In Loving Memory Of Lost Boy Jenkins
Written by Consta Jenkins
Reprinted by permission of the author
Eatbugs lay stretched out in the afternoon sun. His fur, warmed by the multi-hued light, lifted slightly in the gentle breeze. He blinked his eyes and yawned wide. He'd spent the night among the stars, looking down on the Earth. He'd looked in on 'Listy and 'Liath and felt his heart swell to see them so healthy and happy. He'd laughed when he saw Mommy Mary sitting on her sofa, buried in kiddens. Then he'd turned his eyes toward Mommy Consta. Her kiddens were all healthy, but he felt a tugging at his heart. Something wasn't right. He'd gone to find Isolde, but she was fast asleep. He knew better than to wake her, for such a wise kidden she was not gentle when disturbed from napping.
Now, in the early morning light, he rose and went to find her. She sat in the clearing, finishing her morning bath. She turned her steady blue eyes on him as he approached. "Ah, Little One, I wondered when you'd find me."
"You knew I was coming?" Eatbugs never really understood the extent of Isolde's wisdom. She always seemed to know what he was thinking. She'd tried to explain that it was "just a way of knowing," but it remained a mystery to him.
"Of course I knew, Little One. I felt it, too." Isolde gave her hind paw one final lick. "One of our humans is in need."
"But I looked! Uncle Tristram is fine and Mehitabel is as mean as ever, but she..."
"AHEM," said Isolde, "Mehitabel is a tortie and a very wise kidden."
"And a mean one," Eatbugs whispered under his breath.
Isolde raised an eyewhisker, then shook her head and laughed. She wouldn't win this one.
"All her kiddens are fine," said Eatbugs.
"Look closer, Little One. There is a new kidden in her house."
"A new one?"
"Yes. He was sent to her for a reason. He is ill, Little One, he will be coming here today."
"Oh no!" Eatbugs hung his head, "but he just found her. It isn't fair!"
"Life is not always fair, Little One. His march of days cannot last, that is the way of the world. He was sent to her for a reason, Little One. So many of our kind pass their days unloved, no human cares for them and when their march of days draw closed, no one is there to give them comfort, no one mourns their passing. The Great Promise holds no meaning for them, Little One."
Eatbugs felt his heart aching. "They have no one to wait for?"
"No one. Do not sorrow, Little One. They are not forgotten. The Creator of All Things does not overlook the lost ones. She holds a special place for them and wraps them in her love. Some day, they will know the love bond. The humans that love our kind have hearts to accept the unloved. What they did not find on earth, they will find here."
"And this lost one?"
Isolde smiled sadly. "This lost one is no longer lost. He will know the warmth of human love again. He will make his journey in warmth and love. He will be mourned, Little One, and he will have someone to wait for."
A tear trickled down Eatbugs' face. "Mommy Consta," he whispered.
"Come now, it is time to make ready."
Isolde led him to the Gate and Eatbugs looked out over the Earth. Suddenly he lifted his head and listened hard to the wind. There. He heard it again. Mommy Consta's voice ringing in his mind. "Find Eatbugs, little boy. Find Eatbugs. He will take care of you now." The muscles in Eatbugs' throat tightened. He pursed his whiskers and concentrated with all of his might. "I'm here! I'm here! Oh Mommy Consta I'll find him!"
The Welcoming Song slowly started its sad refrain and Eatbugs felt the tugging at his whiskers. It was time now and he knew what he must do. He closed his eyes and purred with all of his might. "I'm here, little friend. I'm here!" He purred so hard he did not hear the Company gathering behind him. One by one they came to welcome another to their ranks.
The blue light flickered across the Gate. The little grey cat sat blinking. His gold eyes seemed confused. He looked around for a minute then backed up a step.
"It's all right now, friend," said Isolde. "We will take care of you now."
The kidden backed further away.
"No one will hurt you. Please don't be frightened. My name is Eatbugs..."
"Eatbugs?" The little kidden blinked. A memory danced in his mind. Find Eatbugs the lady had said. Eatbugs will take care of you. "Eatbugs?"
Eatbugs nuzzled the little boy's neck and purred softly in his ear. "The lady was my lady, too. She didn't want you to be afraid. She wants you to wait with me."
"Wait for what?"
"For her to come and find us." Eatbugs explained the Great Promise and the little boy's eyes grew very round.
"You mean I have a mommy?"
"For now and for always."
"But...but...how will she find me. I never told her my name. She called me Lost Boy. I don't want to be lost."
"You aren't lost. She will find you. She's your mommy now and mommies can always find their kiddens here. Don't worry about your name. You can tell her when she gets here."
Eatbugs turned to lead his friend home and stopped in his tracks. The Company of Kiddens had gathered, as always, to welcome the newcomer, but behind them stood another circle. For as far as the eye could see were kiddens of every color and every size. Their eyes sparkled as they looked on the little kidden and Eatbugs felt their love pouring out. In the middle of them all sat the most beautiful kidden Eatbugs had ever seen. Her fur looked white at first glance, but shimmered in every color of the rainbow when she moved. Her eyes were so wise and so loving that Eatbugs could barely stand to look into them. She drew closer to the little boy and her whiskers brushed with his. Her voice sounded like the wind in the trees and crystal bells and all things beautiful when she spoke. "Welcome my child," she said and then shimmered out of view.
Eatbugs turned his gaze to the kiddens around him and smiled. The lost ones, the beloved of the Creator. He looked at his new friend and smiled. They were no longer lost. The depth and breadth of the Great Promise dawned on him. The love bond was eternal, but it was also without limit. Those that knew it not on Earth, would know it here.
Eatbugs turned from the group and headed to the edge of the Rainbow. He pursed his whiskers and purred to the earth. "He's here, Mommy Consta. He's not lost anymore. None of them are. We are waiting."
And then he led his friend home.
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