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Funny Fantasy Kids

“It’s still raining cats and dogs.”, said Sally in a matter-of-fact manner, as though it was an everyday experience.

“Good – are you ready?” replied Stuart.

They were sheltering under the awning of the house in Kansas, the large family house, white painted shutters, with a grey roof. The awning was erected on top of the front stoop, where chairs, a rocking love-nest swing come settee, and small table were protected from the elements. Most certainly from the downpour of cats and dogs.

Sally peered into the sky, using her free hand as a visor. She had poked her head outside the safety of the awning, with the other hand grasping the post; she anchored herself, and swung outside the protection of the awning roof, and looked upwards.

“How come they don’t land on the trees, or the roof, they all land perfectly on the unobstructed flat ground.” Sally said observing the dogs and cats landing with precision, as the feline and canine missiles hurtled from the vast cloudy sky.

“Don’t forget to take an umbrella, just in case.” Reminded Stuart.

“I’ve packed a lunch, it’s in our backpacks.” Sally announced with excitement in her voice.

“We might be gone for some time, but I’m not sure we will find food, wherever we end up.” she added with equal merriment.

Sally and Stuart stood for a moment on the last step of the stoop, arm in arm, with the umbrella above their heads, smiling together, at each other in excitement. It had taken a long time to take this first step into the storm that was raining down cats and dogs, the watching phase was over, it was time to jump, jump into the abyss, and accept the consequences.

They expected a cat or a dog to collide with the extended umbrella, nothing happened. The first step into the downpour was completely uneventful, they both crouched under the umbrella expecting a dog, a cat to either crash through the flimsy cloth of the umbrella, or bounce off the rigid frame, and crash land onto the ground – nothing.

It took a few minutes for them to realize that the umbrella had created a bubble, an impenetrable bubble, protecting them from both feline and canine collision. They relaxed with this knowledge, and took a hesitant step forward, still no collision with the airborne missiles raining down from the skies.

Looking around them, the cats and dogs rained down from the skies, like missiles, and then slowed down dramatically before landing. It was like watching aircraft land on the short runway of an aircraft carrier – sudden and precise. Remarkedly, they landed unscathed, touching down on the surrounding land, immediately they all walked to the same destination or pathway that circled and circled into the distance, into a circular valley, it dropped equally on all sides like a huge funnel, and the pathway continued circling and circling ever decreasing like a kaleidoscope.

All the cats and dogs looked the same – thousands upon thousands of clones. All the cats had one set of colouring and markings; ginger and white, and the dogs, which were the same size as the cats, small for a dog, had white and black markings and patches. Each cat looked the same, and each dog looked the same.

The marching army of cats and dogs had sightless black eyes – all focused on an unknown destination in each animal’s mind – trance-like. They marched, they didn’t run, they walked at a constant speed, allowing the same distance between each animal, coming from every direction, but as they approached the spiral, the distance between each animal became smaller, and yet smaller, as they walked in rows like a troop of soldiers, but incredibly in perfect order of dog-cat-dog-cat. Side by side. It was like watching one of those old black and white movie spectacles with thousands of dancers making patterns with their bodies and limbs, all choreographed to perfection. These weren’t humans, this was a dog and cat lookalike movie spectacular, but it missed the big band sound.

Sally and Stuart followed the spiral pathway, as it descended and descended deeper into the funnel shaped valley. The cats and dogs allowed Sally and Stuart their own space to walk, or to march within the rows upon rows of dogs and cats to their unknown destination.

It was a hypnotic crazed scene – like lemmings marching towards the cliff edge.

From a distance it looked like an enormous cave entrance hole in the ground, perfectly cylindrical, too perfect. The light surrounding the gigantic hole in the ground disappeared, it looked artificial, like a kindergarten painting, like a black hole made with a stencil, outside of the black stencil like hole, the surrounding area was full of texture, contours, imperfections of the landscape, but the hole was just flat black. Once the neat rows of cats and dogs encountered the gigantic black circle they vanished, one second a dog or cat the next blackness, nothingness.

The appearance of the huge black hole didn’t change, a flat blackness, as Sally and Stuart walked ever closer to the gigantic black hole.

The row of dogs and cats directly in front of their own approaching row that contained Sally and Stuart still holding and sharing the umbrella vanished without sight or sound, and now it was their turn. In milliseconds the feeling of being sucked into the blackness vanished, as both were catapulted into the dark void, now they were floating in the dark. The dogs and cats were filtered off into separate tunnel streams, Sally and Stuart just fell ever downwards, ever downwards, falling like in a dream or nightmare, the continual feeling of endless falling into a unknown and bottomless pit.

