In Loving Memory Of Ariel Record-Sand
Written by Consta Jenkins
Reprinted by permission of the author
The sunlight glimmered in the clear stream that runs through the Rainbow Fields. It shimmered and danced in the gently rippling water, reflecting lavendar here and amber there as it broke over the smooth flat stones. Eatbugs lapped quietly at the sweet water, then groomed his whiskers when he'd had his fill. He'd spent the morning playing chasies with Beethoven and Noki and a kidden can work up quite a thirst that way.
He padded silently through the tall grass, dancing his tail in greeting as he went. Rocky and Vito were entertaining the peepers and Eatbugs chuckled at their squeals of delighted terror when Vito talked of THE dog dog. They'd heard the story a hundred times, but loved it with each telling. Rummy and Persefino were wrestling happily in the grass. They stopped long enough to greet their friend before diving once more into the fray. Muffin and Moki lazed together in the warmth of the sun. Mister and Catsup lay curled, side by side, their whiskers bent in deep conversation. Creamsickle and Jasmine passed by Eatbugs, in search of a willing rabbit to chase. Jasmine thought her little lop-eared friend was free this morning...
It was, as all days of the Rainbow are, one of warmth and love and companionship. Eatbugs smiled. The world below seemed so far away at times, sometimes as close as a whisker, but always there was the Rainbow, with its promise and its warmth. He paused for a moment to groom his tail and decide what amusement to find. As any good kidden knows, nothing clears the mind like a good bath. He thought about finding Tinky for a game of hide and swipe. Perhaps Vito would be interested in a game of hockey and, heaven knows he smiled, Little Dots, Nicky and Pouncequick were ALWAYS up for peeper rides.
He had washed his tail to his satisfaction and just about settled on the peeper rides when he felt the tug in his mind. "Come, Little One." The Elders' call flitted across his consciousness, felt more than heard. He turned and trotted quickly to the clearing.
The Elders had formed their Circle. Virginia and Isolde sat solemnly in the center. Gypsy, Boots, Phillip and the others linked their tails and their voices. Eatbugs bowed his head. Another elder came. Silently he joined the Circle and lifted his voice into the wind. He joined the eternal song, singing love and comfort to the one below. The gentle melody swept over him as it winded its way to the Earth below. Do not fear, it sang. Do not weep. It sang of the steadfastness of love. The Great Promise twined around each note as it drifted homeward. It wrapped itself around the kidden's heart, easing all pain, cleansing all grief. Come home, it whispered. Come to the Creator. As one march of days comes to a close, another begins it sang. Come to us in the Promise. Come to us in peace.
Eatbugs lifted his voice and sang with all his heart. He sang until Virginia lifted her head and said in her gentlest voice, "It is time."
As one the Circle rose to their paws and turned to make their journey. Shoulder to shoulder they walked towards the Gate, to the Welcome. Another joined their ranks today, a kidden whose march of days in the sun was long, whose heart was wise. The Company of Kiddens fell into step with them as they passed. Skunk walked with Dino. Putt Putt walked with Taureen. All the kiddens bound by the love of their humans padded silently once more.
Eatbugs looked up at Isolde's beautiful face. Her eyes held sorrow, but a small smile danced at the corners of her lips. Eatbugs raised an eyewhisker. Isolde smiled at him. "There is always sorrow, Little One. The love bond between kidden and human is strong and there is much grief in their hearts today, but the kidden that comes lived the Great Promise to its fullest. Her march of days was a long one. Her life was full of love and warmth. She came to us in peace, Little One."
Eatbugs nodded. Sometimes the sorrow of the humans overwhelmed him. He felt their loss so very much, but even in that grief he remembered. Love is eternal. The Creator of All Things made that promise when the world was young. Nothing, no power on earth or sky, could break the love bond. Time and death could only alter its appearance and time had no meaning here. Death was only a change. Love lived on.
They gathered around the Gate and lifted their purrs to join the Welcoming Song. The blue light flickered across the Gate and when it faded a beautiful tortie with delicate white paws sat blinking in its wake. Ariel looked out upon the Company of Kiddens and quietly bowed her head. It was time, she knew, but her heart ached for the humans she had to leave behind. She sent her love to them with all of her heart.
The Elders came forward, nuzzling their newest member, purring warmth and love into her ears. Ariel smiled at them. She took a few steps and smiled. It had been so long since her legs felt so strong. Her fur gleamed in the sun as it had in her youth. It was time. She was home.
The Company went through its greeting. Promises of hockey games and chasies were made, nosey greetings given. When each had made their welcome, the Company turned to lead Ariel home. She smiled at them and shook her head. "A moment, please," she said and turned and walked to the Rainbow's edge. She pursed her whiskers in concentration. She opened her heart and turned her thoughts toward home. "Mom? Dad? Can you hear me? I am home. I am whole. I love you and I always will. Mom? Take care of the little one for me. Tell him I forgive him for pulling my tail.." she smiled at the memory of his little hands reaching to love her, "tell him I'll be here. It was time. I am home. I am waiting."
She sat for a moment looking down at the earth. She wished she could ease their sorrow, make them understand. She closed her eyes and remembered the warmth of their hands on her fur, even the little one's untrained ones, and smiled. In time they would understand. In time they would be together again. She knew the Great Promise in her heart. In time they would as well.
At last she stood and turned to the Company. Together they led her home.
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