By: Jemima

“It’s a fool-proof plan,” Macavity exclaimed as he flopped on his ginger belly in the dry dust of the woodland path. “I just don’t see how you could think otherwise.”

Mainard looked around at the other strays that had gathered to hear this young cat’s words and then looked at the speaker of the words himself. He wiped a paw wearily across his black and gray striped face, his golden eyes wary and alert. “Mac, really,” he began tentatively. “What should happen if we were to get caught?”

Macavity threw back his ruddy head and howled with laughter. “Is the little Jellicle scared?” he asked with a sneer. “Maybe you’re not tough enough to be in our gang.” His yellow eyes narrowed as he stared his friend down. The other strays cackled, some nervously, some excitedly, as they watched Macavity exert his power over the young Jellicle’s mind.

“No,” Mainard said with a soft shake of his head. “I am not scared.” He sighed softly and sat down near his best friend. “So, Mac, what do we do first?”

“That’s more like it,” Macavity hissed. He then turned his gaze to include the whole motley crew of felines that had gathered there. “Here’s the plan…” His voice lowered into a whisper and only the creatures in the group ever knew exactly what was said that warm summer day.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Oh really, Grizabella,” Jellylorum laughed. “Do you really expect us to believe that?”

Grizabella just smiled, her softly curling fur shining in the sunlight. “Believe what you will, Jelly dear,” she said with a tinkling laugh. She laid her head down on the soft cloth that made their picnic so divine. “Oh Jenny,” she said, turning her enchanting green eyes towards her best friend, JennyAnyDots. “Where ever did you find this lovely velvet cloth?”

Jenny laughed, as she most often did before she spoke. “Oh, I found it while I was roaming the new Junkyard with the other kittens,” she said lightly. “Can you believe that Old Exodus said we would actually move there?” Her eyes lit up at the thought of a new meeting place for the Jellicles. One especially that the strays, led by old Wolfgang, didn’t know the whereabouts. “Mother says it’ll be fantastic,” she sighed with the romantic dreams of the young and innocent.

The three kittens let their thoughts wander to the new Junkyard and their first Jellicle Ball, which would be coming up very soon.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Mainard strolled into the old dump where the other Jellicles were packing their few belongings, readying themselves for the big move. He waved to his friends, Bustopher Jones and Asparagus, and kept pace towards the homebox of his family. He poked his head inside and held out a single yellow daffodil for his mother.

“Oh Mainard,” Kellostra exclaimed. “It’s beautiful my son. Where ever did you find one so fresh and golden?”

Mainard stepped all the way into the room and nuzzled his mother’s cheek. “Oh, I found it on one of my daily rambles,” he said vaguely, his eyes darting around at the bags and boxes that were already packed and ready to go. “Do you need any help packing, Mother?” he asked, knowing what her answer would be.

“Oh no, sweetheart,” Kellostra said with a smile and a gentle push towards the door. “Why don’t you go play with Bustopher and Gus? They’ve been asking about you.”

Mainard nodded and with a kiss on his mother’s grizzled cheek, made his way over to where Bustopher and Gus were engrossed in a heated game of chess. “Hey guys,” he called as he approached the two toms.

Kellostra watched him go with a heavy heart. Old Exodus had already been asking about her son’s continual absences from the dump, and she was also very worried herself. ‘If only he had a father around,’ she thought, turning back to her household duties with a sigh.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Jellylorum, JennyAnyDots, and Grizabella packed up their lunch basket and began the short stroll back to the dump. Jelly looked at the sky. “Oh girls,” she said with a worried frown. “I’m afraid we’re gonna be late.”

Grizabella smiled and nuzzled her friend. “Oh, don’t worry so much Jelly,” she said with a laugh. “It’s making you wrinkle up around your eyes.” Jenny winked at Griz and they continued their leisurely stroll back home.

“Wrinkles?” Jelly exclaimed, pausing at a still pool of water to inspect her reflection.

“Oh come on!” Griz said impatiently. “Today’s moving day and you know our parent’s are gonna want our help.”

The three friends entered the dump and ran towards their respective homeboxes, calling their goodbyes as they ran. Grizabella slowed down as she approached her home, smoothing her soft curls and steadying her breathing.

“Hello, Grizabella,” a soft voice said behind her.

Griz turned quickly, her heart beating rapidly. “Oh,” she gasped. “Hello Deuteronomy.” She looked up at his handsome face from beneath lowered lashes.

