Mungojerrie ran into the small hiding place he shared with Rumpleteazer. He threw himself to the ground. Rumpleteazer entered the small area, the group of cats following her stopped at the entrance.
"Jerrie?" She called softly. "You in there Mungo?" Alonzo shouted into the small hiding place.
"Are you?" shouted Bomb
"Is everything alright?" questioned Skimble "You weren't just fooling me earlier were ya, Mung? You did see me right?" Called out Tugger.
"Go'way" Mungojerrie mumbled. Rumpleteazer poked her head out of the hole,
"Would you just go away, you don't have an appointment to see my Jer--" she began.
"An appointment?" they all said in unison.
"Yes, now go away!" She turned leaving the others in a state of confusion. She quietly inched closer to her mate.
"You know Jer, this is becoming a 'abit."
Mungojerrie looked up "What's wrong with me? Why is everything going so incredibly wrong?"
Rumpelteazer lay at his side, "No matter what you still 'ave me." She smiled softly.
He returned the favor. "I know, Teaz"
Old Deuteronomy made his way to the large tire in the center of the junkyard. Jellylorum and Jennyanydots were basking in the late sunlight, keeping watchful eyes on the jumble of kittens playing off to the side. Victoria, Jemima, and Ecetera took turns pouncing on a bandanna that Tugger had given them earlier. Cassandra and Electra made themselves present. Old Deuteronomy looked at the group,
"Where is everyone else off to?" As if on cue Pouncival and Demeter showed up, followed up by Quaxo, Plato and Tumblebrutus.
"Ok ok, so if you jump then tuck before you roll, then you can land without breaking your neck?" Demeter questioned.
"NOW YOU GOT IT!" both Tumble and Pounce said triumphantly.
Quaxo only shook his head. "If you ask me, you are all crazy." Quaxo made his way to the others. Just then Munkustrap came from the other end.
"Did you guys find him?" he asked. Plato shook his head,
"The way we figure, if Misto doesn't want to be found then we have no chance of finding him." Tugger and his group returned about the same time.
"What did you find out about Mungojerrie?"
Alonzo piped up first "We didn't know that we needed an appointment." Tugger seemed to be deep in thought
"You know if I had appointments, it would help me a lot!"
Munkustrap looked at Bombalurina; "Do you know what they are talking about?" She only shrugged
"We didn’t have an appointment."
Skimbleshanks moved forward seeing that this conversation wasn't going anywhere. "Something is obviously bothering Mungojerrie and he and Rumpleteazer doesn't wish to discuss it."
Old Deuteronomy quieted them all, "I ran into a very dirty Mistoffelees as I was entering the yard. He seems to think that everything is his fault. Do any of you know what is bothering him?"
They all started talking at once. Munkustrap moved close to the old leader.
"Did Mistoffelees say where he was going?" Old Deuteronomy noted the concern in his voice for his friend.
"He seemed to want some time to himself, however I would think right now he needs a friend." replied Deuteronomy.
Munkustrap thought carefully, absently scratching at his neck as he did so. The small metal ring on his collar making a soft clinking noise. His last owner had placed the collar on him and although he could forget them the collar was a constant reminder of their treatment to him. "Owners!" He thought to himself. He carefully slipped into the shadows leaving the others trying to speak over each other.
"Jerrie! You are making me dizzy!" Rumpleteazer complained while watching Mungojerrie pace back and forth. She was deeply concerned with his behavior and while she was sympathetic to him, his constant pacing was going to drive her crazy. He slowed his movement
"Teazer, I dunno what’s wrong with me, I attacked Misto! All he was doing was joining in with the rest of them. Somebody bumped me and I went face first into the ground, after I was getting up I was slammed again. I dunno what I was thinking." He looked up to meet her eyes. She remained silent. He looked at his paw, "I could 'ave really 'urt him, Teaz"
She looked into his eyes "You 'ave been a bit off "
He only slumped lower "I've been that bad?"
"Not too bad, just not yourself." was her tactful reply. He closed his eyes
"I'm sorry, Teazer"
"It's okay Jerrie" she purred. "I seem to be apologizing a lot lately, 'aven't I?"
Rumpleteazer smiled at him. "Want to talk?" Mungojerrie took a deep breath.
