, and it will obey.” He studied her for a moment. “Is there anything specific you wanted from the castle?”
Janine bit her lip and shook her head. She thought sadly of the castle library, with its book-lined walls, old comfortable chairs, and thick, soft rugs that always seemed to be sprinkled with dog hair. The books within had been her friends. If there was a way to bring them all with her, she would. She would also miss the kennels, the stables, and the barns with their four-footed inhabitants. She would even miss her family, in spite of how horrid they’d been to her.
Old Bob studied her. “Before you go, you need to know what your name day gifts were.”
“The family record book is locked in a special drawer in the library, and only Father has the key.”
Old Bob smiled. “That won’t be a problem.” He snapped his fingers. “Felix.”
The tabby cat appeared on the big oak table. Curled with one leg stretched out, he seemed to be in the middle of his bath. He yawned widely. “You rang?”
“Get the book of records from the castle and bring it back here.”
The cat put his ears back and lashed his tail. “I seem to recall dogs with big teeth, guards with knives and swords at every corner, and an irate cook with a rolling pin.”
Old Bob looked sorrowful. “Too true. And the book is locked in the Royal Library. Scads of people are up there at the castle, all dancing and partying and carrying on. The kitchen’s frantic with preparing all that delicious food. No place for a cat who has lost his nerve.”
“Lost his –?” Felix hissed. “Ha.”
The cat vanished.
Old Bob winked.
Janine looked at Old Bob with interest. “I didn’t know you could talk to animals the same way I can.”
“It’s best to keep some of the stranger gifts to yourself, if you know what I mean.”
Felix reappeared with a large book in his mouth, which he spat out onto the table. “There. Nasty taste. Probably hasn’t been dusted in the last ten years.”
Old Bob scratched behind Felix’s ears. “You wonderful, smart, brave cat. How did I get so lucky to have your friendship?”
Felix sniffed. “Ha.”
“Thank you, Felix,” said Janine. The cat began to purr.

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