In Loving Memory Of Da Mouse Thompson

Written by Consta Jenkins

Reprinted by permission of the author

The music in the wind sang its song of love and laughter across the Rainbow Bridge. Eatbugs turned his nose into the breeze and smiled. Mommy Mary was playing with a kidden. . .and thinking of him. He could feel Mommy Consta stroking his fur. Beethoven padded up to her friend and settled in the cool grass beside him. She gave him an earlick and then closed her eyes, too. She felt her mom's hand stroking her fur, and heard her soft voice in the breeze. Eatbugs opened his eyes and purred to his friend. "Sometimes they feel so close. Like I could reach out my paw and touch them."

Beethoven nodded. "Do you think that they can still feel us?"

"Of course they can. As long as we are still in their hearts, we are always with them. Virginia said it is a part of the Great Promise."

Beethoven smiled and purred. "I'm glad." She head-butted Eatbugs and giggled. "So have you arranged with Jasmine to help you nurse your wounds?"

Eatbugs' nose turned deep pink. "Um..no." He'd promised to join Rocky, Picnic and Dino giving peeper rides this morning. He always enjoyed himself, save when the over-excited young ones forgot the 'no claws' rule. "There's always room for one more, want to join us?"

"Oh dear me, no." Beethoven laughed. "I like my fur all of a piece. Besides, I am going to show PJ the best catnip patches this morning. But you have a good time." She grinned and padded off to find her friend.

Eatbugs stretched a slow and leisurely stretch, and padded off to the willow stand. He danced his tail in greetings to Skunk and Lola Qat, who were finishing their morning ear washes. As he passed the kibble bowls, he heard AJ discussing the proper care of waggy bags with Pris, and he laughed. AJ had done quite well at maintaining his, and the peepers delighted in trying to wiggle under it.

He reached the willows and smiled at the peepers dancing with excitement around the toms. Picnic grinned at him. "Ready?"

"As ready as I'll ever be." Eatbugs grinned back. "I suppose you've already talked about claws?"

"Oh yes," said Dino, "and they've given us their mostest solomnestest word" He laughed. "First one to get a claw buys the kibble, right?"

"You're on."

Under the shade of the graceful trees, lounged kiddens who'd come to watch the festivities. Jasmine danced her tail daintily, and Eatbugs felt his nose get hot. Tinky and Shoney were curled up together. Putt Putt and Boots watched with bemused smiles as the young ones mounted their 'steeds'. Panther munched on a pawful of kibbles, and offered a few to Grace, who sat smiling beside him.

"Comes on Unca Picnic. You can go faster!" Little Dots was whooping with glee. Picnic shook his head and trotted on.

"Wheeeeeeeeee," cried Cosmic Bob.

"Ouch!," cried Dino.

"Look's like the kibble is on you," said Eatbugs with a grin. "Um, Pouncie? Keep the claws in, young man."

"Sorry, Unca Dino." Pouncie's lower lip trembled ever so slightly and Dino and Eatbugs had to laugh.

"Giddyup." Tiny Bubbles tapped Eatbugs on top of the head, "Giddyup, please."

Eatbugs laughed and loped off. He made a turn around the willows and came to a halt. Mister sat quietly there, his whiskers drooping, and his eyes filled with sorrow.

Eatbugs knelt and helped Bubbles down. "Go ask Uncle Rocky to finish your ride, sweetheart. I need to talk to Mister, okay?"

Bubbles ran over and gave Mister a hug and then pranced, tail swaying, off to find Rocky.

Eatbugs nuzzled his friend. "What's wrong? Can I help?"

"It's Mom." Mister's voice broke, and his eyes filled with tears. "Oh Eatbugs, I can feel her heart breaking. I've tried and tried to see her, but her sorrow is so deep."

"Come on." Eatbugs rapped his tail around his furiend and led him to the clearing where the Elders met. The others were already waiting. Isolde and Virginia took Mister gently to the center of the Circle. He curled on the ground, as they stood over him.

