Wonka Presents! The Cat Who Never Was
Published by Madeleine Masterson
Copyright 2016 Madeleine Masterson
New readers or old might like to know a little background to the making of this story; the idea came to me like always, from maybe a dream or a wisp of something and I immediately wrote it down. And waited. You must let the story come to you! Anyhow, bit by bit it started to seep through and I did wonder as it was rather a different story from my usual ones, and the setting was very exact too; involving night time excursions around chimney tops and roofs and always with a good vista. A while later, I moved house which was a terrible upheaval for me and of course Wonka my cat and the others, but we made it. The thing was, we made it to exactly the home I am talking about in this story. When I look out, I see the very scenery my original idea brought with it. So this is a special tale, brought from rather a special house I think – an old house, over one hundred and fifty years’ old it has its secrets no doubt and sometimes I glimpse them, but mostly just an odd feeling or two.
Do enjoy this short story, and remember to hold fast to your ideas, they are as real as you and me. As for Wonka, who is my beloved cat, as per, he tells the tale.
MM 1 May 2017
I had a roaring cold and Wonka told me off for sneezing so much as it made him jump. The sneezing was loud and long and wearing me out rather.
‘How about one of my stories?’ he offered.
I blew my nose and took a sip of hot orange. The same drink had once really annoyed a colleague I was working alongside, to the point where she had to move away from me (blaming her pregnancy no less for the exit). Luckily I was now alone, in my own dining room with just Wonka to say things. Bertie was in the Narnia cupboard fast over and Ruggles had retired to the luxury shed.
‘Go on then,’ I replied at last to Wonka who was preening himself on the sideboard.
Easter was lurking round the corner bursting with renewal and eggs and cards; every school child would be busy at it, either concentrating on an event that easily put Game of Thrones in the shade, or wondering why it still echoed down the years.
However you approached it, it was stuck there, on the calendar, the big four day break; Jesus would not be ignored, or, any of his followers. I particularly liked Mary Magdalen who being a woman and practical with it, was the first on the scene after he had disappeared from the tomb; and, the first to see him back to life. Yes, it was one big story brought back to life over and over again.
‘Are you listening then?’ Wonka sounded a tad impatient and gruff. I smiled over at him, my pride and joy not to mention chief adviser, and said I was.
‘This story,’ he announced,’ is called The Cat Who Never Was.’
I liked it already.
The cat in question lived upstairs and was a neat and tidy black and white cat. She had a name she had a special bed, toys and an old blue feeding bowl which had two sections: one for maybe biscuits and the other for water – it allowed for choices. ‘The thing was,’ Wonka told me, ‘She wasn’t there.’
The cat who wasn’t there and never was, belonged to Anya who called the cat Oodles. ‘How is Oodles?’ her mother used to ask after Anya had closed the door to the stairs. ‘Has she eaten her breakfast I wonder and then jumped onto the windowsill to inspect her domain,’ Now Anya’s mother would have been startled to hear a reply because her daughter did not speak; no first words had ever been spoken and the delight of hearing those early efforts to communicate had been longed for and waited for, but nothing. All the experts had been consulted and the answers given, quite simply no one really knew why Anya would not speak as her hearing was excellent and in all other respects, for a seven year old child, she was more than capable.
Meanwhile, and for a good few years, Oodles had been living upstairs and apart from not being there, was Anya’s best companion and friend.
‘You will be saying to me, how can that be Wonka – an invisible cat and a child who cannot speak!’ Wonka waited for me to say just that. Of course I was thinking that, but I knew better than to stop him in his story. Lots of children have invisible friends who listen to them, find them funny and clever and make them feel safe. I supposed for me, my stories were my friends doing the same job when needed.
‘What does Oodles look like?’ I asked Wonka, as the picture in my head might not be the same; but funnily enough when he described her, it was.
