By Vita Forest
In which Christabel awakens to discover changes in the night sky.
There were bumps. There were rattlings and bangs. There were loud voices as storm clouds disagreed with each other. There were preparations for A Party.
Below the sea, it was tempestuous too. The usual inhabitants of The Tabletop were swept away by the sudden maelstrom, even the whales had left, seeking refuge in Another Room. Spiralling silver whirlwinds snaked down from the ceiling and strained toward the sea, ready to snatch up the unwary sailor. The sun was having difficulty peering out behind the storm clouds and so the colour had been fairly removed from the world. The Good Ship Possession swung about on its anchor in this monochromatic new realm.
Christabel, like the whales, was quite put out by the sudden disturbances in the atmosphere. Why was there a need for all this whirling and washing, this spinning and stretching? Why could the world not stay as it was? For despite being an adventurer, the truth was that Christabel preferred routine and the predictable to savage disruption and hurly burly. And so, after stowing the sails, and ensuring the anchor was still firmly lodged in the ceiling, Christabel retired to her cabin (and, in truth, to bed). She would pass the remainder of the storm below deck (for she was fortunate to have a strong constitution and did not require fresh air to keep sea sickness at bay when the waves swelled and broiled). Thus it was, that through the noise and the tempest, through the shrieks and the celebrations, through the games and singing of ditties, Christabel slumbered and snoozed under her cosy down quilt.
As was often the way in times of discord, Christabel slept when it was tumultuous, but woke when calm returned. She opened her eyes and listened. Through the thick paper-mache walls of The Possession, all she could hear was muffled voices, the clink of glassware in The Kitchen and gentle music. The Party was Over.
She crawled from her bed, wrapped her gold silk kimono about her and climbed the ladder. When she reached the deck, her eyes widened in wonder. The Ceiling had been transformed. Where once she had looked out on wide expanses of clear white skies, she now found The Possession floating beneath a sky full of stars! Christabel clutched the side of the ship and gazed in delight at the new constellations. How they sparkled! How they twinkled merrily about her! She leaned on her elbows and smiled up at the sky.
Perhaps there were good things that came of storms after all.