Part Two: Blue Memories
As sunbeams peeked through barren trees, Munkustrap laid down in his yard for a short morning nap. With a quick scratch behind the ear and a twitch of his nose, he curled up in the snow and closed his eyes. Before the thoughts in his mind had a chance to dissipate, he was pounced upon.
"Munkus, get up! 'urry!!" Quite annoyed at first, he stood up and shook himself off. It was Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer, both in a panicked frenzy.
"Follow us!" they said, panting together.
"What's going on?" They were starting to scare Munkus.
"Terrible... Misto's 'ouse...", Rumple finished for her brother, "Fire... 'ouse is gone!!" Munkus immediately took off. The siblings managed to trail behind.
After a few minutes of sprinting, the strong smell of ashes and melted plastics began to creep into their noses and soil the fresh morning air. Munkus stopped dead in his tracks when he first laid eyes on the house, jaw dropping and ears erect. The unsightly house was nothing but an empty frame, black with soot. He slowly walked to the top of the yard, staring the whole way, and gently sat down. Mungo and Rumple soon caught up and stood next to him. (To see a two-story house after the effects of a fire is quite disturbing for any human, but when a cat sees something like that, being so much smaller than a human, it is absolutely horrifying.)
"Where is he?" Munkus asked quietly. No one wanted to say what they were thinking. Mungo decided to dismiss that thought.
"Do ya think, maybe, he..."
"I KNOW he made it out!!" Munkus jumped to his feet. "He may be small and shy but he's the most determined Jellicle I've ever met... I know he's alive!"
"O' course we're not givin' up, Munkus! We're just as shaken as you."
"I know, I know, I'm sorry I snapped at you. It's just that..."
"It's ok," Rumple nuzzled him with her head. "Come on, let's check the junkyard."
Misto woke with a start not knowing where he was. A loving rub on the cheek helped him to calm down. As he glanced up at the faces around him (Jellylorum, Tantomile, Coricopat and Pouncival), he opened his mouth to say something but instead decided to take a deep breath...because he could now. Then it all came back to him.
"How did...?? It's all... I'm..."
"Shh. Don't get excited. You'll be ok," Cori insisted.
"No," Misto whined, "I..." he stopped mid-sentence as he noticed his fur.
"We managed to clean the soot off of your face, but I'm afraid your fur is singed; black." It was true. The pure white fur on his chest and paws was now as dark as the rest of him. He examined himself from head to toe and held the bare tip of his tail close to him in his paws. The awful memory of the prior night seemed to be stored in it, and remembering it all, he began to cry.
"Don't cry, Misto, it'll grow back. Please don't cry," Pouncival mewed. He hated to see such a clever cat in this condition. He was sympathetic, they all were, but they didn't quite know what had happened.
"You don't understand," Misto whispered between sniffles. "I'm a stray now. Everything is gone... I didn't mean to (sniff) The house is..." then with one last wail, "I caused the fire!! It's all MY fault!!!" There was no holding it back now. The tears streamed down his face and he curled himself up into a tight little trembling ball. Pouncival could not stand it and burst into tears himself.
"Jelly!" It was Munkus and the Two, bounding into the junkyard. "Jelly, have you seen---" He looked down and gasped, half worried and half amazed. Misto glanced up and sobbed in reply. "Mistoffolees, I didn't doubt for a moment... What happened? How do you feel?"
"I'm feeling ------- really claustrophobic," he said slowly. The Jellicles didn't realize that they were crowding Misto. They backed up a bit. "And a little dizzy." He wiped the last few tears off of his face as he began to regain control of himself. "I love you all for being so concerned," he yawned, "but I have a terrible headache and I wanna sleep."
Everybody was still in shock from what he had blurted out a few moments ago, but they realized that it would do no good to bother him about it at this point. He was already asleep anyway, with no sign of coming back any time soon.
The black cat slept through the entire day with no problems, and the next morning, Jemima was sitting by his side, watching him very carefully. "He's so handsome, even after he's been battered and bruised," she thought. The snow had melted during the afternoon before, and most of the others were either lounging around or out and about doing what cats do. Jemima assured Jenny (who was with her and Misto most of the night) that she could take care of Misto and reminded her that she did have a crocheting class to teach. The Gumbie Cat went on her way, admiring the way Jemi was taking on responsibility seriously now. "My, how she's growing up," she thought.
Misto began to stir. Jemima nudged him with her nose and whispered to him.
"Hey, wake up. You need to move around." He groaned and reluctantly sat up. His stomach let out a ferocious growl that startled Jemi.
I'll find something for you," she said with a smile and she left. Though he didn't really feel like smiling, the corners of his mouth turned upwards, but only for a moment. He stared blankly at the ground.
"What's done is done and there's nothing that can change it," he tried to convince himself. He knew he'd eventually have to move on but it was so hard to even consider at the moment, especially since it was him who accidently killed...
Jemima returned shortly with some left-over salmon paste she found near by and gave it to him.
"If you don't mind my asking, what happened the other night?" she hesitated.
