A Favorite Bedtime Story

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Hot Dog and Jack are sharing a bed and reading one of their favorite fairy tales of all time together before going to sleep.

“Once upon a time there was a princess called Averie. She was a ravishing beauty with golden hair and bright blue eyes. Averie was an orphan who lived in a large palace with her stepmother and her eight children; the palace belonged to her father who unexpectedly died in battle when Averie was only eight years old. Right after that, she was forced by her stepmother to grow up working at the kitchens of the palace as a cook because she was jealous of Averie’s beauty. Averie was naturally talented at cooking and soon began to earn appreciation around the kingdom for making the best food at royal feasts. However, tragedy struck Averie’s life once more when she turned twenty-one: she was married off by her stepmother against her will to a fellow from the kingdom.

One day, when Averie is in the midst of talks with her husband to have a bakery of her own, she learns from her neighbor that a Prince is in town looking for a wife. Averie manages to get a glimpse of the Prince’s white horse but misses the chance to see what he looks like because of the huge crowd that has gathered for his visit. Averie’s husband, meanwhile, lets her know that he will financially support her to open a shop of her own. Happy that her husband has agreed, Averie runs to prepare for yet another feast but while crossing the forest to get to the palace, she crashes into the Prince. The Prince falls in love upon first sight with Averie. He begins to follow her around after that, even though Averie lets him know that she is married and has three children of her own. The two begin a friendship…”

Jack suddenly starts snoring loudly. So Hot Dog closes the book and calls on Whale to help her and Jack into bed.


Wondrous Tales

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Whale and Hot Dog are at a new book shop launched in Croydon. They saw an advert for the shop on television a couple of days ago and Hot Dog really wanted to check out what the place is like in the flesh. It is a small shop which specializes in books on people: biographical reads, tales about ordinary people doing the most extraordinary of things and interviews of community leaders who make quietly make an impact with the work they do daily.

Whale had slept in the taxi cab throughout the journey to get to the shop because just the thought of having to take a look at books as boring as those made him fall asleep. But Hot Dog managed to perk him up later when they got to the shop, with the thought of biographies of his favorite stars and how they might find something really good to buy after all.

Hot Dog: Whale! Come here! I found a book on a chef that you might like!
Whale: Is it my favorite chef from television, because I really can’t afford to fall asleep standing this time; the nap I took inside the cab was uncomfortable enough.
Hot Dog: No, it isn’t! But listen…it’s a really nice tale. The chef cooks with paprika, beans, coconut milk and lentils alone, and he has actually whipped up more than 200 recipes with those ingredients alone.
Whale: Really? That is pretty interesting.
Hot Dog: Yeah! Did you find any interesting book yet to get for yourself today?
Whale: Yes! That I did! I found a biography of one of my favorite celebrities that I would really like to read.
Hot Dog: Who is it?
Whale: Errol Flynn. What about you?
Hot Dog: Oh! I found a book myself too! It is a biography on William Boeing and I want to get it.
Whale: That is really great! Anything else interesting that has caught your eye except for that book about the chef?
Hot Dog: There are a lot of those kinds of books around but nothing else in particular, no! I think we should just buy the two books and head back home already.
Whale: Oh! Hot Dog! Look…I found a book about an extraordinary woman who grew rich by knitting colorful handkerchiefs in a dark valley.

An Evening Of Healthy Food

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Whale is in the kitchen today cooking. Recently, his favorite cooking program on television made him yearn to cook something healthy in his household by investing a lot of time in it. His cooking plan for the evening involves making two pots of baked vegetables and two sandwiches (with dabs of mustard as fillings) for him and Hot Dog. His beloved pet is propped up in front of the television and catching an episode of Superwoof – a cartoon about a beagle that is a superhero, who saves innocent people (and animals) from mayhem and destruction caused by villains.

Whale: Dog…how many types of vegetables did you want again for tonight? I added eight.
Hot Dog: I was thinking three but eight is obviously better.
Whale: Alright! I am almost done puppy…I will be right there to catch Superwoof with you.
Hot Dog: Take your time…I am taping it again.