Oodles was a neat and tidy black and white cat, with fluttery whiskers and big green eyes. Her white chest was so clean you could have eaten your breakfast off it, pronounced Wonka (who was pretty hygienic himself), and her fur was soft and gleaming. All in all, a most beautiful and splendid creature – if only we could have seen her. Now Anya was a lucky little girl in all other respects, and had the kind of bedroom most of us dream of. Hidden at the top of the house, and guarded by a small wooden door with stairs leading upwards, the room itself was in the attic and had its very own skylight. Fancy! A window that looked onto the roofs and chimneys, beyond that to the church spires and tall buildings and surrounded by sky. When Anya was not well, or even just in bed not asleep, she would lay there watching the clouds drift by, shaping themselves into fantastic creatures. At night though, it was a different story. This was when Oodles became even more magical than before.
Wonka paused for a moment, to check I was listening. I was spellbound though, and back in the days of my own childhood reading my stories which were more alive to me than the world I lived in.
The strange world of children is such that the imaginary worlds and dreaming selves seem to merge into one providing a shield against the life we are a part of. Perhaps, I thought, Anya can talk in her dreams and just hasn’t bothered to do it when awake.
Wonka continued the story and I fell deeper under the spell of Oodles and Anya and their strange friendship.
When dusk appeared at the little skylight window, which was built into the roof and had a proper windowsill and a latch to keep the small window open Oodles would slip out onto the roof and begin her night time adventures. Skipping up to the roof top and then jumping onto the chimneys she would sit with the gulls for a while, even joining in with their mewling cries. For so long, Anya could follow her adventures until Oodles sprang down and went on her longer journeys, travelling mostly as cats do, but occasionally, as cats don’t, flying from one roof top to another.
Ah, what a happy time was that in the life and times of Oodles, when she slipped into the cool clear night and circled the wispy clouds lit up by star light; on special nights, her journeys would be lit by the large serene globe that humans called the moon. Oodles loved her, for it was a she shining down and sending her soft beams of light moving along the gardens and yards and spreading out over the countryside beyond.
On one such night it was, that Oodles flew to Whitby and found the church of St Hilda. Now you may not know this, but St Hilda was pretty important to those Whitby people, founding the famous Abbey (to be later toppled by Henry VIIIth) and generally bringing comfort and grace to the poor.
Oodles as I say, swooped down to the Church, dedicated to this wonderful woman, and landed with ease in the entrance. There it was that he communed with the other felines of the night, and shared the wisdom.
‘Do the mean ‘The Wisdom’ Wonka?
He looked over at me, and confirmed that indeed it was, the old laws and secrets governing our world and carried forward by all creatures – thus Oodles was partial to it and was able to learn from it and pass this learning on. It turned out, that St Hilda had done all this in her lifetime, as the legend goes, even driving out a load of snakes from Whitby, over a cliff and into the waiting sea! On a more mundane level, she had visited the very town where Anya and her Mother now resided, bringing her healing powers with her. This was of interest to Oodles, who being of a particularly compassionate nature, was ever on the lookout for Anya’s missing voice. If she could find it, and bring it back one night, and slip it under Anya’s pillow for her to find in the morning – well, it would make her purr like a train and wash herself all over twice or three times for joy!!
So it was, Oodles exchanged purrs and soft crooning noises with the other felines gathering at the porch. You could say (Wonka gave me one of his looks), that it was a sort of service for us cats! Usually, at some time in the evening, the old lady they only knew as Mother, would calmly walk round the path at the side of the church, bringing with her their supper; this was a routine known to all felines in the area, and neither was it overused. It was, declared Wonka, a feast for the needy!
Ah, the tales that were exchanged here, and oh, the wisdom too. Some of these tales found their way back to various homes and assorted owners. For Oodles, the joy of purring them to Anya, was a nightly treat and was rewarded by the listening child, who stroked her fur and smiled in her sleep. Yes you see Anya did hear the stories and often drew them in pictures and coloured them in for her mother. Her favourite story was the one about a little girl who did not speak, and spent her life listening to and helping others, from a very ancient priory it seemed too. At least this is what she drew, and what her mother admired.
