In Loving Memory Of Tristram "Bubbies" Jenkins

Written by Consta Jenkins

Reprinted by permission of the author

Eatbugs stood peering over the Rainbow's edge. The world below turned in its steady pace, though time meant little here. He only vaguely understood the passage of the years any more. He knew that some kiddens had long marches of days and some had only a precious few. He sighed. He knew, too, that the pain in the hearts of the humans below didn't care about the length of time. But here the sun rose and the sun set and one day blurred peacefully into another.

"Good morrow, Eatbugs. Why so serious today?" Noki looked out over the earth and then back at his furiend.

"I don't know. I was just trying to figure out how long I've been here. I humans still love me. Does that mean I haven't been here long?"

Noki shook his head. "Now you know better than that. Time and love aren't related. Love never fades. That's what the Great Promise is all about."

"I know that...but I mean...well, just today Mommy Consta thought about me. I felt the stroke of her love on my fur. How long do they do that?"

"As long as they breathe, my long as they breathe." Noki squeezed his eyes shut and sent his love back to the Earth...and purred as his human returned it. "See? The Creator gave us our march of days in the sun, and when that march is over? Well she gave us memories to hold all the love we knew in those days. We have those to hold onto until we meet again."

Eatbugs looked back down to the earth and purred with all his might. He looked up sheepishly at Noki. "I just want to make sure they remember."

Noki laughed. "Don't worry about it, kid. They will."

The two furiends padded their way to the kibble bowls. They'd promised to give the peepers rides and wanted to bolster their energy. Eatbugs didn't mind Pouncequick wanting to play cowkidden and Injuns, but he was still trying to convince him that "spurs" were NOT required. For a peeper he had a mean set of dewclaws.

They made their way to the clearing, and chuckled as the peepers started bouncing in anticipation. "I don't suppose I could convince you to take Pouncie?" Eatbugs did his best to look hopeful.

"Forget it. Little Dots slapping my butt and hollering 'Giddyup old doogie" is bad enough. I am NOT a dog dog!"

They'd loped (and winced) around the grassy field several times when Eatbugs stopped suddenly in his tracks. Something was wrong, terribly wrong. He could feel it down in his whiskers. He turned his head and saw Pouncequick's sorrowful face. He felt it too. Eatbugs tried to focus, to understand, when he felt Isolde's gentle touch in his mind. "Come, Little One, you are needed."

He ran as fast as his legs would carry him, the ache in his heart growing stronger. Breathlessly he reached the Circle of the Elders, and gasped. Isolde and Priscill lay in the center of the Circle. Little Bit, Jenny, Wookie, Wort and Astoreth stood around them. His humans! Isolde motioned him to join her.

As he settled down he suddenly understood. He lowered his head for a moment. He never met Mr. TristramSir, but Pounce had told him all about him. He felt a tiny paw touch his, and looked up to see Pouncequick's solemn little face.

They all closed their eyes and turned their voices to the earth below. Isolde sang her song of love to her brother, easing his fear and soothing his spirit. Priscilla sang her song to her son, smoothing away all pain and wrapping him in love. Pouncequick lifted his little voice, singing of the sunny days of the Rainbow Bridge and all the fun games and happy times. Eatbugs smiled at the peeper, then lifted his voice into the song. He sang of the Great Promise, of love that never dies. He sang of the gentle touch of his humans' hands and the warmth of the memories still to be savored. He sang of the time to come when human and kidden would be together once more. They twined their love around the kidden below, holding him close in their hearts, easing his way.

At last Eatbugs felt the thread spinning away from him. A tear trickled down his cheek as Isolde said, "It is time" in a voice husky with love. Slowly they rose and made the now too familiar journey. As they walked, the Company of Kiddens fell into step with them. AJ and Noki walked with Vito and Gypsy. Phillip and Ginger walked with Spice and Ebony. All the kiddens of the bound by the love of their humans came to welcome a grand old man home.

They came to the Gate as the Welcoming Song swelled in the air around them. They formed a circle and lifted their purrs of welcome into the Song. At last the blue light flickered over the Gate, and in its wake sat a handsome red point meezer.

Tristram blinked for a minute, then closed his eyes and sighed. It was time. He tried to stay, but was just so tired. He remembered his mom holding him and telling him it was okay to sleep, then nothing but sweet release. He stood to take a step and stopped. He looked down at his stomach and laughed. He had a waggy bag again. It had been so long, he felt a little funny as it swung from side to side. His legs were strong again, his eyes clear. The weariness of his last few days drifted away from him, and the strength flooded back into his body. It was time. He was home.

Eatbugs stood gaping at Mr. TristramSir. Isolde laughed. "Close your mouth, Little One, you'll catch flies."

"But...but...but...he looks like me!"

Tristram laughed. "You have that backwards kid."

Isolde nuzzled her brother, then turned to Eatbugs. "Do you remember what Mommy Consta called you?"

Eatbugs nodded. "Baby Bubbies."

"Well, meet the one, the only, the original Bubbies."

"Hello Mr. TristramSir." Eatbugs gave him a shy nosie noodle.

"Hello, kid."

One by one the Company came to make their greetings. They offered games of chasies, and to show him the best sleepy spots and the freshest catnip patches. AJ offered to show him where the kibble bowls were and Tristram laughed. A kidden had to have his priorities.

When the last of the Company made their welcome, Isolde and Eatbugs led him to the Rainbow's edge. He looked down at the earth and ached for his mother below. He knew how much she loved him, and how very much she wanted him to stay. He had tried for as long as he could, but it just got to be too hard. He stood there for a moment, gathering his thoughts and pursing his whiskers in concentration. He felt Isolde and Eatbugs' purrs supporting him as he turned his thoughts home. "Mom, I am here. I am whole. I have my waggy bag back! I tried, I really did, but it was time. Thank you for all the years we had and thank you for letting me go. I am here. I am waiting."

He turned to cross into the Rainbow Fields, when he stopped in his tracks. He padded back to the Rainbow's edge and pursed his whiskers again. "Hey, Gwyds, can you hear me? Keep working on her, kid. One day she just might kiss those drooly lips."

And with that he turned and made his way home.

Copyright 1999 Constance Jenkins

© 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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