In Loving Memory Of The Nash Peepers
Written by Consta Jenkins
Reprinted by permission of the author
Eatbugs was sitting, with something of a long suffering look, buried under a pile of peepers. "Do it again, Uncle Eatbugs!!", said one of the Johnson peepers.
"Yes, please!" said Tiny Bubbles.
Eatbugs laughed and raised himself up slightly on his paws, took three steps and shimmied. The peepers squealled with delight.
"Agains! Do its again!" cried Consta. Eatbugs repeated the game and again peeper laughter rang out over the Bridge.
Miss Pris smiled indulgently, "Come along, children, let Eatbugs rest!".
"Awwww". "Don't worry, we'll play again later", said Eatbugs gently removing peepers from his person, "It's time for dinner".
"Yuck, that means it's time for a--bath!".
Eatbugs merely laughed, "I'm afraid so," he said. He was peeling the last peeper from his back when the tingling in his whisker began. He looked down and the peepers had gone suddenly silent. "Not again," he thought, his heart heavy in his chest, "Not young ones". He bowed his head and a tear ran silently down his face. He looked up to see Miss Priss' sad questioning look. He nodded and gently lifted the peepers back onto his back and quietly carried them to the Gate. Miss Priss walked with him, and slowly and silently the others joined the procession, Pris and Isolde, Virginia and Spunkie, Rocky and Tinky. All of the Company of Kiddens, united in the love of their humans, went forward to welcome those who would come.
When they arrived the peepers went forward to join the others. Eatbugs heart ached when he looked out over the group of peepers who's life on earth was so very short. They sat clinging to each other, so very small. As the Welcoming song began to sing in the wind, the peepers raised their voices to join it. It was a sound of such innocence and so plaintive that the tears ran freely from Eatbugs' eyes.
The sound carried out upon the wind and the lights danced upon the horizon, until the now all too familiar flash of blue light appeared. In it's wake sat two tiny peepers. Eatbugs heard the sighs of the other kiddens as each held the same thought, "They are so young". The peepers of the Bridge moved forward and surround the newcomers, purring and nuzzling and comforting. Slowly and gently Rocky and Mister came forward and lifted up the tiny kiddens to carry them to their new home and the kiddens made their way back to the Bridge.
Eatbugs remained behind, looking out over the Rainbow. His heart was heavy. Each Welcoming Ceremony was a bittersweet experience, each carried the sorrow of loss and the promise of a new beginning, but today it pulled at Eatbugs' heart in a way he could not understand. He realized that he was not alone and looked up to see Virginia and Isolde sitting quietly beside him.
"You are troubled, Little One", said Isolde.
He shrugged his shoulders and tried to find the words, "It isn't fair. They were so young", he said simply at last.
Virginia looked out over the Rainbow and said in a quiet voice, "Yes, Little One, they were too young. But they were loved. If even for a tiny march of days, they were loved and that is all that matters".
At first Eatbugs did not understand, but then he remembered the stroke of his humans' hands and the warmth and security of snuggling up close to them. He looked up at Isolde who smiled and nodded. At last he smiled as well, "Yes. That is all that matters".
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