This was in fact, how her mother knew of Oodles, as Anya drew her from the beginning of their friendship and she made an appearance in all the pictures she drew. ‘Ooh!’ she said when she first saw the drawing. And Anya, who of course knew the cat’s name already, having been informed of this, was delighted to see her mother knew it too – well half of it anyway.
The days and nights passed, and Oodles played amongst the chimney tops and skated down the frosty roofs as it drew closer to what we call the season of goodwill.
The School that Anya attended was also busy with said season, and this year, were putting on their version of the Christmas Story. When Anya met her Mother at the entrance to her classroom, she had dancing eyes and a big smile; the letter she passed to her Mum confirmed why she was so happy.
‘Year 3 is to put on the play ‘Our Christmas Story ‘, and Anya has been selected to play the part of the Angel. Please let us know if you are able to help with costumes and props by contacting Miss Claire Form Teacher.’
Later, in her bedroom, Anya set a rather nice tea down for Oodles and sat on the bed to watch her eat. Oodles was a very careful eater, with none of that slurping and grumbling noises, just a delicate picking out of a morsel and swallowing it neatly. This was followed by a good grooming session and finally a visit to Anya to say thank you, and then off on her nightly rounds. She knew of Anya’s happiness and did think that to play the part of an Angel, and not just any old angel but the Angel of the Lord, was a triumph for her little friend.
Now when Wonka mentioned this part of the Christmas Story, I did wonder how Anya would portray this powerful and frankly amazing creature. I mean Angels are guiding spirits for us humans at the best of times, but this Angel was proclaiming future events and guiding Mary and Joseph as well as Shepherds and Wise men too. In dreams and out of them, this Angel was at the beginning and end of the story.
‘Hallo?’ went Wonka breaking into my chain of thought and bringing me back to Oodles and his night time ritual through the skies.
‘Yes I’m listening!’
And he continued with the story.
One of Anya’s favourite bed time stories was not surprisingly, about a cat. Like all favourite stories it had been read and re read, losing none of its magic on the way.
As she listened to her Mum telling the story, and coming up to the bit where the cat, Ginger Tom was busy criss crossing the night time streets on a mission, she wondered if Oodles was also engaged in some secret work; as her Mum closed the story, marking the place with one of Anya’s drawings, she reminded her of the trip to the Christmas Fayre the following morning, and didn’t seem to notice Oodles scratching at the window to come back in. She did follow Anya’s pointing hand though, and with a smile went to let the invisible cat back into the room.
‘Night Anya! And you too Oodles,’ she called as she left the bedroom.
Oodles had been out in the rain and had a thorough grooming session on Anya’s bed and so she was nearly asleep when her little friend began to tell of the latest adventure. There was mention of Mother, the kind lady who looked after all the strays of the parish of St Hilda’s, and also an update on Oodles’ search for Anya’s voice. Anya was asleep by this time, but who knows what we hear when we are asleep and dreaming? The thing was, Oodles had still not found it, the missing voice but had spread the news as far and as wide as she could. Purring away with the intense concentration on washing her fur down, Oodles too fell to sleep and dreaming.
Anya found herself outside the very church that Oodles had been talking about, so didn’t feel out of place or confused at all; even better when she had a proper look, there was Oodles just in front of her and leading the way It was such a happy place to be, even inside the church too, cats sitting in the pews using the cassocks like special cushions, and all talking away to each other exchanging news and such.
