Thursday, 29 October 2009
07:41:09 AM (GMT)
The voice was unmistakable, even to the five-year-old tree armadillo's
still-underdeveloped ears. It came from down the stairs! A broad grin spread across
her long face as she leaped from her canopy bed and bounced onto the grand banister.
She was small enough to slide all the way down and swivel with a flourish in front of
her ten-year-old cousin.
"Cousin Crofty!" she squealed, rushing forward to envelop her could-have-been older
brother in an honest embrace. He hugged her back hesitantly, making sure not to let
his snappy bowtie fall crooked. He pushed her away with a firm-yet-gentle hand, and
"Lookit what I've got!" he chided, pulling a little glass circle on a golden chain
from his pocket. Beatrice, seeing it reflect the light, immediately reached for it,
but her cousin's hand quickly snatched it back up into his pocket.
"Whazzat?" she asked bluntly, wiggling her fingers and trying to figure out which
pocket Mycroft had put the shiny disc into. They were both the same!
"'Tis a monocle," he said flatly, before grabbing her elbow and dragging her to the
door. "Ta, Uncle Atherol!"
"Bye mum!" called Beatrice, grabbing her magenta cloak for the blustery day just
before being tugged out the doorway and into the crisp November air. Mycroft adjusted
his bowtie once again and then promptly continued to haul his younger cousin down the
brick pathway of Caerthyl.
The wind whipped Beatrice's face, and by the time they reached the corner, she was a
sniveling, runny mess. Groaning, Cousin Crofty pulled his red hanky from his pocket
and shoved it in her direction. "Hey!" she cried, rubbing her nose with her palm and
forgetting about the napkin in her other hand. "That's no way to treat a lady!"
The only reaction from Cousin Crofty was an exasperated sigh. Not acknowledging this,
the young Beatrice continued.
"'Sides, you better stop, 'er else Mummy'll get you! And where are we going,
anyroad?" When her older cousin didn't answer and instead pulled her along more
roughly, she tugged on his sleeve harshly, once. Cousin Crofty let out a yelp, like
his tail had been stepped on.
"Don't – rip – it!" he whimpered, smacking his little cousin's grubby fingers
away. He then looked across the street, noticing that a policeman was eyeing him.
Beatrice, upon realizing this, folded her arms across her chest and smirked with
Another sigh. Hesitantly, Cousin Crofty patted her head.
"Come 'ead, then," he muttered, taking a few steps. "We're goin' to a show."
Unfortunately, this did not satisfy the little Beatrice, and she whined on. "Aw,
Cousin Crofty, what kind'a show? Vaudeville? Movin' picture? Peep?"
Cousin Crofty stopped in his tracks, causing his little relative to bump into him.
"Wh-what's a peep show? How do you know what they are?" he demanded, concern
pulled tight over his features.
"Oh, I'unno. But Mummy doesn't like it when Pa comes back from 'em."
Yet another sigh came from Cousin Crofty. A sigh of relief? Nah, couldn't be. "Well,
in that case, we're headed towards a puppet show."
Just as Beatrice was opening her mouth to speak, Cousin Crofty butted in. "Don't ask
what it is. You'll find out when we get there. And please, for the sake of the
spirits, take a tinkle before you get in your seat. We're getting there early so
we're right up front."
Beatrice squealed with delight. She had never had front row seats to anything! She
was always in the third or fourth rows at the opera, or in the box seat, which was
even further away. But this… oh, this would be perfect!
With a skip in her step, Beatrice happily followed her cousin to a storefront with
lots of colorful signs in the window. She couldn't read most of the words, but she
could sound out the very beginnings and smaller words. She sounded out the simpler
words while Cousin Crofty stood on his tiptoes and handed some coins to an old woman
in the booth, who gave him a pair of tickets in return.
"Mister… uhh, dunno… cat… and dog… and… mon-key… spir-its. Spir-its? Ohh,
spirits. And, uhh… pup…!" She was stopped just as she was sounding out the last
word, when Cousin Crofty snatched her elbow again and towed her into the storefront.
He tossed a few more coins to the man behind the counter, who handed the pair two
Licking her apple like a lollipop, Beatrice followed her cousin as they made their
way to a dark room in the back. They made their way to the front row, and it wasn't
long before other little kiddies of all species made their way into the theater. Dark
red curtains hung right in front of them, and Beatrice was tempted to reach out and
touch them. A lady wouldn't do anything like that!
It wasn't long before the room was mostly filled with muttering pups and kittens and
cubs and the like. With a drumroll that came from behind the stage, the curtains
lifted, and a grand trumpet fanfare sounded! Beatrice and Cousin Crofty clapped as
the show began, and even though her cousin kept up his plaudits, Beatrice froze with
fear as she caught sight of the performer.
He was a limp, sagging, piece of cloth, stuffed crudely with cotton! His beady-button
eyes stared out into the audience, seeming to gaze into the very depths of Beatrice's
soul. And the most terrifying feature of all was that he was suspended above the
stage… by… strings! He was being lynched right in front of the children! She…
she had to get out of there!
Unfortunately, that was not the case today! His beady eyes seemed to lock with hers,
and his limp form flew right into her face! "My, my! What a lovely lass we've got
here!" erupted a booming voice from its stitched-up ear-to-ear grin. That was the
With a shriek, Beatrice leaped from her seat, flung her caramel-coated apple at the
phantom "puppet," and high-tailed it out of the sick theater. Cousin Crofty barreled
through the audience after her, his bowtie tragically falling crooked. "Oi, Bee!" he
panted, catching her halfway back to her house.
"I-I'm never going back there!" she wailed, clutching onto her cousin for dear life.
"Y'hear me? NEVER! N-NEVER EVER!"
Sighing, Cousin Crofty handed his littler cousin his caramel apple, which healed most
of her wounds, and walked her home. Well, so it seemed. Inside, the poor little
five-year-old was scarred for life. She would be tormented by numerous nightmares of
dancing onstage, suspended only by strings, for the many years to come. Beatrice
blamed the entire traumatic experience on her Cousin Crofty, whom she holds a grudge
for to this very day.
- - - - - - - - - -
GAR HAR HAR!
Cousin Crofty and Beatrice are two characters I have that are related as cousins.
This is a story explaining Beatrice's morbid fear of puppets. They're so fun to write
together, they're polar opposites. xD