The night was dark and gloomy as Charr laid his head in his dark paws and stared into the glowing embers of the dying fire. Tonight was a memory night, for the gray cat’s thoughts were beginning to wander. He could picture his mother, her soft fur curling in the firelight, her beautiful green eyes sparkling as she told him stories of the mystical Jellicles that were her family. An image of his father appeared in his mind’s eye, pacing across the cave opening, guarding his young wife and son from any dangers that might appear in the yet unknown forest of their new lives. Charr shook his head, his gray fur falling softly into his coal-like eyes. It was so many years ago, and yet to him, it seemed like only yesterday. He picked himself up from the cold stone floor of the cave where his family had made their new home these seven years past. From outside the mouth of the cave, he could hear the sounds of a small animal scurrying across the dried autumn leaves. His tail flicked with the anticipation of a fresh warm meal, but his heart wasn’t in it. Finally, ignoring his rumbling stomach, Charr kicked dirt on the last glowing embers of his fire and stalked off to the corner where a soft pile of pine needles and moss made his bed. He turned three times in a circle and then curled up and went fast asleep, his mind already filling with life-like dreams.
Etcetera picked up her small striped head and looked at the gray cat as he emerged from the pipe. She reached over and nudged Jemima, her best friend. Then she crept toward the newcomer, her pink nose twitching with anticipation. Charr watched her approach, his paws trembling slightly with nervousness.
“Hi!” Cettie said brightly as she looked up at the tall tomcat. Jemima peered around her friend’s shoulder and gazed at Charr with wide green eyes.
“Hello,” Charr answered softly, looking at the two small kittens with a smile. “Is this the Jellicle Junkyard?” he asked innocently.
“Of course it is!” Cettie answered with a giggle. “Are you a Jellicle?”
Charr thought about that question. Was he a Jellicle? His mother was a Jellicle, he believed his father was a Jellicle… But they were both raised in the Junkyard. Was he a Jellicle? He decided not to answer. Instead, he looked around and his gaze rested on someone who looked very familiar to him. He leaned down and whispered to the two kittens. “Who is that?” He pointed at a sandy colored queen with soft curls that were grizzled around her friendly face.
“That’s Grizabella,” Jemima ventured softly. She still felt a protective kinship with the old queen.
“Yeah… she ran away from the Junkyard and then she came back and…” Etcetera began to explain but was cut short by Jemima’s paw clapping over her mouth. Jemima pulled her away from the tom and left him to his thoughts.
‘Grizabella?!?’ Charr’s mind was going into overtime as a collage of pictures from his kittenhood raced across his mind. He looked over at the queen and took a deep breath. ‘I’m going to do it,’ he decided. He crept towards her where she was sitting having a conversation with a large orange cat and a tall thin yellow cat. “Mother?” he whispered as he approached the three queens.
The cats looked at him in surprise. Jenny Any Dots looked over to where her youngest daughter, Etcetera, was playing with the young Jemima, and then scanned the junkyard with her eyes to pick out her two sons, Tumblebrutus and Pouncival. She knew her oldest son, Mistoffelees, was out with his father this morning. Jellylorum narrowed her eyes as she looked at this newcomer, wondering if her son, Alonzo, was behind this newest bit of mischief. But Grizabella looked at him, her eyes misting over. He looked so much like Mainard… but he had the coloring of… could it be? Was it Charr?
“Charr?” she said softly, looking at the tall tom, a lone tear tracing a path down her grizzled cheek. Charr nodded, a lump in his throat preventing him from speaking. Grizabella opened her arms wide and Charr stepped into her embrace, his eyes spilling over with tears of happiness and lost love as he listened to the familiar sound of his mother’s heartbeat. He was finally home… finally back where he belonged…
To be continued…
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