Boredom Breakage: A Vacuum in Feline Form
By: Curtis Wildcat
Garfield (plus Garfield and Friends by extension) and the Touhou Project are the properties of their respective owners and copyright holders.
After the kitchen was cleaned and both Chen and Odie were allowed back inside, those present began to set the stage for a showdown of epic proportions.
"So... what sort of rules should we have? Just let whoever sleeps the longest be the winner?"
...'Epic' being a bit of a stretch, of course. It would still be, at the very least, memorable.
"And no one would be allowed to cheat either, Ran."
'Memorable' in the sense that, in Sakuya's mind, this whole thing was still one of the silliest things she had ever experienced.
"Yukari-sama, how would someone cheat at a sleeping contest?" asked Ran, looking this side of perplexed as she gave a large blanket to her master.
"Yeah, would they have someone put live cicadas in the other person's futon?" Chen chimed in.
"Let's just call my response 'general'." Yukari settled into the living room chair and accepted Ran's assistance while Sakuya closed the curtains. "I want to sleep and do nothing but. No gags, no interruptions, zilch. I realize this will mess up my schedule, but an opportunity like this doesn't come along everyday." She removed her cap and placed it on the back of the chair.
Garfield, bedded and blanketed next to the chair, gave a thumbs up. Hear, hear.
Odie turned to regard Chen confusedly. "Urf?"
"My word exactly," the nekomata answered, having no other response for him.
"Don't ask, you two." Ran sighed, having suspected that she was going to be left in the dark. She flicked a nearby switch and turned off the lights. "Just don't ask."
Sakuya turned in the timekeeping mouse's direction, exchanged nods with him, then regarded the two competitors once more. "Alright, this is the last time I'm going to do this for you two. From the moment I press this button..." she explained, holding up her pocket watch, "your perception of time and space will be altered. For each half hour that passes by in your immediate vicinity, only one minute will have elapsed in reality. Rest as long as you like."
Don't have to tell me twice. Garfield pulled the blanket over his head. See you in an hour.
"...Wait. Do you mean an hour in real time, or an hour in the enclosed space?" questioned Sakuya.
Whichever is longer.
A sigh. "Alright. Then for all our sakes, let's begin. One... two..."
A pair of snores answered her, the both of them having dropped off to sleep already. "...Three," she finished, clicking the pocket watch and enveloping them in their own time-space field. The air around them wavered and rippled a bit, discoloring itself a light reddish-orange before stopping.
Ran covered her mouth, suppressing a chuckle at the sight of the snoozing duo. "Well, let's not disturb them any." She turned to exit the room. "Come along, Chen. Best two of three at Othello?"
"Okay, Ran-sama," Chen agreed, following along behind her master.
Sakuya looked around. "And that... leaves me where?..." she asked herself, quietly annoyed. She was far from home, and her means of returning there wouldn't be awake for a while. As this sunk in fully she stared down at Odie, who was sitting on the floor and panting blissfully. "...I can't believe I've been compared to the likes of you."
The dog simply stared into space, oblivious to her complaint.
Yukari rarely talked to anyone, even Yuyuko, about her dreams. For the most part, this was because her dreams were inconsequential and ultimately of no worth to anyone. To her they had little, if any, meaning and were better off forgotten.
This time, as she slept, her subconscious became deluged with the strangest imagery she'd seen in decades. Her immediate surroundings she recognized as the Scarlet Devil Mansion's foyer, and she wondered how she'd arrived there when she had no memory of entering. She saw Sakuya- - -older, blonde, and nastier- - -trying unsuccessfully to converse with a disgruntled Remilia. A drunken video game designer was sitting in a corner, exchanging anecdotes with Suika and Yuugi. Sanae was standing at the entrance, wondering aloud who had parked a giant blue car-headed robot across from the Mansion's gatekeeper.
At the far side of the foyer, an overly muscular Marisa was having an arm wrestling match against Spiderman. A French-Canadian man- - -and how Yukari knew his nationality, she didn't know- - -was warning Kaguya that horses should not be trusted; judging from the dazed look on Reisen's face, he'd been talking for a while. An obese guy with a goatee was sitting opposite of Yuyuko, matching her bite for bite in an eating contest.
And a twenty-story Garfield was picking up the Mansion, foundation and all, and starting to munch on it!
Everyone present went on the attack, taking to the air and releasing a veritable storm of danmaku at the gigantic cat; even the guests to Gensokyo were able to contribute. All the attacks connected, but Garfield's tremendous bulk reduced their effects to nothing.
