In Loving Memory Of OnionThompson

Written by Consta Jenkins

Reprinted by permission of the author

Morning was breaking over the Rainbow Bridge. The sky shimmered in hues of lavendar and indigo as the sun inched its way into the sky. Eatbugs yawned, then stood and stretched--the kind of stretch that starts in your whiskers and ends in your tail. Next he did his morning grooming, stroking his fur into sleek perfection with a deft tongue. He looked about at his still sleeping companions and smiled. Little Dots was wrapped around Nickie, purring gently in his slumbers. Beethoven and Picnic rested side by side.

Eatbugs like the early morning, when the Bridge was quiet and so very peaceful. Kiddens lounged about on every grassy patch and sleepy spot. Even those already awake spoke in hushed tones, enjoying the restful silence. Soon enough the Rainbow Fields would ring with the sound of laughter and hockey games--for now, though, it filled his soul with peace. He smiled and turned his thoughts to Earth, checking on his humans and his siblings. He pursed his whiskers in concentration sending his love to them all, then stretched again and padded off for breakfast.

Max and Jasmine were already at the kibble bowls. Eatbugs felt his nose leather turn a little pinker as he settled into the bowl beside Jasmine. Her laughter made his fur tingle.

"Morning all," said Creamsickle as he selected his bowl of choice. "And what are your plans on this fine morning?"

"I'm helping Noki. The peepers want to put on a circus and he's roping in every kidden he can find."

"Remind me to hide after breakfast!" said Creamsickle.

She chuckled. "I'm riding Cinnamon. I'm the bare back dog dog rider. I had to spend half an hour explaining to Pounce that I wasn't shaving my fur!"

Eatbugs laughed. "I'm helping the Elders. Virginia didn't say what they needed, but I guess it's for the festival."

"Maybe you'll get to tell the old stories," said Jasmine, "I do so love to hear you tell them."

Eatbugs nose leather turned a bright pink.

The kiddens of the Bridge slowly began to trickle to the breakfast bowls. Picnic and Rocky were planning to exchange tall tales of their escapades. Gypsy and Pris were helping with the "circus", sewing on the costumes and tending to the peepers. Dino and Catsup were rounding up hockey players. Skunk and Grace quickly signed on. Claws-a-lot and Moki had an appointment for a chirp chase (though Moki was still not sure about the "let them go" rule, she still enjoyed a good hunt).

Little by little as the kiddens rose and gathered, the Rainbow Bridge sprang to life.

After finishing his kibble and washing his whiskers with diligent care, Eatbugs padded off to the Elder's Clearing. He wondered what Virginia needed. She hadn't spoken with him, Pounce had relayed the message before bounding off to find Nickie.

He reached the clearing, stepping into the circle, and started to greet the Elders. He saw the scene before him and fell silent, bowing his head. He understood now. In the middle of the Circle three kiddens sat, tails linked, purring in concentration. Another needed help.

Callie, Mister and Feather sat like statues, their faces solemn, their purrs rising in the wind and drifting toward the earth. Isolde beckoned Eatbugs to join the Circle. He stepped silently beside her and linked his tail with hers. He looked around and saw all the Elders seated so lending their strength to the three.

"Their sister comes, Little One," whispered Isolde, "help us make her ready."

Eatbugs nodded and closed his eyes and purred. He felt Mister's strength sending courage and support. Callie purred peaceful, gentle love, beckoning her sister home. Feather purred comfort, easing fear and pain. Eatbugs lifted his voice and purred the love of the Bridge. He pictured in his heart the companionship and joy of life here and turned it toward the kidden below.

They sat for some time sending their gifts to the one who came, until at last they felt her presence. Eatbugs felt her sadness at leaving her loving humans, but slowly he felt the acceptance and wonder each kidden felt at the journey.

Virginia opened her eyes. "It is time."

Eatbugs felt the tingling in his whiskers and heard the timbre of the wind shifting gently into the Welcoming Song. The Circle of Elders rose, helping Mister, Callie and Feather to their feet, and made their somber trek to the Gate.

As they walked they felt, more than saw, the Company of Kiddens fall into step with them. Pooska walked with Lola Qat. AJ and Moki helped Picnic and Putt Putt carry the peepers. Gypsy and Noki walked together, tails twined. One by one they came to welcome another home.

They formed their circle before the Gate and lifted their purrs with the Song. Gentle, loving thoughts wafted their way to the earth, to the heart of a kidden and human below. They sent forth their love and the promise of reunion. They purred of the sunny, warm days on the Bridge and of the Great Promise. They wrapped the newcomer in warmth and sent soothing thoughts to the breaking human heart. They knew she would not hear them now, but one day, when her grief was spent, they knew she'd hear the echo. "Love is forever," they purred. "We wait."

The Gate sprang to life in a flash of brilliant blue light. When it faded, a beautiful white kidden sat before it. Her fur was sleek and shiny, her eyes bright. Onion looked around at the Circle and sighed. She turned and looked back toward the earth and a tear trickled down her cheek.

"Don't be sad," said Mister, stepping forward to headbutt his sister, "it will be all right."

"But Mom," Onion said, "she didn't want me to come."

"It is never easy," said Callie, "but it was time. We have our walk in the sun and when it is over, we must come here. Humans do not understand it so well, but it is the way of things."

"We will all be together again," said Feather. "It is promised. And you'll never be sad here. You'll never be lonely. And someday we'll all see our Moms again."

"But she is so sad now," said Onion.

"She will understand. She misses you now, and always will, but in her heart she knows. In the quiet moments she'll feel your love and in time she'll understand. You will be together again and you are healthy and happy once more."

Onion looked back toward the Earth and gathered her purr in her chest. She thought hard for a moment, then pursed her whiskers and sent her voice drifting on the wind. "It was time, Mom. I am whole and I am waiting."

Then she turned and followed her siblings home.

© 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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