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The Jodechi Chronicles by Alan Waites - HTML preview

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BOOK 1

1: PAGE 3: IN THE BEGINNING
2: PAGE 11: THE FLYING DRAGON
3: PAGE 22: THE SNOW
4: PAGE 39: THE DAY OF THE DUCKS
5: PAGE 52: THE CIRCUS
6: PAGE 71: THE FLYING DRAGON RETURNS
7: PAGE 83: DAY TRIP TO BUTTERCUP
8: PAGE 96: CHRISTMAS FOR THE JODECHIANS
9: PAGE 123: THE WAY HOME
10: PAGE 132: THE ENTERTAINERS
11: PAGE 141: POTTYPEARS INVESTIGATES
12: PAGE 156: THE QUEEN OF JODECHI
1: IN THE BEGINNING

 

The land of Jodechi was never far away, infact it was just yonder, over the hills but just beyond the eye’s reach.

Jodechi was a beautiful place, with meadows and hills, rolling away from the village. The folk of Jodechi were not like the people who lived yonder away from them, but they did have one or two differences, chiefly on the whole they were smaller, much smaller and apart from the menfolk sporting huge beards they all had small little horns on the top of the forehead. The womenfolk had the small little horns but also had pointed ears, something the menfolk lacked. It was never a problem to spot a manfolk from a womanfolk.

The folk of Jodechi never met the people from the other world, and indeed like the people from the other world, they were complete unaware of each other.

The folk of Jodechi worked hard, they toiled the land, and everything harvested was collected and distributed fairly, for although they on the whole everyone worked differently, they worked for one and another. The blacksmith would work on the Shethorse, a creature bred purely to pull the plough and cart. The cart, been the only form of transport throughout Jodechi. The same went to the animal farmers, the eggs of the poultry were collected, cattle went to the markets and bartered for other goods, livestock and feed.

The community lived and worked for each other. This was the way of life for eons and would continue to do for many to come.

In the village, which was called Buttercup, families lived in huge cottages. They had to be large as the family unit never really moved away. Each cottage had members of the same family going back generations. When a Jodechian got married, the wife was expected to move into the groom’s family home.

For it was so, and was always the case. As one sibling moved out to her new marital home, a newly married wife moved in. The cottages were large, some four and five floors high. Because of this way, there were never any new cottages built, just existing cottages made larger when required.

Cosmicblasto Monkeynose and Catwhiskers Picklebuns were no exception. Although they were best friends, they had not yet reached the age of maturity when they were expected to have a wife and therefore become a bonafida member of the working community. Their beards were small and neatly groomed; Cosmicblasto’s beard was jet black in colour whilst Catwhisker’s beard was the brightest orange. Even so they were still considered to be in their early years.

Cosmicblasto and Catwhiskers were always to be found together, and always upto mischief but they were by and large good Jodechians. Always polite and respectful to their elders, helped mother with their chores and father in the garden, but they were given a free rein.

Both Cosmicblasto and Catwhiskers were friendly with Lardyme Cootiepants and Poopsie Rhinochunks. It was always thought that these would marry each other, but one was never quite sure who to whom, one would have to wait to find out. But they were all good friends to one another. Like the rest of the village, Lardyme and Poopsie, lived with their families in the large cottages.

Outside Jodechi, yonder as far as the eye could see was the other world. This world was as different as could be to Jodechi.

The people here lived fast lives, never really working for one another but for themselves. The communities were larger and spread out more, not so much of the hills and meadows, but great big cities and small cramped living conditions. If a Jodechian was ever able to venture yonder beyond the eye could see they would never want to go there.

On the whole, the people in this other world, were taller, only the young being small. They certainly didn’t have horns or pointed ears, but otherwise seem the same. Some of these people were old, but not as old as the oldfolk in Jodechi, but on the other hand you knew that they were in the latter years of life.

Joe Spratt and Fred Jackson were no different from each other. Having spent all their working life underground in the coalmines, apart from 2 years National Service in the 50’s they were now in retirement, they spent their lives in the sunshine, or in the rain, or in the snow. All their years working in the pits underground had toughened their skin, making them strong to the elements.

Joe and Fred enjoyed wandering around the countryside, when not visiting the local Inn, frequently getting discharged from the same Inn after having one or two too many drinks.

It was on this occasion, again having being removed, that they found themselves climbing the hill to Churchup. At the summit of the hill they rested on the bench. The villagers of Churchup had put the bench there some years earlier. The view from there was beautiful. Meadows, that seem to roll down and hills in the background.

