Chapter 9 The Purpose
The cabdriver, brandishing his procured sprinkler key, turned to see if he had to clobber some lizard monkey rats, but they just stood across the street, a few hundred or so, and watched, silently.
Clement was the first to speak. “Maybe we should get inside?”
That seemed like a great idea to everyone else. They stood in front of The Beautiful Woman All Dressed in Mud and she just stared back.
“Oh!” She realized. “I’m in the way.” She stood up and apologized. Bucky’s mom immediately took out her house key from her rain-damaged purse and dropped it in the grass. The cabdriver got on his knees and soaked them while digging around for the key. Bucky had her own and in seconds had the door open.
The inside of the house had a warm and cozy feeling, because Bucky’s mom forgot to turn the heat off, and it was a good thing, not that she forgot, (because as you know, you should never forget such a thing) but that it was warm and cozy inside. A minute later and all were standing, dripping wet in the tiny foyer of Bucky’s house. The lizard rat monsters were still across the street, watching with what looked like only academic interest, which made them all the more frightening.
“I’ll start the tea,” said Bucky’s mom, and into the kitchen she went.
“I’ll help,” said the cabdriver, whose name happened to be Bert. He then went into the kitchen which was just the opposite side of the house as the den and back porch.
Clement and Bucky took off their coats and hung them up on the coat rack in the foyer and headed toward the den. The Beautiful Woman followed close behind.
Bucky started a fire in the gas fireplace and sat down on the sofa. Clement sat next to her and the Beautiful Woman just stood there.
“Does my dress look like a bell when I turn around really fast?” asked the Beautiful Woman, who then turned in place several times rather fast, splashing mud all over the den walls, Bucky’s chair, Bucky’s mom’s chair, the TV, the sofa and Clement and Bucky.
“No,” said Bucky, “the mud keeps it pretty straight.”
The Beautiful Woman looked disappointed. “Oh.”
“Sit down, please,” said Bucky.
The Beautiful Woman looked very happy and sat rather hard and floppily into the mud splattered chair that Bucky’s mom usually sat in.
“Comfy!” she exclaimed.
“Yeah, that’s my mom’s. The one next to it is mine, if you want to sit there...”
“No, this is quite comfortable. Thank you.”
Bucky frowned. How was she going to get The Beautiful Woman out of her mother’s chair without being rude? The Beautiful Woman just sat there, with a rather unnerving smile on her face, as if she was waiting for the server in a restaurant to take her order.
“Can I get you anything?” Bucky asked.
“My mom is getting the tea.”
“Oh,” and she just kept staring and smiling. Once in a long while she would blink.
“I don’t think,” began Bucky, “that I ever caught your name.”
“I am the Beautiful Woman All Dressed in White!” she said with a lilt of a laugh.
“Not anymore,” offered Clement.
“Mud is fun.”
“Yes,” began Bucky, again, “that’s all well and good, but who, exactly,” and she motioned her hands toward the Beautiful Woman, “is the Beautiful Woman All Dressed in White?”
“Me!” she sang, and at that, stood up on her tip toes, and spun around once more, splattering anew the furniture and carpet with wet, brown mud. Clement wiped some mud out of his eye and suggested the Beautiful Woman stay seated until she was good and dry.
“Oh yes! And warm with tea! Can’t wait!”
Bucky was not going to give up. She forged ahead.
“Beautiful Woman All Dressed in White,” she started, again.
“Why are you here?”
The Beautiful Woman wrinkled her brow as if trying to do a tax form by memory. The rain kept splattering the den windows. All Bucky and Clement could see outside was gray and damp with drops on the window. However in the distance, they could still see a myriad of shining red eyes.
“I guess I didn’t tell you yesterday,” the Beautiful Woman finally said after what seemed like an hour, but was only a few seconds.
“No,” said Bucky, “no you didn’t.”
The Beautiful Woman made herself more comfortable and smoothed out her muddy dress and wiped her hands on the arm rests of the chair, smiled and started to tell a tale so strange, so improbable that with all that had happened to her in the past three days, Bucky decided to believe it.
