Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hi, again and welcome.   I haven't been doing much writing.  I have a lot of rationalizations, but in truth I seem to have lost my confidence so I'm doing other creative projects ...some painting, even on tee shirts, (much fun)  some new and very frustrating knitting that involves lace.  My work involves more cursing and ripping out than actual knitting,  but eventually I shall conquer.
With that said I now present to you the Third Chapter of "SCAT, CAT!"   This little story was so much fun to write and I believe ....contrary to publishers...that it's fun for kids and all cat lovers.
                                               So....without further delay I give you...

Chapter Three: Questions and Answers

Hunter stopped on his journey and looked up at those same twinkling stars. The sky seemed enormous and very cold and cheerless. Now that he was alone again, Hunter realized just how much he missed his friend. A light misty rain began to fall and he decided to find a safe dry spot and try to sleep a little. Again, he dreamed of being warm and sheltered, with a family of his own.
When morning came, Hunter set off again after a very meager breakfast consisting of some unlucky beetles that were sharing his hiding place. Soon he could detect some tantalizing odors drifting on the air. Some were familiar: Cats and Big Ones and milk, but some eluded him. He couldn’t imagine what they were. Just a little further down the path, he came upon another white house with a very large building behind it. That was where all the curious odors were coming from. Hunter very carefully snuck up to the opening of the building and peeked in.
How extraordinary! What are those odd, black and white animals chewing on that grass? They’re very big, but they don’t seem dangerous. I know there are Cats here, so it must be safe for me.” So, in he went. He hadn’t gotten very far when three very large, very scruffy Cats jumped in front of him, hissing and growling with menace.
What do you think you’re doing here, little man? This place is ours and we certainly don’t need any more strays like you hanging around.” Hunter didn’t know what to do. He had never met Cats like these before and could feel the danger in the air. The three Cats started inching closer, their fur all bristly and their tails lashing. Just as Hunter was about to introduce himself and apologize, the Cats jumped, tumbling Hunter among the huge black and white animals.
No! Stop!” he cried. “I’ll leave and never bother you again.” The strange Cats paid no attention and continued to scratch and yowl. The large animals became excited and their massive horny feet were bumping and thumping and very close to crushing poor Hunter. At last, he sensed an opening and giving the largest Cat a good hard cuff, he ran out the door, frantically searching for a place to hide. At last he was in the meadow and found a secluded spot under a thorn bush, where he curled up as small as he could. After a while he decided he should assess the damage. He began to straighten out his fur and noticed a scratch or two that needed licking. One of his eyes stung a bit, but the rest of him seemed fine.
I’m glad my Mother didn’t see me run away like that but at least I did get in one good swipe and it WAS three against one.”
Just as he was beginning to calm down, he noticed movement in the grass and a fluffy white Cat came into sight. Hunter puffed himself up as big as possible and called out, “Leave me alone! I’m very dangerous! I’m leaving this place and I will never come back. You Cats must have eaten too much Catweed.”
The fluffy white Cat sat down beside the thornbush and began to wash her face. Then she looked at Hunter and smiled. “Don’t be afraid. I came to apologize.”
Hunter sniffed the air and decided it was safe to come out.
Who are you and why would you want to apologize?”
My name is Snow,” said the white Cat, “and I wanted to see if you were injured and help you, if I can. Those Cats in our barn behaved extremely badly, especially to one of the People. They were only brave because there were three of them. Separately, they are just mean bullies who think they can boss everyone around. I didn’t want you to think we were all like that.”
Well,” huffed Hunter, “as you can see, I’m fine and I don’t see how you can help me, even if you want to.”
Snow made herself comfortable in the soft grass and studied the small black and white Cat.
I see that you have been on a journey. Will you tell me who you are, and what you are seeking? Perhaps I can lend you the benefit of my experience to help you reach your goal.”
Hunter decided that Snow was sincerely trying to be helpful. He was so lonesome and tired of wandering that he was determined to trust her.
Greetings to you, Snow. My name is Hunter and I apologize for my own bad manners, but I don’t know who I can trust anymore or where I am going next.” Hunter settled down in the grass next to the white Cat and began his tale. After he had told her the details of his story, Snow felt drawn to the little Catling and came over to Hunter’s side. She washed his dirty little face with her warm rough tongue and sang softly to him.
You remind me of one of my own Kittens,” she purred, “too old to be washed by his Mother, but too young to be out in the world by himself. We definitely need to find you a home.”
Hunter was so happy to feel the warmth and comfort of another caring soul that he began to cry just a little, and finally to purr with gratitude. It felt so wonderful to have someone to share with again; he realized how much he missed Sharpclaw and even the cold companionship of the Big Ones.
