Friday, December 22, 2006

Dolce's Story Chair, Part 4

Dolce: I teleported here early before Dad shows up so that I could apologize to all my furriends for falling asleep and causing my Dad to stop the story for the night. I just keep getting so fuzzy and warm with all my furriends nearby on the big comfy Story Chair.
Magoo: Dolce, you’re actually awake. I thought you might be sleeping already.
Dolce: Real funny, Magoo.

Dad: Good evening. How are my kitties? Everyone behave themselves for Mom?
Bella: We all miss you, Dad.
Dad: I miss you too. For all our friends, both furry and human, I’m going to try and finish the story tonight, but when I told it to Smudge and Magoo originally I told them a chapter each night right up until Christmas. So there are really two more chapters left. So with that, make sure you have a mug of Catmilk, a Cookie, a warm soft comfortable spot and your very bestest furriend nearby.

Shep’s unease at discovering the faint red scent had not dimished as Christmas Eve day turned into Christmas Eve night. His nose told him that the danger was somewhere near the beautifully lit Christmas Tree. Shep was certain he had examined every bough and branch of the tree and still was not able to locate the source of the danger. He sat on his braided rug by the fireplace and stared at the tree. A rustle between the packages caught his attention.

“Puddles.” Shep looked over the package containing Timmy’s firetruck and spotted the family cat playing with something on the tree skirt. “What are you doing? I told you that there was danger here and you were to leave it alone.”

“Sorry, Shep.” Puddles replied haltingly as she pushed and pounced on something hidden beneath the embroidered tree shirt. “There is something underneath here. I can’t let it get away whatever it is. It could be something tasty or something shiny. Or even better, something tasty and shiny.”

“Fine.” SHep relented. “You may pounce and chase all you want around the tree. But there is to be no biting of lights or chewing of wires. Agreed?”

“Agreed.” Puddles said half-heartedly as she furiously attacked a suspicious fold in the tree skirt.

Shep slowly walked out of the living. He did not know why he even tried to reason with Puddles. She did things that seemed to defy description or logic. Shep was not the only one in the house who felt this way. Shep had heard Tom talking about things the crazy cat had done. Shep felt immensely proud that nobody had ever used the word crazy before the word dog in this household. Shep figured that was why Cats were given nine lives. They used them so foolishly that without extras not a single cat would make it out of kittenhood.

“Not a time to worry about Puddles.” Shep mumbled to himself as he walked towards the mainfloor den. “I need to find the source of that scent.”

Shep spent several hours wondering around the house. His nose searched high and low and tried to locate the source of the faint red scent. He was unwavering in his determination to find it. His only distraction was when he circled through the kitchen for the third time and found that Sarah had forgotten to close a cabinet door that hid a wonderfully ripe smelling garbage bag.

Shep could hear Puddles knocking things off the Christmas Tree. He would have barked and told the humans what she was up to, but his nose was too busy rooting out a leftover chicken bone. As it turns out, it was Puddles' adventures in the Christmas Tree that lead to Shep’s adventures in the garbage being discovered.

“No!” Tom stated sharply as he pulled Shep away from the torn garbage bag. “No digging in the garbage, Shep.”

Tom starting to forcefully guide Shep towards the backdoor. Shep tried to fight.

“Don’t put me outside!” Shep pleaded. “There is danger in the house. I won’t be able to find it if you put me outside.”

Shep paced frantically back and forth on the snow covered deck. He was frustrated that he could not continue his search. He tried looking around to see if he could find another way back into the house. The night sky was dotted with a thousand twinkling stars. Shep was reminded of the silvery white scent again. He noticed a particular bright star on the eastern horizon of the sky. Shep's thoughts stirred again. This star meant something to him. The opening of the back door broke Shep from his reverie. He bolted past Tom and quickly ran through the house. The source of danger had not taken advantage of his banishment outside. Shep was dejected that he was no closer to finding the cause of the mysterious red scent.

Shep finally succumbed to exhaustion. He had sniffed, and smelled every inch of the house. Although the faint red scent was still in the air, Shep had been unable to discover the cause. He went upstairs to Tom and Sarah's bedroom and curled up on his sheepskin bed. The humans were already asleep in their bed.

