Friday, 25 April 2014

Willaby, Tarquin and Tina


 Part one of a something that might become a proper something (and really it's about time I wrote a proper something).
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Tarquin was, quite possibly, the world's prettiest pig.
He was the colour of a rosebud, his ears were like satin petals, and his trotters were the daintiest anyone had ever seen. As an ornament on a shelf he would have been prized beyond compare, but as a pig, well, he was merely that, or so he had been led to believe.
It was a Monday, and as the little pink pig sat in his corner of the yard, the trough slouching in the earth behind him and the sky so high up and blue it seemed it were trying to grow taller still, he sighed. So deep a sigh that the day almost wished it wasn't a Monday as much as he wished it wasn't, for it was such a very sad sound for such a small thing to make.
For you see-” He explained to the Monday, for want of anyone else to explain to, “you Mondays are almost always followed by Tuesdays, and Tuesdays are when the farmer goes to market, and when the farmer goes to the market...” The pig rested his chin on the lowest wooden bar of the fence.
The farmer takes a pig.”
Who the farmer took to market had previously been dictated by who was the largest, but small and dainty as he was Tarquin had no need to look around the pen to see who would be accompanying the farmer to the market this Tuesday. There was no other pig to be taken.
Over a matter of weeks the group had dwindled, the pigs not knowing that the farmer had decided to take herself and her wife off to another place for another life, and that they had no need or means to keep their pigs, no matter how plump or how pretty they happened to be. As to what became of the pigs that went to the market- well, the little pigs had all been told their cautionary tales by their sows long ago. All the pigs knew was that, one by one, they were going to the place that no pig wanted to go to, and that the farmers had their reasons, they supposed. That was what humans were like.
There was a strangely warm wind in the air this Monday, but the little pig was far too disconsolate to pay it much attention, for what did it matter to him if the wind was from the South, and the air currents high up and strong. It seemed pointless to do anything save look appropriately wistful.
About to vent another very deep very sad sigh, Tarquin found himself interrupted by a shadow passing over him. Looking up he could just make out something flying high against the Sun, wheeling around in wide, lazy ellipses. His head tilted to the side as his doleful, long-lashed eyes followed it; he had seen buzzards and seagulls before, and thought them nothing remarkable, but there was something rather different about this one.
"What an odd looking bird." Thought Tarquin, and quite understandably too, for it was a very odd looking bird indeed. It was quite unlike anything the little pig had seen before, with sweet-wrapper wings all shaped like a boomerang, and a tail split into two long paddles.

It circled around the farmstead, banking as it began its descent, and as it lowered it only became more odd, for there was actually very little about it that was bird-like at all. It seemed to be a very ungainly shape, and yet, when it finally came in to land, it was not with a crash and a bump and a complicated tumble (as Tarquin had expected), but with a rather satisfying sort of ‘flump’.
"Hello." Said the odd looking bird.
"Hello." Replied the pig, watching the strange new creature folding up its wings with great interest. It appeared to be too absorbed in looking around to notice, so he continued to gaze as he pleased. "Are you lost?"
"Oh yes, yes…" The answer came in an absent, gentle voice. The sort of voice one could listen to for a very long time without getting tired of it at all. "-but I really don’t mind it, you know."
Tarquin faltered at something to say to this, but really, it was very difficult trying to think of anything to say to a creature you had never even imagined before, let alone seen. It wasn't quite a kangaroo, or a wallaby, or a hare, but something more or less in the middle of all three. Finishing its arrangements with the wings- which were attached to a pile of rucksack and assorted camping equipment strapped to the creature's back- the stranger gave the pig a kindly smile, before exchanging it for a slightly sad one.
You don't look very happy.”
I'm not.” Tarquin confirmed. It wasn't sulkily stated, merely matter of fact.

Ah, I see- I thought it best to check, you know.” The pointed face presented a sympathetic expression after a succession of nods. A pair of thick, long ears waved to and fro in the aftermath, just visible past the wide rim of the tattered hat they crested. “Some people can look sad when they're happy, and more often there are people who look happy when they're actually very sad.”
Is that so?” Tarquin looked mildly intrigued by this fact, being a very straight forward sort of pig himself, “well, that's interesting, but I'm afraid you're right with my case. I am very unhappy.” And just to cement the fact he completed the sigh he had been interrupted in before.
Well?! Aint'cha gonna cheer him up, like?”
Said the rucksack.

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