In Loving Memory Of Linus Blair

Written by Consta Jenkins

Reprinted by permission of the author

Eatbugs squeezed his eyes shut and listened intently to the music in the wind. It was faint, but there, as it always was, the sound of his humans' voices. He smiled and let the sweet remembered sound wash over him. Time passed without measure, an endless march of days on the Bridge, but even in the simple, quiet sound of the wind, the Great Promise brought each kidden close once again to the hearts below.

"If I catch you at that again, I will have your whiskers!"

Eatbugs spun around to see Spice harumphing her way along side a much-aggravated Vito.

"Now gall-darn it queen, don't you go lecturing me." Vito puffed his chest fur and took what Eatbugs assumed was supposed to be a tomly stance.

Spice's golden eyes took on a deadly cold gleam. "Don't you go puffing on me, Vito Valachi. I can still teach you some manners with one paw behind my back. A tom your age. Really!"

"Now don't go getting your whiskers in a snit. We were just having a little fun."

Eatbugs cleared his throat. Both kiddens turned and glared at him. "Um...is there a problem?"

"No" "Yes" came the simultaneous answer.

"I see," said Eatbugs, not really seeing much at all, but relatively certain that Vito was in for it.

"He was teaching the peepers to pitch kibble." Spice flipped her tail indignantly.

"We were just having some fun." Vito squirmed.

"Fun? FUN? Poor little Pouncequick lost half his lunch. Really, what COULD you have been thinking.."

"Well...there's plenty more kibble where that came from...the bowls are always full..." Vito was deflating by the minute.

Spice just glared.

"Um, Vito? I think discretion is the better part of valor...." Eatbugs tried not to laugh.

"Well, darnitall, it was just a game." Vito gave one last harumph and walked away.

"He has a point, you know. I mean, it's not like anyone is going to go hungry here."

"Oh I know." Spice gave him a wicked grin. "I just missed bossing a boy kidden."

Eatbugs rolled his eyes. Life on the Bridge was never dull....that much was certain.

Over in the tall grass, Salt and Picnic were trading tall tails. The peepers, their kibble pitching adventure already forgotten, were listening with rapt attention. "'N then there was the time I stalked the biggest old spider I ever did see."

"How big was it, Mr. Salt-sir?" Little Dots' eyes were round as saucers.

"Well, now," Salt winked at Picnic, "I reckon it was near about as big as a peeper."

Appropriate gasps were uttered.

"And did you catch it?"

"Well, of course I did! Snacked on it for nearly a week, I did."

"Wowsers...."

In the hollow by the willows Spunkie and Ebony lazed in the golden sun. Eatbugs flicked his tail to them in greeting as he passed. For all their dignified demeanor now, he knew for a fact Ebony had taken Spunkie in two out of three falls at wrestling earlier.

As he passed along the catnip patch, he noticed Dusty Kidden, Sparky and Pitty Pat standing, gazing out over the Rainbow's Edge.

"We can jumps. I bet we can." Dusty Kidden's voice rang with despair.

"No, it's too far. We can call to her. She'll hear us." Sparky nuzzled her brother. "I know she will."

Eatbugs padded over to his furiends. "What's the matter?"

Dusty Kidden turned and looked up at him with eyes so full of sorrow, it made Eatbugs' heart ache. "It's Mom. Oh Eatbugs...."

"Come with me. " Eatbugs led his furiends to the Circle of the Elders. Isolde and Virginia sat in the center of the Circle.

"We've been waiting." Virginia motioned the kiddens to join her in the center. Eatbugs took his place among the Elders. Virginia purred a deep, comforting purr. "Close your eyes and concentrate. We will help you."

The Blair kiddens squeezed their eyes shut and concentrated with all their might. They felt the warm support of the Elders wrapping around them as they turned their thoughts to the Earth below.

They purred words of love. They sang a song of comfort. They whispered words of healing to ease the pain of the one below. The Circle of Elders lifted their voice and sang of life on the Rainbow Bridge, and the Promise of reunions to come.

Eatbugs felt the tingling in his whiskers as Virginia raised her head. "It is time," she said.

The Circle rose and slowly made their way to the Gate. As they walked, the Company of Kiddens joined them, one by one and two by two. Dino and Vito walked with AJ and Noki. Max and Beethoven walked with Linus and Katze. All the kiddens bound by the love of their humans came to welcome one more into their fold.

At last they reached the Gate. They formed their Circle, with the Blair kiddens in the center. They listed to the sad-sweet refrain of the Welcoming Song drifting in the wind until the blue light filled the Gate.

Linus blinked for a moment, then bowed his head for a moment. It was time, but the parting is never easy. He thought of his mother below and sighed. His fur now gleamed golden in the sun. His legs were strong and sure again, but his heart still longed for the ones below.

"They are never far."

Linus looked up into Isolde's lovely blue eyes. "But how? The Earth is so far away."

"Close your eyes and listen."

Linus squeezed his eyes shut and listened. At first he heard only the breeze in the trees...but then he heard it. His mother's voice whispering in the rustling of the leave. A waft of wind brushed over his back, and he felt her hand stroking his fur.

"They are never far. She is as close as your heart and always will be."

Linus smiled. "But how am I going to sleep on her neck?"

Isolde laughed. "Well that may have to wait for the Promise to be fulfilled."

"Oh."

Dusty Kidden, Sparky and Pitty Pat nuzzled their brother.

When all the greetings had been given, the other Blair kiddens led Linus to the Rainbow's edge. He closed his eyes and pursed his whiskers in concentration, then he lifted his thoughts into the wind to send his message home. "Mom? I am here. I am whole. I am waiting."

And with that, he turned and made his way home.

© Copyright 1999 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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