Wong was looking at the mouth shape in the wall growing wider and wider, when his tail and all his fur was sucked towards it. Then Mary's hair was too, and she had to make her arms stay down, as the air was sucked that way. They grabbed the edge of the rocky ledge so as not to fall off when, just as suddenly, all the air came back again in a big WHOOOSH! "AAAAAhhh" they shouted together. This time Mary knew it was breath, coming out of that cave. The rocky wall really was a face, with two eyes, not openings and a big stone sticking out where the nose was. Mary's eyes filled with tears, "I was in a mouth!"
"My Mum used to carry me in her mouth" Wong patted Mary's leg, but snatched his paw back when a tear dripped off her cheek. He held it up to his nose to check for wetness "Don't worry, it's ok!" which made her smile, and shut her eyes very tight to stop any more coming out, so she jumped when the deep voice spoke again
"SORRY, DIDN'T MEAN TO SCARE YOU!" Big as a bed, an eye the colour of bluebells was close enough for Mary to see the black middle like a tunnel. She and Wong shrank back
"YORDI, MAKE YOURSELF SMALLER!" they heard the cloud lady from behind them, but didn't turn round because the face infront of them was coming to pieces like lego, but this wasn't bricks, it was rocks, some going backwards into the wall, others sideways, and all time the face got smaller.
Mary and Wong and the face were all going downwards. Now she could see the rest of the body the face belonged to, and that got smaller too, all except one arm. She looked where the arm went, and it was towards them! "We're on a hand!" She and Wong squashed together, as it was shrinking very fast. The stone floor was racing towards them and Mary was scared they would smash when ...
...it changed into fine, dry, golden sand and they landed softly as before. When Mary sat up the huge person had shrunk to only a bit bigger than a grown up human, and both his arms were matching. The rock face smiled,"HI! I'M YORDI!" and his voice had changed too, not so deep, it sounded friendly.
The cloud lady waved her arms and a mist swirled round her, and when it cleared, she was smaller, too. "AND I AM REGN!"
"Atchoo!" A clump of moss flew out of a hole in the sand beside Wong. Out came two grey paws, then two long grey ears, a twitching nose and big brown eyes looked round. The rabbit pulled itself out, shook the sand off its fur, looked round to make sure everyone was watching, and did a big smile, "Ta Da! Iiiit's Kony"
The sand went all over Wong, who looked very cross. Kony giggled and Wong jumped up fiercely, ready for a fight, but Yordi moved between them, "I CAN FIX THAT, IF YOU LIKE?" Wong nodded but stood stiffly as a stone hand reached towards him. The little bits of sand raced from his fur just like metal things going to a magnet, and smoothed into Yordi's finger so you couldn't see where it had been. Wong grunted happily and began a good wash, just to make sure, and the rabbit hopped onto Yordi's knee and pushed under his mossy jumper, without even making a bump.
Mary looked down at her clothes. She felt so dirty. The cloud lady knelt down, too. Mary felt her cool breath, "YOU, TOO?"
Regn smiled, and touched one of Marys trainers, and Yordi touched the other, "RENSA UPP I" First Mary felt a tickle, then a tingle, then she was too busy watching the mud and leaf stains moving up her sleeves then down her top, till that was clean, but the mess everywhere else was darker, but it kept moving, down her legs, past her knees, so thick seeds could grow in it, and still it was going like a wave down towards her feet, till, for a tiny bit Mary's socks were squishy-full of mud then -
it was ALL gone! She wriggled her feet in her sparkly pink trainers, and her socks felt thick and soft as if they were put on new. Nicer than new! All her clothes did. Even her cuts and scratches weren't sore anymore. When she looked at her hands they were clean as after a bath, with soap and a sponge, "Thankyou!"
Yordi smiled and Mary saw his teeth were lumps of white quartz, "THANK YOU, FOR A SAND WICH I'VE NOT TASTED BEFORE"
Wong's looked round, "Sandwich? Where?"
Regn laughed, "HE MEANS THE SAND ON YOUR FRIEND'S SHOES. SOME IS FROM HERE, BUT SOME IS NOT?" she turned to Mary
"Please, I just want to go Home!" Wong trotted back to sit beside Mary, his ears two fluffy tipped orange triangles, pink nose tilted up at the two huge cave people. Mary snuggled up to him.
The wand was shimmering in Regn's grey fingers. The cloud lady smiled, "YOU DIDN'T FIND THE WAND, IT FOUND YOU, AND HELPED YOU GET HERE BECAUSE IT WANTS US HELP TO HELP YOU BOTH SOME MORE. " She lifted it up, and it flew through the air to Mary, getting smaller till it was easy for her to catch, and she did. She looked at it quickly, afraid the colours would go now it was in her hand, but they rippled brightly.