Mistoffelees hopped up to the steps leading to the magic shop. The small store was also the home of his owner. He jumped up onto the railing then to the windowsill and peered inside. The magician sat under the soft glow of a lamp reading a book; Mistoffelees could hear soft music playing through the window.
"Mrowr?" He called. No reaction
"Rrowr?" he tried again. The magician looked up and smiled as he made his way to the window.
"Mysterious Misto!" he exclaimed as he opened it. "I thought you had gone astray! Although I should call you Smudge by the looks of you." He gently lifted the young cat to his arms. "Misto, what have you gotten into?"
Mistoffelees purred loudly, for the first time in the past week he felt safe. He enjoyed the company of his owner, although he often thought of the magician as his friend not so much an owner.
"I'm glad to see you too, Misto" He carried Mistoffelees into the small laundry room. "Time for a quick bath, you are a mess."
Normally Mistoffelees would give some protest to the prospect of a bath but that was all just a game, he really enjoyed them. "My little secret" he thought to himself. After filling the basin with warm water he gently eased the mud-caked feline in.
"Not even going to protest? You must have really had a hard week" After the magician had finished cleaning him, he proceeded to brush his coat. Mistoffelees all the while purring and just enjoying the attention.
"There you are!" The magician exclaimed after a short while "Good as new." Mistoffelees now sat up straight
"You seem to be feeling better, are you hungry?" Mistoffelees looked at the magician with his deep green eyes, not once blinking. "I'll take that as a yes" The man retrieved his food dish which was a crystal ball that was halved. The other half served as his water dish. He brought two cans out from the pantry
"Which is it tonight?"
Mistoffelees looked the two cans over choosing the one with a chicken on it.
"Chicken in gravy it is" He emptied the contents into the dish and stroked his back as he ate. "Really missed you Misto, I know you like to go on your prowls but next time lets not stay gone for so long." After his meal Mistoffelees thanked his friend the only way he could. He crawled onto his lap and purred. The magician picked the tired tux up and carried him into his room. After preparing for bed he placed the young cat on the comforter.
"So are you going to stay here tonight or are you going to want out at three in the morning?" Mistoffelees made his way to the large goose down pillow; he kneaded it with his paws and settled in. The magician smiled and turned out the light then slipped into bed. Mistoffelees was clean, fed, loved and happy.
"Why was I gone for so long?" he thought to himself. Quietly small thoughts echoed in his head. He remembered Old Deuteronomy and Munkustrap and the others. They were all special to him, but…here he was safe. He never had to worry about being grabbed by Macavity or any of his thugs. "Sleep on it, Misto, just sleep on it." he told himself, as sleep finally over took him.
Munkustrap had to see Mungojerrie before he went to see Mistoffelees. Something here didn't sit right. Mungojerrie hadn’t been acting like himself at all and his outburst to Mistoffelees was just unacceptable. He knew he had acted the same way towards Plato earlier, but there was nothing but hate in Mungojerrie's eyes. He shuddered to think what might have happened if Rumpleteazer hadn't shown up when she did. That was still no excuse for his own actions.
"Sometimes I wish I wasn't the one that has to have all the answers when Old Deuteronomy isn't around, being the leader isn't everything it's cracked up to be" Munkustrap neared the hiding place the two mischief makers shared.
"Mungojerrie, I need to talk to you, come out now please." Rumpleteazer emerged from the hole.
"Munks? Are you by yourself?" She looked around.
"Yes, where is Mungojerrie?" came the answer.
"Follow me" she turned and went back inside the hideout. Mungojerrie was pacing again; he looked very agitated and racked with guilt.
"Mungojerrie?" Munkustrap questioned. The orange and black tabby stopped his action.
"Munkustrap, I dunno what came over me to do that to Mistoffelees, you know I love the little guy, I dunno why I snapped." He sat facing the silver and black tabby. Munkustrap scratched at his collar again, the ring swung back and forth.
"Have you seen Macavity recently?" he asked quietly.
Mungojerrie met his eyes. "I am not trying to hurt Misto for that animal."
Munkustrap shook his head "No, no, I just think that your recent mood swings are connected with him somehow." He regarded the other tom.
Rumpleteazer moved close to her mate. "'e just 'as a lot to think about, Munks."