Yukari swapped her hat for a baseball cap and grabbed a protesting Ran out of a gap. "The windup, and the pitch!" the overseer cried, slinging Ran at Garfield's nose and scoring a successful hit. It didn't do much damage, but at least it got his attention.
This is going to be a long, strange dream... if it really is one.
Driver Number 3, Garfield the Great, has completed the fifth lap and is closing in on the lead...
The dream Garfield was having wasn't anywhere near as complex. He was driving a wooden go-kart down a forested path, dodging banana peels and glowing yellow orbs. As a similarly-designed go-kart with Nermal behind the wheel came into view, he plucked a stray doll from the side of the path and hurled it at the kitten's vehicle. The doll exploded, tossing both the startled critter and the undamaged kart end over end into the air.
Garfield passed beneath him, claiming the lead. ...And the Great One is in first place! With only one lap to go, he may be heading home with the Forest Trophy this afternoon!...
A large sparrow noisily flew down into his line of sight. Surprised, Garfield swerved to avoid it... and drove right off the path, crashing his kart into a creek. As he recovered his wits, he looked up as Nermal, with Arlene and Jon not far behind, continued past him down the path. He shook his head with dismay. Barring certain unforseen circumstances.
It had been twenty minutes since the time dilation field had been placed, and neither of them were showing any signs of awakening. Sakuya had hoped that the cat, at the very least, would've done so by now. It was a fact that an individual could only go so long without having to take care of his or her basic needs. It would seem, though, that her hope was unfounded...
Sakuya spun around towards the hallway, danger senses tingling. An enemy? Cautiously, knives in hand, she set forth to investigate. Entering a room at the far end of the hall, she carefully searched every corner for the cause of her unease...
Finally, she saw it... a strange and boxy thing that radiated 'Danger!' from the core of its being. There was no doubt in Sakuya's mind that this abhomination needed to be exterminated. Such evil... I'm sure they would forgive me if I were to remove this threat posthaste. Whatever it is, it does not deserve to live.
Having decided that, she wasted little time in carrying out her grim task.
Somewhere in Gensokyo, Lunasa Prismriver sharply turned to face the eastern horizon. Her violin, which until a moment ago had been playing of its own accord, floated silently next to her.
"Something wrong?" Merlin asked inquisitively, edging on over. "Do you hear anything suspicious?"
Lunasa remained silent a few moments before she answered her sister. "No, it's nothing important. I just had the strangest feeling... it was as if someone had committed a serious wrong, but by the same action allowed justice to play its part in life."
For Ran and Chen, things were quiet and peaceful. The latter was strangely fond of Othello, even if she tended to place pieces on the board without thinking about her strategy. Occasionally she was a challenge to beat and a lot of times she wasn't, but either way Ran was happy just to have someone to play the odd game with during her off-time.
Following their final game, the both of them returned to the living room. Sakuya and Odie were still there, the former counting the knives she had with her for some reason. "So, any change?" Ran asked quietly, directing the question to both her and the timekeeper mouse.
Nary a twitch, the little rodent told her.
"Seconded," Sakuya confirmed. "Aside from their breathing, of course."
Odie shook his head a few times, trying to make it clear that he supported Sakuya's statement.
Ran sighed. "I know she said it was for entertainment, but I'm still having trouble comprehending why she's doing all of this. What sort of fun could there be in spending time with an obnoxious, gluttonous cat?"
"You're asking the wrong person." Sakuya put the last of her weapons away and straightened a bit. "I've barely even met him, so I don't understand him. All I know is, my lady is going to be very displeased that I've disappeared without notice."
"Remind me to apologize to your mistress for Yukari-sama's actions after this is over with."
As the two talked, Chen regarded Odie concernedly. She thought she was a fairly decent judge of her master's emotions by now, and she could tell that Ran was upset. However, she couldn't do anything about it; "Let's not disturb them any," the way it had been spoken to her, had been an order. As she looked at Odie she realized that the dog didn't have any need to follow such a command. Maybe he could help somehow!
While not the brightest dog in the world- - -or even the neighborhood- - -Odie was pretty good at sensing the moods of other people; he just generally preferred to react to them all the same way. Answering Chen's silent plea with a nod, Odie wagged his tail and walked up to the very edge of the time dilation field.
The field... shattered, the fragments shrinking and dissolving into nothingness. Ran and Sakuya jumped in surprise, taken off guard by both the noise and the disruption. Chen was sent careening into Ran despite having half-expected Odie's actions, nearly causing the kitsune to fall. The competitors' reactions were more impressive: Garfield flipped in the air several times, bed and all, and landed sprawled on the floor, while Yukari was pitched out of the chair almost right into the television.
