In Loving Memory Of Nickie Gaiser

Written by Consta Jenkins

Reprinted by permission of the author

The sky over the Rainbow Fields was bright azure as a chirp drifted lazily overhead. Eatbugs looked up and smiled as she sang a greeting song and flapped her wings onward in her flight. Eatbugs stretched out his paws and dug his claws into the green velvet grass. He purred and worked his claws in the lush carpet. He savored the relaxation he felt creeping up to his shoulders. It had been a long night among the stars, teaching Sally how to visit the Earth and her humans. He stopped his scratching and stretched.

"Morning, Eatbugs", chorused Nermal and Peanut as they strolled together in the morning sun. Eatbugs danced his tail in greeting and set out across the fields. He stopped for a brief game of hide and swipe with Dino and to chase a flutterby with Little before making his way to the catnip patch. He touched noses with his furiends and settled down beside Putt Putt and Creamsickle. He lazily nibbled a leaf and let his mind drift. "...I tell you it was last week not yesterday. Wasn't it Eatbugs? Eatbugs?", said Creamsickle poking his furiend in the side.

"What?" said Eatbugs, blinking.

"The Peeper Parade...I say it was last week but Putt Putt says it was yesterday!".

Eatbugs smiled, "Oh. I don't know. You see time isn't the same here. It, well, it doesn't mean as much." Creamsickle stared at him blankly. "Well, on Earth time was important because it was limited." continued Eatbugs, "Our lives were measured by the march of days. But here? Well, there is no limit, so time doesn't matter...." his voice trailed off and his eyes turned again to the horizon.

"Eatbugs, are you okay?", said Putt Putt, concerned at his odd behavior.

"Umm, yes. I..." said Eatbugs, "I need to find the Elders". He stood up and headed off to the Grove without so much as a goodbye. "He was in the stars all night" said Creamsickle with a significant look. Putt Putt nodded and watched her young friend retreat.

Eatbugs didn't know what was wrong, yet he felt restless. It wasn't his humans, he could feel them and knew they were well. Hehad not felt the tingling in his whiskers... He quickened his pace and soon found himself running towards the Grove. He came around the willow tree and saw the Elders in their circle. "Virginia, I.."

"Shhh. Quietly Little One. Come and take your place", she answered gesturing with her tail. Obediently he came towards the circle in silence and took his place between Isolde and Virginia. He looked up and saw a beautiful lady kidden in the center. Her whisker were pursed in concentration and her eyes were tightly closed. Suddenly Eatbugs understood. Isolde leaned over to him and whispered in his ear. "We must help Lola Qat with her task. Here, link your tail with mine and concentrate. She will need our strength". Eatbugs wrapped his tail around Isoldes and felt himself drawn into the circle. He felt Lola Qat sending her thoughts towards Earth. Calming thoughts, gentle thoughts. He felt her wrestling with the fears and pain of a very young kidden and felt her sorrow as the pain of her humans touched her soul. His heart ached for them both. He pursed his whiskers hard and purred with all his might as he sent his strength towards Lola Qat. With every fiber of his being it wanted to help her, to ease the fears and the pain, to let it be over and all right.

The Bridge had become so still that Eatbugs wondered if time itself had come to halt as the circle purred in concentration. At last he felt a release within his soul. It washed over him like a warm breeze and he felt the tension drain from the circle. Slowly Lola Qat opened her eyes and raised her head. "It is time", she said in a quiet voice. As one the circle rose and started on the journey to the Gate. Virginia walked with Lola Qat purring quietly beside her. Isolde walked close to Eatbugs. Elizabeth and Picnic walked with G'Max in silence. Eatbugs slowly became aware that the others were joining them. Katie and Sally, Jasmine and Rocky, Mouschi and Smokey. All of the Kiddens of the Company gathered again to welcome another to their ranks.

As they reached the Gate the kiddens formed their circle and waited. Tails were linked and heads were bowed as they turned their thoughts towards the Earth. The Welcoming Song drifted on the breeze and the sky seemed to come alive with color. Eatbugs turned to Isolde. "He was very young?" he said. Isolde nodded sadly, "But so much loved for one so young." She turned her beautiful blue eyes on her young cousin, "Remember always, Eatbugs, the quality of our lives is not measured by the quantity of it. You walked on the Earth for only a small span of days, but look at the love your humans bear. So it is for this kidden. He is well loved and will be remembered always." Eatbugs nodded. It had taken him time to understand the meaning of the Great Cycle, to know that his march of days on the earth might have defined his life on Earth, but that it was love that gave it meaning. That was the Great Promise, that that love was immutable and everlasting, a bond so strong that neither time nor distance could ever sever it. It was the heart of the Rainbow Bridge, the Promise, the greatest of gifts of the Creator of All Things, that love would last forever. Eatbugs turned his eyes to the sea of kiddens around him and smiled. This is what brought them together, the Welcoming. They were bound together by the Promise and by love and now they gathered to share both with the one who would come.

Lola Qat raised her voice to join the Welcoming Song as the flash of blue light blazed across the gate. In it's wake sat a handsome young boy kidden. He blinked his eyes and then stared wildly at the gathering before him. Lola Qat quietly approached him and purred out comfort to him. "It is all right now, Nickie", she said, "Welcome to the Rainbow Bridge."

Nickie stared at Lola Qat. She seemed so familiar but yet he knew he had never seen her before. Gently she licked his ear, "You do not know me. I am Lola Qat". Nickie stared at her. He knew that name, he'd heard his humans talk of her. He wasn't quite sure of what was happening but he was sure of one thing. "I would reawwy wike to go home now", he said.

Lola smiled sadly at him, "But this is your home now." she said.

"Oh no. I have to go home. My humans have been awfuwwy worried and they need me. Just today my mommy was crwying...".

Lola Qat bowed her head, "I know" she said, "Oh Nickie your, our mom was crying because you had to come here and live with us now and she knew that she would miss you. They were worried because you were so sick. But you are not sick now and you never will be again." Nickie looked at her as the truth of her words began to sink in.

He started to cry, "I want to go home. I want to be wif Chlwoe and my mommy and daddy".

Lola Qat took him in her arms and rocked him gently, "It will be all right, Nickie. You are home now. And I will take very good care of you. I promise you, I will." He buried his face in her fur and she licked his head as the Company of Kiddens began to purr out comfort to him, "and all of the kiddens here will be your family now. They'll teach you all the best places to play and all best places to sleep".

"But I want my mommy and daddy", said Nickie, "and now I won't ever see them again...."

"Oh but you will, Nickie, I promise you! That is why we are here. We are all of us waiting for the day our humans will come for us. Mom and Dad will come for us. I promise."

"Reawwy? They won't forget me?", he said lifting his face from her fur.

"Really".

"And Chlwoe?"

"Chloe will come to, when her days on the Earth have passed. Oh, Nickie, how could Mom and Dad ever forget us? We will be with them always in their hearts and one day we will all be together again."

Nickie wiped his eyes with his paw. "I will miss them a wot".

"I know, but you will have lots of friends here. You can play chase and hockey and there's always plenty of sunshine..."

"Did you say hockey?" Lola Qat smiled as she felt the tension falling away from him, "Yes, and hide and swipe and kill the tail (but it is polite to ask first) and the gerbils will let you chase them if you are a good kidden. Come on, would you like to meet your new furiends?"

"Weww, I guess so".

And with that Lola Qat took him by the paw and led him home.

© Copyright 1993 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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