Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Centaur and Some Egyptologists


Oh bother, the Archeology team was getting off. Susan had cried out, she was desolate to realise they had believed the lies (of course, from their point of view it was no lies, they thought of her as mad, and Aïsha was in a way a kind of sister to her). It angered her, as did the physical discomfort. A hand over your mouth and being held hands behind your back is not comfortable.

"Oh dear ..." said Mrs Dinkley. "Shall we really trust them?"

"What else can we do, dear?" said Mr Dinkley. "We are not the police."

And off they went. With the rest.

The mouth was left free. "Dear Virgin Mary, pray for me: I am at a loss!"

She heard a thunder of hoofs. It came closer. She felt some more air, she felt they were letting go of her, and ... suddenly she saw everyone else was running away. She looked after them. Only Aïsha was standing there.

"Allah is great, you got what you wanted."

"But who is riding to us?"

"Look behind."

A Centaur was running towards them and it was stopping. If you do not know what a Centaur is, it is the head and arms and body of a man down to the waist - on top of where the neck of a horse would begin.

Even if Susan had seen quite a few Centaur's in Narnia, she was a bit afraid and made a sign of the cross. The Centaur kneeled down, and as his words in a strange outlandish accent meant nothing to her (she had not the gift of tongues), he pointed to his back as if beckoning her to take a seat.

"Aïsha, can I really leave you here alone?"

"Go, sister! Allah hhas granted your wish and maybe heard your prayers, mine will be back when the monster is gone with you."

And Susan mounted the Centaur, in this world. She put her hands on his shoulders, he rose and ran. As she saw Pyramids far off she wondered if that was where the Dinkleys and the rest of them were going. But soon the Centaur frightened the Egyptologists, except the Dinkleys.

"Who is that on the horse?"

"A girl behind a man, but I cannot make out the head of the horse."

"That's because you are shortsighted dear."

And the Centaur knelt down again so as to let Susan descend, and off it went with a swift flight across the plain of sand spreading out in every direction, and yet he soon seemed to reach the horizon, because no more of him was to be seen. The thumping of hooves was strong at first and quickly subsided.

"Susan, is that you?"

"You have your glasses on your forehead, take them on and take a look!"

Mrs Dinkley did so.

"It is you. Jinkies, I never thought I'd see you again."

"What date is it?"

"You have been away from people? It is the Sixth of December, so it is still 1953. Sunday."

She looked back at all those weeks she had been in the caravan and before at Aïsha's home, back in Tunisia. It was really quite a long time since they had met.

"Mr Dinkley, Mrs Dinkley, it is so good to see you again. I have been for months with some Arabs, and in the end I was worried they were taking me to Mecka to force me to be a Moslem!"

"How awful. Dreadful, with those people you never quite know where you are. Nine times of ten, they are ..."

"Nine times of ten they are wonderfully nice to you, but the tenth time it may be better not to be around them."

"Pretty much sums up what I was going to say, Miss Pevensie. Can I call you Susan? You can call me Angie if you like."

"Yes, Angie, I'd be honoured."

"So, it is nearly two months since we met, and meanwhile ..."

"Your child is born?"

"Come and meet our daughter Velma. Actually Velma Elisabeth."

And in they went to the tent, and there in the cradle lay a baby with ... well, as rose and white had not been available, they had taken orange and white for her clothes.

"Oh how sweet ..." Susan began saying hello to Velma babe ... as she did smile but not look very much a her or anyone, Susan turned around and said: "Angie, I bet she'll be just like you, she is already shortsighted."

"Oh no, don't say that. Just because I am Dale are, it doesn't mean ... oh dear, well, she'll look a darling in glasses too if you are right."

And Susan and Angie Dinkley were both right, as you may already know if you have seen the films about Velma Dinkley's friends and dog and herself. They are usually known by the name Scooby-Doo, which was to be the name of her future dog.

Dale (the father of Velma Dinkley, as we may now call him) chirped in: "was that you who was trying to shout along with those Arabs?"

"Yes, I was so close to you I could actually hear you saying 'we are not the police', but glad to be with you anyway!"

"And what decided them to let you go anyway? Was the rider one of them?"

"The rider?" she guffawed when she realised he meant the Centaur.

"Oh dear, we have woken little Velma ..." said Angie. And stepped in to take care of her crying daughter in one of those ways women know so well. And thus the info about the Centaur had to wait. Meanwhile another man of the team - tall, bearded, long nose - offered her a tea.