(EDIT: This chapter was redone on the 21/12/2014. The biggest change to the chapter is the inclusion of extra character dialogue, together with a small shake up of the structure, which isn't hard to spot. If you have the time, could you please comment on this edited version?)
Long story short…I have had a very busy few weeks- and exams haven't even started, what with five weeks of school still to go before a break! Because of this, I am going to apologise in advance for if the next few chapters are a tad late in terms of release.
Anyway, let's get onto the chapter. This chapter has two musical numbers (Chasing the Who and How Lucky You Are), as I thought it would be better to have these two together rather than separate. I have also added a bit more dialogue in between, which is used to move the story and also develop the characters, such as the Bird Girls.
I would like to thank mixaholic for the lovely review and for Arixa23, as an awesome beta for this chapter. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Disclaimer: I do not own Seussical, its characters or anything that has to do with Seuss, which all belongs to Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty and/or Dr Seuss Enterprise. I only own Kirsty, the first name of several of the cast (Wickershams, Bird Girls, Young Kangaroo and the reporter). If I did own this, my budget would be overblown, what with all the crazy stuff going on…
Please Read and Review, and more than anything- enjoy!
Chapter 14: Chasing A Bit of Luck
The strong wind in their faces, Horton continued to chase after the Wickershams, Kirsty steady on his back, holding on for dear life.
"I should've expected something like this," Horton panted, trying to keep his eyes of all three Wickershams, who were flying through the treetops overhead. "Don't worry- we won't go down without a decent fight!"
Soon enough, the other animals of Nool came out of their homes, interested in this new spectacle. While some remained silent, other laughed or cheered the Wickersham's on- this kind of one sided face was perfect midday entertainment.
On the roof of their treetop house, the Bird Girls watched the spectacle from afar. Tayla got out her binoculars, while her older sister Mellissa watched on, not so keenly interested in the action. "Those stupid monkeys are at it again. What kind of trick are they playing at this time? Did we really have to come up to the roof and watch? We had a perfect, and much more sensible view from the window."
Tayla groaned, her sister's complaints never exciting her. After a short moment, she looked down at her youngest sister, Sammy, who was sitting away from the group on a lower branch. "Sammy, what is with you this afternoon? This kind of high heights, daredevil spy stuff is usual right up your alley." Looking down at the sixteen metre drop below, Tayla's stomach quivered and her green feathers shook. "You know heights aren't my thing…"
"Uh, Tay…you do realise we're birds, right?" Melissa raised an eyebrow, looking up from her magazine at her sister with an odd expression. "Heights are generally our forte."
"You get what I mean!" she replied, exasperated. "The point is that the only reason I got up on this rickety, old roof was to try and cheer my depressed, grumpy little sister up! Look, she isn't even giving me a weird warlike pinch like she usually does when I talk about her like she isn't there…" Frustrated, Tayla went back to her binoculars, occasionally calling out random commentary lines.
Sighing, Melissa looked down at Sammy, who had been ignoring the sisterly conversation for the past six minutes. It's not easy when you get hurt, sis. Let's just hope you find a way to repair the bond, or if it comes to it…just let it all go.
Through all of this, the Sour Kangaroo had been watching on from the edge of a cliff face, having a panoramic view over the situation. As she stood proudly, looking very pleased with herself, a new up-tempo beat started up, the jungle coming alive very similar to that fateful day in May.
"Up out of the jungle, up into the sky," the Sour Kangaroo sang. "Up over the mountains…"
"Ten thousand feet high," the Bird Girls joined in, their subconscious musical instinct coming into full force.
"Then down from the mountains," the Sour Kangaroo narrated, her paw pointing straight out to Mount Nool, which was clearly visible against all the much smaller hills.
"And into the news," the Bird Girls added.
"Went Horton the Elephant…Chasing the Whos!" The jungle animals joined in with the Kangaroo and the Bird Girls to form one massive chorus, the entire jungle now in on the action.
Meanwhile, on a far side of the jungle, an incoming musical number was the least of Kirsty's worries, with the Wickershams now teasing Horton with the clover, like the lives of the Whos were just some kind of sideshow game to them. Unfortunately, their distractions only continued to escalate, a wiring sound now present above their heads. Kirsty squinted up to the sky, an odd shaped helicopter flying above them, and inside sat the same reporter from the 'Biggest Blame Fool' event.
Oh great…it's this guy again. Can't people just find someone else to talk about?!
The reporter looked down at them, microphone in hand. "This is Raphael Pulitzer, live from Skycam Five," he yelled, his voice sending pulsing currents through Horton and Kirsty's ears. "Folks, the Jungle of Nool is one heck of a drive! We've got monkeys backed up to the three-oh-two; I'd find alternate routes if I were you!"
As they flew off, Horton noticed he was drastically losing speed, the Wickershams now into the distance. Quickly, he stopped, turning to Kirsty. "Kirsty!" he yelled to her. "I'll take the short cut to the mountains. You catch up with the Wickershams. Use your tail; you'll be able to overtake them!"
