July 25th 2011 8:32 pm
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[In our last episode, our merry band was about to storm the evil cattery, so... here we go!]
“Showtime, furs!” Shadow rasped.
“Samhain, Sleeper – to the door. Gump, Nadia, Ingen and Miz Daisy – you take off after Samhain distracts them. We want to make sure the attention is focused away from the pens while you’re there. The rest of you – take your places!”
Everyone melted into the darkness as the two young cats approached the door. Sleeper hid in the bushes by the door, giving Samhain a light mew when she was in place.
Samhain took a deep breath; it was crucial that she keep her cool and provide the needed distraction. She rang the doorbell, and then sat back, striving for calm. It took another couple of rings before she heard from within, heavy footed tread approaching the door.
“WHO is ringing the blasted door at this time of night?!” a voice growled as the light went on and the door swung open violently.
The man who stood in the doorway would have been handsome if his face hadn’t at that moment reflected the true darkness of his personality. He was tall and blond with finely chiseled features. His hair, a little mussed from sleep, was fashionably cut, and his physique suggested hours spent working out in a gym. He was looking around angrily until he chanced to look down and see Samhain.
“What kind of game is this?” he demanded, a little less forcefully. Samhain arched her back in a slow graceful stretch, and rubbed up against his pajama-ed leg, meowing in a sweet, appealing way. When he reached down to pick her up, she skipped just out of his reach, looking back over her shoulder playfully, meowing again in the same kittenish manner.
“I don’t know who brought you here - and where they are NOW,” he raised his voice, looking around again suspiciously, “but you’re MINE now, so come here, kitty, and let’s quit playing around!” He made a grab at her again with these last words, but she had danced further out onto the walkway, still staying close but out of arm’s reach.
“What’s going on? Who was it?” said a woman who was now at the door, tying her silk robe closed. As with the man, the woman had a face most would consider attractive, but there was something… wrong… about it. The eyes, beneath the fringe of lustrous auburn hair, were cold, and the well-shaped mouth whose smile so often was used successfully to charm male and female alike, displayed, in the absence of an audience, a peevishness and cruelty which would have given her admirers pause.
“I don’t know,” he answered, bemused. He looked back at her, and gestured vaguely in Samhain’s direction, “It’s a cat.” When he turned back, there were two cats.
“There are two,” he said obviously, a little stupidly. Miller had joined Samhain on the walk, both sitting statue still, staring back at the humans.
“Well, HELP me,” sniped the man at the woman, irritably, as he stepped down towards the kitties. The woman came down to help him catch the cats. As soon as the female’s foot left the porch, Sleeper was through the door.
Gump had been practicing flying the broom while the girls kept watch on what was happening at the door. Ingen leaned forward suddenly, giving a little squeak, “She’s in, she’s in!” Nadia leaped up at Gump as he flew by, “it’s time!” she hissed. Miz Daisy already had the kites lined up for her and Ingen, plus the first aid packs and emergency rations, and was waiting for Nadia to get in position.
“Come on, girl!” she called. And there was Nadia in place, and the lines were tossed to Gump, and they were airborne! Over the fence they flew; much too short a trip for such a glorious sensation! But then they were in the cattery yard surrounded by cage upon cage of cats.
It seems wrong to dwell now on the depths of misery and degradation they witnessed in that place! Too many animals penned in too little space without adequate food, water or care. Nadia, Gump and Ingen moved as quickly as they could from cage to cage, cutting through the latches, helping the kittens and cats out into the open yard where Miz Daisy had set up her triage. Most kitties were well enough, just stressed from the poor conditions and meager food. But there were some who had difficulty standing because they had been kept caged without exercise for too long or were simply too weak from dehydration and lack of food. A few had injuries from accidents or fights with other cats, as well as abuse from their human captors; these wounds were slow to heal under such pitiable circumstances.
As Nadia and Gump freed the last of the kitties and Ingen talked quietly to a young kitten who was mewling and crying for her mama, there was a terrific explosion at the gate!
