In Loving Memory Of Catryn The Gray Miles-Neeley

Written by Consta Jenkins

Reprinted by permission of the author

In the clear, blue skies over the Rainbow Bridge the chirps were swirling and swooping and cheerfully chirping. Moki blinked her deep blue eyes and smiled as she watched them. She stretched out one paw paw and stretched her toes, flexing her claws and sighed contentedly. As she stretched the other, a little blue chirp swooped to the ground beside her and chittered gaily to her. "Yes, little one, I saw. It was a beautiful barrel roll. I was very impressed", Moki said. The little chirp puffed out his chest feathers and flapped his wings skyward again. Moki laughed.

She stood up to finish her stretch and turned to pad softly to the willow trees. This morning she had promised Isolde and Virginia that she would help in the story telling. The elder kiddens took turns teaching the peepers the old stories and the ways of the Creator. Moki enjoyed these sessions, though sometimes it was difficult not to laugh. All those solemn little peeper faces and the invariable swiping at tails when they thought the elders weren't looking. She chuckled to herself. The elders missed very little, but they remembered peeperhood, too, and nothing was said to the tail swipers. Somehow, they all seemed to learn and that was all that mattered.

"Good morrow, Moki", said Eatbugs as he padded up beside her, "Are you joining the story telling today?". "Yes, and you?", replied Moki. "No, I just want to listen", said Eatbugs. Moki laughed, "Eatbugs, you know every story by heart! You could tell them as well as any elder by now". Eatbugs' nose turned a little pinker, "Uh, well....I know, but I still love to hear them". Moki nuzzled her furriend and did not tease him further. She, too, loved the stories and could understand that he never grew tired of hearing them.

They padded along together in good natured silence until they came to the willow stand. Isolde and Virginia were talking quietly to themselves as peepers wrestled and pounced upon each other before them. Eatbugs and Moki laughed. "I'll bet you half a bowl of kibbles that Nickie will be the first to grab a tail today", said Moki watching the peeper bunny kick Little Dots with gay abandon. "No bet", laughed Eatbugs, noting that Little Dots had a rather large chunk of Nickie's ear in his mouth and was gnawing happily on it.

Moki walked up to join Isolde and Virginia and Eatbugs settled quietly in the shade of the willow. Virginia cleared her throat, and the peepers continued to wrestled. She shot Isolde a bemused look and tried again a little louder. The peepers took their seats and settled down, well save Little Dots and Nickie, who were still locked in "mortal" combat. Virginia sighed, supressing a giggle and looked at Eatbugs. He got up and padded over to tap the errant peepers on the shoulder. "Huh? Oh.", said Nickie settling down and trying to look solemn with one very soggy ear. Little Dots, too, sat looking serenely innocent but no one missed the looks he was giving Nickie. Eatbugs was glad he had not taken Moki's bet. He chuckled as he, too, took his place in the circle.

Isolde stepped forward and looked out over the circle of peepers. In her quiet voice she told the peepers the story of the Beginning, of how the Creator of All Things, in the very earliest of time, had looked out over the mists and flicked her tail to create the stars, of how she had twitched her whiskers to create the Earth and how beautiful the world was in it's dawn. "And now," said Isolde as she finished her story, "Moki will tell you of how kiddens came to march their days in the sun".

Moki stepped forward and cleared her throat. She looked up to start her story and saw Tiny Bubbles frantically waving her paw paw. "Yes, Bubbles?", she said with a smile. "I heards my humans talking once… and they saids the Creator of Alls Things was a human likes them!". "Yeah," piped up Pouncequick, "ands the dog dog Cinnamon thinks that the Creators is a dog dog! Is they wrongs?".

Moki smiled, "No, little ones, they are not wrong. We are all the children of the Creator, and each sees her in their own way. Haven't you ever wondered why there would be dog dogs here if the Creator cared only for her kidden children? We are all brothers and sisters under the fur, and the Creator loves us all." "Ohs", said Tiny Bubbles and Pounce, and settled back down to hear the story.

Moki cleared her throat again and started. "The Earth was a lovely thing in the eyes of the Creator, but it was an empty and lonely place. So the Creator blinked her eyes and all manner of creatures walked the face of the Earth, and the Creator saw that this was good. The Creator looked out over her creatures and sighed again. Something was missing. She thought for a while about what would make her new Earth truly perfect and then she knew what was needed. She twitched her whiskers once more and the first kiddens played upon the Earth, and the Creator smiled." Moki went on to tell the peepers how the Creator and noticed her children were lonely and how she created humans to love them, of how she had given to each a march of days in the sun to know that love and of the Great Promise.