They both landed in a heap on the jungle floor in a clearing under the vast canopy of tall trees, vines, and creepers, still holding the umbrella, and with their backpacks upon their backs containing their provisions, a packed lunch. Directly in front of them was a waterfall, and a sudden oblique drop. The catadupe, or waterfall, or cata doga rained down beyond their sight to the jungle floor below, the spray from the waterfall created a steamy atmosphere which created the occasional wispy rainbow hovering and visible in the water vapour mist. The heat and humidity of the jungle, the shade of the canopy of trees, and the water spray mist combined to create an outside sauna experience.

Sally and Stuart didn’t notice the smiling lemur sitting on the ground, the sudden appearance of a man and woman with an umbrella seemed an everyday event to this lemur, he smiled brightly, and then incredulously he spoke.

“Enjoy the trip?”

“Where are we?” Sally was the first to speak. It just seemed normal to respond to the lemur, it had certainly been a usual day, so why should it ever stop.

“Congo!” said the lemur.

“Oh, that’s a long way from Kansas!” replied Sally.

“Yep – sure is.” Agreed the lemur.

“Did you see any cats and dogs around here?” Enquired Stuart.

“Nope – why do you ask?” said the lemur.

“When we left Kansas, it was raining cats and dogs.” Said Stuart matter-of-factly.

“I see.” The lemur pondered.

“Here, in the Congo; it only rains frogs and fish. Occasionally, it might bucket it down with lizards and snakes, but no cats and dogs.” The lemur said informatively.

“Ask him how we get back to Kansas.” Whispered Sally to Stuart. The packed lunch wouldn’t last them for a long trip, not an overnighter, Sally only packed enough for a short-day trip.

“I heard that, I’m assuming you need to know how to get back home, or certainly out of the Congo jungle – am I guessing right?”

The lemur looked at Stuart and Sally, he wasn’t a stranger to seeing strangers lost in the jungle.

“Yes – we came without a map or a phone, so YES, if you can guide us in any way, that would help a lot!” Sally said.

“I would advise you to speak to the Gorilla under the Lombi tree. He sits and thinks about world politics, but I would recommend you approach him with care, he sleeps a lot, and doesn’t like it when others disturb him. Be warned!” Those were the lemur’s parting words, as he sprung up from his sitting position, leaped up and grabbed the nearest creeper vine, and then swung away higher into the trees. He vanished out of sight.

Sally and Stuart stared at the space left behind, and had to make sure that the conversation, and what had happened with the talking lemur was real, and not a dream.

“I guess we need to find the Gorilla.” Stuart concluded.

It was a long walk before they found a huge tree, it was the Lombi tree, with huge canopy of leaves, but the ground under the canopy was like garden lawn, after trekking through the jungle where there was no path, a continuous struggle against the undergrowth of sturdy creepers, vines, all the trees seemed to be imprisoned by the creepers, as they twisted up the tree trunk, into the higher canopy of the trees. After a difficult walk navigating the chaotic jungle floor, Sally and Stuart were so pleased, with a sense of wonder, as they suddenly entered this area of a manicured lawn, under the most gigantic tree, and sitting, sleeping against the tree was a huge black Gorilla.

Sally and Stuart stood on the edge of the clearing, staring at the Gorilla for some time.

“Should we wake-up the Gorilla?” asked Sally.

Her voice must have been heard by the Gorilla, as one of its eyes slowly slid open, and gave the intruders to his peaceful slumbers a distinctly unfriendly one-eyed stare. The one eye was saying, “who are you to disturb my nap?”

Stuart tried to solve the interruption, their uninvited appearance, by apologizing, and giving an excuse for their intrusion.

“Hello, we are a bit lost, and we were told by a lemur that you were the person to find out directions. We are so sorry to disturb your sleep, but we are from Kansas, and we wanted to find our way home. I hope you don’t mind.” Stuart introduced themselves to the half-asleep Gorilla. Stuart assumed he could talk, and talk English, based on the recent experience with the lemur.

“You have been talking to Lenny.” The Gorilla said.

“Kansoz, you say?”

“I think we can find a way to get you back home, but there is a fee involved for the journey – I hope you understand.” The Gorilla hadn’t moved, his huge back resting on the Lombi tree, but now he had both eyes open. Then quite suddenly he stretched out both large arms to the sky, and then he scratched his big stomach.

“A fee? We don’t carry money with us, only cards.” Said Stuart apologetically.

“Money is of no value in the jungle, what’s in your backpack, and that umbrella might be of use around here.” The Gorilla suggested.

“We have some packed sandwiches for our lunch.” Explained Sally.

“What kind of sandwiches?” asked the Gorilla.

“Peanut butter, and jelly sandwiches.” Answered Sally.

“You are kidding me! They are my favorite.” The Gorilla became so animated, his appearance changed from a severe, “why have you disturbed my sleep!” look, to that of a Gorilla that had won the lottery.

Sally took off her backpack, and then took the container of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and offered them to the Gorilla. His face beamed, as his huge arm reached into the sandwich container, and he grabbed one of the sandwiches, and then started to munch the sliced bread with peanut butter and jelly spread.

