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The Beginning-

 

They had never seen such an unusual animal in their entire lives.

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It wasn't the shape, which was very much like that of a large, domestic cat, but instead of fur, it was covered in iridescent scales, glittering in a shaft of sunlight as it sat on the tree branch, staring at down at us.

 

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@MarkV847771  Feelings of deja vu enter both our thoughts, which was strengthened when this otherworldly creature slowly formed a facial expression enhanced by  the sunlight and scales, an unmistakable smile.

                                                                              ---  Christine

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"Oh my, things are about to get weird again." Alice whispered, causing the curious stare of her fellow explorer, Lt. Gale, to switch from the smiling "cat" to her.

 

 

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At that precise moment, the "cat" ( for what else can we call it at this time?), leaped from it's safe vantage point in the tree, to a multi-colored shrub, landing perfectly ( as cat like creatures do ) at Alice's eye level. 

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Somehow, Lt. Dorthey Gale knew that the grinning "cat" was known to Lt. Liddell...Alice...and with this realization a flood of different emotions washed over her.

 

< non-story note: c'mon people, join in 🙂 >

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"Alice," Dorothy responded with a slight chuckle,  "we're clearly not in Kansas any more."

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"Tornado, rabbit hole, wardrobe in the woods...however the wormhole manifests itself, we're the only ones who can close it." said Alice, absently rubbing the long scar ending where her right pinkie used to be.

 

 

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Rubbing the scar caused her to remember her friend Roland - who had lost 2 fingers and a toe to a strange creature.

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The grin on the "cat" grew even bigger as it saw Alice rubbing the scar and it hissed, "There's only the two of you left. Do you really think you can save the Universes? Just walk away."

 

 

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The quick glance exchanged between the girls told them they each knew what they must do.

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"You can't stop Wonderfall!" hissed the "cat" as it faded away under the combined magic of Alice and Dorothy.

 

 

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Banishment of the "cat", the Mouth of the Borers, would only be temporary...but it still felt good.

 

 

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Both Alice and Dorothy, intentionally stopped in their tracks, to take a slow deep inhale, and even slower exhale to calm and center themselves before the next weird encounter; because they knew, . . . survival only happen if they were at the top of their game.

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Alice began to slowly turn in a circle, whispering "Curious...curious...curious...not curious" and with the "not curious" she and Dorothy knew the direction of the latest wormhole made by the Borers.

 

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With a puzzled look, Dorothy queried -  "Geewiz Allice, ya got any idea at all what the cat meant by Wonderfall?" 

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Alice,  countered with her own question, "Doesn't it sound vaguely familiar to you after experiencing the last adventure with me?"

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"Okay, okay. It just seemed more creative than expected from an entity trying to make The Universes more boring." responded Dorothy.

 

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"That's a good point," Alice stated, then added, "Maybe we have underestimated the true creative quotient of that crazy cat, and for that matter, anyone else we may come across."

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Dorothy nodded in agreement, then said, "Do you think we should risk the wormhole from the borers, since you figured out where it is now, or wait?"

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Alice paused for a moment, weighing the pros and cons, then answered, " I think the best course of action, would be to make sure no one is truly left in the region, and not take the cat's word that it's deserted."

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Then Dorothy paused, and looked back at Alice, "I can take the lead, you know I've had the most experience when it comes to spotting any evidence in the wild of recent activity, human or otherwise."

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Alice simply nodded in agreement, and followed behind Dorothy, noticing the dramatic change in foliage as they cut deeper into the jungle-like surroundings.

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"Wait", Dorothy whispered -  "Look ahead and to the left - there's something blue and shimmering..  Can you make out what it is?" 

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Alice whispered back excitedly, " It sure looks like a . . . " before she could finish her sentence, a branch high above her snapped, and started crashing down, and out of the corner of her eye, she saw what caused it, "Run!" she yelled urgently.  

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The breaking of the branch was caused by another of the cat creatures - only this one had three small ones on its back.  As had the first one - this one also landed on its feet, with kittens intact - all grinning and licking their lips.They immediately dashed after Dorothy and Alice.