When she had finished, she took her place once more in the circle and Virginia stepped forward. She was going to tell the story of the formation of the Rainbow Bridge when Nickie raised his paw paw. "Yes, Nickie?", she said. Nickie's blue eyes were somber as he asked, "How come some of our Marches was so short?". Virginia smiled sadly at the peeper. "Not all of the mysteries of the Creator are known to us, little one", she said. "We do not know why some kiddens march in the sun for many years, savoring fully the love of their humans and the sun in their fur or why some march only a tiny stretch of days and must leave while their human bond is young. We do know, though, that it is not the length of our March of Days that defines our lives, Nickie. It is the strength of our love bond and what is in our hearts. That which we are does not end when our walk on the Earth is over. That which we are continues here and the love we shared during our March in the Sun is eternal. That is the Great Promise to all the Creator's children".

Virginia was about to begin her story when she stopped short. Eatbugs felt the familiar tingling in his whiskers and Moki stood suddenly and gasped. "My humans!", she cried and turned to Isolde. Isolde wrapped her tail around her friend and whispered, "It will be all right. Come we must make our way to the Gate". Moki's blue eyes were filled with sorrow as she and her friends made their journey. The peepers, with solemn faces, followed quietly behind. As they crossed the grassy field, DC came loping across the field to walk beside Moki. She smiled at her fur- brother as he rubbed against her to give her comfort. The Company of Kiddens gathered around them. Beethoven and Spunkie walked with Mouschi and Smokey. Dino and Max walked with Katie and Pepper. One by one and together in pairs, the Company assembled once more to make Welcome. AJ and Noki walked with Mooska and Peanuts. Claws-A-Lot and Panther linked tails as they made their way.

As they came to the Gate, Eatbugs looked around. There were so many in the Company now. Eatbugs' heart filled with sorrow as he heard their voices join in the Welcoming Song. Drifting its way back to Earth, the Song spoke of loss and sorrow as another kidden ended its March of Days in the Sun, but Eatbugs' heart lifted as the counterpoint began to play its song of Promise, of love everlasting and the joy of reunion. He lifted his voice to join the Song, to send his love and comfort to the kidden who journeyed to them and to the humans left behind.

As the kiddens sang, the familiar blue flash danced across the opening of the Gate. When it subsided, a beautiful little grey tabby girl sat at the Gate. Her eyes were as big as saucers as she looked out over the Company of Kiddens. "Whe...where am I?", she asked in a trembling voice. Moki rose and padded quietly over to her fur-sister, "Catryn, you are at the Rainbow Bridge," she said gently, headbutting the little girl. DC came to stand beside her, "It's all right, Catryn, really it is. You'll like it here, I promise", he said. Catryn's eyes filled with tears, "But, humans...and Agent and....I want to go home!", she cried. Moki nuzzled her ear and pulled Catryn close to her. "I know, little one," she said in a soothing voice, "but I promise you that you will see our humans again, and Agent, too. I promise you that one day we will all be together again". DC purred quietly beside her, "And you'll make lots of new furiends here and we'll all be together". Catryn buried her face in Moki's neck and whispered, "Promise??". "Promise," came Moki's soft reply.

Catryn raised her head and blinked. The warmth and love from the Company of Kiddens washed over her and she felt her sorrow and fear melt away. As she looked over their faces, she felt a sudden joy springing up within her as she knew, in the way all kiddens know, that the Promise was true. Just then a little blue chirp came swooping overhead twirling and swirling in front of Catryn. She gasped in surprise and then giggled at his antics. "Never mind him," laughed Moki, "He's a friend of mine...and a bit of a showoff today". "You're friends with a chirp???", asked Catryn. "Yes," said Moki, "There is much for you to learn here. Come, your new friends will take you home." "Aren't you coming?", asked Catryn, her face growing concerned again. "In a minute, there is something I must do".

As DC and the Company led Catryn over the Bridge, Moki padded silently to the Rainbow's edge. Isolde and Virginia quietly took their places beside her and linked their tails together. Moki raised her face to the wind and gathered her thoughts. Purring quietly she set her thoughts upon the breeze, to drift back towards the Earth. "Momma? Momma, it's Moki. She is well. She is home and we are waiting".

© 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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