Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer walked in silence. They were only a few paces away from the abandoned warehouse. "Wait for me 'ere?" He said softly. She nodded "I'll be 'ere when you get back."
"You mean if I come back" he grimaced.
"Don't talk like that Jerrie" she frowned.
"You know it's true, 'e might kill me" He looked towards the warehouse.
"Please be careful" she rubbed against him. He moved away from her.
"I'll be back soon, I 'ope..." He plodded off to meet the wild cat, leaving Rumpleteazer in tears. As he neared closer, Macavity's henchcats surrounded him.
"Look who finally decided to show up" Kuroi sneered. "Did you bring your girlfriend?"
Mungojerrie looked at the large black cat sharply, "You leave 'er alone, Kuroi!"
"OOH! Watch out everyone, the house cat's getting mad!" his twin, Kurai added.
The other two charcoal cats, Sainan and Neko, laughed at the joke. "What's the matter, Jungo, you don't think we'd do anything to hurt your little love, do you?"
Sainan grabbed Kuroi by the neck "Like squeeze the life out of her?"
He shoved her to the ground flashing his claws "Or mess up her pretty little face?" He swiped at Sainan, slicing off one of her long whiskers.
"Knock it of Kuroi!" She snarled twisting away from him.
Mungojerrie attempted to slink away from the wild bunch, however Neko was watching him. "Not so fast Jungo, you've got and appointment with The Mac himself, and I intend to make sure you keep it."
Kurai rubbed against Mungojerrie "You're so cute when you're mad" she hissed. Mungojerrie shuddered in disgust.
"MOVE IT FURRBALL! " shouted Sainan. They surrounded Mungojerrie once more and escorted him to Macavity's hideout.
Skimbleshanks kept watch for Mistoffelees. "And just where did Munkustrap slip off to?" He thought to himself. Jemima appeared at his side.
"Are you looking at the Jellicle moon?" she questioned quietly.
He looked down at the kitten and smiled. "It is quite a sight, isn't it?" She yawned and rested against his side. "What are you doing up, Jem?" She looked at him through heavy eyelids
"I heard Misto's missing, I was (yawn) going to wait up for him when he came (YAWN) back." Skimbleshanks drew her close
"Tell you what, you sleep right here next to me and I'll wake you if I see him, okay?"
She managed to nod "Kay...."
"If he comes back" he thought to himself.
Mistoffelees looked into the cage "Sorry everything turned out the way it did, Munku, everything had just gone backwards today."
"Tell me about it, Misto" he replied.
"Sometimes I think it might be better if I never became a Jellicle" the tuxedo continued, "Mungo wouldn't be mad at me, Old Deuteronomy wouldn't have been cat napped, Macavity wouldn't be after me..."
"Why do you think it's your fault Macavity grabbed Old Deuteronomy? He's a mean cat Misto; you can't blame yourself for what happened at the ball. If anything it's my fault; I didn't see the attack coming. What kind of leader does that make me? And if it weren't for you, we might not have been able to get him back." Munkustrap tried to reason.
"I don't know, what about today? Mungojerrie wasn't to happy to see me, and look at what happened to you because of me." Mistoffelees shook his head "I don't know, Munku..."He jumped down and curled up into his basket on a bookshelf.
Munkustrap could hear the other's frustrated sigh. He looked out from the carrier across the room. Mistoffelees was facing away from him. "Great job of cheering your friend up, you only succeeded in frightening him, clawing the hand of his...he called him, his 'friend...and getting yourself locked up. Great job fearless leader" Munkustrap frowned "So what are you going to do?" He thought to himself. He sat up "Misto?" He called. The black and white tux looked up. "You are a Jellicle, you have many friends who care about you. I'm sorry I over reacted towards your owne...er..your friend."
Mistoffelees lowered his head "So'kay, Munku, it wasn't your fault."
"You weren't at fault either, you know that don't you?"
Mistoffelees shrugged "If you say so."
Munkustrap curled up on himself; "Well it's a start." He couldn't resist a small chuckle, "Gin?" he shook his head, "Like I need yet another name"
The warehouse was completely dark with the small exception of a single ray of light from the moon that managed to invade. Mungojerrie was shoved into the center. The large black cats creating a semi-circle around him. Macavity was sprawled at the highest point of the crates. "What do you have to report?" he growled low. Mungojerrie looked up trying to see the wild cat and his array of colors that slashed across his coat. Even with his keen eyes he could only just make out his large form.
"Nothing worth reporting....." He mumbled.
"What was that again? Speak up!" Macavity snarled.
