The pathways in Wonderland were all so winding and mysterious—Travis never knew where he was or where he was going, or even if he was going anywhere, rather than just marching in place while the road wove around him like the ball of yarn that was bopping up and down in the air right there.
Huh? “How curious,” Travis said, pausing to peer at it. It bounced up, then down, then up again. “Oh, my, it’s a floating ball of yarn!”
The ball of yarn fell again, bounced off something, and a boy’s voice said “Oh.”
A smile appeared in the air, then a face, then a boy. Then the boy’s shorts, built to accommodate his tail. He had cat ears and was grinning. “Hello,” said Travis. “My name is Travis.”
“Hi!” said the boy, still smiling. “I’m Ray! I mean, the Cheshire Catboy!”
“Hello,” said Travis, smiling back, though not as widely, at the curious boy. “I’m looking for the Queen of Hearts’s castle. I’m trying to get home, you see, and I’m ever so lost.”
“Oh, right,” said the catboy, pointing down the road. “It’s that way.”
Travis blinked. “Oh. Thank you for making that so easy, good sir.” Nobody else in Wonderland had made anything simple for Travis, trapping him in all manner of queer situations.
“What? Oh, yeah. Uh.” Ray looked from right to left, then saw his ball of yarn and floated over to retrieve it. “I mean, it’s that way, but you have to walk backwards to go forwards, and walk left to go right, and walk down to go up.”
“Oh.” Travis looked at the road. “Is that why I wasn’t getting anywhere? Because I was walking normally?”
“Yes, definitely! Roads are like pots, they don’t boil if you look at them. And you should be careful not to fall!” Ray added, nodding to himself. “Because if you’re upside-down, then the sky is the ground and the ground is the sky, and the sky is just water that floats, so you’ll boil to death in it if you fall!”
“That…sounds bad,” Travis agreed. “I’ll be careful, thank you.”
“Great! We’ll meet again someday, mysterious traveller,” Ray said, rolling onto his back in the air and then staring at Travis.
Travis looked at him. “Uh. Thanks? I’ll see you again, then.”
Ray didn’t say anything.
“You…uh, know you didn’t turn invisible again, right?”
“What? Dammit!” Ray, red in the face, cleared his throat. “Yes I did!”
And he disappeared, all but his cat ears, which faded away slowly.
He was still holding the ball of yarn, so Travis walked around him, proceeding carefully down the road, walking backwards. The ball of yarn started bouncing again.
What a curious cat, Travis thought. A good fit for this curious place.