"What?!" Kirsty exclaimed. "I don't even know how to use my-" Her sentence was interrupted, as Horton threw her off his back and up into a tree. Quickly, she managed to hook her tail around a branch. "Horton, I-"
Horton shook his head, as he began to speed off down another park. "Just go! I'll find you soon!" Only giving a nod in response, Kirsty began to swing herself- although she believed 'almost killing yourself' was a better way to describe her attempt- through the foliage of the jungle, while the rest of the animals continued on.
"Then over the desert, The Desert of Dreze!" the citizens of the jungle sang. "And into the forest with thousands of trees. Past Sneetches on beaches…"
"And sour kangaroos!" the Sour Kangaroo added.
"Went Horton the Elephant…chasing the Whos!" they all sang, Chasing the Whos!"
Right near the edge of the jungle, the monkey brothers collapsed in a heap, both exhausted yet laughing their heads off.
Kyle was the first one to stand back up, now leaning against a tree. "Did you see their faces? It was priceless!" His eyes moved into the distance, no figure in sight. "Where do you think they ended up, Chase? You saw them back there; they were finished!"
"They're smarter than they look," Chase responded, the clover now stored nicely in his fedora. "If they weren't, Sour wouldn't be wasting her, or our, time with them." Getting the clover out of his hat, he looked it over. "Why would they be so caught up about this silly, little flower anyway? Kangaroo's right; this must be part of some elaborate scheme to break the peace."
Kyle turned over to Jay, who was now keeping watch. "Hey, Jay! Don't worry about them; they'll never find us. Besides, the only creatures fast enough to even keep us in their sights would be-"
Suddenly, a figure crashed through the leaves ahead, landing hard on the rocky ground below. Slowly, they stood back up, angry and determined.
"Please, hand us back the clover. You have no idea what you are dealing with."
Slightly shocked, and a patch of intimidation strung across their faces, the Wickershams took a bit longer to recover from Kirsty's sudden entrance.
"Still chasing your dust?" Chase asked, breaking the silence. "Why it's safe as can be."
"We're monkeys to trust! Or don't you agree?" Kyle laughed, catching the clover from Chase.
As his brother reversed back, Jay took it from him. "Well, just to be sure, we are handing it off..."
"To a black-bottomed eagle named…" all three Wickershams told her, now surrounding her. As they did, Jay held out his arm over the cliff face, almost ready to drop it.
"Vlad Vladikoff!" shouted a voice, which incidentally belonged to the eagle just described. However that description didn't do the bird any justice, his feathers, claws and scar covered face giving him the fear level of a ferocious beast. Instantly, he grabbed the clover and flew off towards the mountains, a vile laughing now echoing through the jungle.
Kirsty gasped, before she started to run in the direction "No! Please! Wait!" However, before she could even get a metre away, two pairs of furry hands grabbed her by the waist and pulled her up.
"Don't think you're gonna say goodbye to us that easily!" Chase whispered to her, as his brothers kept a good hold around her. "We haven't even started with the fun!" Quickly, them zoomed off towards the mountains, Kirsty now in their clutches.
The sky now a much darker blue, the sun almost beginning to set, the music continued on. "All that late afternoon and far into the night," the Bird Girls sang, now closer to the action. "That black-bottomed bird flapped his wings in fast flight, and he paid no attention to Horton's loud call:"
Horton was now much closer to the clover, almost a few metres away from Vlad. "A person's a person no matter how small!" Horton's voice echoed throughout the jungle, yet remained unanswered.
Almost right on top of Horton, the Wickershams were racing on a hidden, upper mountain path, Kirsty still squirming to escape. "Oh, wish to leave the party so soon?" Kyle taunted. "If you really wish to go, how about an exit in style!"
On the nod of Chase, the two younger monkeys threw he across the path, right into the path of the incoming eagle. Upon release, Kirsty suddenly screamed, not from the drop below, but from the electric pain that was now going through her body.
This is exactly like the time before I got the tail…Oh, god…What's happening to me?!
Like an old-time film reel, an image was slowly being formed in her mind, this time of Whoville. Everything and everyone was being jerked from side to side, with every sudden movement of their clover creating an even bigger shockwave through the city.
"We're Whos here! We're all Whos here! Please don't let us fall!" they begged. "We're Whos here. We could bruise here! Helpless, weak and small!"
Almost immediately after their voices ceased, Kirsty snapped out of her trance, at a much needed time, as she was almost at the edge of the mountain's edge. Seeing what looked like a thick branch, Kirsty grabbed hold of it, only to find it was in fact an eagle's leg.
Feeling something dragging him down, he looked to his feet, only to find a now nervous creature hanging for dear life off it. "Ahh! What in the- Get off me!" Confused and annoyed, he scratched her with his foot, causing her to release her grip, the girl now falling.
"Anyone request an elephant?" a voice yelled to her, and just before she would have met her uncertainly death, Horton came and caught her with his trunk, carefully placing Kirsty back on his back. "Come on, let's go get Whoville!" Ignoring the now fierce pain in her arm, she gave him a small smile, the pair continuing up the mountain even more determined, their speed increasing.