"I said, nothing worth reporting....sir." Macavity jumped down from his position landing only inches away from Mungojerrie.
"I don't know what I expected to get from a stupid house cat like yourself. I should have killed you when I laid eyes on you." He circled his form.
Mungojerrie did his best not to lash out, physically or verbally, at the end of his tolerance, he couldn't stand to take any more of this treatment. Then, he would remember Rumpleteazer, and how she would become a target and be in constant danger if he did stand up to this monster, she always asked him why he put up with the abuse, having no idea that he did so, only to protect her. Macavity stopped behind him.
"This is your last warning, house cat." he hissed, "You better have news to report to me by the end of this week or we are just going to have to start making headlines of our own. Right?" He gestured to the dark cats that surrounded him. They all laughed the noise sending a chill up Mungojerries' spine.
Rumpleteazer was relieved to see her mate emerge from the warehouse. "Thank the moon" she sighed. She wiped the tears from her eyes and waited for him to join her. "Are you okay, Jer?" He nodded. Rumpleteazer was worried; he'd been acting more and more edgy, she knew something was wrong but what she couldn't say. The only thing she knew for a fact was that whatever it was, it wasn't going to get any better any time soon. She could only walk in silence next to him and hope he would talk to her. They arrived back at the junkyard, since home was the last place Mungojerrie wanted to go. Creeping in silently past the sleeping forms of Skimbleshanks and Jemima, they went into their hole and without another word settled down in silence and waited for sleep to claim them.
He ran towards the wild cat, his white fangs and claws screaming to grab the evil beast and tear flesh. He ran franticly, but no matter how hard he tried he was unable to stop the wild cat from grabbing the old Jellicle leader, his wild claws seemed like daggers...the paw was raised to strike...."NO!!"
Munkustrap snapped his eyes open, the sunlight reflecting off the counter surface hitting his eyes, temporarily blinding him. "Great, it's going to be that kind of day.." He stretched mightily and bumped his head on the roof of the carrier..."Ouch.." he raised his injured paw to his head "Ah....!" He shook it in frustration bumping it on the cage door. "YEOW!"
Mistoffelees awoke at the noise of Munkustrap's grumbling. The tuxedo stretched and jumped up to the counter. "Munku, you okay?"
Munkustrap flopped to his stomach... "No."
They both looked up as the magician came into the room. "Good morning Misto, how's our visitor feeling today?" He peered into the cage. Munkustrap sat up straight, matching his gaze.
"How are ya?" he waggled a finger in front of the cage door, Munkustrap sniffed it cautiously. "Well that's an improvement, have a change of heart last night?"
Mistoffelees mewed, purring loudly. "Hungry.. How about your friend?...I'm going to give you a chance, Gin, hope I don't regret it." He lowered the carrier to the ground; Mistoffelees jumped down following the motion.
"What's he got in mind?" Munkustrap asked.
"I think he's going to let you out" Mistoffelees smiled "Do you believe me that he won't hurt you?"
Munkustrap took a deep breath; "I'll give him one chance, Misto."
The man reached down and unlatched the carrier door, swinging it open he backed away slowly, he went to the pantry selecting 2 cans of cat food. When he returned to the front of the store where the cats were, he placed the cans of food on the counter. "Which is it today Misto?" Mistoffelees jumped onto the counter, after looking at the menu he called down to Munkustrap.
"What do you feel like eating, Munku? Fish or Turkey?" Munkustrap still couldn't believe that he got to choose his food.
"Fish sounds great, thanks"
Mistoffelees pawed the aqua colored label, then jumped down to sit next to the carrier. "Two Fish of the Sea meals, for here, please." He joked.
Munkustrap chucked. "Mabey this day wasn't going to be so bad after all."
Mungojerrie lay wide-awake; he hadn't slept at all.
Rumpleteazer lay wide-awake; she hadn't slept at all.
"You awake?" they said as one.
"Yea" they answered.
"Jerrie, talk to me, what's bothering you so much? I know what 'appened at the 'ouse can't be the only thing." She looked at him, almost pleading. Mungojerrie stood up stiffly, neither of them had moved a muscle all night, he walked towards the entrance of their hole.
"I can't right now Teazer, I'm sorry." He walked out into the morning sun.
"Then when?" she whispered.
Mungojerrie was again swallowed by his thoughts. His hatred for Macavity had only grown more and more with each passing day. His love for Rumpleteazer grew with each passing moment. And yet, last night as he lay awake, he could only come to one conclusion. He would have to leave her. "If I can make Macavity think I no longer care about 'er then mabey I finally face 'im with out any worry... if I survive, and then at least I would be free from that monster, if he kills me... well, Teazer will be safe. That's all that matters. I only 'ope she understands"
"G'morning Mungo!" he spun around at the voice.