Sleeper ran down the hall and came to a stop. There were too many doors, she thought despairingly. How could she find her father before the humans returned? She was afraid to start trying doors; who knew what might be behind them? As her sense of futility grew, a curious thing happened. There was a light brush over her shoulder and she felt a feather touch upon her cheek, almost like a kiss. She turned slowly and saw the door, and knew. He is…there. She started hesitantly towards the door, then ran and when she reached it, found it was ajar.
Siddhartha was there, seated on a cushion with his eyes closed. He looked older and leaner than his photo, but unharmed. If anything, the changes had shaped him into something greater – raw metal into honed steel.
“I knew you would come,” he said without opening his eyes. His voice had a pleasant tenor quality, the words almost lyrical.
“What?” Sleeper replied. She felt as if she were walking through a dream. She shook herself, and said more urgently, “We’re here to rescue you! We’ve got to go before they come back!”
His eyes opened at that.
“You are not…what I expected,” he said slowly. For a second, Sleeper had the sense that he had started to say something else. You are not…who…I expected, maybe? He stood up and walked towards her.
“But there is something familiar about you,” he mused, pacing around her, and coming back to stare at her face.
“Your eyes…they remind me of someone,” he said, touching his paw to her face.
“My mother…I have my mother’s eyes…I’m told,” Sleeper ducked her head shyly.
His gaze sharpened. “How old are you? When was your birth?”
“In the fall at the end of September. I’m almost 10 months old.”
“Why, you are my daughter!” he exclaimed in delight.
“How did you know?” she asked, wonderingly.
“It all fits: the timing, the familiarity, your eyes – so like your mother’s, that you are here now, attempting this rescue. But even without all that, now that I am focused, I can feel it; it’s in your aura.” He stroked her cheek.
“How are you called, child?”
“My name is Sleeper.”
“An unusual name for a special girl. It makes me think of a phrase from a book the Maharaj once read to me: ‘the Sleeper must awaken.’ Have you awakened, child?” he asked gently placing his paw to her forehead and pressing lightly.
Sleeper was drifting somewhere around the ceiling, then she was up through the roof, way above the house. All was peace, all was love, all was light. She looked down and saw herself standing before her father, his paw upon her head. She looked beyond and saw her sister and Miller and the two new black cats she’d met this evening, Jerry and Rigel. They were leading the two humans around in a merry chase, circling back and forth. She could see the interior courtyard where Gump, Nadia, Ingen and Miz Daisy were surrounded by dozens of cats of all ages, some joyful, some weeping, some angry, some sick and weak, others simply dazed and lethargic. She was part of it all, connected in a way she had never experienced. They were ALL interconnected till there was no one, only ONE. She looked and saw Shadow and the Tabbies. A great wave of love washed over her as she contemplated the selflessness and compassion that had prompted these erstwhile strangers to come together for the sake of a cat they had never met. Shadow and the Tabbies were rolling something big across the lawn. It looked like…
Sleeper’s consciousness slammed into her body in the space of a heartbeat, “A CANNON! GET DOWN!!!” she yelled, pulling her father to the floor just as a massive explosion shook the house!
Samhain, though she had been expecting the cannon fire, was momentarily terrified, mindlessly wanting to flee as far away as she could get. She checked the impulse, and meowed loudly for Jerry, Miller and Rigel: “COME! THE TABBIES HAVE BLOWN THE GATE! WE HAVE TO MOVE QUICKLY!!!” The others had also started to run in various directions, but at Samhain’s call, they rallied and headed for the gate, which now hung open at a crazy angle. As they neared, there was another great BOOM!!! and a pink plastic flamingo head whizzed past Samhain’s ear.
“Boomer, you IMBECILE!!! You almost hit me! It’s not even REAL, you know!!!
Butter Lover Boomer grinned sheepishly at Samhain as she ran past.
“Stoopid burds…” he muttered as he kicked the smoking flamingo body.
Several young kits were mewling in terror in the aftermath of the cannon fire. Gump and the girls were comforting them, a situation not helped by the sight of Tuna of Moon, Trout Towne’s Comedian Extraordinaire, striding through the gate in complete pirate regalia including boots, pirate hat, gold earring and carrying a wicked-looking cutlass. He struck a pose and smiled rakishly.