Joe and Fred were sat on the bench, looking over to the distance. There was a blinding blue flash and laid down before them were two of the littlest people they had ever seen. The old men stared at the little men and then at each other then back to the little men. There was a silence.

“Joe” said Fred, “What do you see.”

 

“I don’t know” came the reply “Why don’t you ask them?”

 

“Who are you?” asked Cosmicblasto.

 

“I am Fred” came the reply, “and my friend here, is called Joe.”

Cosmicblasto and Catwhiskers looked at each other and howled out with laughter. They certainly lost control of themselves as they fell about on the floor howling. Tears were rolling down their faces and at the same time talking to each other.

“Fred” said one of them. “Joe” said the other then they just changed the names around and continued to laugh.

 

“Oi” said Joe, “Settle down now, nothing funny in that, now what are your names” he asked.

 

It took another minute for the Jodechians to settle down, but it was Catwhiskers who spoke first.

 

“I am Catwhiskers and my friend here is called Cosmicblasto.”

 

Joe and Fred turned to face one another.

 

“Catwhiskers” said Joe.

 

“Cosmicblasto” said Fred.

The old men continued to look at each other, then they too howled out with laughter, and as like before, the laughter was intense, much to the annoyance of Cosmicblasto and Catwhiskers.

“Alright, alright, you had your little joke. There’s absolutely nothing funny at all about our names. They go back generations” said Cosmicblasto.

The two Jodechians looked at each other; the tears of laughter were long gone. Joe and Fred seemed to settle down at last.

 

“Ok” said Joe, “So where do you come from? I haven’t seen you around here before.”

“Ah well, there’s a story. It all began when this stranger appeared, just the biggest person we ever did see. He wandered around a bit. He was quite friendly,” said Cosmicblasto.

“And when he found out of our secret desire to invent a machine that would take us faster around our village he helped us” ventured Catwhiskers.

“Yeah but we wish he hadn’t” said Cosmicblasto.

 

“Why not?” asked Joe.

 

“Well, he said all you had to do was reverse the polarity of the neutron flow, but only to do it for 20 seconds” said Cosmicblasto.

 

“And we don’t even know what a second is” said Catwhiskers.

“Never mind having 20 of them, I mean why would you want 20 seconds when you only need one” Cosmicblasto looked at Catwhiskers and shrugged his shoulders.
“Oh deary me” said Fred.

“Anyway, the stranger was most aplexed, he went completely barming. Saying things like he’s never worked with such gormless nincompoops.”

“Whatever that means” said Cosmicblasto.

 

“And he was never coming here again” continued Catwhiskers.

 

“So he went into his red box and just disappeared,” said Catwhiskers.

 

“And wasn’t that a sight. It just shimmied and whooped out of” Cosmicblasto paused, not sure of what to say next.

 

“Jodechi” answered Catwhiskers.

 

“Well, what happened?” asked Joe, “What happened after 20 seconds?”

“Well, there was this blue flash. Catwhiskers went so high in the sky; I know that because I was following him. And the stranger went flying over in the barnyard”.

“Yeah, he came back smelling of something he wasn’t before”. Grinned Catwhiskers.

 

“So, what happened after that?” asked Joe.

 

“And how did you get to come here?” asked Fred.

 

“Well, after the stranger had left, we found this.” Catwhiskers showed Joe and Fred a small unit akin to a remote control.

“We thought it was something to do with being able to get around the village quicker, but it seems we can go yonder then the eye can see. We can go beyond the confines of our world into your world.”

“This blue button lets us go out and this red button returns us back to our home, Jodechi” said Catwhiskers.
“Time to go” said Cosmicblasto. Catwhiskers pressed the red button. And they promptly left in a blue flash.

Joe turned around to Fred and said, “How many beers did we have in the Blacksmiths Arms.”

 

2: THE FLYING DRAGON

Cosmicblasto and Catwhiskers arrived back in the same barn they had left previously. Again, they landed in the most indignified manner, and as before, the same blue flash.

“We are going to have practice a landing technique” said Catwhiskers to his lifelong friend.

 

“I swear my britches are getting worn out” said Cosmicblasto.

The clothes on the Jodechians were simple affair. Black boots that came up to the knee, britches that went half way up the abdominal and a shirt that fastened all the way up to the collar.

The shirt on Cosmicblasto was red and Catwhiskers’ was blue and white check. They both wore brown britches and black boots.

“How are we to practice when we arrive back at the same time as we depart? It’s quite for sure, that it will happen everytime,” said Catwhiskers.

“Well, I hope you come up with something good then.” Said Cosmicblasto, “Because it’s clear to me that we are not going to get a chance to set up anything.”