"Who's there?" Victoria smiled at him from on top the old tire.
"Why are you so jumpy?"
"Sorry Vicki, long night" he apologized and moved away.
Skimbleshanks had seen the tom emerge from his hiding place. Careful not to disrupt Jemima at his side he carefully made his way down, stopping in front him. "You didn't sleep well, did you?" Mungojerrie turned away. Skimbleshanks moved back into his line of vision.
"Mungojerrie, it's no secret that something is bothering you, anything I can do to help?" When he got no response he continued," There's a meeting this afternoon. Old Deuteronomy wants to talk to you about yesterday. Do you know where Mistoffelees might be?"
Mungojerrie shook his head, "Sorry, Skimble, I don't know, I 'ave to go."
He walked away, his head bowed, eyes never leaving the ground. Skimbleshanks was about to follow him when her heard a strange "boing?" noise coming from a tall heap off to the right of the junkyard next to the gate. "What goes boing?" he moved closer to the sound.
Pouncival and Tumblebrutus were jumping, very high. Now that he was closer he could see the two of them were actually bouncing on an old mattress.
"HEY!" (boing) Skim! (boing) watch (boing) THIS! (BOING)." In sync with each other they bounced high, on their decent they tucked, rolled, and finally ended the motion as they both straightened in mid air and landed with perfection only feet away.
"That was GREAT!" Jemima squealed "Can I try?" She was already making her way to the mattress.
"Absolutely NOT!" The railway cat dashed to stop her climb.
"Aw..come on Skimble, I'll be careful, really.." He led her away from the two tumbling toms, glaring at them over his shoulder. "I'm sure you would, but accidents don't happen because we plan them."
After they retreated Demeter slipped out of the shadows..."I thought you said no one would be up and around this early!" Pounce and Tumble walked back to the mattress,
"Don't worry, Demi, no one else is around, go for it!" Pounce urged.
Demeter climbed on to the heap leading up to the mattress, once on top she looked down at the two felines. "GO DEMI!" Pounce cheered.
"Tuck, roll... just like that!" Tumble shouted. Demeter took a deep breath
"Tuck then roll, tuck then roll.." She recited starting to make small bounces on the mattress.
Bombalurina walked into the junkyard at that moment with Jennyanydots and Jellylorum. ".... would never try it again. I'm sure she learned her lesson the first time..." Bomb trailed off when heard the cheers.
"Alright Demi!" Pounce shouted.
"You can do it!!" "Go..GO..GO!!"
Bombalurina looked in the direction they were shouting just in time to catch a glimpse of Demeter's launch. She was flawless, each move was perfection...she could feel the sun on her face, the wind through her fur, the...
"DEMETER!!!" Bomb shouted, Demeter lost her concentration, she twisted awkwardly and came down like a rock. Luckily she was still above the mattress. She landed on her rump looking more like a sack of flour then a graceful feline.
"BOMB! What are you doing her so early, with Jenny AND Jelly?" she glared at Tumblebrutus and Pouncival.
"Won't be anyone here? No one gets up this early?"
"Hey why are you complaining? You almost had it that time!" Pounce and Tumble started backing away
"I'm going to let YOU two have it!" She screamed as charged after them.
Rumpleteazer was almost overcome by tears. "Why are you doing this, Jerrie?" Her mate had never kept secrets from her, not even his connection with Macavity. But now he seemed to be hiding something on purpose, keeping her in the dark. She steadied herself. Crying wasn't going to help solve anything. She made her decision, "I don't care what it is, Jerrie, you're going to tell me what's bothering you, you don't 'ave to face it alone." She left their hiding place in search of her mate.
Mungojerrie paced, deep in thought. How was he ever going to convince her that they shouldn't be together anymore? He couldn't even convince himself. If he told her he didn't love her anymore, he would be lying to her. Something he would never do. He couldn't explain why they had to be separated, not wanting her to worry about Macavity. He remembered when they first met. They were a perfect match. They were inseparable. Some had often confused them as siblings because they resembled each other so closely. He smiled "Nope, we're just purrfect like that!" They would respond. "Teazer, what am I going to do?" He climbed onto the fence surrounding the junkyard. From this spot he had a great view. He saw Tumble and Pounce practicing their trademark moves. Demi, Bomb, Jenny, and Jelly were conversing; all the kittens were rolling about having fun. Quaxo and Plato were arguing with Tugger. He gave a sigh. "Same ole, same ole." He moved his gaze to another area of the yard. Alonzo and Cassandra were curled up on each other, enjoying the morning sun.