"Maybe if I was younger, I would have been able to find it." Shep had started to question his abilities.

He closed his eyes and laid his head down on his paws. For the first time in his long, long life, Shep felt that he had let the family he had sworn to guard and protect down. Shep let out a deep breath of air.

Magoo: Sorry Dad. I don’t mean to interrupt. Dolce wake up!
Dad: Did she fall asleep?
Dolce: No. I was just playing a game with Sammy and Miles who could keep their eyes closed the longest. I think I won.
Dad: Okay. I guess I can continue.

Shep woke up when his last breath make him cough. He opened his eyes and cringed as they burned from the thick pall of smoke. He tested the air and was assualted by a brilliant red scent that burned so brightly in his mind it left traces across his vision. Danger! Fire! Smoke! Danger! Every muscle in his body ached. He had spent so much energy trying to find the source of the red scent that now when he was faced with it, he did not have the strength.

Shep tried to bark and warn the humans, but the smoke stole the sound from his voice. Shep moved into the hallway to find out where the smoke was coming from. He was immediately struck but the searing heat that seamed to roll off the ceiling and down the walls. He ran towards the bedroom containing the twins Timmy and Jessica.
He could hear them whimpering as they tried to sleep. Their brains were trying to warn them of the danger, but they could not free themselves from whatever dream held them captive.

Shep felt a blast of heat from behind him. The fire was moving rapidly along the main floor ceiling. Shep darted into the room and tried to roust Timothy and Jessica by licking thier faces. The twins barely stirred as they were somewhat accustomed to Shep's middle of the night visits.

"Wake!" Shep tried to stir his charges. "You must wake now!"

Shep decided he could not wait for the twins. He reached up and grabbed Jessica's pyjamas in his teeth. He pulled and tugged backwards on her clothes until she was dumped unceremoniously on the floor. The noise of Jessica falling to the floor woke Timothy from his sleep. Shep did not wait for Timothy to wipe the sleep from his eyes. Shep grabbed Timothy by his sleeve and pulled him from his bed to the floor. By this time Jessica had realized something was wrong and she was starting to cry.

"I am here." Shep licked Jessica face and then he turned to Timothy. "We have to get out of here. We must go now!"

Shep pulled Jessica towards the door. He knew that her brother would instinctively follow his twin sister. As they approached the heat from the doorway, the twins began to cry in fear.

"Stay close! Stay near!" Shep instructed. "I will find the way out!"

The twins reached out and grabbed a handfull of fur. Shep slowly guided them out into the hallway and towards the staircase leading towards the back of the house.

"Away from the fire!" Shep encouraged the two young humans. "Away from the smoke!"

Shep's nose followed the wisping coiling tendrils of smoke as they flowed and creeped along the ceiling like a bright red monster that wanted to choke the life out of all it touched. Behind the smoke, Shep scented a darker scent, one of pure black. He frantically pulled the twins towards the top of the staircase.

Tom and Sarah had been woken by Shep's efforts to rouse the twins. They stood in the doorway of their bedroom. They were shielding their eyes from the smoke and their faces from the heat.

"Timothy! Jessica!" Tom screamed into the thick choking smoke. Sarah repeated his frantic cries.

"They are with me!" Shep barked. "I am taking them outside, but I will be back for you!"

Dad: I need a cup of Hot Chocolate. By now, Smudge and Magoo would be asleep and I would be able to finish wrapping some Christmas Gifts. But looking around Dolce's Story Chair, there are quite a few kittens who can't wait for me to continue.

Shep lead the twins down the stairs to the backdoor. Timothy opened the door and was quickly pushed outside by Shep. Shep pushed and tugged the twins until they were off the deck, away from the house and standing in the snow.

"Stay here." Shep ordered. "I have to go and get your parents."

Shep turned and ran into the house. All the air was flame with smoke and heat. Shep could see that the fire was consuming the Christmas Tree and the comfy recliner. As Shep ran, he felt his chest tighten and the twinge that bothered him sometimes now threatened to steal the breath from his lungs. Shep stumbled on the last steps of the rear staircase. He could not see Tom and Sarah, but his nose said that their bright yellow scent was not too far ahead.

Shep found Tom and Sarah searching through the thick smoke for their children. Shep licked Tom's face. He tasted the harsh tang of smoke and the bitterness of tears.

