Now things are dark, and a little bit earlier. When I was a teenager, typing away at a truly bad manuscript, I was down in the basement - amiss all of the electron optics, who's work was my grandfathers of obsession - every so often, I would go up the stairs - and on a clear night - there were stars against a soft deeply blue. That was the difference between the last chapter and this, in reverse – the difference between the inner black, and the outer blue. If only they - that if the characters- could just look up and see the stars, the way Dante could - in their exact positions in some ordered heaven - which only he could see. But neither Eddie, nor the bird, nor the rodent, could divine either the Narnian constellations- which CS Lewis did paint, though not in any detail - or the constellations of Earth. Which, of course, many people have painted over the years, of course. Cassiopeia, and the summer triangle of the northern sky, the archer, and the red of Antares – which is truly ante- Ares, or Mars if you will. The same was coming to Narnia skies, there was a change to summer stars, because of course Narnia skies used magic – and there had never been seen such summer stars in a number years.
Eddie was confused, but for different reasons. At first he had blessed himself for having gotten away from the witch. But now he was more confused then before. He was in a dark hallway, much of the time not even really seeing, only in glimpses that passed without understanding. And a few seconds or so seeing one, but not both, of the eyes that he knew were the birds eyes, or the rodent eyes, but never both at once. And really it was only a snapshot of the eyes, and then was gone. It wasn't as if there were a smooth continuity, it was more like a flash, of flash of eyes that glimmering from the blackness, and then were gone. There were other images, and he did not know which ones were real.
Obviously, he wanted to know what was real, and what was simply in his head. He never thought about this, he assumed that, with rare exceptions, everything that was going on around around him, divided neatly in to outside of his head which he received through the senses. Though of course he did think of them quite like that. And in his head, which transformed from out of nowhere.
As I said, here to for, their was only very rare exceptions, and he knew them afterwards as having been a dream, though he didn't realize at the time. It was disturbing, he thought, that he would never know if something had been from outside, or inside, the mind itself. It was so disturbing, that he tried not to think about it at all. But it was bubbling up, partially because the bird and the rodent were not quite then selves, or rather, there was something that they were hiding. Now Eddie didn't know what it was, but he was fairly sure that he wasn't supposed to guess it. This made him running around trying to ascertain what it could possibly be. It couldn't be too hard to guess, mind you, because they weren't very bright, or at least it seemed so. With this as a parameter, he would guess that it had something to do with the witch. It seems that I should be writing on Milo, the main character of Norton Juster book, the Phantom Tollbooth, because he is very much the same kind of character, and has “a which” not “a witch”. There are all sorts of parallels between CS Lewis and Norton Juster. One of the main differences is that Norton Juster is Jewish, and does not take his world war seriously than it deserves. But there is a similarity, want happens when a child peers into their universe, and makes a story. Realize there is a point where this happens, and then later on, he wants to make it so everyone can it, an then he finds out just how hard this actually is. So most of them give up, or will not know if they have any audience. Sometimes they will die before people read their works, or will then in the proper context - perhaps because the proper context is the one that important people want them in. such as CS Lewis.
There is one other similarity - CS Lewis and Norton Jester like to play tricks on unsuspecting people, though CS Lewis was more polite about it.
Getting back to the original point, that of Eddie and his two, well they're not friends, but close enough - to imagine them as friends with a secret. He gradually listened harder to what they were saying, and it became clear that they both thought the was clearly more deaf than he was.
It was the bird who talked first, at least it was the bird who was clearest. “Do you think that we have led him on, enough?”
“I think so. But we should dip around a few turns more.”
“I don't think I recognize any of this, this was done by humans I think.”
“I don't think their were any humans,” replied the rodent, “it's just a myth.”
“You live to far under ground, there are definitely humans that painted these walls.”
“Horse feathers, is just your imagination running away and dreaming up men and women. I tell you there are no humans that have trod on this ground.”
“You probably are right,” Interjected the bird, “but I can't help but thinking, there may be some truth.”
“You are dreaming.”
“Then everyone else must be dreaming the same dream. After all, there is one human, at least.”
The rodent replied, but Eddie could not make out what it was. But it probably was more of the same, though the rodent was winning the battle, the battle of who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes. Even when people see something, they resist and return to their previous conception. In this case, that humans were a myth, even though they had one with them, and were leaving him, at least Eddie thought so, too certain death.