"Not a care in the world." He looked away, his eyes resting on Coricopat and Tantomile, each moving across the yard. Their movements mysteriously linked with a bond only the two of them shared. Mungojerrie felt a tear in his eye.
He jumped down and started to walk back to their hiding place when something that caught the sun glimmered. "What might that be?" He walked over to the small object. It was partially buried in the ground. He dug at it with determination and finally it came free. It was a single glass marble, clear with swirls of black and orange dancing inside. A vision of Rumpleteazer formed in his mind.
"I can't do it." he thought. "I can't leave her, she's my life."
"I don't care if I have to put up with Macavity for the rest of my life, I will never leave her...it's time I told her the truth." He picked the marble up in his mouth and with renewed confidence, he left to explain and apologize to his best friend, his companion, and his one true love.
Munkustrap remained in the carrier, watching as the magician kneeled and placed his meal on the floor slowly. "Not going to come out?" The magician asked. Munkustrap remained silent. Mistoffelees was devouring his meal on the counter. The magician rose to his feet and stroked Mistoffelees back.
"You know Misto, where you put it all is still a trick I would like to learn from you." Mistoffelees grinned his feline grin "For me to know and you to wonder" he chuckled.
"I'd better check the mail, hope my shipment came in, I have to restock the props." He made his way to the front door, "Be good Misto, you too Gin." he called closing the door behind him. Mistoffelees jumped down from the counter, "Hey Gin, are you going to eat?"
Munkustrap emerged from the carrier. "Ha ha Misto, yes I'm going to eat, thanks" He sniffed the bowl, impressed he began to eat, "Well at least the guy has good taste in food" He finished his meal, licking the bowl clean.
"That was great," he couldn't resist a purr. He started cleaning his paws and rubbing his face with one every now and then. "Speaking of names, how is it your owne...er.. your friend knows to call you Misto?" Mistoffelees was rolling on his back his paws in the air batting wildly at the dust he could see though the sunlight.
"Oh that, he thinks that's a pretty clever name, which it is, only thing is that he doesn't know I helped him out a bit." He made a quick motion and got to his feet, shaking the dust off his coat.
"Helped him?" Munkustrap asked. Mistoffelees jumped onto the bookshelf,
"Yep.." he started looking at he array of books on the shelf, "He wanted to name me something like, Shadow, or Blackie, or even The Magnificent Merlin, which by the way Magnificent I don't mind." He walked along to shelf still studying the books." Anyway, I didn't really like those names much, so I figured I'd help pick out my own name.... AH! There it is..." He pulled the book from its place causing it to fall with a thud to the floor. He jumped down and opened the purple leather bound book. "See here, Munku?"
Munkustrap made his way to where Mistoffelees was. He looked at the page. It was an old black and white photo; there was a magician with a top hat and a white dove in his hand. Seated on his left on a trunk was a handsome large tuxedo feline. A caption read "Zereth the Mysterious, and his feline Mysterio." The cat was almost a mirror image of Mistoffelees and looked very important. Mistoffelees smiled at the picture, "Isn't he impressive?"
Munkustrap looked at his friend; "You two look like you could be related."
Mistoffelees closed the book, "Well anyhow my friend was looking through this book when he was trying to name me, I thought Mysterio would be great, so I sat on the book. He looked at me and then noticed the resemblance and since he didn't want to name me the same thing, he changed it to Misto. Which of course is very close to my real name." Munkustrap smiled at his friends' cleverness.
"He really does seem like a nice owner."
"Thanks, Munku." The tux responded. Munkustrap walked around the small store investigating his new surroundings.
"Wow, there are so many things in here, I could never get bored in a place like this," He turned to his friend, "Mistoffelees, do you still think it was your fault Old Deuteronomy was catnapped?" he asked. The magical cat looked away and jumped onto the counter.
"I don't know, Munku, mabey if I hadn't run away when I can sensed him I could've warned you." Munkustrap jumped onto the counter to join him.
"It wasn't your fault, Misto. Even Mungojerrie is very upset with himself for treating you the way he did; he's got a lot on his mind. Besides, like I said before, if it weren't for you, Old Deuteronomy might still be with that monster, Macavity" Munkustrap turned to look out of the store window in the direction of the junkyard.
'Mabey if I was a real leader there wouldn't have been a catnapping at all.' He turned back to his friend.
"If anyone here is at fault it's me, with all the scares Macavity was giving throughout the ball, I should have known he was going to strike. Some leader I'm going to make."