Indeed,” murmured Snow, “you have been through quite an ordeal. I’m afraid that your story is all too familiar. Some of the Big Ones can be very cruel and unthinking when it comes to the People that they have under their care. Even the Barkers sometimes share our fate, left on their own when they become an inconvenience or just aren’t cute and cuddly anymore.”
Hunter was surprised to hear this sad news from Snow and it only confused him more. “If the Big Ones don’t want us, why do they take us from our families in the first place?”
Don’t despair, little Hunter. I don’t mean that all the Big Ones are this way. There are many of the Big Ones who love and cherish the People and treat them with all the respect they deserve.”
Where are these loving Big Ones and how does a little black and white Hunter find them?”
Snow gazed thoughtfully into Hunter’s eyes and finally spoke. “Are you ready to travel far and wide, to be on your own, to try and try again until you find the place that will make you happy and content?”
I must be ready, Snow. The weather is starting to change. I can feel it in my whiskers. Soon I must find a shelter of my own.”
Yes. Soon the cold times will be here and the snow is very hard on the People. Very few can survive out on their own.”
Excuse me, Snow, but I’m very bewildered. Your name is Snow and yet you talk of snow as if it were something to be afraid of. I don’t understand.”
Oh yes, little one. I had forgotten that you haven’t yet seen the passing of twelve moons. You have never experienced snow or the cold times. It will not be many moons before they are here. Often when the cold times come, soft frosty flakes, like the covering of the Feathered Ones, start to fall from the sky. They are not as wet as rain, but much, much colder. Cold and sharp as teeth, they can be, when the wind comes from the Land of Ice. But it can also be soft and light, and even fun to play in…for a while. But as the cold times advance, so does the snow. Then it gathers itself all over the ground in piles, sometimes many times higher than the People. It is very dangerous to be caught in the snow, but it can also be very beautiful to look at. It is the same color as my fur, which is why the Big Ones named me Snow.”
Oh, it sounds both wonderful and terrible at the same time, Snow. If the cold times are coming soon, then I must really hurry, but I am still afraid.” Hunter sat thinking about his future. Suddenly he jumped up and shouted, “ Wait! I just had a grand idea, Snow. Why don’t you come with me? Then you could find a home away from those mean bossy Cats and we could be happy and safe together.”
Hunter, I could not possibly leave. My family is here and my little ones still need me. This is my home, for good or ill, and I am content. I know that a traveling companion makes the journey seem shorter, but this is a journey you must take alone. Also, it is much easier for ONE of the People to find a home than two. I will send my love with you, along with my advice. With care and courage you will be successful. Great Bast, the protector of all the People, will guard and guide you, but you must get started soon and there is much for me to tell you. Even though you will be alone again, it will only be for a little time. I know this in my heart. Somewhere, not too near, but not too far, there is a family waiting for someone exactly like you.”
Your words make me sad and happy at the same time, Snow. If I must go alone, then teach me what I need to know quickly. It will be much easier to leave you if I leave soon.”
Much of what you need to know you have already learned from Sharpclaw. Where you are going, there will be fewer friends, though you may find help in unexpected places. The houses of the Big Ones are farther apart and there will be enemies that you must avoid.”
What kind of enemies, Snow? Are they worse than Barkers and strange Cats?”
Some are like the Barkers, but move about in packs. Their speech is an eerie howling that will raise the fur on your neck. They love to prey on the People, so if you hear or scent the Howlers, you must take shelter immediately. Practice your tree climbing every day, for if they detect you, it will be your safest retreat. There is also a feathered enemy, large and silent that flies the nighttime sky. His eyes are round and luminous and his sight more keen than even that of the People. He mainly feeds on Squeakers and Hoppers and even Stripers, but you are not too big for his sharp claws. If you travel at night, keep to the cover of the bushes and trees. Often y ou will hear them calling to each other, a strange hooting sound. If you hear it, be wary and remember all your skills.”
Snow, this seems like very bad news to a little Cat like me. I hope my skills will be enough, for I don’t know if I have enough courage.”
You have more courage than you realize, little one. Few your age could have come this far at all. Remember, too, that many of your skills will come to you when you need them the most; passed down from many generations of the People. My blessings on you, Hunter. May your path be easy and your dream come true.”
Thank you, Snow. Your kindness will always remain with me, along with your advice and the memory of your face. I will leave this evening, while I still have the heart to go.”
Snow gave him one final touch, nose to nose and turned to leave. As Hunter watched her disappear from his sight and from his life, he was determined not to cry. “I must not act like a foolish Kitten, but like the Hunter that I am becoming. I will make my Mother and Sharpclaw and Snow proud. And since I must leave, there is no time like the present; so they say.” Hunter sniffed the air and started toward the path, hopefully leading to a new and better life. As he trotted along, he sang a traveling song to make the hours seem shorter.
Whiskers and paws, tail and claws,
They guide me on by day, meow!
Dark or light, dim or bright,
My eyes can find the way, meow!”