“Arrrghhh, ma-teese! Ur ride is here!”
Shadow and Samhain swept up, rushing past him, the humvee close behind them.
“Everyone in the vehicle NOW!” Shadow shouted. “We’ve got to get out of here before the cops show up! Tuna, we need that gurney!”
Tuna, solemn now after seeing the misery before him, nodded and went to get the supplies. Shadow looked around anxiously and then grabbed Samhain’s shoulder.
“She must still be in the house,” Samhain said, looking worried. Shadow started to leave, but she stopped him.
“No, I’ll go. You’re needed here. Some of these kits can’t walk,” she added in a low voice. “You’ll be better able to help them. And they need to feel someone’s in charge. They’ll follow you,” she said, looking up at him, her trust showing in her face.
Shadow closed his eyes for a moment and touched his forehead to hers.
“Daughter, I haven’t said it before now, but…I love you.”
“I know. I love you, too, Father. Thank you for coming to us,” Samhain answered, her eyes glistening with unshed tears.
“And…I LOVE Sleeper,” he said, giving her a meaningful stare. “Get her out safely, do you hear?”
She nodded, unable to speak, then turned and ran.
As she rounded the side of the house, the scene that met her eyes was surreal. The two humans were cowering on the front lawn surrounded by angry cats, some of them wielding cutlasses. The male human held the decapitated body of the flamingo lawn ornament and was swinging it back and forth in front of them yelling “GET BACK!”, while the female simply crouched with her arms over her head, screaming at the top of her lungs. None of the cats had moved in yet; they simply stood, tails lashing, some growling low in their throats. Samhain didn’t stop, but loped past them and up the porch steps through the open door…
…Right into the arms of Siddhartha who was coming down the hall with Sleeper beside him. Samhain jumped back and then froze, caught in the brilliance of Sidd’s emerald eyes.
“It is you!” he breathed.
Samhain was unable to speak. Here was, without a doubt, the most magnificent cat, the most beautiful creature, period - that she had ever beheld in her life! She knew instantly that for her, there could never be another who would measure up to this animal.
Sleeper, oblivious to the interchange between them, said, “Samhain, here’s my father! He’s OK! Let’s get out of here!”
Samhain looked blankly at her sister, then shook herself, the spell broken.
“Yes, we’ve got to go. Shadow says the cops are probably on their way,” she replied, her eyes straying back to Sidd. “He and the others, uh… are loading the kits onto the humvee. You’re sure you’re alright?” Samhain asked Sidd shyly.
“I am fine. They have treated me very well, unlike the others, I am told.” He frowned, his face darkening for a moment. Samhain had the impression of a cloud passing over the sun.
“There’re no other kitties in the house, Sleep?” Samhain asked her sister as they stepped onto the porch.
“No one. Father,” she blushed as she called him that, “was the only one they kept in the main house. All the others were in cages in the courtyard. Samhain – I saw something. I…it was…I can’t explain…” she looked around and saw the situation coming down before them.
“I’ll tell you later,” she said hurriedly.
Siddhartha, meanwhile was already down the porch and pushing through the crowd of cats who were just now edging closer to the kitten mill owners.
“STOP!” he cried in a thunderous voice. All movement ceased; even the wailing human’s voice cut off abruptly. In silence, they all, human and animal alike, stared at Sidd, mesmerized.
“You must not do this,” Sidd addressed the cats quietly.
A calico manx, stepped forward, started to brandish her cutlass in Sidd’s face, then thought better of it.
“De kilt my chillrens! De kilt odders, too, ‘n hurt eden more. De be EVIL; de be needin’ to die!”
“And will this bring your children back?” He turned when she didn’t answer, and spoke to them all, raising his voice.
“Will torturing and killing these people undo the harm which they have done? Or will it make of YOU torturers, abusers and killers?” He moved in front of the humans, looking into their faces.
“The evil they have done will be visited upon them in full measure. This is The Law of Karma. It is not for you or me to take this task upon ourselves.” He gazed now upon the circle of silent cats.