Mistoffelees couldn't disagree more. "You're a great leader Munku, you have everyone's trust, they all look up to you and respect you. And the way you stood up to that evil cat, you were great. All I did was run."
Munkustrap regarded his magical friend, "Who's trying to be the confidence builder here?" They both laughed lightly,
"Thanks for being my friend, Munku." Munkustrap smiled, " Thanks for being mine."
Mungojerrie walked into the small hideout, dropping the marble to the ground he took a deep breath. "Teazer, I've been thinking a lot this morning and there is something you 'ave to know. First let me apologize about the way I 'ave been acting..." He looked around the small room, "Teazer, are you 'ere?" He slouched his shoulders, "She's probably out talking to the others, she wouldn't go off without me...would she?" He felt worse now, "What if she finally gave up on me and left?" He pawed the small marble that he was going to present as a gift to her, then he stood up quickly "I 'ave to find 'er" After another quick sweep of the area he ran out. Since he was trying to avoid everyone, he searched everywhere could without being noticed. Eventually deciding she wasn't in the yard he thought it best to visit all their favorite places, and that included going back to their home.
Rumpleteazer walked everywhere, but couldn't find any trace of her love. "Now 'e's 'iding from me," she sighed. She sat down trying to get her thoughts in order, when she heard the soft ringing of Skimbleshanks' bell.
"Afternoon, Rumpleteazer" he greeted her.
" 'ello, Skimble, 'ave you seen my Jerrie?" she asked hopefully.
"I did see him earlier this morning, he said he had somewhere to go. He didn't tell me where." Some of the other cats started to emerge from all around.
"Am I late?" came the voice of Rum Tug Tugger." Skimble shook his head "No, you're right on time" he grinned." Tugger looked annoyed
" How am I ever going to maintain a reputation if I am always so...so..."
"Punctual?" helped Alonzo.
"What he said.." Tugger grumbled.
All the cats had arrived with the exception of Mistoffelees, Munkustrap and Mungojerrie. Rumpleteazer moved closer to whisper into Skimble's ear "What's 'appening?"
"There's a meeting today, you said you didn't know where is Mungojerrie was? He was supposed to be present." She frowned looking away
" 'e left early this morning, that must 'ave been when you saw 'im." Looking around the yard once more she sighed. " 'e didn't say 'e was going to be gone all day."
Old Deuteronomy made his appearance just to the right of the large tire. "Good afternoon everyone." He was pleased to see they all looked rested, until he noticed that three important felines were absent. Noticing Rumpleteazer he called her forward. "Where is Mungojerrie?" he asked softly.
"I dunno, I was looking for 'im myself" She replied softly. He looked at Alonzo.
"Have you seen Munkustrap, or Mistoffelees?"
Alonzo shook his head, "Not since yesterday."
The Jellicle leader thought it was a good bet that Munkustrap was still looking for or was with Mistoffelees. Though he could only wonder where the mischievous Mungojerrie was. As he turned he saw that Rumpleteazer was making a quiet exit, unnoticed by the others. "Since our main guests are not present we will have to carry this meeting out another time. Skimbleshanks, I would appreciate it very much if Alonzo, Quaxo and you would try and locate Munkustrap. Plato, Tugger, and Bombalurina, please see if you can find out where our friend Mungojerrie is. Demeter, Cassandra, and Electra, would you be kind enough to scout around the yard and inform me if you see any of them? And now for Mistoffelees... Jennyanydots, and Jellylorum...would you please..."
"We'll stay here and watch after the kittens" Jenny cut in. The last thing they wanted to do was go in a wild cat chase, especially when the cat in question was Mistoffelees. You couldn't find him even if you knew where he was. Jemima moved closer to the large tire.
"Can I do something to help?" she asked softly. He smiled down at her,
"You are the official triple M spotter, if you see any of them let the others know at once. Will you do that for me?" Her smile was unmistakable.
Old Deuteronomy made his way behind the tire and waited. Rumpleteazer was walking backwards to check if anyone was following her, and came around a few seconds later bumping into the Jellicle leader.
"Oh! Sorry!" she spun around to face the other.
"Hello, Rumpleteazer." He replied calmly. "Anything you would like me to help you with?" he questioned. Rumpleteazer remained quite. "If you see Mungojerrie, please let him know that I wish to speak with him." She only nodded, and walked away slowly.
