By Vita Forest
Like the reliable sailor she was, Christabel kept a close watch on all the goings-on in her part of the ocean from her post on the Good Ship Possession anchored in the ceiling.
On this particular day, she peered through her spy glass over the starboard side of the galleon and trained the instrument down into the ocean. She was following the progress of a large grey stone travelling from a continental shelf in The Lounge Room to its new resting place on the murky floor of The Tabletop. The stone was about the size of a block of parmesan cheese with rounded edges and a growth of silver barnacles on its upper side. It sat solidly on the ocean floor, sending ripples over the surface of The Tabletop.
She was not the only one whose interest had been piqued by this stone. The great white whale had followed the procession of the stone and had leapt up onto the The Tabletop to inspect the new arrival. The stone was sniffed and nuzzled and found to be quite satisfactory. It lay there, sturdily on the ocean floor, settling into the sand.
The light was shining in from the northern windows and sending drifting shafts down to the deep part of the ocean. It was afternoon. The whale lost interest in the stone and leap from The Tabletop again to gaze out the window at the World Beyond and enjoy the warmth of the sun’s caress on her soft white skin. Christabel did the same – lost interest in the stone that is, there was no point looking at a stone when one could look at a whale.
But suddenly, the attention of both Christabel and the whale was drawn back to the stone by a most surprising occurrence. The stone starting singing. Christabel stood for a moment in amazement, listening to the notes of a – what was it? surely a piano? which drifted up, spiralling on the eddies of the water until it seemed to wash over the bow of the Good Ship Possession itself. Christabel not only heard it but felt it too.
It was quite extraordinary.
She closed the spy glass and it put it back in its holder and held onto the wooden side of the ship with both paws.
Yes! It was true – she could feel the singing. Christabel closed her eyes and felt the reverberations travel into her paws, up her legs, all the way to her scalp. How the fur stood up on the back of her neck! How the notes danced off the end of her tail! She stood for a few moments, listening and feeling. Feeling and listening. The deep resonance of the low notes. The sharp percussive spike of a high one. She was being washed over in sound.
Eventually, when her whole body had been loosened and calmed with all the cricks and the aches and the pains erased, Christabel opened her eyes again and took a deep breath. The piano music continued to sing up from the stone, filling the water, filling the air, filling the galleon. In her peaceful state, she took out her spyglass once more and trained it down onto the stone. The white whale was entwined about it, its eyes closed in a state of bliss as the waves of sound fell over its spine.
How marvellous, thought Christabel. How mysterious.
And she closed up her spyglass and lay down on the deck of the galleon and listened and felt the music soar up through the water, through the creaking wooden boards of the galleon and into her very bones.