Whale hums to himself and pours steaming vegetables from a big pan and into two purple bowls and then tops it with sliced onions and chopped chilies; he also places the two sandwiches on a small brown plate and takes it to the living room to dig in.

Hot Dog (taking its bowl): It smells good! Which flavored dressing did you use today?
Whale: None. But there is enough of toppings for you. Eat before it gets cold.
Hot Dog: Yeah, going to! You just missed Superwoof rescuing some kittens from the tree this evening, by the way, and the episode was so entertaining and funny!
Whale: Was it? Oh! I will just catch it later! I am just happy I can share my recently discovered enthusiasm for healthy cooking with you! I am still on a diet, you know, and it makes me so mad whole day. But now that you are also eating a vegetarian meal with me, I feel even more happy!
Hot Dog: Oh! That is so great! I am also really happy because it looks as if healthy food will begin to taste good around the house for a change now that you can no longer think it is a great idea to outpour your rage with dieting right into the food!

Blau Finds A Hut

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Blau pushes her head out of the water and tries to swim towards some snow-covered lands that she can sight nearby as Snowball sits atop her neck. After fifteen minutes of putting to use her really bad swimming skills (it only really consists of flailing her arms around like mad), Blau manages to swim ashore and then collapses on snow-covered terrain, with Snowball by her side. Freezing and exhausted, Blau notices that she doesn’t have any extra clothes to keep herself warm.

Despite feeling horribly tired, realizing that she might just freeze to death if she stays in this condition any longer, Blau helplessly runs to look for someone to help her (and Snowball) in what appears to be a vastly empty landscape that is littered with nothing more than snow and the odd twigs here and there. After thirty minutes of running, Blau (and Snowball) find a small hut in a deep valley almost completely covered with snow; smoke is violently erupting from the hut’s chimney and there is also a small pond close to the hut that seems to be quite covered with twigs and brown leaves on one side. Realizing that someone must live inside the hut, Blau quickly descends down the valley and towards it.

Eight knocks on the door of the hut…

Blau: Uh! Is anybody home?…Does anyone live here…in this hut?

A door creaks open and Blau finds a confused old man wearing a nightdress and a nightcap; the man has a really long white beard which remarkably touches the floor and he is holding a burning white candle.

Blau: I know it is late. But me and my dog, we are both very lost; we both fell into the big river nearby and it is really cold. I have been looking for help for some time now and your hut is the only place it looks like I could turn to. Do you have any spare clothes I could maybe borrow for the two of us? I actually really fear I might just freeze to death in mine – it is all wet from my fall into the river, and I…
Old Man: Oh! Come on in! I am sure I can lend you and your dog some of my clothes. I am sorry if I look a wee bit startled! You see, I do not usually get visitors but I am so happy you have come to me for some aid! I will also feed you some of my hot turnip soup to get you warm really fast…it is actually really tasty!

Blau silently follows the old man into his hut and the door slams shut very loudly behind her and Snowball.

Whale’s Fancy Lunch

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Whale is on a burger and iced lemonade mission today. He is at a drive-in restaurant and he’s just ordered twenty burgers and twenty iced lemonades for the office. His boss has some very important industry friends of hers over for lunch and has sent Whale out to make the food arrangements – there is a big book fair coming up in the winter to which Bart wants to ensure a lot of her publishing house’s books are sent, for people to purchase. It’s one of the biggest book fairs on the calendar for the book industry, so Bart needs to be absolutely certain that the meeting turns out to be a good one for everyone she’s asked to come to it.

Whale, meanwhile, is sat in his car thinking how hot this summer’s been. Also, how excited he feels to have his boss entrust him with something more than just editing one book after another, on one subject after another. Whale checks his watch from time to time and sighs heavily…three minutes and still no sight of brown bags, a little bit greased at the bottom.