Deuteronomy smiled softly, his eyes lighting up at the sound of his name musically crossing her lips. “I gathered these for you today,” he said softly, holding out a paw-ful of violets.

“Oh,” Griz breathed as she took the flowers gently in her paws. She buried her nose in them and breathed their soft fragrance. “How did you know that violets were my favorite?”

“Well, I…” Deuteronomy began, but was cut short by a shrill voice coming from the homebox nearest them.


Griz winced slightly and smiled at Deuteronomy. “Well, thank you ever so much,” she said shyly. “I must be heading home now. My mother probably needs help with the packing.” She turned and ran inside her home, her heart racing and her thoughts sweet with romantic thoughts. She placed the violets in a small vase in her room and began to pack up the few belongings of hers left out, but her mind was not on her packing…

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Everyone ready?” Exodus called as he gazed out at the Jellicle families assembled at the base of his pedestal. Deuteronomy sat near the old leader, watching his every move, knowing he must learn how to be a leader if he was to be able to take Exodus’ place some day.

Mainard, Bustopher, and Gus had managed to get away from their families and were seated away from the gathering throng, watching the cats gather their belongings and get in line, ready to proceed to the new Junkyard. Mainard’s eyes scanned the group until he found soft sandy curls and sparkling green eyes. He smiled to himself as he thought of the Jellicle Ball that was to occur later that week. He would definitely choose the lovely Grizabella as his mate. There were quite a few kittens that were to become queens on that day, but he knew whom he had chosen. He listened as his friends discussed the upcoming Ball and the lovely young felines that were going to be there. Bustopher definitely had his heart set on the young JennyAnyDots and all Gus could ever talk about was Jellylorum. He rolled his eyes as his friends laughed and discussed the upcoming event. Never would he voice his opinion about the most beautiful cat in the tribe. Of course, everyone knew that Grizabella was the loveliest cat around, but everyone also knew that Deuteronomy has his cap set for her. But Mainard had other plans for the young feline.

The Jellicle families began to troop towards the new Junkyard, some glancing back sadly at their old homes, never to be lived in by a Jellicle again. Exodus led the way, with Deuteronomy close beside him. Grizabella’s family was near the front of the line, along with Jenny and Jelly’s families. The three young toms, Mainard, Bustopher, and Gus, straggled along behind all the others.

Soon, the Junkyard appeared, silhouetted beautifully against the moonlit sky. Griz looked up at the moon. It was almost full. Soon, the Ball would occur, and what better place to have it than their new home?

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

The weeks passed and the Jellicles settled into their new homes, pausing in the unpacking and settling in long enough to celebrate with a raucous Jellicle Ball. Many cats paired up with new mates and old couples rekindled their romances. Gus’s father, Lonzopoly, was chosen to be reborn and journey to the mysterious Heaviside Layer. Jellylorum and Gus began courting, JennyAnyDots and Bustopher Jones, fell deeply in love, but Grizabella was sorely disappointed. She had so expected Deuteronomy to choose her for his mate, but instead, she found herself wooed by the biggest playboy of the whole tribe, Mainard. Sure he was handsome and romantic and mannerly, but he wasn’t the one she loved. Nevertheless, she knew that once a couple was paired under the Jellicle Moon, which only happened once a year, that couple was together for life. Already talk was circulating that Mainard’s and Griz’s mothers were planning a June wedding. Griz sighed and faced her fate. After all, Mainard was very handsome. Perhaps she could learn to love him yet…

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Macavity slapped Mainard sharply. “You did what?” he exclaimed.

“I can’t help it,” Mainard said, his paw going up to cover his sore cheek. “I love her…and I am going to marry her.”

“Well,” Macavity growled. “I did so hope you would marry my sister, Railina, and we could truly be brothers. I guess you don’t care about my friendship as much as I thought you did.”

“No Mac!” Mainard exclaimed, his paw going out to comfort his friend. “You know I love you just like a brother. But…I’m a Jellicle…and I have to marry a Jellicle. Besides Mac, if you ever saw her, you would totally understand.”

“Well, whatever,” Macavity said, his voice sounding miffed. “Just don’t let your love for those Jellicles” he spat the word “get in the way of the plan.”

