Tuesday 13 May 2014

Return To The Lane Of Bells - Part 3 - An Audience With The Judge

The voice from above startled me.

Who's that? I called out

That's the judge! George said

I turned to look at him, I'm sure my mouth must have been open.

You can speak again! I was in shock

Yes he can speak, the voice bellowed, but whether he gets to keep his speech is yet to be determined.

I stood there not knowing what to do.

George what's going on?

Shhh, he said.

I'd follow your friends advice little cat, or would you prefer me to call you by you full name, Lil'?

How do you know my name?

I turned again to look at George who was looking at the box in front of us.

I know everything little cat but the question is do you?

Well no of course I didn't know everything but I didn't want to anger The Judge, he didn't seem the friendliest of individuals.

No, I was having to think on my feet here, nothing could have prepared me for any of this, but we would like your help.

WE? boomed The Judge

I didn't know what to say and just stood there in silence, I wanted to scratch an itch on the side of my face but was too scared to move. It then hit me I could feel an itch, I'd not felt that since going to the other side. I could feel again, oh how fantastic was this, never before would an itch have felt so great, still it was irritating but I didn't know what was going on and thought it best to keep quiet.

Well what is it you two want then. Why do you disturb me? Why did you come for an audience with The Judge?

George took a step nearer towards the box.

Last time I was here I came to see you about everything that was going on with Catkind and for some advice about what to do with the attempted take-over and our Catworld and I left not being able to speak. I want my voice back.

Then take it, The Judge replied.

What do you mean, I couldn't, no matter how hard I tried gobbledygook just came out.

I don't mean out there George, I mean in here. Only you can take your voice back, make yourself be heard!

OK, George looked angry not something he does much, it is one of his most dashing looks. I want to be able to leave this place and go back home with my voice.

That's better, stand up for yourself, don't apologise for your wants and desires. 

He paused.

You want to go back home as well, you say, and The Judge laughed.

Well you know that's not guaranteed. So you want two things do you, anymore?

Yes, I stepped up side-by-side with George. I'd like some answers too.

The Judge laughed.

Brave little thing aren't you! But tell me why should I help either of you.

Although I was scared I wasn't going to be intimidated by this voice.

Because we are good people and we only want what's right. George, I was told, lost his voice to stop him from saying something to me about The First that came from Troy Lamore and Catkind and I want to know what it was. I want to help Catkind and I want my George back to normal again and I want you to stop trying to scare us.

SCARE YOU! The Judge's voice echoed around the dome, SCARE YOU! Do I scare you Lil'? If you think this is scary just you wait.

Well let's see, shall I help you, um let me think.

The dome fell into silence. I turned to look at George who seemed frozen in time.

George, I turned to him, what's happening?

He deciding.

Deciding what?

Deciding whether he will or not according to what we've said.

What is that it? No questions? I feel like I've been put on trial or something.

We have, George replied.

It was like this last time, I hardly got chance to get anything out before he told me he was deciding.

As simple as that? I asked

NO, The Judges voice boomed, not as simple as that but as simple as this.

At that moment the lid of the box opened and a light shone from within. George swallowed and turned to me.

Lil' get ready.

I wanted to ask for what but thought I might end up regretting it, every time I opened my mouth it didn't seem to be making the situation any better.

Well George you know the drill.

The drill! What on earth was the drill?

George looked at me and took a step nearer the box.

Remember George, you only get one chance, now choose wisely.

Choose what? Hang on a minute what's going on here. 

George turned and looked at me.

I have to make a choice, depending on what I choose will determine my fate, whether I get my voice back on the outside and even if I'm allowed to return home or end up...

he swallowed, his mouth dry as a pile of crushed up bones.

...end up stuck here.

Here? What do you mean end up here?

At that moment a million little lights came on all through The Lane of Bells, under the bells and in the archways, a thousand screams and cackles echoed up and down, around and around.

Awrdddddd, Weopweop, Queeerhh, Hahahahah

Illuminated by the light, beyond the bells and into the archways irons bars cemented from floor to ceiling and behind the bars were cats, thousands upon thousands of cats, hair matted, eyes glowing, sad and mad, thousands and thousands of deranged cats, screaming and crying out, laughing and calling.

The Catacombs Lil', THE CATACOMBS!