Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

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I can’t say they’re all bad.

They’re not. Not really. There’s the pair of scissors that cuts into the head of Mr. Thornton, of Birmingham; but then again, there’s that chessmaster in Eritrea who sees the scissors falling and finally perfects her game.

There’s all the people in the world whose hearts are struck by a sudden, awful fear. Whose skin crawls and whose stomach twists and who suffer because the scissors have returned.

That bit’s pretty bad.

And the origami bridge of Texas is definitively shown to be even more of a boondoggle than it was originally thought to be.

And the scissors that fall into the sea perturb it. They wound it. They bring about and hasten a certain stirring in the waves.

— but then again there’s that old woman in Kaohsiung. She’s dreaming of the children that she’s lost. She’s walking along the street. She’s tottering; and scissors fall.

She jerks back. They’d almost cut her! She looks down at the scissors, accusingly, fearfully, her heart pounding like a squeaky toy, and then looks up.

Why, look!

Her daughter, whom she’d thought was dead, is being discharged from that hospital over there!

There’s the Hubble Space Telescope, which gets scissors stuck in it, and that’s bad.

But then — then there’s Inedible the cat.

She clanks about dismally in the Gulleys’ mansion. Now and then she tries to catch a mouse, or a squeaky toy, but she can’t do it! Her footfalls — they’re just too loud!

Too loud, that is, until

The. Scissors. Fall.

A pair slews past the cat Inedible.

She takes a clanking step —

No, wait. That’s not a clanking step. That step was silent.

Then again. And again.

The cat dashes down the hall. She stops. Her ears twitch. Her expression turns goofy. She spins around twice and she dashes the other way. She rolls silently over and over on the carpet, stretching, lashing her tail, and wriggling, and then begins to lick silently at her mussed-up fur.

It’s the best thing ever. It’s a thing of glory. At last (she thinks) her minions Edmund and Mr. Gulley have fulfilled her faith in them:

After all these years of doleful clanking, Inedible is free.



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