"It's okay Teazer" Mungo looked at the large tom. "I don’t want to work for Macavity anymore" he whispered.
"Then tell him that" Munkustrap reasoned. Mungojerrie only shook his head
"He'll only kill me or go after Teazer, and I don’t want to lose either of us."
Munkustrap only sat quietly. "You'll have to decide something sooner or later, but what ever you decide you don't have to face it alone." He left the small hideout and headed for the home of Mistoffelees. Rumpleteazer looked at her mate.
"You have to go see Macavity again tonight don’t you?"
Mungojerrie nodded. "Can't wait."
Mistoffelees snapped his eyes open, someone was nearby. But who?
Munkustrap was looking through the window, but he couldn’t see the magical cat anywhere. He was about to jump down when he took one more look through the window, his eyes locking on the emerald eyes of the other.
"What are you doing here?" Mistoffelees mewed quietly.
"I just wanted to talk to you" Munkustrap replied.
The magician had awoken when Mistoffelees had darted from the bed. "Misto?" he called turning on one of the bedside lamps. "Misto, where are you?"
He saw his cat looking out the store window. "Ah, so now you want out, I might have known." Mistoffelees jumped onto one of the chairs revealing the large form that was Munkustrap.
"Oh! I see you have a visitor, should I let him in?" Mistoffelees locked eyes with Munkustrap.
"Don't hurt my friend.."
"A warning?" thought the silver and black tabby. The magician raised the window and reached out calmly to pick Munkustrap up and bring him inside. Munkustrap was very uncertain. Humans were very odd creatures. Some were good some were bad and others you just couldn’t know what to expect. From his past experience he was weary of people. His last owners had treated him like a common dog! His collar was a reminder of that. He could recall being tied to a leash, of all things and dragged about the house by the youngest member of that horrible family. He growled low at the memories. The magician was close now and reaching forward his hands were on either side of his body. He could feel them closing in on him. He panicked. He hadn’t been held or touched by human hands for many months now and he wasn't ready to start trusting anyone just yet. He slashed out with his claws catching the hand at his side, the man yelped in pain.
Munkustrap leapt through the window and landed in front of Mistoffelees, who was clearly upset.
"What did you do that for!?" he hissed, his hair standing on end. Munkustrap was shocked; first this human and now young Mistoffelees was challenging him? Munkustrap turned to look at the human; he was holding a scarf to his hand and looking down at the two of them.
"I told you not to hurt him, Munku! And you attacked him!" Mistoffelees growled low as he jumped down from his chair. He approached the larger cat.
"Now guys this isn't necessary.." The magician approached slowly. Munkustrap was ready to spring away if the man tried to grab him again. Mistoffelees was slowly cornering him against the wall. Munkustrap glared at the man but spoke to Mistoffelees
"I only wanted to talk to you...what's he want with me?" Mistoffelees could see the distrust in his friend's eyes.
"He only wanted to pick you up, he wasn't going to harm you."
Munkustrap calmed some and was even going to attempt to trust this human, but then the magician did something that caught the two of them off guard. He moved quickly swatting Munkustrap, the flat of his hand connecting with his backside sending him spinning and skidding into the corner. He was trapped now. Mistoffelees couldn't believe it; he had never seen his owner act in this way. He then found himself in the magician's arms.
"Misto! I thought you knew this cat, I didn't know he wanted a fight! Don't worry, I'll get him."
Munkustrap was aghast "He thinks I'm here to try and hurt you?" The man heard the growl from the large cat.
"Munku! This had been a terrible misunderstanding, but you did attack him first and right now you don't look to friendly!" The human paused slightly.
" You want to fight him? I don't think so Misto, I just got you cleaned up." He placed Mistoffelees into the bedroom closing the door trapping him inside. Then the magician moved slowly towards the cornered tabby. Munkustrap was replaying his memories of his past master. That wasn't the first time he had been stuck; his previous owner would often strike him for no reason, with much more force.
"But this isn't that human." he tried to calm himself, but his fight or flight reflex was winning and going to force him to react. The man was close now; Munkustrap backed further into the corner.
