Written by Consta Jenkins

Reprinted by permission of the author

"98, 99, 100! Ready or not, here I come!". Eatbugs lifted his paw paw from his eyes and looked around him. He saw Cosmic Bob's tail sticking out from behind a tree and Nickie's behind sticking out from under a bush. And one ofthe Johnson peepers had her head behind a leaf and the rest of her body in plain sight. Eatbugs sighed and thought that playing hide and seek with peepers had it's own set of problems. He made a grand show of searching high and low before "finding" little Tiny Bubbles in the grass. He neglected to mention that her ears were a bit taller than the grass.

Litha and Cassidy laughed as they strolled by on their way to the catnip patch. "You'll never find them, Eatbugs" laughed Litha. "Sure enough, why you'll probably be searching all day!" said Cassidy.

In the sunny patch under the willows Isolde and Charlie were warming their paws in the sun. Charlie stretched and sighed with contentment,"Katie told me that there's a game of hide and swipe planned for this afternoon. Are you planning to join?" Isolde shook her head, "Not today. I promised Putt Putt that I'd wash her ears this afternoon. I think Priscilla and Mouschi are planning to play, though." Little,who'd been warming her whiskers, asked if the game would be after the afternoon snack.

All over the Rainbow Fields kiddens were doing what kiddens do. Romping in the grass, tending to their fur and enjoying the company of their furiends. Eatbugs was just about to "find" Rainbow when he felt it, that tingling in his whiskers that told him another came to the Bridge. He patted Rainbow on the shoulder and said in a quiet voice, "That's all for now, furiends. Come we must make the Welcome". The peepers came out from their hiding places with solemn little faces as they turned to make their way to the Gate. The Company of kiddens joined them. Mittens and Katie walked with Max and Rocky. Pris and Freyja walked with Isolde and Virginia. Putt Putt and Creamsickle, Sally and Sweetie Grey Mother. Each kidden bound by the love of their humans joined ranks as they made their solemn journey.

At the Gate the kiddens sat quietly in their circle and joined their purrs to the Welcoming Song as it danced over their fur on it's way to the Earth. At last the blue flash appeared and in it's wake sat a little red tabby boy. Tyler looked up at the gathered kiddens and took a step backwards ...He wasn't used to crowds and he flattened his ears in defense. "There is no need to worry, furriend" said Eatbugs, "We are all furiends here. None will harm you. We come to bid you Welcome". Tyler raised his ears and looked around. All these kiddens were so beautiful and so strong. For the briefest instant he felt a pang of envy before he realized that he, too, felt beautiful and strong. He wasn't thirsty and there was no more discomfort or pain. He looked up into Eatbugs eyes. They smiled so warmly at him that he couldn't help but smile back. "There is no sickness here," said Eatbugs, "No pain, either. There is only warmth and love. Let us make you welcome and know that you will not want for anything until your humans come for you". Tyler looked down at the ground, "I don't think anyone will be coming for me. I was a stray..." His voice sounded so wistful that Eatbugs reached forward and nuzzled his ear. "Oh they will come.You had humans that loved you". "But I was only there a little while...." "It doesn't matter how long you were loved. You were loved and that is all that matters. The Welcoming Song echoed with their love and sorrow for you. They will come". Tyler's eyes lit up and he purred."Come," said Eatbugs, "and meet the others and we will take you home".

Consta Jenkins

© Copyright 1995 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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