I started writing this a couple months back, but put it to one side as it needed work. I had a bit of time over Christmas to polish it up.
The entire thing is pretty large, so I’m splitting it into bitesize chunks, this is Part III of III (if you missed them, you can find Part I and Part II here. And there. I’ll publish the story in full tomorrow, just in case future readers want to read the whole lot in one go.
This is all too much, groaned Hazel. First, the cat, then, a world with people the size of insects, who live inside metal tubes. And now this vicious dog, wanting me for its lunch! Enough! I wish I was just back in the safety of my cage! At least nothing bothers me, there.
As if by magic, the leaf began to rustle, and rose gracefully into the air again, carrying Hazel with it! As the drooling dog realised his lunch was escaping, he made one final, desperate lunge.
But his efforts were in vain, as the leaf gently lifted out of his reach, then beyond the reach of the old lady. Finally the great house itself grew smaller, as Hazel climbed higher and began to be surrounded by thin wisps of cloud. Oh, no, she thought, as the leaf began to carry her away from the palace, I’ve only just got my legs back from the last trip, for goodness sake! Squeezing her eyes tightly shut, thankfully, there were no more close encounters with aeroplanes to worry about as the leaf made its way deliberately through the cooling air.
After what seemed like an age, Hazel felt the leaf descending and gingerly opened her eyes to see thousands of tiny boxes, just like the ones earlier. Not only that, but the leaf seemed to be heding towards one in particular. Not just to the box, either, but toward a small, black hole in the top. In fact, come to mention, there were black holes in almost all the boxes, and Hazel even saw some belching grey smoke into the sky.
Now, Hazel remembered this smoke from her cage. When Mrs Nugent sometimes lit a fire, all the smoke and flames disappeared into… a black hole! Indeed, as they dropped towards the ground, Hazel shivered at the prospect of now being burned to a crisp in an orange inferno!
Hazel’s thoughts were interrupted when suddenly, her world became dark, with just a tiny peephole above her. The wind dropped to nothing, and rather than being hot, she found herself freezing cold! Down and down she continued, along this impenetrable passage, until she was bathed in light again, and her view opened up into a large room which felt extremely familiar. Remarkably similar, in fact, to where she lived, as the leaf finally came to rest on a cold, black slab of slate.
A minute later, Hazel heard a soft, familiar voice.
“Hazel? Darling, is that you?”
Quick as a flash, Flora leapt toward the fireplace and snatched the hamster up, cupping Hazel tightly in her hands. At last, the hamster felt secure.
“Goodness me, honey. I thought we’d lost you!”, uttered a relieved Flora. “I’ve been hunting high and low, and there you were, rummaging around in the hearth all the while! David will be ever so relieved to see you safe and sound!”