Mungojerrie was at a loss; he had searched the entire neighborhood and still had found no trace Rumpleteazer. "All except one place." He reminded himself. Reluctantly he started towards their home. As he neared closer to the house he crept into the bushes surrounding the front. He carefully slipped into the cat door, in the kitchen he noticed that there was a rather unusual large amount of dry food in both his and Rumpleteazer's dish. As he continued through the dining room into the hallway he noted a line of suitcases, "That's strange," he thought. "They usually 'ave those things up stairs in the closet. No mater, I'm 'ere to find Teazer" He resumed his hunt for his mate. He made his way into the living room "Teazer?" Still no answer. "Guess she's not 'ere either." He walked into the blue room, checking behind the leather recliner. "Not 'ere either..." The bird gave a soft chirp. Mungojerrie grinned, "Not done with you yet," After checking the entire lower level of the house he headed up the stairs. He looked in one of the girl's room, checking under the bed. "Teazer?" After scouring all the rooms upstairs he was going to make his way back outside to look around the garden. As he was preparing to descend the stairs he was scooped up from the floor.
"There you are, Konran!" his owner exclaimed.
"You're 'appy to see me?" Mungojerrie thought full of astonishment; he was carried back down stairs.
"Look who I found snooping around." The man presented Mungojerrie to his wife.
"He must have forgiven you." She scratched him behind his ears, "Where is Kiken?" She asked looking around.
"We're leaving early tomorrow and the two of them have to be in the house."
Mungojerrie wasn't really listening, as he was more interested in finding Rumpleteazer. Finally, after the man had fussed over him, "more than ever before" Mungojerrie thought to himself, he took him back up stairs and placed him in the guestroom.
"You have to stay here, Konran." He placed him on the bed; "Just to make sure you don't get out tonight." He left closing the door behind him.
Mungojerrie sat in silence staring at the door. "What just 'appened?"
Munkustrap studied the top hat, "You're telling me that there are 4 birds, 2 rabbits, 10 scarves in here AND your friend is still able to wear it?"
"Yes!" Mistoffelees chuckled.
"But it's empty, there's no you could fit all those things in there. Let alone wear it on your head."
Mistoffelees was rolling on the floor with laughter. "That's why it's called magic!"
Munkustrap pawed the hat once more, "Hmm...."
Just then the front door opened as the magician entered carrying two large boxes. He closed the door behind him with his foot and placed the boxes on the ground noticing Munkustrap was out of the carrier. "Hey there Gin." Mistoffelees recovered from his laughing fit and jumped onto the boxes. Munkustrap slowly moved closer to the carrier, his eyes never leaving the magician.
"Don't worry Gin, I'm not going to hurt you." He removed Mistoffelees from the box and placed him on the counter. "I think my props came in, Misto." The magician opened the first box, "Good, good, ah! Here we are." He brought out a smaller box and dumped out 3 acorn shells and a small red foam ball. Placing them on the counter in front of the tuxedo he hid the ball under one of them. "Keep your eye on the ball, Misto" He shuffled them quickly, "Ok, which is it?"
Mistoffelees knew very well which one hid the small ball; he pawed the one to the far right. "No, sorry Misto, try again" The tux looked thoughtful and after a short pause he chose the shell on the far right. "Aw, too bad Misto, it was in the center." The magician revealed the small ball. Quickly Mistoffelees nabbed the ball in his jaws and leapt from the counter. "Good thing this pack comes with a spare, and I ordered a few more" He moved away restocking his shelves with the new items. Munkustrap watched as Mistoffelees chased the small ball, pouncing on it from time to time.
"What was that all about?" he asked quietly.
Mistoffelees batted the ball towards the large tabby. "Just a game he likes to play." He responded.
Munkustrap sniffed the small red ball, and swatted it back towards a very frisky Mistoffelees. "I could tell from here where the ball was hidden, how could you miss it?"
Mistoffelees pounced on the ball with no mercy, "I knew where it was, but if I get it right every time he just thinks that he didn't do a good job on mixing them up." He released his grip slowly, the small foam ball sprung from his paws. Mistoffelees bounded after it quickly, "I love these things!"
The magician came around the counter once more and was preparing to open the last box. He examined the invoice "Well this can't be right, five thousand red foam balls? I only ordered fifty!" he removed the invoice from the box and went to the phone in the kitchen. Mistoffelees abandoned the ball he had been brutalizing and sat next to Munkustrap, he had a mischievous grin on his face.
"I forgot about this! Are you ready for some fun?" he asked.
Munkustrap looked at the box in front of them. "This fun wouldn't have anything to do with what's in that box, would it?"
Mistoffelees jumped on top of the box and with a quick slice of his claw, cut through the tape surrounding it. He opened each of the flaps and smiled wildly. Nestled inside was 5000 red foam balls nothing more, nothing less. "Com'on Munku." He called as he climbed to the counter once more.
