Authors note: This is based on a real Victoria Grove in West London,near to Hyde Park and Kensington gardens (I love the A-Z). If TSE had a real place in mind, I guess this would be it. Unfortunately itís not a bit of my home town that I visit very often, so the rest is just my imagination. ---Solstice
Moonlight is a funny thing. it can make white fur seem iridescent, but yet, black still blends like ink in the darkness. It calls for madness and magic, yet is placid and calm in itself.
It was on this that Mistoffles mused as he lay, curled in an abandoned pipe on the edge of the junkyard. London rain, thick and frequent, beat a drummers tattoo on the metal roof. He was glad of the abandoned blankets he had dragged here, scavenged from the scrap heaps of the city, for just this purpose, as comfort when, for whatever reason, he could not reach the warmth of his home. Tonight he had come for the usual purpose, to meet his friends and to go about his business as a Jellicle cat, but rain had driven most of them to shelter, or prevented them from arriving at all. Tiredness, and a fear of discovery by his human masters had kept him from teleporting, so here he lay, immersed in the raggedy mix of wool and nylon.
Somewhere in the junkyard, he knew most of his friends lay. Munkustrap and Demeter, curled nose to tail in the abandoned oven they called their home, the Rum Tum Tugger, chased from his usual drainpipe, probably in pipe like himself, Bombalurina one of many keeping him company. Mungojerry and Rumpleteaser, probably still at home in Victoria grove, keeping warm together in the basket they shared. Many others, with mates or friends, curled in the numerous hiding places offered by the junkyard. And me, Misstoffles thought, looking to the other end of the pipe, where Alonzo and Pounceival, had leapt into the first shelter, and now slept, immersed in feline dreams. Not my preferred company. Mistoffeles muttered, but he kneaded the blanket, and lay down to sleep.
The promise of morning came as stained as normal, and for the cats, most of whom crawled from cramped shelter to stretch their legs on the puddle strewn ground, the overcast sky brought little joy. Munkustrap stretched, muscles moving beneath taut skin. He lifted his nose to the sky, and took a sniff of the putrid London air. More rain to come he thought. he looked behind him to find his mate, Demeter still curled at the ovens entrance.
"If you think I'm going out there," she began, Munkustrap nodded, knowing how stubborn she could be.
"I ought to call us all together, he said. Looks like worse storms on the way." Demeter glanced at her mate, her eyes worried. "Not more, she said. I don't see how we can cope with this."
"We're British cats," Munkustrap said with a hint of irony in his voice, we should be bred for this."
"Speak for yourself.î A third voice entered the conversation. Victoria walked over, her usually pristine coat splattered faintly with mud, looking shaken, and still decidedly wet.
"Vici, where on earth have you been?" Demeter asked, shock mixing with amusement.
"Well some of us went home, didn't we?" she replied. "Some of us we're not expecting large vans around Hyde Park corner." She smiled slightly, "or even larger puddles." Demeter had to almost cover her mouth with her paw to keep from laughing, instead a small giggle escaped her lips and she looked at the ground.
"Oh dear." Demeter said schooling the amusement out of her voice. Victoria looked at her, her eyes sparking with faint annoyance, and a little amusement of her own. She signalled her departure to the pair, and then stretched elegantly. "Time for some socialising. she thought, then she looked ruefully at her own coat. "And high time we fixed this."
The early morning was waning by the time Mistoffeles awoke. Later than usual, he mused, but without sleeping in his owners house he had not had the early morning call of the clamouring children to rouse him. "Another day." he thought, a faint wish for what he wanted fighting with the gratitude for what he had, streetcat to housepet was not an easy journey, and he knew better than not to think of himself as lucky. A more immediate need than philosophy is what moved to peer outside however, and with an effort he hefted himself out of the pipe. He briefly thought of waking Alonzo and Pouncival, but he quickly decided against it. Let sleeping beauties lie, he thought, I have no wish to kiss them. Climbing away, he surveyed the surroundings of the junkyard, out of nearly every nook and cranny a Jellicle crawled, many friends, who hunted for food in the dustbins and mouseholes. ëLuckyí he reminded himself. He smiled as he caught sight of Victoria on the other side of the clearing, she looked-browner - than usual, but still beautiful, and whilst no one was looking at him, he decided to engage in a little Vici-watching, one of his favourite pastimes. She leapt elegantly up to the drainpipe, and then disappeared behind a pile of loose paper and wood. Misto narrowed his eyes in annoyance as his quarry walked away, but any thoughts of following her were quickly quelled, by he ear-splitting shriek that cut the air over the junkyard.
Jemima could neither see it, nor hear it, but she knew it was there. The sickly cloying presence of it enveloped her like a suffocating blanket, trying desperately to suck her in. She uttered a single scream, her pure voice rising high over the concophony of the junkyard. Cats turned, frightened by her apparent distress, watching bemusedly as she fought tooth and claw with an enemy that they could not see. Jemima flailed, scoring no hits on an adversity that only she saw. In the periphery of her vision she saw others running towards her, a faint streak of white that she knew so well caught her eye. "Vici!" she cried and threw herself into her friend's arms. Victoria almost missed, but her feline reactions caught the smaller cat in time. "Oh Vici." Jemima breathed, the presence began to dissipate, like lifting fog, it's parting gift a sharp sting on Jemima's wrist. By now, other cats were also heading towards her. Mistoffeles stopped a little short, and turned his intense blue eyes on her.
"What happened?" He asked.
"I don...don't know." Jemima looked puzzled, scrunching up her features in concentration as she tried to catch the already fleeing memories that were already fleeing. "It was...something." she said looking around the array of faces, hoping for a glimpse of understanding, instead she only found bemusement and concern. Her mother, Jennyanydots, bustled into the circle, keen to comfort her daughter, fussing over her as if she we're still a kitten.
"You're so pale my love," she said, passing a paw over her forehead. "Not hot though." Jemima's view of her mother was obscured by the dark circles that had settled in front her eyes.
"I'm tired Momma." was all she managed before she slipped into blissful unconsciousness.
The deep velvet of nightfall had already enveloped the junkyard by the time Jemima woke up. She found herself on a cushion in her mothers home, although she didnít appear to be around. Stretching her muscles, she was just about to leave in search of food when a white face appeared in the doorway.
"I wouldn't if I we're you, your on full mothering until we're sure you're ok." Jemima groaned, then smiled at her friend. "I love her dearly, but I'm not sure I can cope with her in full protection mode." Victoria smiled back, thinking of her own mother. "It's a miracle that she didnít strap you to the cushion!"
Jemima grinned at her friend then with a wicked smile unsheathed her claws. "Leathers not that tough." Victoria laughed, and stepped into the pipe. Jemima stepped back and sat on her cushion. Victoria's posture relaxed and she settled on an old blanket.
"How are you doing?í Victoria asked, concern for her friend welling in her eyes.
"It was weird Vici." Jemimaís tone became serious, "One minute everything was normal, the next I hit something that seemed to flip my mind. I can't explain it, but it was real." Victoria looked at her sympathetically, but Jemima caught the barest glimpse of doubt in her eyes. "I know it was real, Vici,look. Jemima held out her paw to her friend, turning it over Victoria spotted the mark on her wrist, a burned scar, in a perfect crescent moon.
Back to Main Page