The time seemed to pass and Anya did not feel in a hurry or for a minute that she should be somewhere else; when she met the lady they all called Mother, it seemed in keeping with all the rest of it. To her surprise, she thought she saw her Dad over the far side of the Church polishing one of the big Crosses on the Altar. He smiled over at Anya and carried on with his work, and as he moved slowly round the table she saw he had a cat lying across his shoulders, like a small fur stole! Even from a distance she could see it was Oodles, and smiling with delight she walked quickly up the way between all the pews towards them. The next thing she knew was waking up to hear her Mum calling her name, and telling her to get dressed and come down for breakfast; Anya knew she had been on a special dream journey though, and as soon as she could, drew it in her diary. Returning to her bedroom, she felt full of joy what with the day out to the Christmas Fayre and the Christmas play ahead; oh and the feeling of happiness her dream had left her with.
‘And Oodles?’ I enquired, thinking she had stayed behind at St Hilda’s Church, perhaps to keep Anya’s Dad company.
‘She came home that time,’ continued Wonka, indicating that perhaps she would stay behind in the end.
With the Angel of the Lord nicely out of the way, and all the glow and glitter of December melting away, January arrived and so did the real winter time. Anya and Oodles watched at the skylight window as the first flakes fell and then settled. Soon it was a white world outside dented here and there with the footprints of the pigeons and gulls on the roofs. Still Oodles went out on her night time excursions and still came home – sometimes late into the night squeezing through the tiny gap between the latched skylight window and the sill. Until one night, in February, she didn’t return.
Now Wonka had to leave the story for a bit to have a well-earned treat; this was a bowl of fish to which he was partial these days, and had me dashing round the maze like supermarket to hunt it down. Wonka said I couldn’t ‘hunt’ fish down you had to catch it or fish for it! I suspected that all the other shopping couldn’t be hunted down either but it all felt like an expedition to me, tracking it down to this shelf or that icy compartment. ‘Finished?’ I enquired.
Wonka had finished, and even washed himself round. The story began again.
Time passed and Easter came nearer. Instead of the angel of the Lord, Anya’s class were told a different story. This story, like the disappearance of the cat who wasn’t there, was at first a bleak reminder of high hopes gone to nothing. Oodles, who always came back to Anya’s bedroom had not come back, and Good Friday was nothing of the sort.
Talk of renewal and rebirth did little to lighten Anya’s mood who drew a cat appearing by the tomb instead of Jesus. The rest of the Class were all dutifully drawing Easter eggs on pieces of paper, or crosses with daffodils sprouting up and so Anya’s drawing was awarded a special star for bringing a different message; the miracle of life had even reached down and made Oodles a real cat!
The picture was there now, pinned on Anya’s noticeboard and the last thing she looked at before she went to sleep. Perhaps she would dream of her like the other time and perhaps this time, she would come home. When you lose something precious it just takes over everything, and in the case of this cat, who you will recall wasn’t there to begin with, well she popped up all over the place. Anya saw her on cars, in windows, in the street and finally in her dreams.
In the dream, it was that lady again, Mother, and she had a basket with her full of-
‘Full of what Wonka?’ I had to prompt him but he would not be rushed.
‘It was full of strange things.’ He said finally, and carried on.
And Wonka carried on the story by returning to Oodles, the not there cat. Everyone knew Anya did not have a real cat and mostly did not take much notice when the not there cat went missing. Her Mum did take notice and without Dad there to share it with (her worries) took to talking to his photo instead. These conversations with her dead husband, Anya’s Dad, would centre on a problem or worry and tonight were all about Oodles. The outcome was simple really. If Oodles did not return, then a real cat must be found to be the same loving companion that she had been.
Oodles had started to fade in February but it was so slight at first that Anya could still see her and that was alright. So she still hopped onto the windowsill and went skipping out onto the rooftops and flying through the evening in her quest for Anya’s voice; she swooped on the hidden treasures of the night, the puff of evening air so clean and sharp or the last cries of the blackbirds as they bid farewell to the day, all these sights and wonders below as she turned towards her home.
She even thought she had found the Voice, such a pretty thing shimmering like a rainbow, until that started to fade just like her; and in keeping with the ethereal beauty of the rainbow, vanished back into the early evening sky.
