Friday, October 29, 2010

"The Halloween Tree" Chapter 17

So the gargoyles have come, and are now set in place as adornments to the great cathedral that is Notre Dame.  The boys are pretty impressed that they were able to bring them there with only the power of their whistling.  What else can their whistling do?
"Jehosophat," said Tom Skelton, on the parapet.  "We whistled all the stone griffins and demons here.  Now Pipkin's lost again.  I was thinking, why can't we whistle him?"
When I read that, I got so excited!  They're going to call Pipkin to them!  But Moundshroud just laughs... and I got disappointed... but then he tells the boys that Pipkin is still there!
"Look and find, lads, hide and seek!"
So they run throughout the cathedral, down stairs and hallways, until they finally spot him.  He's made of stone, protruding from the side of the building amongst the other gargoyles.  The boys walk out on a dangerous ledge to get near him.  It's high drama, high over the city.
 "Pip, for cri-yi, what you doin' here? called Tom.
Pip said nothing.  His mouth was cut stone.
But Tom is sure that it is Pipkin.  He's sure that he heard his voice why won't he talk now?  But then the wind blows around them and through the gargoyles and out their mouths making a sound.  The wind is the key.  Pipkin can only speak when a gust of wind flows through him.
The wind blew sadly and the voice spoke as from deep in an old well:
"Been--so many--places--in just--a few--hours."
The boys waited, grinding their teeth.
"Speak up, Pipkin!"
But then the wind dies, and he can speak no more.  But just when all seems lost, the rain starts.  It begins to pour and Pipkin is given a new voice.
And this was best of all.  For the raindrops ran cold in Pipkin's stone ears and out along his nose and fountained from his marble mouth so that he began to utter syllables in liquid tongues, with clear cold rainwater words:
"Hey--this is better!"
He goes on to marvel over the places he has been.  He's been a mummy.  He's been a dog.  He wonders where he'll be next.  But the boys have something to ask him.  Something they need to know.
"Are you dead, Pipin?"
"No, not yet," said the cold rain in his mouth.  "Part of me in a hospital a long way off home, part of me in that old Egyptian tomb.  Part of me in the grass in England.  Part of me here.  Part of me in a worse place--"
"I don't know, I don't, oh gosh, one minute I'm yelling laughs, the next I'm scared.  Now, just now, this very minute, I guess, I know, I'm scared.  Help me, guys.  Help, oh
Rain poured out his eyes like tears.
They boys try to reach out to Pipkin.  To give him comfort, show him love, help him any way they can.  But a flash of lightning streaks the sky and shakes the cathedral.  The boys cling to something so as not to fall off, but the stone Pipkin isn't so lucky.  His head goes crashing to the ground below...

And that's when Moundshroud suddenly says, "Mexico."
"Mexico?" asked Tom.
"The last grand travel of this night," said Moundshroud, still uttering, savoring the syllables.  "Whistle, boys, scream like tigers, cry like panthers, shriek like carnivore!"
"Scream, cry, shriek?"
"Reassemble the Kite, lads, the Kite of Autumn.  Paste back the fangs and fiery eyes and bloody talons.  Yell the wind to sew it all together and ride us high and long and last.  Bray, boys, whimper, trumpet, shout!"
And when the boys hesitate, Moundshroud just pushes them off the building.  As they fall, they scream and gasp, and their cries bring the kite to them!  It catches them in their fall, and Moundshroud latches on as the tail.  Off they soar to what I'm guessing is their final destination.

Fred Fryer, dressed as a beggar, notices below the real beggars of Ireland, going from door to door asking for food.  What a sad trick-or-treat!

But they fly on, and they fly fast.  Soon they are approaching Mexico and they can hear the hammering of the coffin makers in the streets.  Our chapter ends here, leaving me thoroughly anxious for the adventures Mexico might bring.

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