Whale (thinks to himself): It’s 12 o’clock already. I wonder whats taking them so long…I expected fast food delivery to be super fast but this place doesn’t really do as it advertises. What’s it’s name again? I’m sure Hot Dog would have a better memory than me over places like these.

Whale pokes his head out of the window (of his car) and notices that there is a huge sign in red and purple saying The Veg Burger Station. He takes out his notepad from his backpack and scribbles down the name of the place – if the food turns out to be good then he and Hot Dog can come here more often.

Waiter: Here you go! Twenty green chilli and ‘station’s original veg-patty’ burgers and twenty small-sized iced lemonades. Sorry for the delay! It’s been a really long queue today! But hope to see you again!
Whale (gruffs): Thank you!

Whale drives off back to his office within twenty minutes. Inside, there’s a lot of chattering going on about the book fair, and several of the office workers have got a heated debate going on over which books may or may not make it this year.

Three knocks on the second boardroom’s door…

Bart (opens the door): Yes!
Whale: Boss! I have got refreshments!
Bart: Oh! Thank you! Please come on in!…also, please put the refreshments on the table. You can then go and get yourself to eat something from the cafeteria…it’s on me! Thanks a lot for the last-minute trouble!
Whale: Oh! Thank you boss!

Ten minutes later…

Whale is sat with a crunchy salad and a buterred-bun sandwich, with melted cheese fillings. The cafeteria is oddly empty today, with only a couple of workers spotted eating their way through lunch in silence, or noisly with coworkers.

Whale (sighs and thinks to himself): Boy, has today been different at work. Since, Hot Dog has been back from her grandmother’s I haven’t had a moment to spare to myself. Dog just always keeps bouncing around the house…I think I could use today’s quiet lunch with my thoughts.

But soon enough, everything doesn’t go as planned…

Margot: Hello Whale!
Whale (looks up from his lunch):…………………………..Margot! What are you doing here?
Margot: I was just on my way to a friend’s house – she recently got married and I really wanted to meet her and her new family. I haven’t actually seen her since her wedding. Uh, so I thought I coupld spare some time and drop by and meet you, as well, along the way. It’s been some time since we got the chance to talk.
Whale: Um…we had a fight Margot and we no longer just talk after that.
Margot: But Whale…you know it’s really just one of those ups and downs of a relationship.
Whale: Um…Margot! I really think you shouldn’t be here. If my boss…if um, Bart finds out you are here in the cafeteria she is going to get really mad. And I also don’t want to see you anymore. I really, really feel like I don’t want to. Did you not understand that from our fight?
Margot: But Whale…I really miss you!
Whale: Margot…please leave me alone! I’m scared for my life now. You don’t have to visit me ‘just because…’ anymore!…
Margot (shouts): Fine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just stay with your boss!!! Just do anything you feel like to do!!!

Margot then stomps out of the cafeteria, leaving Whale looking frightened, and the whole cafeteria staring at him.

Whale (looking all around): What you all looking at? Never had a crazy ex-girlfriend disturb you at lunch? I have had plenty. And to think…the woman must appear, the moment I sat down with my melted cheese bun…

The Owl Talks…Abigail’s Clothes

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The Owl is here to teach you more about a character you meet in Blau’s world.

The Owl is peering over his research papers at the British Library. Blau met Abigail on her trip to Paris but that was during her childhood because on Blau’s recent short trip to the French city, Abigail was nowhere to be found. This has led Owl to investigate further on Abigail. After days of futile nothingness, a radio station (based in Brick Lane) got in touch over the investigation. They helped Owl identify that the woman called Abigail looks a lot like someone the radio station had seen in a film poster.

Excited that his research was going somewhere, Owl locates the yellow book and rings up Abigail’s home to enquire foolishly if the lady in the poster is indeed Abigail. However, Abigail’s family deny that Abigail is any such thing – according to them, Abigail is just a woman who makes a living working as a seamstress. Feeling dejected and hopelessly lost with his research, the Owl continues to look for clues again in the investigation.