"I'll feel better if I talk about it," he thought. He told her all about the ember and the matches and the windows, but when he thought about the shield, he stopped. His eyes lowered and his tail twisted in angst.
"That's ok. You don't have to go on..."
He sighed a weary sigh and thought for a moment. "Follow me. I want to show you something." He crawled to his feet and started walking away from the area. Jemima followed him willingly.
They were soon far away from the center of the junkyard, in a secluded area where no one ever went. When Misto felt that they were far enough away he turned to Jemima.
"Alright. Before we go on, I have to ask you something personal."
"Ok," she replied, wondering. Misto took a deep breath and was hesitant. "Do you like me?"
"Y.....yes, I love you if that's what you're asking." Jemima was a little embarrassed, but relieved at the same time.
"Then this will work because.... I love you, too," Misto said shyly. They stepped towards each other and embraced. Jemi was loving the moment, but still wondering... "What is it that you're going to do?"
"Absolutely nothing," he replied. "All we have to do is stand here." Well, they stood there for quite awhile, it seemed, and Jemima was very patient. A gentle breeze was blowing and the sunlight dimmed a bit. Then it began. Misto's body went completely cold in her arms and he started to shiver.
"It's ok," he whispered. "Don't let go." She put her head on his shoulder and he put his on her shoulder. His white face was glowing lightly, and the wind had picked up a little. He was shivering more and more until, suddenly, he began to warm up. Jemima could feel every bit of this and really had no idea what was happening.
"I'm scared," she whispered. The wind began to moan, and Misto was now very warm in her arms. She felt her heart literally stop, miss a beat, and start back at a slower pace. As she waited for a moment, she realized that her heart and Misto's heart were beating at the exact same time. His face was glowing even brighter now.
"Misto..." she whimpered.
"Hold on tight and brace yourself." They both held each other tightly as the wind, now in a gust, revolved around them. The mist was luminating and they were surrounded in a flourescent blue light. They both shut their eyes as the racing wind would dry them out. Misto's face grew brighter still. Then visions began to appear in their collective mind's eye. First, a small ember formed and meandered around in their imaginations. The ember then grew into a tiny, orange flame that looked harmless enough and was actually rather beautiful. The flame suddenly burst into a thousand flames that slowly and almost gracefully came together into a huge wave of red. Jemi was scared out of her mind and began to cry. The wind was in a gail now and the blueness of it turned neon all around them. Misto also began to cry, his face gleaming. They could hear voices under the howling of the wind; a man, a woman, and a little girl, Misto's little girl. Her voice grew louder and louder and they could see her youthful face behind the huge red wave. She was screaming at the top of her lungs. At that point, Jemi and Misto could see what she was seeing. A magical blast of flowing light from outside of the house, sparkled briefly, cancelling out the flames and clearing the air. The girl and her parents stopped screaming to watch as the fire mysteriously began to disappear and the environment in the bedroom started to cool. Then with no warning, the sparkles fizzled out causing the remaining flames to explode and kill them where they stood. Misto and Jemi screamed uncontrollably. The atmosphere became so intense and Misto's face so white-hot bright that they mutually repelled each other and fell to the ground. The wind stopped immediately, the blueness evaporated and Misto's face returned to normal. In one heartbeat, everything was back in place and the noonday sun beamed down on them.
They laid there, separated and overwhelmed, on their backs, trying to grasp reality and awaken from the experience. Misto had shown Jemima what he couldn't say.
"Please don't do this!" Why must he have a whipping-boy? He's so much more powerful than I am, I feel so...helpless. With the way my scream is echoing in this chamber, you'd think someone outside would hear me and save me from this...this monster of a cat.
"Owwww..." Why is he being so brutal today? He's not going to kill me or he would've done it already.
He probably wants to torture me to the ---- "OOooohh" ---- to the last possible moment. After all, it's more fun.
I have to leave this place the next chance I get. I have to find those Jellicles ------- oh, no...... he's too close...... He's way too close...!!
The tattered little Misto was backed into a corner as Macavity began his so called "finale". He gazed with his slitted eyes into Misto's bloodshot eyes. He couldn't move, but he could still think. I wish there was some way I could prevent this from happening. I HATE it when he uses this type of magic! The pain takes so long to go away... and he's...he's too close... Misto blacked out.
Unbeknownst to Misto, Macavity wasn't just taking his rage out on him like he normally did. He had a mission.
"Your evilness, I shall throw him back into the cage if you are done for today."
"No!! Leave him here. I will release him when he awakens."
"Sir, with all due respect...Why??"
"I will try to explain this simply so you will understand. Do you see his coat?"
"Uh, yes, sir, black and white."
"And only completely black cats have bad luck, right?
"NO!! I, with my most powerful of powers, have just given him the worst of luck. He will leave this place looking for a safe haven and end up with.... the Jellicles."
Unbeknownst to Macavity, he wasn't quite as powerful as he thought. While Misto might have bad luck, it wouldn't be enough to kill the Jellicles off and it wouldn't come into effect until much later...