The sun was now very close to setting, and as it did, the chorus started to increase the climax. "On Horton travelled and on that bird flew," all the Whos and jungle creatures sang , as the chase made its way up to the peak of Mount Nool. "And, oh, there was trouble, trouble on Who! That black-bottomed eagle was cruel as could be..."
Hearing this slightly stereotypical remark, Vlad looked down at the jungle and screeched at them, showing his fierce, razor teeth. Scared out of their wits, the jungle creatures, including the Bird Girls scurried off and hid, not wanting to be a course on his breakfast buffet.
Horton panted, now at the utmost peak of the mountain, the pair stopping as they saw the bird, now flying in mid-air. Seeing the bird's beak, where the clover was now being held, twitch slightly, the elephant's eyes going wide, now realising what was going to happen. "'Cause at six fifty-six, Vlad Vladikoff dropped it. The clover went tumbling and nobody stopped it!" Horton exclaimed. "And head over heels, one hundred miles down, fell the poor little Whos and their whole tiny town!"
Time seemed to grind towards a halt, the moment that Vlad eventually loosened his grip on the clover. Horton and Kirsty rushed to the tip, their front limbs desperately trying to even lay a finger on the clover. The Whos screamed, their protector's efforts in vain, as their planet began to fall. Unexpectedly- though Kirsty did have slight suspicion of this- the entire scene and its characters froze in position, and a spotlight came up on Kirsty, the music even halting.
The girl in question sighed, putting a hand to her head. It's at time like this when I wish I knew how to curse. "You can't be serious…" Kirsty muttered to herself, pacing around the now paused situation, before yelling out to the heaven. "No way I am going to sing another one of your pre-planned musical numbers! You should all know by now that I can't sing, at least not a solo!" A sigh escaped her mouth for the second time that day, as Kirsty reviewed her decision. It looked as though there was no alternative but to go along with it, and she would rather give in to the world than stand here forever talking to herself like a mad person. "Well, here goes…" At that moment, the area lit up , and some light bouncy music began to play.
"When the news is all bad, when you're sour and blue," she sang, the world's musical orientated mind now in control of her voice and body. "When you start to get mad, you should do what I do…"
"Aaah!" the Whos screamed in the distance, slight unfreezing.
Slightly shock, she was forced to hold in her pain. "Tell yourself how lucky you are." Kirsty continued, as she climbed down onto a lower ledge. "When your life's going wrong, when the fates are unkind, when you're limping along and get kicked from behind... tell yourself how lucky you are."
"Aaah!" Whoville screamed again, falling a few more feet down into the abyss.
"Why decry a cloudy sky an empty purse a crazy universe? My philosophy is simply things could be worse!" She paused, hearing a seemingly international clap of thunder. At this signal, she was drowned with water, the small, cold droplets piercing her wound.
Now incredibly irked, she had to try even harder to keep a straight, solemn, yet cheery image. "So be happy you're here. Think of life as a thrill! And if worse comes to worse, as we all know it will, thank your lucky star you've gotten this far... and tell yourself how lucky you are! How lucky, how lucky, how lucky, how lucky, how lucky you are!" Kirsty finished, the teenager now back in the position she had before she was frozen. As the song concluded, the lights disappeared and the scene came back into real time, along with the current situation of the Whos.
A cruel laugh could be heard overhead, as Vlad flew off, another from the edge of the jungle, where the Kangaroo was celebrating a much needed success, the Wickershams standing next to her.
Her head remained high, as she observed the elephant and his friend, still standing speechless at the edge of the cliff. "Well done, monkeys. You've proved your worth this time around." As the brothers started to cheer, she let out a harsh cough. "Though, I specifically remember telling you that if you ever got hold of the odd creature that you would bring it to me…"
"We were just having a bit of fun, Kangaroo!" Chase told her, trying his hand at charming her. "We just wanted them to learn a lesson. They won't be leaving our sights for very long, not with that flower stuck in that field."
Kyle laughed. "Yeah, it will take them years to even get close to it. No…it will take them DECADES!"
As the brothers made their way back to their home, the Kangaroo's joey Felix hopped out from his mother's pouch. "Mamma, why do you want the strange creature?" he asked his mother.
His mother continued to look out to the distance, taking a deep breath in. "It is nothing to worry about, Felix. Just a…little problem that Mummy has to sort out. Now, back into your pouch!" Even though he was confused by his mother's worried tone of voice, he went back in his pouch, not wanting to see the tail end of an argument, as the family bounced back into the jungle.
The mountains that surrounded the jungle were completely silent, as if they were in grief, as Horton, ears drooping, began to observe the situation.
"That bird let that clover drop somewhere inside of a great patch of clovers, one hundred miles wide!" Horton said, sadly, the field almost the size of the entire jungle itself. As Kirsty made her way over to him, he grew a sense of drive. "We'll find it… we'll find it! We'll find it or bust! We shall find our friends on their small speck of dust."
His friend nodded, now sitting on the edge of the mountain. "Yes… clover by clover by clover with care. We'll listen and we'll call… "
"Are you there? …. Are you there?..."