Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

Categories Navigation Menu

– 4 –

– 4 –

This story is about Mr. Enemy — I’ve said that before — but I want to talk about Emily for a while instead. For this book, just this one book maybe, I want to focus instead on Emily and the storms; on Emily and the lightning, Emily and the dynamite, Emily and the Keepers; to talk about Emily, who loves jaguars and yellow hats and Eldri, and most especially Navvy Jim.

Only, Eldri is dead now, he got eaten; and Navvy Jim is dead now, I think, I mean, I’m pretty sure; and the jaguars that Emily cares for most —

They spin around the Earth, in the cold blue emptiness of space.

It’s kind of cool and it’s kind of cruel because they don’t ever get to breathe.

I don’t think I could do it. I don’t think I could look at a jaguar and say, “You know, one day, jaguar, the whole world’s going to fall apart. So I’m going to launch you into space and you will fall for millennia around the world and you will be cold and you will be airless but I will charge you with my sorcery to protect the life that breathes and flourishes below.”

I don’t think I could do that to jaguar Chan or jaguar Ixchel or even to jaguar Yohl.

And I know Emily couldn’t have. I think. Because I’ve seen her when she thinks about the jaguars. I’ve seen the way she goes distant, and her face goes soft, because they are to her — I think they are a symbol of her inspiration to her, or of her hope. I think that ever since she was a child and she met the jaguar Bahlum, who fell to Earth, she has thought that the jaguars are the most beautiful and magical thing out there anywhere; that they teach her when they move, in and through that movement, that there is a thing that is beautiful and moving; that life is joyous and in motion; that it is OK, that it is somehow OK, that the world is so full of suffering and trouble, that it is OK that life is so very hard, because there are things bigger than that, more beautiful than that, more fiery and vast and glorious than that, in a long decaying orbit around our little mortal world.

She could fall into despair, I think; she could drown in it; and then she could look up, and she could point at the jaguars, and the light of them would take her. It would flow through her, and the darkness and the ice and the despair in her couldn’t hold. Despair is a stillness, you understand? It is only there in stillness. It ceases when there is motion. It breaks when there is life.

And she would look up at the jaguars, right through that awful shadowing, and she would say:

O See Them Move!

And the dark would burst.

That is what they are to her. That is what they mean to her.

They are not that to me.

Me, I think I kind of hate them because they are the doom of Emily, who is my friend.

They are magical and beautiful, anyway, the magical jaguars. They go around and around the world. It’s kind of cool and it’s kind of cruel, and they are cold, and they miss the air.

And if what she’s going to do works, if what she’s going out there to do now works, and she calls them down, then they’ll probably just land on her, or something, because they’re jaguars, and that is what jaguars do.

They will fall on her. They will be burning.

You know how jaguars can be.

They will land on Emily, and they’ll rake her back, and maybe they’ll even eat her some or set her on fire, and she’ll be lucky if she survives.

And then the scissors will fall again, afterwards, and they’ll trash the house and get stuck in all the trees. And the Fan Hoeng aliens will land and they’ll disembark and they’ll say “Take me to your leader,” only there won’t really be any leaders left, so I’m expecting that they’ll get a little tetchy about all that. And Peter will stagger out of his Fan Hoeng cell, where they’ve been keeping him, I guess, and he’ll be all mean and he’ll punch people because he’s Peter, ’cause even if he’s a saint of sorts I’ll bet he’s gotten back his punchy hand.

What she’s doing is going to be a total catastrophe, I mean, pretty much all of it, but the worst part will be that whole thing with the jaguars, because I don’t want them to land on Emily and kill her. It is a thing that I do not want to see.

She’s basically —

I mean — I mean, there’s hardly anybody left.

But that’s not the way she looks at it.

The thing she says is this:

“It’s about time,” she says, all smiling, “I figure, that they all came down: that jaguar Yohl, and jaguar Ixchel, and jaguar Chan, and anyone else up there who’s been fighting for us so very long and so very hard and without any air to breathe, gets to come down and take a breath on Mother Earth.”

So she’s going to dance the Thunder Dance, and the Earth will shake, and the jaguars will come down. And patch or no patch, and Navvy Jim or no Navvy Jim, when the jaguars and the scissors fall they’re going to bury her alive.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *