In Loving Memory Of Pepper Elizabeth Magee
Written by Consta Jenkins
Reprinted by permission of the author
It was a glorious day on the Rainbow Bridge, as all days are. The sun filtered through the trees and the wind danced the leaves about. It was also a very special day, for the chirps were planning a concert. They had been rehearsing for days and Fluffy, puffed up with pride, had been bending Katie and Max's ear with his solo nearly non-stop. "Fluffy, Fluffy", said Max, "You have it purrfect. Um, why don't you rest your voice a while...you wouldn't want to get hoarse before the concert". Katie suppressed a giggle and Fluffy looked deeply concerned.
"Oh my!" he chirped, "I hadn't thought of that!". He flew up to perch on the willow tree and wrapped a muffler around his throat for good measure.
Across the field, Eatbugs and Moki were lounging in the tall grass, watching the peepers at play. There was a wild game of hide and swipe in progress, with peepers flying in all directions. Eatbugs and Moki kept their tails discreetly under themselves, since a peeper in full flight and a moving tail are somehow meant for each other. Moki laughed as Cosmic Bob leapt up from the tall grass and bopped an unsuspecting Pouncequick on the bottom and turned in a mad dash with Pounce in hot pursuit.
"Ah, the joys of peeperhood", sighed Moki, "You know I used to have a mean swipe myself".
"Really?, said Eatbugs with a twinkle in his eye, "USED to have?".
Moki blinked at him, "You mean...now? Oh my, I don't know...do you think it's dignified for two grown kiddens?".
Eatbugs laughed, "So who cares about dignified...count to ten"...and with that he went trotting before her.
Isolde and Virginia lounged in the catnip patch indulging in a few discreet nibbles. Not far off, Putt Putt and Grace were trading opinions on the best spots for scritches.
As the day began to fade into evening and the colors in the sky deepened into rich hews, the kiddens and dog dogs of the Bridge began to gather for the concert. Rocky sat with Smokey and Creamsickle and Pris sat behind the peepers to keep them in line. The chirps circled the group and settled gracefully in the branches of the trees. They began with a cantata of such sweetness that there wasn't a dry eye in the crowd. When they finished the clapping of paw paws was thunderous. The chirps twittered with excitement as they started their next number. Just as the music starte, Eatbugs felt the now too familiar tingling in his whiskers. He looked up at Isolde, whose eyes were closed and Virginia, whose face was a mask of sorrow. Eatbugs bowed his head. Fluffy stepped forward to sing his solo, and stopped abruptly. "My human!", he cried and lifted his wings and took flight for the gate.
The Company of Kiddens rose quietly to follow. The dog dogs bowed their heads in condolence as the kiddens silently passed before them. Katie, Max and Mittens walked at the front, their faces deep with sorrow and their tails twined around each other. Eatbugs walked with Freyja and Pris. Isolde and Virginia followed sadly behind.
As the Company came to the Gate, the formed their circle, with Katie, Max and Mittens before them. Heads were bowed and tails were linked as they bowed their heads in sorrow. The music in the wind had started the sad, sweet song of welcome and Eatbugs lifted his head as he heard the most beautiful counterpoint to it begin. Fluffy sat high above in the branchs, his voice ringing out and drifting it's way to the Earth. He sang of the joy of the Bridge and of the Great Promise and he sang of comfort and love for his humans. Eatbugs closed his eyes and lifted his purr into the music of the wind. One by one, the Company joined Fluffy in his song. They sang of the sorrow of passing and the joy waiting in the Promise. They sang of companionship, of love and of comfort to the humans below.
At last the blue flash flickered before the Gate, and in it's wake sat a beautiful grey kidden. She blinked her eyes and looked at the Company around her and sighed. Her eyes scanned the Company until they fell on the face she longed to see..."Mittens!" she cried, "Oh, Mittens, I have missed you!".
Mittens ran forward and head butted her furiend. "Welcome to the Bridge, Pepper" she cried, "I have missed you so, too". Katie and Max came forward and purred and gave earlicks and snuggled up close to their sister. When they had given their greeting, they turned and one by one the Company came forward. Each kidden offered their noses in greeting and promised to make sure Miss Pepper never wanted for companionship. Miss Pepper took a step forward and paused for a brief second. It was as she knew it would be. Her legs were strong again and there was no more pain. She sighed.
"What's the matter?" asked Katie.
"I wish I could let Mama know it is all right now. I am whole again and young again. She is so very sad". Katie smiled and led Miss Pepper to the side of the Rainbow.
"Here, just see Mama in your heart, and then tell her what you want to say...she'll hear you, if only in her heart."
Miss Pepper closed her eyes and pictured her Mama rubbing her fur and her Papa giving her cheese and when she had them firmly in her heart, she turned her thoughts towards the Earth. "Mama? Mama, can you hear me? I am home, Mama and I am whole and I am healthy. I love you and Papa and I will wait. And Mama? It was time".
With that she opened her eyes, cast one last look upon the Earth and turned to enter her new home, surrounded by furriends old and new.
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