Munkustrap looked unsure, "Somehow I don't think this is going to sit well with you friend." Mistoffelees shook his head,
Mistoffelees crouched low measuring the length, "Never been more sure of anything in my life." He backed up a step, his eyes locked on the box. "Com'on Munku, it'll be great!"
Munkustrap inhaled slowly, "I just know I'm going to regret this." He measured his own distance and crouched low next to his friend.
"Jump when I tell ya," the tux instructed. They both wait in anticipation,
"What are we waiting for?" Munkustrap whispered.
"Shhh, I'll tell you" finally he heard the sound of the phone being replaced on its receiver and the magicians' footsteps entering.
"MISTO! Oh no please don't!" The magician pleaded.
"That's the signal!" Mistoffelees exclaimed, "JUMP!" Both felines flew from the counter.
"CANNONBALL!" The tux shouted.
"WHAT?" shouted the tabby.
"NO!!" the magician cried out and watched in horror as 5000 red foam balls exploded from the box on impact showering the small store in blizzard of red. Mistoffelees was in a fit of laughter; he was rolling around inside the box. Munkustrap couldn't help laughing himself. He couldn't remember the last time he had so much fun. The magician came in quickly and reached into the box lifting the two felines out.
"It never fails! How this keeps happening I'll never know." He placed the two felines on the counter and went about cleaning the mess. Mistoffelees was trying to control his laughter while Munkustrap was replaying the events in his mind.
"No yelling, no hitting, no shaking, nothing." He scratched absently at his neck feeling a bit odd without his collar. He looked at the younger cat who now had tears in his eyes from laughing so hard. "I didn't even see him grab me, I didn't even panic."
Mistoffelees finally recovered from his fit and rolled on to his back. "Wasn't that amazing?"
"What I want to know is what he meant by saying he didn't know how this kept happening" He looked at the magical cat and waited for an explanation.
"You don't really expect me to give away a trade secret do you?" He couldn't resist snickering. "Besides, it's a trick I only pull off once and a while." He produced one of the small foam balls in his paw. "Did I mention how much I love these things?" Munkustrap couldn't resist a grin.
"You're not as quiet and innocent as you appear. Mistoffelees rolled to his stomach, the ball firmly trapped in his paws.
"Hey Munku, check this out, I do impressions." He snatched the ball into his mouth slightly so it was sticking out and hiding his nose. " Hoo ham Hi?" he said through clenched teeth.
"You look like a clown" The tabby replied.
Mistoffelees dropped the ball from his mouth, "I was going for famous," he said sarcastically.
"Okay, you look like a famous clown."
Mistoffelees batted the ball, making it bounce cleanly off Munkustrap's nose. "Hey!"
Mistoffelees was laughing hard again at the look of surprise on his face, the magician was on his hands and knees picking the small balls up and placing them back in the box. He moved the box closer to the counter as he worked his way around the store. Mistoffelees was rolling around again on the counter; "You should see your face!"
Munkustrap couldn't help a laugh, until he saw Mistoffelees' rolling form inch closer to the edge of the counter. "Misto you're going to fall!" but it was too late, as the tux tumbled from the counter and landed in the box on the floor, once again sending balls flying.
"MISTO!!" the magician shouted, then gave an exasperated sigh.
Mistoffelees poked his head out of the box, the static on his coat causing the small foam balls to stick to his head. The man grinned, then chuckled finally bursting out into uncontrolled laughter.
"Now I know where Misto gets his sense of humor." Munkustrap thought and looked at the thousands of balls that littered the floor, then he looked at how ridiculous his friend looked, laughing at what he saw. "Ok Misto, I give up, who are you?"
Mistoffelees sank back into the box, "Famously embarrassed" he thought with a grin.
Rumpleteazer walked around the junkyard for what seemed like the hundredth time. She was getting slightly annoyed, "Okay, so if I were trying to 'ide from me, where would I go?" She walked past the mattress Tumblebrutus and Pouncival were still bouncing on.
"Hey (boing) Rumple (boing) check (boing) this (boing) out! (BOING)" She looked at them with annoyance.
"As if I've never seen a trabampoline before" her curt remark took them by surprise.
"What's a tra..trabam..what's a whatsit?" Pounce asked Tumble as the two of them continued their bouncing with less enthusiasm, watching her leave the junkyard.
Rumpleteazer grew more and more upset at the absence of her mate. She was too occupied in her thoughts to notice two large black cats come up from behind her. Neko and Sainan crept close until they eventually flanked her on both sides.
"Hi there sweetie" Neko sneered.
