Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chapter Fifty-Seven

It requires the largest pieces of furniture - the divan, the wardrobe, and the bed - to pick up their Master and carry him back to his chambers. Pinocchio, having nowhere to go, follows behind.

Worried whispers drift through the castle. Their surgeon was destroyed during the Master’s last rage, and none of the servants are quite sure what to do.

The Beast’s heart still beats, ever so faintly, but he does not wake up. The basin and sponge gently clean the wounds beneath his matted fur as best they can. The rest watch silently.

Unable to see onto the high bed, Pinocchio looks about the forbidden room. It isn’t nearly so frightening, now that he is no longer alone.

“What’s that?” he asks suddenly. He points to a beautiful, ornate hand mirror.

“That?” says the Candelabra. “That is one of the Master’s most treasured possessions. It is an enchanted looking glass.”

“It shows you,” interrupts the Clock, “whatever it is your heart wishes to see, no matter the distance.”

“Can I see it?” asks the puppet.

May I see it,” corrects the Clock.

“May I see it?”

“If you wish,” says the Clock. “But it doesn’t always bring happiness, I must warn you. No, not always,” it adds, softly.

Unmindful of the Clock’s words, Pinocchio grabs eagerly at the mirror. “I wish to see my father,” he whispers.

And instantly, the mirror sparkles to life. It is Gepetto! He is alive! But where? In a dark, cramped, place. He holds a candle high, illuminating his gaunt, unshaven features, and then the image fades to Pinocchio’s own face.

“It’s Father! He’s alive!” gasps Pinocchio.

“I’m happy for you,” says the Clock, though its face is still sad.

Delighted, Pinocchio clatters downstairs to tell his companion. The Lion is in the entrance hall, at the edge of the pool of blood. He does not turn at Pinocchio’s voice.

“I saw him! I saw him!” Pinocchio calls.

“Is that so?” says the Lion, his voice oddly muffled. In the shadows, the mop and bucket watch him silently.

“Yes! He’s in the mirror! You were right!” He waves the mirror, shining brightly once more.

The Lion growls faintly as Pinocchio steps closer - a warning, the boy believes, to stay back from the sight of the man’s body. It was a most distressing sight, after all.

“Of course. I told you we should come here,” says the Lion, after swallowing. “And this is why.”

“Now all we have to do is find out where he is.” Pinocchio peers into the mirror, trying to spot any clues before the image fades away.

“That will be difficult,” says the Lion, and for a moment, Pinocchio’s smile falters. “But I believe I’ll be able to find him.”

Thinking silently for a moment, the Lion finally says, “It will be easier if we have help. You must go upstairs and ask the others.”

The Lion looks solemnly at Pinocchio, his muzzle flecked and wet. “Tell them it is not too late to save the girl and their master, just as it is not too late to find your father. Tell them.”

Nodding eagerly, Pinocchio scampers back upstairs, his eyes bright. Hope, after all, is a valuable meal.