“I’m here to stop an eventual apocalypse that’s not supposed to happen yet. And it’s been a blast!”
Just then, Mrs. Newcastle and Bert came in with a tray of hot, steaming tea and a plate of mouth-watering chocolate chip cookies. Mrs. Newcastle set some cups on the coffee table in-between the children and the Beautiful Woman and poured the tea. Bert set down the plate of cookies, but not before taking a couple for himself. He bit into one and it was just the right kind of crunchy.
The Beautiful Woman’s face lit up as she watched Bert eat his cookie. She hadn’t realized just how hungry she was and the treats looked so tempting she took a cookie and ate it greedily. Oh! It was unlike anything she had eaten in this world before. It was crunchy, yet it had deliciously soft chocolate throughout. Thoroughly delightful they were, and she had two or three more.
“These are fantastic,” she exclaimed, “what do you call them?”
Bucky looked incredulous. “Cookies.”
At that, the Beautiful Woman’s face changed dramatically. She looked like she just had been told she was eating a kitten. Spitting out the cookie crumbs and partially chewed chocolate bits all over the carpet she started to scream. With her muddy gloved hand she tried to brush her tongue clean.
“What the heck?” It was Clement’s turn to look incredulous.
The Beautiful Woman looked up, stunned.
“What did you call these?”
“Cookies,” said Bucky, looking worried and slightly disgusted.
“Not spelled k-u-k-y-z?”
“No,” replied Bucky, “spelled c-o-o-k-i-e-s.”
“Oh, good. Because those things outside are called kukyz in Innerworld. I would never want to eat one of those. You don’t know where they’ve been.”
Bucky threw up her hands. “I give up. What are kukyz?”
The Beautiful Woman picked up the remains of her cookies and wrapped them up in a paper napkin that the exasperated Bert, who stood there, watching in horror, had left on the table. Bucky’s mom was about to go get the vacuum. The Beautiful Woman, however, captured their attention right away.
“They are monsters. They were created by a deranged mind. All they do is follow you around, watch what you’re doing, and report back to the mad man who made them. They sometimes stay with you, and you can never get rid of them. While you sleep, they watch you, wait until you forget they are there and then try to sell you something. Absolutely horrendous.”
Bucky’s mom went and got the vacuum anyway.
“I’m here to save both Innerworld and your world. What I call Outerworld. Peter is in Innerworld, where Clement was supposed to go, but missed it. Now it’s up to Peter to stop that horrible Politikus Mediosus and set the worlds right again. He’s mad, you know. He wants to come into this world and take over. He is mad with power.
“Why does Peter or Clement need to go?” asked Bert, who was really starting to believe it all.
“Politikus is originally from this world, so one of his kind must stop him. It is Peter’s destiny, his purpose.”
“So,” started Clement, “I missed my purpose in life? Is that what you’re saying, sitting there with mud and crumbs all over you?”
The Beautiful Woman wrinkled up her nose and looked to the ceiling. She shook her head.
“Not your purpose in life,” she stated, “but a purpose that could have been yours and now is his.”
Bert thought he’d have another cookie.
“Well, at least those animals outside can’t get in.”
“Not while I’m here,” said the Beautiful Woman, “They know I’ll smoosh ’em,” and she did a grinding motion with her foot.
Mrs. Newcastle came back into the den with an upright vacuum and was searching for an outlet when she stopped for a minute and looked right at the Beautiful Woman.
“How can we help?” asked Bucky’s mom. Bucky could have jumped out of orbit over this. Finally her mother was getting involved in something. Then a weird look came over her mother’s face, and she kept staring at the Beautiful Woman.
“What is it, Mom?”
The Beautiful Woman stared back. She smiled. There was chocolate chip cookie in her teeth.
“Haven’t I,” and Mrs. Newcastle stopped talking for a second. Then she picked up where she left off. “Haven’t I seen you in a fashion magazine before?”
“Yep!” said the Beautiful Woman, “That’s when I was alive in this world, before my fatal, and somewhat embarrassing, modeling accident.”
There was a thunder clap, a lightening flash, and Bert spit out his tea and dropped his handful of cookies.