One night though, she could not get back in and realised that her little companion could not see her either and her not thereness was complete. In a hurry now, Oodles shot through the night sky, forgetting all her usual games and tarries to arrive suddenly at the Church of St Hilda. It was late and the gathering of all the cats of the parish had been and gone but luckily for Oodles, Mother was still there and seemed to be expecting her too.
‘Oodles!’ She gave her a special look, and at the same time nodded over at Anya’s Dad who smiled back. He was busy at work although Oodles couldn’t see what it was. It was the same work though that he had done when ‘he was there.’
‘Now, he’s not there, just like you Oodles!’ observed Mother.
‘You are just a little shimmer in the moonlight, my dear friend!’ and she reached down to where Oodles was and gave her a whisper of a stroke. ‘I know you are still searching for that voice, and if you will look in my basket, tell me what you see.’
Oodles did look, and it was same basket that Anya would later dream of and also think full of very strange things.
There was some confidence, pretty hair, rosebud lips and a fair complexion; there was height, there was gumption and a healthy appetite. But no voice. The old lady who they all called Mother smiled at Oodles and said this: ‘You must bring her to me and then you’ll find what you are looking for.’
The matter of Oodles’ not thereness was the more important problem and Mother had another answer. It meant a sacrifice though, a giving up of all the night games, no more flying with the gulls and skipping the rainbows, no more sitting on the chimneys and thus an end to this way of being.
‘Did she mean not being there Wonka?’ I had to ask him.
‘Yes, and this meant a new beginning as a cat who was there.’ He replied, mentioning that in the run up to Easter this was the way of it. It is always Easter somewhere he said, things coming back to life or getting one.
‘Ah,’ I thought, this is Wonka being all sage in his middle years. I rather liked it.
Now Oodles wasn’t as reassured by what Mother was saying. Talk of sacrifice and the hidden treasures of doing so, well what of it! She missed Anya and knew her little friend felt the same. ‘Will it mean we are back together again?’
Mother said it did mean that, and Oodles found she was agreeing to something that made her very nervous indeed; only the thought of jumping onto the bed and rubbing her face up to Anya’s reassured her. ‘I’ll do it!’ she decided and put her trust in Mother.
Anya found, that in the dream she was able to be wherever she wanted and used this freedom to look inside Mother’s basket. She listened too, as Mother was talking to Oodles nearby. They were outside the church this time, and it was in the afternoon, according to the sun dial in a small grassy area behind the building.
As she listened in and watched, it seemed that her little companion was searching for something. Surely not from the basket which even in the dream had odd things inside. Who, thought Anya, wanted a piece of gumption! Wandering round the side of the church towards the back, she noticed a gardener tending to some of the old stones and further down the pathway, an outhouse. She liked the look of the outhouse as it had a cat flap in the wooden door and behind her the gardener was telling her something.
His name was Jacob, and in the tradition of dreams, she knew this without asking even thinking to herself that he sounded like his name; but the call of her name was louder and more persistent, drowning out whatever Jacob had been saying and it was this that woke Anya from her dream. Her Mum was waking her up!
The only thing Anya could remember was to do with a new kit. Did he mean a gardening kit? A sports kit? Whatever it was she felt slightly better having seen Oodles, and the lady they all called Mother again.
What do you think Anya, about us having a cat? I know there is Oodles, but she seems to have disappeared – ‘ her Mum inspected the windowsill and even put the window on the latch. Then she looked down at the bowls and the bedding. She looked back at Anya for confirmation that the Oodles Cat, who never was, was also not there anymore. Anya stared back, with a new and stubborn expression.
‘Well I know how much you loved her and everything, which is why it might be time to take in a cat needing a home. You know, a rescue cat.’