Yordi looked from Mary to Wong, adding "WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW, EARWIG AND CAT, IS HOW!"
Wong sat up straight, "A big helping of Peanut Butter Sandwiches!"
"THAT'S EASY!" Yordi touched the cave wall and a doorway opened letting white light into the cave. He went through.
"Come on!" Wong bounded after them. Mary wiped her face and came too. On the other side was a corridor, bright and clean with a pale, tiled floor, and rows of white metal shelves, like in a shop, but they were empty.
Wong jumped up onto a shelf and skidded about sniffing hopefully. He jumped down shaking his head. Mary looked up at Yordi, "I'm sorry, I can't see any food?"
"IT'S THE FOOD I'LL! WATCH!" Yordi walked away, "AS YOU GO PAST A SHELF, THINK OF WHAT YOU WANT, SHUT YOUR EYES, THEN SAY I'LL HAVE - WHATEVER IT IS" he turned towards them and Mary saw him shut his eyes, but before he could wish, Kony's face poked out from under his jumper, followed by her ears.
The rabbit giggled, "I'll have a biscuit!" ping!There was a biscuit on the middle shelf. She smiled happily, hanging onto the jumper, grabbed the biscuit and went back under. Crunching sounds came out, then a hiccup.
Wong's eyes gleamed. He walked forward, tail straight, apart from flopping over at the end like a furry candycane, shut his eyes, "I'll have a peanut butter sandwich, this big!" he held his paws wide apart. ping! there was the biggest sandwich Mary had ever seen! Wong sniffed it, "Oh Yes!" He pulled the sandwich off and dragged it under the shelf so only his tail stuck out. Mary could hear him purring and chewing and the shelves shook.
"YOUR TURN" She walked to the shelf, shut her eyes, wishing food could make her happy like that, but it couldn't, she wanted Mum and Dad, I miss you so much! The wand buzzed like a bumblebee against a window, sparks zapped beside her and the celing flickered blue; Wong scooted out, dotted with peanut butter, his eyes wide and whiskers zigzaggy.
Afraid she'd broken the shelf Mary backed away, "I'm sorry!"
"IT'S FINE, DON'T WORRY, LOOK!" Yordi touched the shelves, and the sparks and flickering stopped "BUT, THIS ONLY WORKS FOR FOOD - WHAT TASTE DO YOU LIKE BEST?"
"I don't mind" Being vegetarian always made trouble. Like when Karen and Dale had taken her to a Chinese restaurant. Dale kept telling her how delicious his food was, asking if she wanted to try it, but it all had meat in. She had been given plain white rice. That was all there was for vegetarians, Karen said. Jake kept saying what Dale said. Then Dale bent in, "Mum's not here, she won't know, you can try some, it's really good, isn't it, Jake? And Jake had nodded, rubbing his tummy, and Mary hadn't known what to say back. They'd had sauces but she didn't think they were meant for if you only had rice, didn't know if they had meat in too, didn't dare ask. She looked at her feet now, but said clearly. " I don't eat meat, please"
"I DON'T KNOW WHAT MEAT IS. WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRY MUSHROOM STEW WITH REGN AND ME?"
Mary wasn't sure if she liked mushrooms, but she wanted to leave the Food I'll, so she nodded, Wong picked up the rest of his sandwich in his mouth and soon they were back in the cave.
Yordi told Regn, who smiled, "FIRST YOU MUST PICK THE MUSHROOMS" and gave Mary a basket made of ferns. Mary thanked her and turned to follow Yordi, but he had gone. She looked back to ask Regn where he was, but now she was gone too.
Wong was still there, though. He was rolling about on the floor with his tongue sticking out, so she asked "Did you see where they went?"
Wong worked out which legs were front and which were back, and jumped up, facing the wrong way. He turned round, "Who?"
"The big people, Regn and Yordi!"