“Anyway, I am hungry, time to head off home I think,” said Catwhiskers.

Both Cosmicblasto and Catwhiskers said their farewells and heading in opposite directions to their home. Catwhiskers keeping hold of the travel device. A name they both decided was suitable.

On the way home, Catwhiskers met Poopsie Rhinochunks. She was heading home in the same direction, but lived further down the lane.

“Hello Catwhiskers” asked Poopsie. “What have you been upto today.”

“Nothing, honest” came the reply. “Oh, defending yourself already, that’s a sure sign of you being guilty. C’mon what have you been upto.”

“Nothing, really, just Cosmicblasto and myself being our usual. You know, knocking on people’s doors and running away” he said sheepishly.

“When will you ever grow out of that impish behaviour, One day” she said. “One day, you will have to work with the blacksmith, and you will get married to Lardyme and have a couple of birthfolk, and if they turn out worse than you have that’ll be the end of life as we know it in Buttercup.”

“Awe, anyone would think my life is already pre-ordained. I am not going to get married to Lardyme. I mean, she has you know.”

 

“What’s up with Lardyme, there’s nothing wrong with her nose. I think she has a beautiful nose.”

 

“Yeah but who wants to marry a girl with 3 nostrils” protested Catwhiskers.

Whilst it was true that Lardyme was afflicted with an extra nostril, no one in Buttercup or for that matter in the whole of Jodechi thought anything ill of it. Indeed it was thought to bring good fortune. To be able to smell the roses better.

“Well, here I am, home” said Catwhiskers. “See you around tomorrow then.”

 

“Ok, then, bye.”

 

“Bye”. Catwhiskers opened the garden gate and closing it behind him waved to Poopsie and went down the garden path.

The next morning Catwhiskers was up early, he wanted to get his chores done and out of the way as soon as possible, he was careful with the travel device. Not wanting to get it either dirty or wet. He placed it in the inside pocket of his shirt. The travelling device was a small unit. With just two buttons, a blue one and a red one. That all there was to the device, a small unit that fits into the palm of the hand and therefore fitted well in his shirt pocket.
It was just before the noontime that Cosmicblasto came running upto the gate that led into the garden of Catwhiskers’ home. He thoughtfully secured the gate and ran around the back into the garden. This was where he found Catwhiskers at work.

“Hello Catwhiskers, haven’t you finished yet?”

“Yeah just about,” came the reply “Just need to rake up these leaves. Here, you can do that” he said passing a raking tool to Cosmicblasto.

“Listen, I have had a good idea,” Cosmicblasto said whilst raking up the leaves, but inbetween words he was just resting on the rake.

“Oh, go on than, I am all ears.”

 

“Why don’t we go to the caves on the side of Frinkstone Hill?”

 

“Isn’t that where the Dragon lives? That would be a bit dangerous, even for us.”

 

“Oh for sure, but if we get into trouble, you just press the blue button.”

 

“And then what” came Catwhiskers’ reply.

“Well, we leave it for a small time then press the red button, back where we started from. The dragon will have gone, because we are no there. It will be safe to back.”

“You are assuming the dragon will be gone, but when we get back it will be exactly the same time as when we left, meaning the dragon will still be there.”

“Ah, yes, didn’t think of that Catwhiskers. Well, let’s go anyway.”

 

“Ok, but I have a feeling about this.”

The journey to Frinkstone Hill was quite arduous. The two companions walked out of Buttercup, down the lane past the home of Poopsie Rhinochunks. They carried on over the hill and down into the valley before coming to another hill.
This time they only climbed halfway up before walking on a small barely used pathway. This led directly to the caves. The path was no longer in use because of the dragon. The folk knew the dragon lived there, but it had never bothered them and therefore they chose not to bother the dragon.

Cosmicblasto Monkeynose and Catwhiskers Picklebuns stood on the path directly in front of the largest cave. There were 3 caves in total. But everyfolk knew the dragon lived in the largest cave.

“So now what” asked Catwhiskers, “This is your idea, so what do we do?”

 

“Well, we go inside the cave and see the dragon. Nobody has ever seen the dragon up close. We will be the first folk to see it.”

 

“Well, you don’t sound very excited about it,” said Catwhiskers “Infact, I think you are suggesting that I go in first.”

 

“Well, you have the travel device. It would only be safer if you went in first and I followed, at a distance.”

 

“We walk into it together” said Catwhiskers, “Better to be nearer the device then away from it.”

They took a few steps forward towards the cave, but before they got any further than that the dragon appeared at the front of the cave.

“Hello there” said the dragon.