“You,” he slowly made eye contact with each of them, “be BETTER.”
There was a loud engine roar as the humvee backed out of the gate swiftly and made a wide K turn, flattening five rose bushes, a birdbath, and a small cement statue of the Savannah Bird Girl.
“All a-bored, kittehs!” Sauce called from the driver’s window. Samhain grabbed Sleeper and moved over to Sidd, stretching forth her paw to touch him lightly, “Siddhartha, sir…we need to go.”
“Yes, come my brothers and sisters.” He turned and walked to the vehicle. The other kitties followed. Samhain kept pace with him.
“What about them?” she asked, gesturing to the two humans who were still hunkered down on the ground.
“Leave them. They will receive their due.”
The rest of the cats who had been in the front yard, found a place in the humvee, where Boomer had already stowed a pile of trout, shrimp, whitefish, salmon, bass, perch, tunie and spaghetti, as well as a good stock of water and some kitteh ale. Samhain, Sleeper and Sidd entered the trailer where Shadow and some of the others were ministering to the wounded, sick or very young. Sleeper introduced her father to Shadow and the rescue crew. Everyone settled down to eat.
“Eels!” Samhain cried with delight as she opened one of the cases of food.
“Yeah,” Shadow grinned at her. “We kept THOSE here in the trailer. I know how you like them!” So for awhile, they were all quiet as they focused on their food.
After they’d eaten and the ale had been passed around, they compared notes as to what had happened when. They noticed Gump had become very quiet, so they turned and looked at him expectantly. He looked down gravely, not able to meet anyone’s eyes.
“We…didn’t tell you all we found,” he said.
“I, uh…there was a dumpster there behind the fence. It had…bodies…in it - lots of them,” he blurted out with a break in his voice.
“Baby kits and others. Many of them obviously had been sick or wounded. We think they simply… discarded their ‘liabilities’, rather than care for them.” He hung his head then, no longer able to speak.
“But…what about the bodies?” Sleeper whispered hoarsely. “Did you just LEAVE them there?”
Gump couldn’t bring himself to answer; Shadow answered for him.
“Yes,” he said quietly.
“We left them there so that the police would find them. And we’ve sent anonymous e-mails to the ASPCA as well as the USDA-APHIS about this operation. And, if I’m not mistaken, I think I hear sirens.”
Passing them with sirens blaring and lights flashing, were two police cars and a fire engine.
“Well, I guess that’s the best we could hope for,” Samhain said with a sigh. Then she frowned, looking around the back of the trailer.
“Where’s the cannon? For that matter, where’s the rest of the artillery, all those grenades and the cutlasses?” she asked perplexed.
Gump and Shadow exchanged grim smiles.
“Hehehe…” Gump snickered.
“Oh, the Tabbies are going to be SO mad!” she laughed.
“Oh, no!” Shadow chortled.
“It was Tuna’s idea, and Sauce agreed!”
To be Continued…(but I promise that will be the last episode…I think…)
Is sush a fun story. I WAN' MORE!!
THANK MEW for letting ME be de one ta blow up de flamingo !!!!!!! eye haznt had that much fun in a veree long time :) oh, N soree samhain....eye will make sure ta wear me glasses next time !!!
peace out N rock on, butter two all
Aw, you're welcome, Boomer! And I'm sorry I called you an imbecile - heat of the moment, don't ya know! ;)
Just a furtastic tale...or tail! So glad I could be in on the whole thing. Your mama is quite a writer!!
What a story! I was so happy to be part of it! I'm so glad you found your father and we helped the other kits. I can't believe my old (actually, he's considered geriatric) bro was flying on that broom. And I loved flying on the kite! Write on....
Well, have you awakened my child?
Love the headless Flamingo part too.
Have to admit, that was one of my favorites, too. We really do have the Tabbies to thank for it, because if they were bringing a cannon, there HAD to be something to shoot. And if the cannon was on the front lawn of a suburban home, what kind of bird would be sitting there at midnight? And when the human couple were surrounded by the cats, what would be at hand to help fend them off? Logical progression of thought!
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