“Oh I won’t,” Mainard reassured him. “I won’t.” >* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Grizabella rolled over and squinted at the sun streaming through her window. She stretched out in her soft bed and looked over at the homemade calendar that Jenny had posted on her wall. Today was circled in red as the day in which she would be wed to Mainard. She laid her head back on her pillow and let her mind wander over the past few months. She had learned to love the black and gray tabby cat in a way that she could never have loved Deuteronomy, although Deuteronomy had remained one of her closest friends. Mainard was so romantic and handsome and it was very obvious that he loved Grizabella with all his heart. She just wished he wouldn’t go out of the Junkyard all the time. She worried about him when he was on these “excursions,” as he called them. But everytime when he returned he would bring her flowers, sacred white violets, lovely pink sweet peas, and once he brought her a single golden rose, the color of which she had never seen before. She always wondered where he found such beautiful flowers, but she never questioned him. He always seemed so sure of himself so Griz just assumed that he knew what was going on and she didn’t need to be reassured.

“Grizabella? Are you up?” Griz’s mother came into her room and smiled at her. “Oh my baby girl. Today’s the big day huh?” Griz nodded. “Yeah…today’s the day.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Mainard snuck into the Junkyard, his way lighted by the slowly rising sun. He crept past the homeboxes that were before his and slid silently though his front door. He just had enough time to slip into his room and dive under the covers of his bed before he heard a soft humming accompanied by a slightly limping paw-step approaching his door. His mother poked her head around the doorframe.

“Mainard, dear, time to get up. You don’t want to be late for your wedding,” she said as she opened the curtains on his window to let in the early morning sunlight. Mainard groaned and pulled the covers over his aching head. Last night was definitely the last night he would ever stay out all night with Macavity.

“All right Mom,” he said crankily. “I’m getting up.” His mother smiled and nodded and headed out of his room towards the kitchen to fix her son his last bachelor meal.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

The morning hours passed quickly and soon it was approaching high noon. Grizabella paced nervously around her room, her soft veil fluttering across her green eyes. JennyAnyDots and Jellylorum looked at each other and sighed.

“Come on honey,” Jelly said soothingly. “You need to calm down.” She held out her paw to her friend and Griz grasped it gratefully. “Sit down and try to breathe normally,” Jelly instructed, guiding Griz to the edge of the bed.

Griz sat down, but no sooner had she sat than her mother poked her head in the window.

“Girls,” she said breathlessly, “it’s time!”

The girls gathered at the door to the homebox and Jenny presented Griz with her bouquet of white violets. Each of her bridesmaids kissed Grizabella’s cheeks and then they proceeded down towards the tire at the center of the Junkyard. Grizabella took her father’s arm and let him lead her towards the front, where Mainard and Old Exodus were waiting.

The ceremony passed by in a blur for all involved. The other Jellicles said later that it had been simply lovely, but neither Grizabella nor Mainard could remember much except that they were man and wife. Neither one of the felines had ever been so happy before, but Mainard’s eyes betrayed him slightly. He had a hint of disappointment that shadowed the joy in his golden eyes: disappointment that his best friend, Macavity, could not be his best man.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

After the two week long honeymoon, Grizabella and Mainard settled down in a small homebox halfway between their parents’ homes. Griz did everything she could to make it a happy and beautiful home and she had so hoped that after they were married, Mainard would begin to spend more time in the Junkyard rather than away from it. But it seemed pointless. So she spent a lot of her time with Jenny and Jelly; well, whatever time they weren’t spending with Bustopher and Gus. And then one day, disaster struck.

“Strays! Heading this way!” The call rang out over the Junkyard, sending the Jellicles into panic and disorder. Grizabella looked around frantically, but Mainard was nowhere to be found. She did so want him there to protect her, but he wasn’t there. Suddenly, a ruddy ginger face appeared before her eyes. “Macavity…” she whispered, her throat beginning to close up with fear.

After the strays left the Junkyard, Grizabella heard cries and groans coming from all corners of the Junkyard, but all she could think of was Macavity’s ominous message. What did he want to thank Mainard for?

“Griz, come quick,” Jenny gasped as she grabbed Griz’s paw and ran towards Griz’s parents’ house. They stopped in the doorway and Griz screamed in shock and horror.

“Nooooooooooo!!” she cried, falling to her knees. The bloody sight seared itself into her memory as she gazed at the mangled and bloody bodies of her beloved parents. “No,” she moaned in disbelief. “No…”

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Well done Mainard,” Macavity said with a sardonic grin. “Thanks for letting us know the whereabouts of the new Jellicle tribe location.”

Mainard gulped and looked down at the ground. “You’re welcome,” he muttered as he shuffled away from his friend and headed back to the Junkyard with a heavy heart.

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