Rumpleteazer looked up sharply noticing the menacing cats for the first time. She quickened her pace trying to create some distance from them. They matched her speed and kept teasing her.
"Where's loverboy?" Sainan purred wickedly. Rumpleteazer darted away,
"Jerrie, where are you?" she thought desperately.
Macavity's evil accomplices gave chase, taunting her and making crude remarks. Tumblebrutus and Pouncival witnessed the entire exchange without a word, then quickly jumped down to run and inform the others.
Rumpleteazer ran as fast as her legs could carry her. Her vision was blurred from her tears. "Jerrie..." The two black Maine Coones were catching up.
"Where are ya going, cutie?" Neko called after her.
"Yea, the fun's just starting" his partner giggled. "Mabey she's going to invite her wimpy boyfriend"
Rumpleteazer came to an abrupt halt, causing the two menacing cats to tumble over each other in an attempt to stop. She whipped her self around and glared at the large female. "Leave my Mungo ALONE!" she shouted taking a step forward. "You wretched animals! I HATE YOU!" Her outburst left Neko and Sainan speechless. They stared at her with wide eyes, "GO AWAY!" She snarled, her lips pulled back revealing her perfect white fangs, her fur was bristled down her back, her tail swished madly, her claws unsheathed, tearing at the ground.
"Whoa" Neko whispered.
"Yea.." agreed Sainan.
They both turned and darted away. Rumpleteazer stood trembling from her outburst. She was slowly recovering from her adrenaline rush. Gradually she relaxed and wiped the tears from her eyes. Still trembling slightly she started for home.
Pouncival and Tumblebrutus charged into the group of in the center of the junkyard. "Macavity's got Rumpleteazer!" They shouted as one.
Rum Tum Tugger looked up sharply, "How do you know he's got her?"
"We saw it all happen!" replied Tumble.
Alonzo bristled, "Macavity was here and we didn't sense him?"
Coricopat and Tantomile sniffed the air, "Are you sure?" Coricopat asked.
Quaxo gave the tumbling toms a glare, "Are you sure you didn't land on your head?"
Pouncival looked offended, "You think we are making this up?"
Skimbleshanks had seen the two toms running towards the group and now joined them with the others. "What's all the commotion?" he inquired. Alonzo was sniffing the air when he answered.
"Tumble and Pounce say that Macavity grabbed Rumpleteazer, but I don't smell him."
"Was Mungojerrie with her?" Skimble asked.
"I didn't seem him." Replied Tumblebrutus.
"We should tell Munkustrap and find Mungojerrie." Plato suggested.
"Yea but we don't know where Munks is either." Quaxo reminded them.
Tugger stood shaking his mane in frustration "We can't just sit around and do nothing. Skim, would you go tell Old Deuteronomy what has happened? Alonzo, Quaxo, you don't rest tonight until you can find out something on Mungo, get Bomb and Demi to help. Tumble, Pounce you two round up the others and tell them all to keep an eye out for any of our missing friends should they return here, Plato, you come with me to try and find our elusive leader to-be and Misto.
Rumpleteazer was walking up the path leading to the front door of the home she and Mungojerrie shared. Her mind was still in a whirl from her out burst. "Jerrie, I 'ope you're 'ere, I really need to talk to you" She was completely surprised when she was lifted into the air by one of the girls.
"Mommy!, I found Kiken!" she exclaimed as she ran with her into the house, squeezing Rumpleteazer tightly in her arms.
"Wonderful hon, go and put her in the guest room with the other."
Rumpleteazer was making such a fuss she was not aware of the mention of "the other" She squirmed in her tight embrace. "Do you think you might squeeze a bit more?" she thought sarcastically "I can still breathe!"
The little girl ran up the stairs and headed in the direction of the guestroom. Mungojerrie was curled on the bed, his eyes never leaving the door. His ears twitched as he heard the approaching footsteps of the youngest daughter.
"FINALLY" He rejoiced. He jumped down and crouched low next to the entrance. The girl shifted the struggling form in her arms and twisted the doorknob with her free hand. Kicking the door open with her foot she cradled Rumpleteazer in her arms and planted a huge kiss on her nose obstructing Rumpleteazer view.
Mungojerrie saw his opportunity and bolted from the room dashing down the stairs unnoticed. "I 'ave to find Teazer!" He thought to himself as he passed through the cat door.
"You have to stay in here tonight, Kiken." The girl tossed Rumpleteazer to the bed. She landed with a bounce and turned just in time to see the door close.
Rumpleteazer sat in silence staring at the door. "What just 'appened?"
Oh, what a tangled web we weave...