Owl then finds that, based on what Blau described Abigail to be, this woman called Abigail dresses like the woman in the poster, the radio station had shown him. Abigail wears an embroidered black jacket with her long cream dress, when the lady in the poster, seemingly has an embroidered material stitched to the front of her clothes, in the cut of a jacket, even though it’s probably only a singular piece of material instead of a jacket. Owl also learns that wearing a long cream dress is a traditional dressing method for men from remote Pakistani villages. This leads Owl to think Kahaan’s relatives might be from Pakistan, which makes no sense to him because Kahaan is an Indian boy in Paris. Owl begins to daydream that Kahaan comes from a really large family filled with lots of dangerous secrets (and lies)…

Blau and the Train Carriage

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Blau is inside her train to Moscow. Her emerald locket had helped her to time travel back to the past and using her teleportation skills, granted by a floss of Snowball’s fur, Blau met many people. Her train carriage is immobile, leading Blau to think that the train must have stopped at one of the train stations on its route to Moscow. Her dog, Snowball is ecstatic to see her, jumping up and down, trying to lick its master’s face.

Snowball: Master, you should get some food.
Blau: Why? Did you not eat your tea biscuits I left before going to Paris?
Snowball: I did. But we are talking about you.
Blau: I’ll get something later.
Snowball: Alright!…Did anyone know about my magical fur?
Blau: No. I made sure it was kept a good secret. Don’t want to freak people out about a magical dog.
Snowball (chuckles): That would be the best thing. According to my knowledge, we are a nearly extinct and extremely rarely discovered species.
Blau: Oh? Anyone else knows of a magical dog but me?
Snowball: Just the people looking after the natural reserve we call home in Australasia.
Blau: I feel it’s best if I lie down for a little bit and stretch my back. Feel quite tired from all the travelling. Our train’s not moving – I think it’s stopped at a train station.
Snowball: Oh?
Blau: You want a look at the view? Come on! Jump up on my bed!
Snowball jumps up on Blau’s bed, as she draws the brown curtains back from the window.
Snowball: How come all I can see is snow and a river?
Blau: Oh! We are at one of the back carriages. The train is very long and only the front part of the train would have stopped at the station.
Snowball: Yeah?
Blau: Yeah! The view is normally horrible from our window anyways.
Snowball: I think it was the cheapest carriage too!
Blau: Yeah!

Unbeknownst to Blau and Snowball, their train carriage is stationed because a gargoyle has made sure of it. The gargoyle had unhooked the train carriage a very long time ago but Blau wasn’t there to notice it, and Snowball…well, she’s a dog, and a hare-brained one. The atmosphere in the train is innocent, as a contrast to the reality which Blau and Snowball are in but neither are aware of – Blau tries to get some sleep but all she can do is toss and turn over a span of fifteen minutes.

Blau: Gosh! It’s taking an awful lot of time for the train to move once more. Wonder what’s keeping them…
Snowball: I know. It’s so boring.

Just then, Blau and Snowball hear the blowing of a loud whistle and the sound of wheels churning. It sounds like it’s coming from behind Blau’s carriage and like a really distant travelling train but Blau’s train is still immobile. Blau gets up from her bed, pushes her carriage’s window open and pops her head out to see what’s taking their train this long to restart their journey. Blau notices that there is no train attached their carriage – it’s just their carriage standing immobile on train tracks and what looks like a very long bridge, over a river.

On her right, there is another train coming their way bellowing it’s whistle, at periodic intervals and spouting steam out into the sky. Quickly grabbing Snowball, Blau gets herself out of the carriage but there is no time left for her to cross the bridge and into a snowy mountainous terrain, at the spot where the bridge ends because the young girl cannot match the speed of the emerging train that’s coming her way.

Blau jumps from the bridge into the river, at the precise moment the train touches the railway tracks on the bridge. Blau notices whilst falling from the bridge (into the river) that the train crashes with their carriage and keeps moving, on the bridge, but it’s not long before she and her dog both fall deep into the very cold river, with a noisy (and freezing) splash.