“Mmmmm. So good!” The gorilla said with a full mouth of the sandwich.

The Gorilla finished all the sandwiches, every single morsel. He sat back against the gigantic tree, and started rubbing his stomach, completely satisfied.

“So, you want to go home, you say.?” Said the Gorilla.

“Yes, we didn’t plan to come to the Congo jungle today, it just happened, but yes we want to go home.” Sally said.

“OK, it’s easy. Do you see those long creepers, over there? There are dangling ropes.” The Gorilla pointed to the edge of the clearing, and Sally and Stuart saw sturdy ropes dangling in mid-air. The ropes disappeared above into the canopy of the tree.

“Just pull on them, and they will take you both home!” The Gorilla concluded.

Stuart and Sally nearly ran to the ropes with excitement after the Gorilla’s news. As they got nearer, they could see numerous long sturdy ropes dangling in front of them, they looked like ropes one would find in a church to pull to ring the bells in the church tower. They both pulled on two separate ropes; the force of the pull took their feet off the ground, the jungle floor. Immediately, the ropes started to pull Sally and Stuart upwards into the darkness of the huge tree, into the leaves, into darkness. It was a pleasant feeling, very controlled, not too fast, they both ascended higher and higher into the darkness.

Then suddenly they started to descend. In the darkness it was difficult to feel the direction, the only indicator was the air against their bodies, their faces. On the ascent the air flow was coming from above, and on the descent, it started rushing from below.

Out of the darkness, both Sally and Stuart landed on the jungle floor, both with backpacks and an umbrella. It wasn’t the same jungle, and it was raining. It wasn’t raining cats and dogs, nor frogs and fish, but it was raining.

“Where are we?” asked Sally.

“Well, it is certainly not Kansas.” Replied Stuart.

Out of the shelter of a huge green leaf appeared a Kangaroo, standing about three foot tall.

“G’day mate!” said the Kangaroo.

“Raining cats and dogs, come under me shelter 'ere mate, got to keep dry.” The Kangaroo invited both Sally and Stuart to join him under the huge leaf.

“Where are we?” Stuart blurted out, he forgot his manners, and didn’t introduce himself or Sally.

“Well mate! You are in Cairns, Oz!” Replied the Kangaroo.

“Australia!” Sally burst out with astonishment.

“Yep, the wonderful sunshine state of Queensland!” The Kangaroo added brightly.

“But we pulled the rope for Kansas, the Gorilla said the rope would take us to Kansas.” Stuart started to explain.

“No Gorillas ‘ere mate, some crocodiles, and sharks mostly, and me mates the Joey’s” The Kangaroo explained.

“No, the Gorilla was in Congo, and he liked peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.” Stuart said.

“Well, I think he must have misunderstood your accent mate! This is Cairns-oz, not Kans-as!” The Kangaroo suggested. “But I’m also partial to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

“How are we going to get home, our home in Kansas, USA?” Both Sally and Stuart said with a tinge of hopelessness in their voices.

“Guess, you're gonna have to fly mate!” The kangaroo suggested. “You’ll find a travel agent in town, stone’s throw from 'ere, for sure!” 

February 25, 2024 12:20

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9 comments

John Rutherford
13:22 Feb 25, 2024

Thanks. It's a bit Alice in Wonderlandish, but if I could make good copy of that, I would be pleased.

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Marty B
02:59 Feb 26, 2024

A peculiar start with actual horror-like black eyed identical cats and dogs falling from the earth, but then the story brightened up with a drop thru a worm hole thru the earth (Another dimension?) into peanut butter grape apes. All the locals are friendly though, great story!

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John Rutherford
05:17 Feb 26, 2024

Thanks for reading

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Mary Bendickson
21:17 Feb 25, 2024

Raining dogs, indeed. Our new neighbors have 4 long-haired dashounds which are adorable because they run everywhere enmass barking excessively driving us and our cat to annoyance. But you gotta love 'em. Loved your story.

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John Rutherford
05:18 Feb 26, 2024

Thanks Mary.

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Trudy Jas
19:37 Feb 25, 2024

Well, mate. They went down the drain (inverted tornado?) via, Congo to the real OZ. Cute. Thanks for the laughs.

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Christy Morgan
15:14 Feb 25, 2024

Lovely story, John! It's a bit reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz, as well :) I like how it starts with the raining of cats and dogs. My husband would say it in fact rained dogs in our yard, as we have 4 corgis - ha! Thanks for sharing - it was a fun read to start my day!

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John Rutherford
15:56 Feb 25, 2024

Thanks for your endearing comments.

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Stella Aurelius
12:48 Feb 25, 2024

This was a riot, John! I love how you started with the concept of "raining cats and dogs" and built it until the anthropomorphic animals. Brilliant job!

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