Several long moments of silence passed as everyone processed what just happened, Ran numbly helping Chen get up. "I saw it," Sakuya muttered, eyes wide, "and I still don't believe it."
"Yukari-sama! Are you alright?" Ran finally cried, rushing forward to assist her master.
"One Fastball Special, on the house," Yukari murmured, needing a few moments more to get her act together. She had been a little too into her dream, it seemed.
Garfield groggily glared at Odie. I hate dogs.
After the lights came back on, there was some deliberation between Sakuya and the timekeeper. Eventually it was decided that Garfield- - -being the more high-strung of the two- - -had been the first to respond to Odie's wakeup call. Yukari's canary-eating grin was most insufferable, and the cat turned away to avoid looking at it. Chen was congratulating the dog on a job well done, which wasn't much better.
"I still don't get it," Sakuya continued to grouse, shaking her head. "That dog, it just... how did..."
When you're so stupid that you forget how to age, there's no limit to what you can do.
The maid stared dumbly at Garfield. "...But that's not how it's supposed to work! You're not unaffected by magic just because you don't get how it operates! That's just... ...I mean, it's..."
Garfield's unrelenting gaze wore her down. He said nothing and did nothing, exhibiting the sort of uncaringness that only a housecat was capable of showing.
Fifteen seconds passed before Sakuya, her patience with this household at an end, facepalmed. "Never mind. I don't want to know, and I'm better off not knowing. I just want to go home. Somebody, please."
Yukari sighed, but complied with Sakuya's wish and opened a gap back home for her. "You are Little Miss No Fun, you know that?"
"If I'm going to enjoy myself, it's going to be on my time, not yours," Sakuya declared. "Good day, Yakumo-san." Folding her arms, she strode through the gap and vanished from sight.
Shaking her head, Yukari closed the gap and turned to the others. As an aside, she grabbed her hat off the chair and put it back in its rightful place. "...So. I guess that's that. With Sakuya gone we can't really compete anymore, so we may as well just watch something on TV until Mr. Arbuckle returns."
Doubtful if there's anything really good on. Garfield grabbed the remote, jumped into the chair and started flicking through the TV channels. 'Attack of the Angry Houseplants'... Click. 'The Regional Thumb Wrestling Competition...' Click. 'Ten Recipes You Can Use With Fried Tofu' - - -
Garfield suddenly found himself tossed out of the chair by an enthralled kitsune. Snatching the remote out of the air, she claimed the chair for herself and stared intently at the screen, riveted.
And that was the scene when Jon returned home later on. His disgruntled cat was perched on the back of the chair, staring off into space. Ran was so focused on the program and jotting notes down that she almost didn't hear Jon enter; Yukari pretended to be interested in a chase between Chen and Odie, but in reality her mind was on something else.
He didn't know anything about what transpired that evening. The house was still standing and the petsitting squad was still in good health, and that was good enough for him.
After things were squared away and the trio left for home, Jon went back to his room to change. He figured that once he had done so, he would talk to Garfield about how his date went. It wouldn't take more than a few minutes.
Life had other plans for him, though. Before he could do anything, he happened to look into his open closet... and screamed. His eyes bugged out, and his hair stood straight up from shock. "YAAAAAHHHHH! Garfield, what are all these holes doing in my accordion?"
Don't know. Let's call Miss Scarlet and hear her opinion.
Sakuya put her handkerchief away, quietly hoping she hadn't caught something while at the Arbuckle house. Her mistress should be in bed by now; when she woke up later, she would tell her everything that had transpired earlier. It would serve as an entertaining story, at the very least, and perhaps an extra voice could shed some light on the unwelcome mysteries in her mind.
Unseen by either Ran or Chen as they traversed the gap between the Arbuckle residence and Gensokyo, Yukari smiled in satisfaction. The metaphorical snowball is rolling downhill. Let's watch and see who it bowls over...
I'm hoping my attention span for this holds out. It's been a while since I've had this much fun writing something.
I have no real fondness for memes. With those that I do use, I'm going to put my own spin on them- - -that's really the only way I can tolerate them. The entire scene with Chen and the cardboard box, for example, was one big shout-out to the Metal Gear Solid games (which, I may add, I've never played or even liked).
I'll leave it to you people to decide for yourself just what in blazes Yukari's dream was about. I haven't a clue. ...And speaking of Clue, that's what Garfield's final line in the chapter is referencing.
...And I don't have much else to say about this, surprisingly. Don't know when I'll be continuing this, or how, but you'll know about it when I do. Ciao mein for now, everyone.