"Mister, concentrate on your mother. We will help you. She needs you now, very much."

Mister nodded and pursed his whiskers in concentration. The Circle of Elders raised their purrs to the wind and joined their song with his. Slowly, he turned his thoughts toward Earth, and saw his mother. Her heart was, indeed, breaking and Mister gasped.

"Shhh, it will be all right." Virginia's soft voice purred in his heart. "You must help her now, and help the one that comes."

Mister closed his eyes once more, and understood his mother's pain. A little tabby boy lay in her arms. His fur was ruffled and his pain was great. Mister purred harder and reached his thoughts out. "Mom? Mom, I am here. Oh, Mom, I promise it will be okay. He won't hurt ever again and I'll take very good care of him. We will be right here and we will wait. Oh, Mom, please, please don't hurt so bad. He will be happy here..."

As Mister touched his mother's heart and purred his words of love, he felt the Circle's voices reach out to the young tabby boy. Isolde purred words of comfort into his ears, assuring him that he was not alone, and never, never would be. Virginia purred words of love into his heart, and told him of the Company of Kiddens and sang of the Great Promise. Picnic purred a veil of comfort around his body, easing the pain and spreading warmth. Boots sang a song of courage, dissolving the young tom's fears. Eatbugs lifted his voice and sang a song of welcome, calling his new friend home.

One by one, each of the Elders lifted their purrs, soothing and comforting, until their songs were needed no more. Virginia lifted her head. "It is time."

The helped Mister to his feet, and together they made their journey to the Gate. The Company of Kiddens gathered as they went. Jasmine fell into step with Eatbugs. Creamsickle and Tinky walked with Pris and Pooska. Nickie and Little Dots led the peepers, with Miss Kitty and Prissy following behind. Beethoven and Noki linked tails as they went. All of the kiddens bound together by the love of their humans came to welcome another home. Solemnly they formed their circle, as the Elders formed theirs around Mister.

The Welcoming Song now filled the air, with its bittersweet refrain. It sang of hope and promise, of sorrow and loss, all tied together in the cycle of life. Its gentle, sad melody danced over the Company as it winded its way to the earth, and the heart of a human, below. The Company raised their voices to join it.

At last, the now too familiar blue flash appeared across the Gate, and in its wake sat a handsome young tabby tom. His grey fur was sleek and shiny, his beautiful gold-green eyes were bright. He sat blinking at the Company before him, and then slowly closed his eyes. Mister came forward and gave his brother an earlick. "It's all right now, Mouse. I promise."

"But..but..I went so long with out a mom to love me. I don't want it to be over so soon." Da Mouse's eyes were filled with tears.

"It isn't over. It will never, never be over." Mister purred softly in his brother's ear. "You will see her again, I promise."

"But I'm here....and she is there. Oh please, can't I go home?"

Virginia stepped forward and touched noses with Da Mouse. "But you are home, little one. Mister is right. It is not over, and as long as there is a Rainbow, it never will be. Close your eyes, Mouse."

Mouse obeyed.

"Feel your mother in your heart."

Mouse reached out with his heart and found his mother. He gasped as he felt her sorrow wash over him. "Mom!"

"Shhh, little one. Look deeper."

Mouse closed his eyes and let his mind sink beyond the sorrow. Then he felt it. He felt her love for him, as real and as strong as ever it had been on Earth. He felt her warmth and her love and knew, as kiddens know, that it was forever. He lifted his purr to the wind, pursing his whiskers in effort, and sent his thoughts to the heart below. "Oh, Mom. I love you. I am whole now, and I don't hurt. Oh, Mom. I am home. . .and I am waiting."

© Copyright 1996 Constance Jenkins. All Rights Reserved. The author retains all copyright and intellectual rights to this work. It may not be printed in whole or in part without express written permission.
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