This disconcerted Eddie, because he had offered his friendship, and they were scheming to get rid of him. It was clear that, while they weren't aligned with the witch, when things came down to it, they would rather take the unpleasant thing that they knew, rather than take a chance with something that was possibly pleasant, but they didn't know for sure.
Then he thought, why not say so, in interrupt the fantasy that he had not heard what they were talking about. He thought the bird would understand, but he was not so sure about the rodent. And he wanted to carry both of them into the light. Even were it the kind of light which is the darkness of stars, because even that would be better than this. He didn't know where it came from, because he didn't know that he knew Tolkien, but there was a crack in his mind. In it he saw something that was not human, but he didn't know what it was. It had a long face, and a few teeth, as well as eyes that were larger than its face should truly allow for. And he heard a word, “Gollom” which he had not not heard before, but he knew that he had heard it first from the outside, it wasn't his own creation. He had actually heard it from his aunt, who was quite a good deal wiser then the children suspected.
But he knew that the rodent and Gollom were of the same type of creature, always managing to think about their own needs first. Even if they didn't know what those needs actually were. They were also both misshapen, with one or the other side slightly crooked. There was a odd sort of symmetry to this, though he didn't know how that would happen. But he realized that he was going to have two act, and very soon.
“You know, I can hear you.” Then he fumbled for the words, “even if not very well.”
There was a commotion, the bird shooting back his eyes, and they were as round as could be. Then the rodent's eyes glanced over him, and they were different. They said something like:“how dare you ruin what I was doing?” It was in that instant that Eddie knew that the rodent was never going to accept the fact that he was real. That some time in the not too distant future, there was going to be a common to terms, though he didn't think that a fight would be the way. It would be something more devious. The word “diabolical” was not exactly correct, but in time, it could become so.
Than he realized that he and the bird would have to come to terms, and he would have to convince the bird that was a better friend than the rodent. But how to do this, since he was not a very fine talker, and the bird was the not the best listener. He realized, however, that if it was going to be anyone, it would have to be him. Strangely enough that gave him confidence, that he could feel. And then his mouth opened up and he began talking.
“Do you want to face the witch, alone, like that?” There was no talking up ahead of him, merely turning through corners in to a large open space which had things in it, but they were not visible. And then he realized, there was something that the rodent was hiding from the bird, namely the contents of this room. So he said: “What are you hiding from us?”
“Who says that were hiding something?” The rodent replied, though there was a cough to his answer, which the bird caught.
“I do,” said Eddie, “and it must be a secret because you not only hidden it from me, but from the bird as well.”
“What sort of secret could there be? There is nothing in this room.” Sputtered the rodent, and crawling up on his hind legs.
“Have you ever seen what in this room?” asked Eddie persistently.
“Well, I haven't.” Replied the bird.
There was a pause, which the rodent should have filled in with a denial
“What about you, Mr. Rodent?”
“I didn't say anything.”
“Does that mean that you haven't seen anything in this room, or that you have and don't want to talk about it?”
Again, there was silence from the Rodent. Finally, he said: “What is it of your concern?”
“It means nothing to me. But your friend the bird would be interested if there was something to see, and you had hid it from him.”
At this point the birds eyes, because remember that is largely what you saw, begin pointing to the rodent, and away from Eddie. “I heard you say that there was nothing important.”
“Well, that's not exactly what I said.” Protested the rodent, and he shrank a little bit under the pressure.
“The bird and I would like to hear what you would say now. That is if it is any different from what you meant then.” The bird rapidly agreed with this, even before thinking about it.
Now a clever evil being, like the witch, would rapidly spin a lie as complex as you like. But remember the rodent was not even remotely comparable to her. Instead he was spinning his wheels, trying to figure out what to do. And spinning his wheels was enough of a clue that their was something wrong in this room. In fact, the bird, did not know how large the room it was, though he suspected that the rodent did. Which was again suspicious. In fact, it weighed heavily.
So the bird asked the rodent: “Is there something that I should know?” a more eloquent would put curly cues, and made a more eloquent collection, but that would be the opening for the rodent to slip in enough of misdirection to clamber out of the trap. The pause was voluminous, and the rodent swallowed himself up in to its cavernous weight. This was more than the bird could take.
“I thought we would share everything, because we're both alone.” Cried the bird.
Then Eddie picked through his pockets, and found a match. It wasn't the modern kind of match, which would only strike if a matchbook was present. No he had gotten it from the aunt, and it would strike all by itself. So he took it out of his pocket, and proceeded to strike.
And something wondrous appeared...