 

“Whoa there, a talking dragon” said Cosmicblasto.

 

“Well of course I can talk,” said the Dragon “What did you expect.”

 

“Hello I am Catwhiskers and this is Cosmicblasto. Sorry, we have never met a talking dragon before.”

 

“Well, now you come to mention it, we have never met a dragon before” said Cosmicblasto.

“So we didn’t know that dragons could talk.” “Dragons have been talking since for ever, I suppose. It’s just that folk never give us a chance to talk to them. They always think we are nasty violent creatures. Nothing could be further from the truth. We just like to live in peace.”

“Well, in Buttercup, folk always say if you are not careful the dragon over the hill will come and gobble you up” said Cosmicblasto.

“Well, one night I was bored so I came over to Buttercup, but I was seen by somebody. I never went back. But it is such a lovely place that I really wanted to go and live there, but all I have is this cave. Would you like to come in and have a cup of tead? I have a fresh pot brewing.”

“Well, that would be lovely that would be. Come on Cosmicblasto, we have been invited for a cup of tead.”

 

“Oh do come in, and my name is Ethereead.”

 

“Well, thank you gladly Ethereead” said Cosmicblasto.

 

“It is cosy enough, but I was so used to better, back in my old homeland.”

“Well, you haven’t done too badly, nice fire in the corner, bed of straw in the other corner and simple seating arrangements. Do you have many guests” asked Catwhiskers.

“No, you two are the first. I don’t know why folk won’t come, it’s not I have harmed them. I know dragons have a fierce reputation, but I am a vegetarian. I only eat leaves and scrubs. Anyway tead up.”

Both Cosmicblasto and Catwhiskers drank their hot tead, the flavour was familiar to them from their own tead they drank back home, just a little stronger then what they were used to.

“So” said Ethereead “What brings you up to see me anyway.”

Catwhiskers nudged Cosmicblasto. “Well, I, we, well I thought it was about time we met you. Oh for sure, we thought you were a fierce dragon, but now we know you are nice and kind. Why don’t we play a game?”

“Oh goody, I haven’t played games for a long time, I know, why don’t we go for a flight. Have you ever flown on a dragon? No I suppose not. Ok then everyfolk outside.”

Ethereead urged the two outside.

“Right, climb onto my back. You will find handgrips on my scales up by the neck then every 6th row heading down towards my tail. I can carry upto 12 folk.”

“12 Folk, you could do a roaring trade as a flying bus in Buttercup” said Cosmicblasto.

 

They climbed onto the dragons back, and found the handgrips and held on tight.

 

“Ready, right, I am going to take a short run and then we are up in the air. Hold tight.

The dragon took 5 paces and was soaring off the hillside. The powerful wings outstretched. The dragon soared high and flew down low. High in the clouds and low down over the top of the hill, and even lower into the meadows.

The Jodechians were holding on tight, but were clearly having a good time. The dragon climbed high and higher still until it reached a crescendo and then dived down into a steep dive.

The Jodechians were screaming and shouting and whooping for joy. This was fun, and they never had such good fun in all their lives.

As the dragon had reached the peak before going into its dive, the momentum knocked Catwhiskers and against Cosmicblasto. There was a blue flash. The dragon was still diving. The Jodechians were still holding on, but now they had travelled out of their own world into a world that was yonder beyond the eye can see.
The dragon continued its dive, completely unaware of what had happened, it had seen the blue flash and for a moment was alarmed, but it was still in control of its flight and therefore not worried any further about it.

But Cosmicblasto and Catwhiskers were worried about it. They knew what had happened. Catwhiskers was desperately trying to reach for the control pad. To press the red button that would return them back to Jodechi. But whilst the dragon was in its steep dive it was a hard job to hold on.

The dragon continued to dive down; the dive was taking longer than usual, as it was diving down into a valley, but still close enough to the ground. If you had ever seen a dragon with two folk riding on the back of it, it would probably have frightened you, but on this occasion, the only two people in sight, were a couple of elderly gentlemen.

They saw the dragon swoop down took cover by diving down onto the grass, but when they saw who was on the back of the dragon, they got up.

“Look Cosmicblasto, its Joe and Fred. At least we know where we are now.”

 

“Ethereead, can you put us down next to those two folk. We know them.”

 

“Ok” said, “Hope you know what you are doing.”

Ethereead swooped up out of its dive and flew alongside the valley. The dragon lowered its feet from underside of its body and gently touched down.

“Hello Fred and Joe” said Catwhiskers.

 

“Hello Joe and Fred” said Cosmicblasto.