Anya was not ready to give up on Oodles. Not that quickly, and especially not after her dream. She was out there somewhere, and must be found! At least her Mum was thinking about cats, and Anya knew where they all met up too. So many times had Oodles whispered all the gossip to her, about this cat and the other one who had been taken in and now had their very own companions to keep them safe. She showed her Mum the drawing of the Church and the cats, and the old lady too.
She had made sure Oodles was the biggest cat in the picture so her Mum could not fail to notice her.
‘That looks like the church where we went for the Christmas Fayre,’ said her Mum, but Anya shook her head. ‘No?’ She studied the picture some more and told Anya to get dressed; as much as she didn’t want to go anywhere, Anya slowly picked out a tunic top and some leggings. Holding onto her dream, she went downstairs resigned to going somewhere she didn’t want to go.
It has many names, the kind of happening where the impossible comes true, or what you dreamt becomes real, and more than one professor has given it a clever meaning but for Anya, finding Oodles was just a matter of when. Not if, or maybe but when. For she believed she would find her cat as much as Oodles believed she would be with her little companion again.
And with this happy thought, Wonka paused the story, only for a short while as it was time for his tea. You remember how partial he is to some fish, and as this makes for a fulsome diet I popped a little on a small saucer. This vanished rather quickly.
‘I’m ready,’ said he ‘to tell the story to the end.’
Oodles was a small sparkling dot to begin with, growing bigger and then bursting like a pea from a pod into a furry purry world. To her delight, from the very first wash round from the large warm creature that filled the box they were all in, Oodles knew she was there. No longer a not there cat, no more of that thank you! She had arrived into the world of being and seeing and feeling; and she had brothers and sisters. Home appeared to be a small wooden room, which smelt earthy and fresh, and their bed was a good sized cardboard box well-padded out with newspaper and soft blankets. Someone is looking after us, thought Oodles, in the short periods between snoozing and feeding.
Eventually the small bunch of fur that was Oodles grew into a decent size kitten, able to tackle a saucer of milk for itself. Where did the food come from? Alongside her siblings, Oodles had watched the hands reach down and gently guide them towards the food; this had been funny to begin with, bobbing around the saucer and not really knowing what to do. Like humans though, instinct took over, and before they all knew it, they were busy lapping and licking. Then purring and sleeping.
‘Ah.’ I said, recalling my own excursion into the world of kittens.
‘Yes,’ observed Wonka, ‘That was when I lived on a shelf in the Narnia cupboard,’
He had as well. Fostering a stray cat and her kittens had upset the whole feline dynamic and Wonka had taken it badly. In human terms, he was put out, and jealous. These days, and restored to his rightful place as chief adviser and teller of tales, the household was fairly calm. And, you will want to know that said cat and kittens, all found happy homes too.
‘Are you ready for the end of this story?’ asked Wonka. Yes I was, but more than that, I wanted a happy ending, like all the best fairy tales. Life doesn’t always follow through on this, so I supposed that stories must pick up the slack.
‘Does Anya find Oodles?’ I quizzed; but Wonka went all enigmatic and said she does and she doesn’t. With that, I had to be content and hear him out.
Returning home from an expedition round town and a failed rescue cat mission, Anya and her mum felt deflated. ‘Surely there’s some kittens or cats in need of a home?’ her Mum was busy dialling the local Vets now, in search of the elusive needy creatures. After a long conversation with a very friendly receptionist, she put the phone down, and turned to Anya with the news. ‘ – and he knows the receptionist at the other Vets and they have one cat and kitten left!’ Excited no end by this, Anya’s mum was already planning their trip to see them. ‘They will wait until we get there!’
The journey there seemed to takes ages, like all journeys do when you are anxious about where you are going to. Anya could not see a happy ending, and had not bothered to clean the bowl in her bedroom (which was Oodles’ bowl) or give the blanket a shake out (Oodles’ blanket).
The dream had been about the church, and the old lady called Mother and even a man called Jacob. There had been no dream about a Vets which was where they were headed. The only hope to cling to was the fact that this Practice was in Whitby, which was where the St Hilda’s church was.