"Don't attack him Munku!" Mistoffelees cried out from the other room
"He won't harm you!" Munkustrap wanted to trust Mistoffelees words, but he couldn't fight his instinct. He waited until the last second then darted between the man's legs. He caught the man by surprise and as the magician tried to turn around he knocked over one of the store displays. It came down with a crash!
"Munku?" Mistoffelees called out, "Munku?!" Munkustrap was startled and turned his head to the noise. This was the only distraction the man needed. He moved quickly, once seeing his chance, catching Munkustrap by his scruff and faster then Munkustrap could react he flung him into a pet carrier that he kept on hand for Mistoffelees. He quickly latched the door closed and sat back. Munkustrap was in a state of panic…he was trapped… He lashed out at the sides of his prison, slashing at the walls he clawed the metal door, breaking one of his claws in the process, causing it to bleed. The pain added to his panic caused him to thrash sending blood everywhere in the carrier and even on his own coat. He growled and hissed but to no avail, he was trapped.
"Munku?! What is happening?" shouted Mistoffelees still trapped in the other room.
"I got him Misto!" The magician said triumphantly. He opened the door letting the tuxedo out. He ran into the room looking for his friend. A piercing "MROWRR! brought his attention to the carrier. There was blood everywhere and his thrashing and clawing only made it worse. He was causing the carrier to bounce along the store counter.
Mistoffelees jumped to the chair. "Munku? What happened?" Munkustrap didn't hear him and he was getting more and more stressed. He continued his thrashing. Mistoffelees moved closer.
"Stop it! You're going to hurt yourself!"
The magician moved closer to the counter. "He's a feisty one. Look at him, he's hurt himself. Calm down you mean thing, no one here is going to hurt you." As he moved close to steady the carrier Munkustrap gave one last lunge against the door causing the carrier to topple over the edge and land with a crash to the floor.
"MRrrOW____" Then he was silent. The magician moved forward to the toppled carrier. Mistoffelees jumped down "Munku…Munku?" he mewed. The magician reached down picking the carrier up and placing it once more on the counter.
"You worried about him Misto?" As he turned the carrier over the he could see the still form of the silver tabby inside. He poked a finger to nudge of his back legs through the bars but there was no response.
"I think he's out for the count, So now what do I do with him?" He noted the collar "He must have owners after all, so maybe he's not really a wild cat, though my hand would tell you otherwise."
Mistoffelees peered into the cage. "Munku?" The sight of all the blood was frightening him. Still no response came from the carrier.
"I thought you told me that it was safe! I could have broken my neck!" Demeter shouted at the two acrobatic duo. Pouncival shook his head.
"I said that if you tuck BEFORE you roll, then it was safe." Tumblebrutus agreed
"That's what he said, and besides, you rolled before you tucked."
Demeter gave them both a sharp look, "I'll show you a roll and tuck" she growled.
Tumble and Pounce backed away, "You still got it wrong, it's tuck THEN roll." Then both, after seeing the fire in her eyes, made a hasty retreat.
"What are you doing?" Bombalurina questioned her best friend as she came into view. Demeter flexed her sore shoulder
"Oh, nothing really." Bomb wasn't fooled.
"You tried it, didn't you? I can't believe you let those two talk you into jumping from that mattress!"
Demeter only shrugged "I would have made it, just have to TUCK THEN ROLL!" she shouted in the direction the two had retreated. "It's late, let's go home"
Alonzo was talking to Old Deuteronomy along with Plato and Quaxo and Skimble.
"…then it kinda all just happened at once, next thing we know Mungo had Misto in the mud..."
"and was going to slash his head off!" Plato finished for him. "I still say it was all Tugger's fault, if he hadn’t.."
"MY FAULT?!" Tugger shouted from his seat on top of the old Ford. "Which ever of you jokers thought it funny to land on my tail is the real cause of the problem."
"Maybe you should watch where you keep your tail!" Quaxo countered. They all started grumbling. Skimbleshanks shook his head, his bell ringing. They all quieted
"No one here is at fault, it was all an accident. Mungojerrie was already in a knot when he arrived. The events just added to what ever is bothering him."
They all sat in silence for a short while until Old Deuteronomy spoke; "It is very late now, and I can see we are not going to settle this problem this evening. Especially since Mungojerrie, and Mistoffelees are both not present. I suggest that we sleep on it until tomorrow. We will all meet here in the afternoon."