 

“Might have known it was you two. Do you always travel by dragon in Jodechi” asked Joe Spratt.

 

“Yeah, frightening the live out of people” said Fred Jackson.

 

“Yeah sorry, I pressed the blue button by mistake.” “This is Ethereead, the dragon” said Cosmicblasto.

 

“Say Hello” said Catwhiskers.

 

“Hello” said the dragon.

 

“Blow Me” said Joe, “A talking dragon.”

 

“Well, of course dragons talk,” said Catwhiskers “What did you expect.”

 

“Can I stroke it” asked Joe.

 

“Ask it yourself” said Cosmicblasto.

 

“It’s ok, come closer” said Ethereead.

 

Both Joe and Fred approached the dragon and patted the scale skin on the face.

 

“I never thought I would see you two again,” said Fred, “and I never thought I would ever see a dragon.”

“Yeah you had better be careful; you don’t know who could be watching. If word ever got out, they will probably be pandemonium” said Joe.

“Aye fellas, the newspapers and cinema newsreels will be up here looking for the dragon” said Fred.

“So, Cosmicblasto and Catwhiskers, how come you choose to come back here? I was of the impression you could go anywhere you liked.”

“Ah yes, that is something I was also thinking about. Maybe perhaps it is only this part of your world that we can travel into. I wondered if it was only a short-range travel device.” Said Catwhiskers.

“Tell me, when was the last time you saw us” asked Fred.

“Well yesterday” said Cosmicblasto. “Oh I see, so one day in Jodechi is a week in ours. We saw you last week” said Joe, who was still stroking the dragon.

“Hope you haven’t been upsetting anybody this time” said Fred.

 

“It wouldn’t be good to get stuck in this world. Not looking the way you do.”

 

“Nothing wrong with the way we look” said Cosmicblasto.

“Nothing wrong there in Jodechi, but here, I can’t imagine you walking down our village in the dark, and as for a big city in the daylight. It is said if you ever wanted to be lost, away from everybody just walk down a busy main road in a major city. Nobody notices anyone, but you two” said Fred.

“Well, I think it may be time we had to go away anyway,” said Catwhiskers.

 

“Yeah it will be getting dark soon” said Joe.

 

Cosmicblasto and Catwhiskers boarded Ethereead. This time Catwhiskers had hold of the travel device.

 

“Well goodbye Joe and Fred” said Catwhiskers.

 

“Goodbye Fred and Joe” said Cosmicblasto.

 

“Goodbye” said Ethereead.

 

“Bye” said Joe and Fred together. They stood back and watched as the dragon gave a little run and lifted it self towards the sky.

 

“I would have loved a ride on Ethereead,” said Joe, “never met anything like that at all.”

“Yeah, well knowing them two, we are probably safer here,” said Fred. And as the dragon soared away, they turned and started to walk down the valley.

“Ok” said Catwhiskers “Pressing red now.” There was a blue flash. But the dragon continued flying on. It passed over Frinkstone Hill, before circling around and coming to a smooth landing outside the caves.

“We have to be going now,” said Catwhiskers, “But thank you for a lovely day.”

 

“Yes, thank you” said Cosmicblasto.

 

“Please do come by again soon” said Ethereead, “I have had so much fun.”

 

“Yes we will” said Catwhiskers.

The two Jodechians turned and walked down the worn path that nobody walks on anymore. Catwhiskers put the travel device back inside his shirt pocket. Although that was fun, but he knew he had to be more careful.

3: THE SNOW

It was early February, and as it was the middle of winter, the snow fell steadily. This was the third day of the snow, which had started with the blizzard. To be fair, the weather forecasters had pretty much got it right. And it had seemed, certainly to Fred Jackson and Joe Spratt that Churchup had more than its fair share of the snow.

Again, for the third day running, the children of Churchup had taken to sledging down the fields surrounding the village. The only field not been sled down was where the Ewes and their newborn lambs were in. The farmer and his hands were struggling against the elements providing feed for the flock.

And as per the norm, Joe and Fred had taken themselves to the local hostelry. Business wasn’t too good in the Blacksmith Arms. The landlord, Jack Warner wasn’t too happy that the locals were not coming to the restaurant side. People were coming in for a wee dram before heading off home, and he hadn’t even seen the farmers for a week. If it wasn’t for Fred and Joe, he would have shut shop for the winter.

Snow always came to Churchup, every winter without fail. The price of living high in the hills, but this year was the worse weather for 5 years.

Fred and Joe enjoyed coming to the Blacksmith Arms, the beer was to their liking, and there was always an open fire in the centre of the bar. The tables and chairs were placed in a pos