Ears and nose, soft furry toes,
Help me as I roam, meow!
I sing my song. It won’t be long.
Till I will reach my home, meow!
Till I will reach my home!”

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

SCAT, CAT! Chapter 2

Hi folks.  I'm back after quite an absence.  Been busy with gardens and cats and crafts, oh my.
I will be sharing some photos of my projects at a later date, soon to be announced.  Kidding.
For now, I'd thought I'd share the 2nd chapter of "SCAT, CAT!"   It's a book about a lost kitty and
his search for a forever home.  Can be for kids or cat lovers of any age.  Hope you enjoy.

Chapter Two: Fear and Friendship

When he woke up, he was still in his box and daylight was not far away. Other creatures were beginning to stir: birds and bugs and other mysterious things, chirping, cheeping, chattering and chittering. After thinking about his predicament for a while Cat came to the sad conclusion that maybe the Big Ones were not coming back and that now he was on his own.
On his own! How could that be?” It was so frightening that Cat could hardly think. “How can I be alone, and maybe even lost?” he cried. “Why didn’t the Big Ones take me with them? Didn’t they love me just a little bit? What am I supposed to do now?” His little heart was racing with fear and breaking with loneliness at the same time. All he could do was curl up in his little box and cry. After a while, when his sobs had turned to sniffles, he started to think about his Mother and a song she used to sing. It was a song about a very brave Cat, a very clever Cat, a Cat who was a hero. Cat knew his Mother would want him to try his best, so he decided that he would try to be brave too… well, at least a little brave.
I guess a good first step would be to get myself out of this box.” So he began to push should let me out.” So he pushed some more and the top popped open. Cat peeked out of the box to see where he was. There was green grass all around and many tall bushes and trees. Off in the distance Cat saw a big white house.
That’s where my house is,” he mewed. “I'm not lost at all. If I hurry, I might be there in time for breakfast.”
So Cat started his journey. It took him quite a while to reach the white house and his little feet were starting to hurt from all the stones along the hard path that led to the big white house. Just as he was starting to pad up to the house, a large furry Barker came rushing at him, yelping, “Get lost, Cat! This is my house!” Cat was terrified. He ran as fast as he could to the tall bushes to hide. The Barker seemed satisfied and went back to the white house and curled up in the sun.
Cat was very confused. He just couldn't imagine Hey You and Old Lady having a Barker in their house. They could barely take care of themselves, let alone a creature as helpless and slobbering as a Barker. “ Well, I guess this isn’t my house after all. Where will I go next? What should I do now?” He sat shivering in the bushes, feeling very sorry for himself and just a little hungry too. After some more thinking, he decided to keep traveling. Maybe HIS big, white house was just down the path.
So, off he went, humming his Mother’s song to keep his spirits up. Soon his growling stomach was louder than his humming. “I should find something to eat and definitely something to drink.” He saw some water in a puddle near the big hard path and hurried down to explore. “This water smells okay. I think it’s safe for a small cat like me.” As he was drinking, he noticed some creepy crawlers nearby and quickly pounced. “Well, it’s not real food, but it’s better than nothing.” After his snack he discovered that he felt a bit more hopeful and definitely had more energy. “I guess it’s time to get moving again.”
Just as Cat was about to step on the path, he heard a loud rumbling noise and thought, “That sounds like the noisy Rumbler I was in. Maybe it’s the Big Ones looking for me.” Out of nowhere a large, smelly, metal Rumbler came whizzing by, the rumbly noise and hot gust of wind knocking Cat head-over-heels. He picked himself up, shook off the dust and coughed out a few fumes. Now he was completely bewildered and a little scared too.
Me-wow! Those Rumblers are very dangerous. I think they’re even more dangerous than Barkers.”
Suddenly, a voice came from some nearby weeds. “You better believe they’re dangerous, little fur ball. If I were you, I’d leave while I was still in one piece.”
Who are you?” mewed Cat, “and my name is NOT Fur Ball!” Out from the grass came a large, yellow and white Cat. The Cat sat down across from the little waif and studied him with his big green eyes. Cat was simply amazed at the size and majesty of the newcomer and suddenly felt himself to be very small and insignificant, indeed.