"No, I was licking peanut butter off my back while breakdancing, cool huh?. It only looks easy because I am so good at it. But I can use my big thinking power on your problem, if you like?" Mary nodded and Wong made his eyes thin like he was looking at something far away, and turned his head slowly, then pointed, "Maybe they went up there?" Mary was searching the other way, and turned. Where it had been floor and wall stone steps started sliding up out of the floor like an escalator and at the top a path was growing high up on the wall, smooth as when you run your finger through warm plasticine. "Not that tricky", He looked sideways quickly, "Gotcher!" twisted round as far as he could with his tongue sticking out and summersaulted away
Wong was busy and there was nothing else to do, so Mary stepped on the lowest stair, which moved smoothly up.The air got warmer and heavier, and mushroom-smellier. After a few more steps the path stopped. She leaned on the wall and looked back and down, saw Wong was on a patch of dry moss, curled up asleep with his tail over his nose. Then, the wall next to her, wasn't anymore! Mary fell into another cave -
Pointy like a tiny town of church spires, or flat open as twirling umbrellas; crowds of upside down cup shapes or wavey plates in a still flow. Some were big, some small, some were like inside aeroplane turbine engines underneath, others spongy, some had fringes at the edge, some were scaley all over. They might be cool and slick, or velvet soft or sticky as wet glue.There were tiny drumsticks and big tangles of bobbly threads.There were wide yellow trumpets sticking up from the soft brown floor, beside white ear shapes with prickles underneath, closeby chunky cream coloured hats with green patches on short tick stalks, and round plates blue as sunny sky over pale, cool pleats on slim pillars. Other kinds were plump with bulging stalks and purple tops begging to be touched, while some had no stalks at all, but sat on the ground like goblets of red wax. Bright orange ones like lumpy duvets stuck out of the wall in one place while over there were dark red juicy looking wedges, and here were white ones looking like someone had been playing with a play dough hair machine. There were groups of pale grey fragile parasols and huge silky white balls, some shy looking crinkled brown cones that looked like they were bowing on their curving stalks, and lots and lots of little brown buttons
"Oh!" Mary whispered. At once, beside her white frills unfurled, grew into a curly clump, making her jump out of the way and nearly tripped, "Woooah" circles of striped red and yellow and orange flared out like a dancer's skirts!
What would happen if she made another noise?"Hellooo!" a warm orange rocket burst out of the ground and opened into a smooth umbrella with a lemony inside. Mary made all the sounds she could think of, first quietly, then louder. It was fun! Whatever the noise, a mushroom would grow. If she did the same thing over it made a crowd of mushrooms almost the same as each other
"What are you doing?"
"Whah!" Mary had been singing and had not heard Wong coming. A spikey cream lightbulb shape cracked open the ground beside her foot. Wong jumped. Mary explained about sounds making mushrooms.
"Cool!" A small orange mushroom with a spongy yellow underneath popped up at his paws, Wong bet down and sniffed it, "You can have that one, if you like" He stood up again and shut his eyes for a bit, then he began to purr.
The rich, warm, comforting sound echoed round the cave,making all Mary's bones feel like your tongue does when you taste toffee. She shut her eyes too, so as to hear better. and when Wong stopped, and she opened them again, there was a huge white trumpet, tall as Wong.
Yordi's blue eye opened big as a window in the roof, "AH, AN EMPEROR TRUMPET, WELL DONE!" and the eye was gone
Mary waited for mushrooms to grow from his words, but none did. "How did you know how to make that one?" Mary whispered to Wong, looking round, but there was no sign of new ones, they must have all stopped
Wong licked his paw and washed his eyebrow, "The best sound makes the best taste, of course"
A wall blurred, then the blurr was a mist which uncurled into a tall cloud and turned into Regn, "THEY WILL ALL BE DELICIOUS! DIFFERENCES TOGETHER MAKE THE GREATEST RICHES. LET'S GET COOKING, YORDI HAVE YOU GOT THE LAVA READY?"
"COMING UP!" A hole sank into the floor. Wong looked over the edge and his white parts went warm golden and his orange parts glowed like flames. He sighed happily and spread out next to it like Superman flying, only he was lying down. He shut his eyes, smiling. Mary looked into the hole, and a blast of heat, hotter than the middle of a bonfire poured up into her face. She spread her hands out and the fierce brightness shone through her fingers all orangey red.
Regn picked up the basket, "LET'S GO, OK?" Mary went with her. Regn made a sound like rain on the roof when you are cosy in bed. She stretched out a finger and the tip was sharp as a knife and sliced through the stalk of Wong's emperor trumpet mushroom. Mary held out the basket and it was laid in gently, and Mary's arms were dragged down. Regn smiled, "I'LL HOLD IT, YOU PICK"
Mary was happy to hand over the now heavy basket, "What will I cut them with?"
Regn put the basket on her arm then with her other hand snapped off her knife shaped finger and gave it to Mary, but at once, a normal finger grew in its place. The one in her hand felt cool and tingly, like when she had put her own finger in the cloud, before. "REMEMBER TO HUM" Mary hummed very quietly. "LOUDER, GO UP AND DOWN, IT IS GOOD TO SAY THANKYOU!"
Mary bent down to a red shiny cup shaped mushroom, and put the knife under it, and without even pressing, it came away from the ground. It was so pretty Mary hummed to it how much she liked its shape and colour, holding it close to see it better, even its smell was good. She put it in the basket, looking up to check she was doing it right, but the cloud lady had gone back to being like a statue, her grey face peaceful, her mouth in a gentle smile. Mary hummed louder and chose her next mushroom. She felt important and useful.