He leapt down from the large tire. "The others are already settled in, all of you do the same."
With that, he left.
Mistoffelees was very worried. He sat next to the cage door and waited. His owner came back into the room after cleaning his hand off.
"Well now I'm confused, If I didn't know better I would say that you like this cat." He reached down gently stroking the tux's head. "He's still not up, he didn't get me too bad, his nails are just incredibly sharp."
Munkustrap remained unresponsive. Mistoffelees peered into the carrier again, still nothing. He hung his head. "Why did this day go so wrong?"
"You are worried about him, aren't you, Misto?" his owner scratched him behind his ears. "Well I suppose I should get him cleaned up before he comes to. I just hope I know what I'm doing."
He slowly opened the latch to the carrier and gently pulled Munkustrap's limp form out. "Amazing so much blood can come from such a small injury."
He clipped the broken nail then cradling the large tabby in his arms he prepared another bath. After removing Munkustrap's collar he lowered him into the warm water slowly, holding him by the scruff of the neck making sure to keep his limp head above water. Mistoffelees watched silently.
"Whatcha thinking?" she nudged him.
"I don’t want to work for that monster anymore" he whispered.
"Have you come up with an idea?" she asked hopefully.
"No, I wish I knew what to do" He started towards the entrance of their hideout. "You want to wait for me here, Teaz? I'll just tell him everything's the same ole same ole, hopefully he won't know about how this day went, and won't kill me on the spot." He started moving away.
"Wait, Jer I'm coming with you." They both headed out in the moonlight to Macavity's lair.
Munkustrap felt awkward. Something was definitely not right. He was wet, but warm, and immobilized. "Great, just great." he thought. "What was going on, and why couldn't he move?"
The magician continued to bathe him with his free hand, keeping a firm grip on his scruff. Once done, he removed him from the water and proceeded to dry him off. Munkustrap thought it best to remain limp though out the entire ordeal. The magician was running a comb through his fur now. A little while later he was done. Munkustrap was practically shining. The magician sat back, admiring the large feline who remained silent.
"You know Gin, you are quite an impressive cat." Munkustrap looked regal, his black zigzag stripes contrasted handsomely with his silver coat. Mistoffelees agreed. Mistoffelees moved close to where Munkustrap was laying on the counter, he almost gave away Munkustrap's act when he saw a slight twitch of his whiskers.
"Misto you keep an eye on him, I'm going to clean this carrier out, all this blood from one nail…." He left the room. Sensing it was safe Munkustrap opened his eyes twitching his tail slightly.
"Munku? Are you okay?" Mistoffelees was relieved to see his friend was finally awake. Munkustrap remained on his side, lifting his head he looked at his friend.
"What a week I'm having" he joked trying to lighten the moment. Mistoffelees chuckled
"Well you look great." The large tom did a mental check of his injuries, his head was still throbbing slightly and there was a dull ache that came from his newly trimmed claw.
"Did you catch the license of the pollicle that ran over me?" he chuckled. Mistoffelees was about to comment when his owner returned with the carrier. Munkustrap closed his eyes pretending to still be unconscious. He placed it on the counter stuffing a blanket inside. He turned to the two felines.
"Still nothing from him?" He reached down and stroked Munkustrap's form. Munkustrap had to fight every urge to bolt. Mistoffelees tensed. "Stay calm, Munku."
The magician scratched the tuxedo's chin. Munkustrap opened his eyes and shifted under the magicians' touch. He withdrew his hand in surprise.
"Welcome back, Gin" Munkustrap attempted to sit up, however he was still dizzy from his fall. The magician caught him before he fell.
"You're not so bad, though I don't think you trust me yet." He gently placed him into the carrier, stroking his head. "See there, Gin, nothing here to be scared of."
Munkustrap was still unsure of this human, he remained on his side. He still expected this gentle touch to turn into a hard slap. The last place he wanted to be was in this prison again, however as tired as he was he couldn't bring himself to protest. Mistoffelees watched quietly as the magician closed the carrier door. With one last scratch to Mistoffelees he turned out the light and went to bed.
"What a night" he muttered.
To be continued....
Poor Munku! Take me home before I cry!