This short story started out as a dream one night. As always, I am just the conduit, the one doing the typing. I have no idea where it came from. Very interesting topic for a book, perhaps. We'll see what happens. What is so strange is that this is the second thing I've written about cats... and you may know I much prefer dogs. If anyone would like to read any of my stories, please send an email with a request. I love to share them. mamaliberty at rtconnect dot net. Just replace the at and dot with appropriate symbols and eliminate the spaces.
Sunlight and a warm breeze played games with the shadows on the ground under the trees, and unseen birds in the leafy canopy lent their cheerful sound to the early afternoon, but Carol finally had to admit to herself that she was bored. This passive existence was most certainly unsatisfying, and she longed for the activity and even the danger of her former life. Ancient by even the incredible standards of her native people, she suddenly longed for her youth.
A young man sat nearby, reading from one of her favorite scrolls, but she waved him to silence and dismissed him with a nod. Then she suffered Gloria, the nurse, to wheel her back into the house and assist her to sit up in bed. Her fine bones seemed nearly visible under the translucent skin that barely covered them, and Carol knew that the nurse was working hard not to express her dismay. Always tiny of stature and delicate of feature, Carol knew Gloria pitied her current emaciation, and irrationally blamed herself because her employer would no longer eat.
"Yes, I've waited too long this time," Carol said to herself.
"Will you take some broth, Mrs. Chin?" Gloria said gently, lifting the cover from a small bowl on a warming tray at the bedside.
The broth did smell good, Carol thought, and she agreed to try it, but turned her head away after only a few sips. Gloria pursed her lips in sorrow, and re-covered the dish.
"Is there anything else I can do for you?" she asked, refraining from patting or pulling on the bed covers. She had learned her first day in this house that the lady hated that most common nursing activity, and would not tolerate much personal contact at all, though she was very gracious.
"Send in Pao when you see him," the old lady said, smiling at the young woman who had never even come close to understanding her employer's relationship to Pao.
"I will, of course," Gloria replied, as she took the covered dish toward the door. But her intervention was not necessary because Pao sat silently waiting on the threshold, and walked in regally as the nurse held the door for him.
Pao was 25 pounds of absolutely gorgeous Siamese cat, his dense cream colored fur accented by the deep, dark chocolate points on ears, face and tail. A lighter chocolate also painted tall "boots" on each foot, and the incredible ice blue eyes provided a brilliant contrast to the dark brown. Sweeping dark whiskers framed the royal face, and the tiny pink tip of his tongue provided a startling exception every now and again to his solemn and lordly presence.
Leaping to the bed as the door closed, he looked back to make sure they were not observed, then sat where Carol's hand could reach him if she chose.
"Well, are you done being stubborn yet?" he said, with a curious purr underlying each word. He didn't sound at all "human," of course, but his speech was completely understandable.
"Yes, of course," Carol said with a sigh. "You were right all along, naturally."
Pao turned his head once more to the door, just to be sure, and pontificated, "The question is, my dear, if you have the strength left now to make the transfer. I will assist, as always, but it is better if you can do as much as possible."
"I am losing strength fast now, Pao," she sighed, "so we had better start immediately. I should have told the girl not to come back until after dinner. She will return and attempt to get me to eat, bless her soul."
"So, what is it you are waiting for then?" Pao growled. "Let us begin!"
The sun had moved on to the other side of the house, and there were clouds forming in the distance. Shadows began to creep into the room as the light outdoors faded, and the temperature slowly dipped as well. Carol lay quietly with her eyes closed, and the big cat shuddered from time to time, but neither spoke again, nor changed position. Then, as footsteps could be heard coming up the stairs and the door knob turned, Carol took a last breath and relaxed completely in death.
Pao sighed, never really comfortable holding the entire consciousness and personality of another being within his own body, and jumped to the floor as the door opened. He walked sedately out as the nurse began to cry, and entered his own room down the hall to wait out the usual confusion and dislocation.
Evening brought quiet again to the small house, and Pao let himself out into the garden to watch the fireflies and observe the moon that was alternately revealed and hidden by the increasing clouds. There had been no such clouds or moon where he had begun his life, and the phenomenon always intrigued him.
The humans would undoubtedly do their pre-arranged jobs, and Pao was not aware of any problems, but he couldn't help but worry just a little. He would not be content until the human known as an "attorney" came, probably first thing in the morning, and set in motion the requirements to complete this cycle. He did wonder if Kopek would come this time, both hoping he would and rather dreading the possibility at the same time. Theirs had not been an easy relationship, since they were both hopelessly in love with Carol. In any case, Pao knew that Kopek in human form was equipped and prepared to take care of the physical arrangements, while incapable of hosting the lady's essence. They both had their jobs to do, and neither could replace the other.
Pao sincerely hoped that for the next cycle of regeneration, Carol would choose to be a cat again...