So, you’re not a fur ball. Then tell me who you are, and what you’re doing here, little stranger. This is my territory and you need my permission to stay.”
Cat bowed his head. He hoped the majestic Cat didn't notice his shivering shins. “Excuse me, sir,” he squeaked. “I am Cat and I...”
Speak up, Catling! You are one of the People, a member of the proud and noble race of Felis and we bow to no one! Do not sit there and quiver like a Squeaker about to meet its end!”
Cat jumped and tried to clear his throat, which was difficult because it seemed his heart had taken up residence there. He closed his eyes and spoke at the top of his little cat voice. “Excuse me, Sir. I am Cat and I am lost and frightened. Please let me stay for a while. I need to learn about this strange new place and try to find my way home.”
Well, Catling, at least you have some manners and know how to speak to your elders. My name is Sharpclaw, but my Big Ones call me Tiger; a silly name, but they mean well. You may stay if you wish and I will teach you the ways of the People. It’s clear that you are not familiar with our ways, so it will certainly take quite a bit of teaching. Be welcome in my domain and please be comfortable.”
Cat lowered his eyes. “Thank you, Sharpclaw. You are most kind.”
Sharpclaw circled around the newcomer and studied him with his sparkling green eyes and finally said, “I now name you ‘Hunter,’ for that is what you are, in more ways than one. Cat is not a real name and certainly not worthy of one of the People. In normal circumstances your naming would have been a wondrous ritual, a night of festivity, attended by your family, friends and neighbors. Your name would have been based upon a study of your eyes and fur, your habits and personality. The ceremony would be presided over by the Grand High Poohbah of Felidae, 'May his teeth be ever sharp.' but we must make do with what we have.”
Thank you again, Mr. Sharpclaw. I will always be grateful for this honor. I knew that having a real name was important and now I actually have one! Hunter… yes, I like the sound of that very much.”
So for the next few weeks, the two Cats roamed together and Hunter learned many new things. He learned to hunt the furry Squeakers that ranged through the meadows and the feathered Flyers that swooped in the sky. To be honest, he was not always successful but his skills improved immensely. He learned which plants and bugs were good to eat and which ones to avoid. He learned how to find sweet water and to avoid the water that was foul. He learned how to outwit the Barkers and how to cross the hard path safely. He learned how to find safe places to sleep and dry places to shelter from the rain. Most of all, he learned self-reliance and the value of friendship. His only regret would come when Sharpclaw had to leave to return to his home and his family. Then Hunter would lie in hiding and watch his friend through the warm yellow windows, being petted and loved by the Big Ones. A strange longing would settle over Hunter. Even though he was learning to survive on his own, he still yearned for a family. Then he would fall asleep dreaming of what it would be like.
Oh, to feel loved and welcome, with my very own family. What a marvelous thing that would be!”
One day, as the last rays of sunlight were bathing the meadow with golden light, the two Cats were sunning themselves in a grassy hollow and enjoying a peaceful moment of companionship. Sharpclaw turned to Hunter and said, “My friend, as much as I have delighted in our time together, I think you are now ready to continue your journey and fulfill your destiny.”
Hunter knew that Sharpclaw was right and nodded his head. “Yes, I must find my own way now. I promise I will never forget you or the lessons you have taught me.”
The older Cat stood and said, “Come, then. We will hunt together one last time.” The two Cats set off, tails twitching, for a rousing hunt and one final meal.
As darkness began to fall, they sang a Parting Song, each too proud to show his true feelings.

May your claws be sharp and your eyes be clear,

To help you on your way.
For even though we may not be near,
We share this road today.”

The time has come for us to part.
The Moon is rising high.
So as we stand here heart to heart,
We now must say Good-Bye.”
(Each verse must be followed by a mournful cry, perfectly described as caterwauling.)

As Hunter finally started down the path, Sharpclaw kept watch till the small black and white figure was long out of sight and the stars were twinkling in the sky.