"Shep." Tom grabbed his fur. "Where are the twins? You have to find them Shep."

"They are outside!" Shep barked eargerly. "You have to come now!"

Shep pulled on Tom's sleeve and tried to guide him out of the room. He could hear Sarah crying and calling out her children's names.

"Follow." Shep demanded, ignoring the fierce pain in his chest. "I will lead you out. I will protect you!"

Tom started to follow but noticed that his wife Sarah had not moved from near Jessica's bed.

"Sarah!" Tom crawled to his wife's side. "The twins aren't here. I think Shep has taken them outside."

"I can't leave until I know they're safe." Sarah cried as she clutched at Tom's arm.

"I promised you I would not leave until Christmas." Shep licked at Sarah's face. "But I cannot leave until I know you are safe. You must come now!"

Sarah hugged Shep and then placed one hand on his back. Just as he had lead the twins out of the bedroom to safety, Shep now guided their parents. As he reached the rear stairs, Shep could see that the walls of the kitchen were flickering with an unhealthy light. Thankfully, after this trip, everyone would be safe.

Soon Tom and Sarah were reunited with their two crying children. Sarah knelt in the snow and brushed the soot and grime from Jessica's tear stained face.

"Shep saved us, Mom." Jessica said. "He pulled me from my bed and then lead us outside."

"Where's Puddles?" Timothy asked.

Tom's heart sank as he realized that Puddles was still somewhere in the house. Shep looked towards the house. Fire was now visible in several of the windows. Shep wondered if Puddles would be able to find her way out. Shep knew what he had to do.

Shep ran back into the house. He called out to his friend and tried to be heard over the roar of the house fire.

"Puddles!" Shep barked as loudly as he could. "Puddles!"

Dad: I hate to disappoint everyone, but's getting late for this family. I going to send Dolce home with Magoo, Smudge and Bella. I hope to see all of you tomorrow.


  1. OH! Is we the first ones here? this is SUCH a good story... I hopes I can stay awake to hear the rest too.... *Yawn*


  2. Miles and Sammy--stop playing games with Dolce this is a serious story!

  3. yep Dolce, you winned the eyes closed competishun.

    FIRE????????? What's gonna happen to Shep????? OH NO OH NO OH NO. we is furry worried and we cannot wait for the story to continue. This is a really good story Mr Smudge's Daddy!!! - Miles

  4. NO NO NO NO NO!!!!! Yoo can't stop now!!!! Hello? Hello? Tell us the end! Tell us the end!!!!

  5. I hope Shep finds Puddles and makes it out safe! I'll be back tomorrow to find out what happens...

  6. See, we came online when part 4 was only half done..... and I guessed right bout the story... I kinda knew this was going to happen... I hope the fammly was okay!!


  7. The story is so 'aciting. You know a story is the bestest when you can't stop thinking about it and it pops in your head at all times.

  8. Thanks for taking the time to tell us all this story. You seem like a really good daddy, entertaining your cats and their friends (and new friends, like us!!!

  9. I keep telling it to Momma and she swears that it's tickling a memory of a similar story in the back of her head but she can't remember. Ah well.

  10. OH, I am very ascairt for Puddles. I cannot wait to find out the ending!

  11. Omigosh, omigosh, Shep just hasta save Puddles and lif to see Christmas! Oh, this is furry a'citin. I can't wait to hear the rest of the story. Thank you fur tellin us a story Mr. Dolce's daddy. We reely apreshiate it.

  12. Dolce, I'm skeered. What's gonna happen to the kitty? Whats gonna happen to Shep?? Oh Oh Oh! I can't listen any more.....*covers eyes*...
    wait, that's not right...Oh Dolce! -Scout

  13. Sheesh Scout. You always make such a big deal out of everything. You & Dolce belong together! Just chill & listen to the story. -Scooby & Shaggy

  14. The beans are safe, hope the Puddles will be OK too.


  15. Oh, we're afraid that this is going to have a bittersweet ending and Mom who is listening to the story with us will be all blubbery. We just KNOW that Puddles will be okay, but as for old Shep, we just don't know.


  16. i can't read this if Shep is going to die. i just can't. i wish you could give a clue or something, but i'm not coming back for the last installment