Monday 11th July 2011
I PUT a hand in front of my eyes, which was our sign for not understanding.
Arthur, patient and helpful as always, took pen and paper from the back-sack, proceeding to draw a picture he called The Big Miss Take. It comprised a small representation of myself, with downturned mouth, surrounded by many larger figures, all of aggressive disposition.
With a deep sigh, he then took my hand and made me sit by him on the bed, speaking for a long time, often repeating words in order to help me understand. He did not wish to stop me from going outside, but was worried what would happen when people knew where to find me.
Crowds, he managed to explain, would gather and stare, or laugh or shout, and try to touch my wings. My picture had been printed on sheets of paper that people examined every day. Images of my lifeboat being taken from the waves had been seen on the thing called television, one or more of which were to be found in almost every house in the land.
He told me the many names of those who were already searching for me: Pleece, Me Dear, Papa Ratsy, Guvver Munt.
“Are they high people?” I asked.
“People high up? Yes.”
It was as I had suspected: the drones, the huge fence, Martin’s trappings of serfdom, the cages, pens, locks. Quickly I sketched a likeness of the ogre in the Rhetan fable of The Innocent Child and the Evil Varreds.
“High and strong?” I showed him the drawing.
“In a way, yes. Two big four their own boots. Like the jie-unt in your picture.”
I repeated the word and attempted to spell it. Arthur corrected me.
“G.I.A.N.T. Are there giants on Rheta?”
“They not live. We have giants of stories. Play giants. We laugh.”
“We laugh too, sum times. But the giants here have much power. Power to do ill. And the power to be Crew L to Virgulle,” he concluded, quietly.
I knew not what to say, so said nothing.
“Virgulle, I must teach you some new words.”
And he reached for the notebook, there to inscribe the letters F, E, A, R and H, E, L, L.