‘We are here!’ exclaimed her Mum, congratulating herself on good driving and only spoiling that with a shaky left turn into the car park. ‘No patience!’ she shouted at the driver behind. Together they entered the reception and went up to wooden hatch.
All Vets have that distinctive smell, and the young man leading the way to the mysterious back room with PRIVATE, and STAFF ONLY, on the door, said as much.
‘Just in here,’ he said showing them through the door, and over to a small pen with a rather pretty cat and her one remaining kitten. ‘We’ve named them, Jemima and Mouse – this was the smallest kit and for a while we wondered if he’d make it.’
Mouse looked quite chunky, and sported a pale marmalade coat with touches of white here and there. Jemima had a more chocolate and orange colouring also spattered with white. They both had white bibs and socks, and Anya’s Mum was already keen. Anya, had only this to say to the small tubby kit nibbling at his mother’s tail. ‘That’s not Oodles!’ to the kitten and ‘Neither are you!’ to the mother cat. Not out loud, as we know that Anya does not speak, but her unspoken words were heartfelt just the same.
‘This old lady brought them all in,’ the young Vet was saying,’ and said they were all born at the back of the Church where luckily the gardener found them and kept them safe in the shed. She wanted to come in and meet you, as she has been fostering them; the others all found homes quickly but Jemima and Mouse are still waiting.’
With that, the old lady in question arrived into the very same room and was introduced to Anya and her mum. She picked Mouse up, in a wink of an eye, and placed him on her shoulder. ‘This one is my favourite, the weakest of the litter, and for a moment not breathing; but I rubbed him all round and he lived!’ Anya was listening hard now as now she recognised this old lady as the one they all called Mother. She wondered if the lady knew it was her.
‘I’m so pleased to meet you Anya, and it’s little Mouse that’s brought you here.’
With that a strange thing happened. Now we all know that cats don’t fly and if they do, they must be like Oodles and not really there, but suddenly as the old lady leaned down towards Anya, the little kitten known as Mouse, seemed to fly through the space between and land on the girl’s shoulder. He clung there for a bit and then nestled right up to Anya’s ear. ‘It is me,’ he said, ‘and I might look different on the outside, but I’m Oodles on the inside.’
And then Anya knew. She would have known her Oodles’ voice anywhere and this was she. Now a he, and a marmalade kitten. Which just goes to show that life returning can take on unexpected shapes and guises. This wasn’t at all what Anya had set her hopes on, and even her mum wondered if they had done the right thing.
‘I wish I had found your voice,’ said Mouse who was really Oodles.
‘You are my voice.’ Anya told him, in Cat, which she spoke better than any language.
‘Oh!’ I exclaimed to Wonka.’ but that’s just like you and me!’
‘Precisely.’ He said and asked nicely for some more tea.
You will all want to know that Jemima found her home too, and she did! Mother took her home and still found time to care for all the other wanderers gathering at the side of the church. Jacob, who was the real gardener, kept an eye out for those who had no shelter and made sure they knew about the cat flap to his shed. Inside, he made a special shelf with warm boxes and always left water and food.
As for Anya, well she always listened and took account of her dreams and continued to draw them – her Mum took comfort from seeing her daughter so happy, and whenever loneliness settled on her, had another conversation with Anya’s Dad, looking out of the photo frame where he was busy at work and smiling at her.
The magic of Oodles, the cat who never was, means that she can befriend a little girl called Anya, and live with her at the top of the house overlooking the bay and the sea. Further up the coast lays Whitby and the Church of St Hilda, where Oodles can fly to, meeting up with all the other wanderers. She searches all the while for Anya’s voice, as the little girl does not speak and Oodles has promised to find it. But one night in February and in the run up to Easter, these two friends are lost to each other. Only by trusting in a deeper magic and a step into the unknown will they find what they seek. Do enjoy this rather different Wonka story, with love as always.X