Dad: Dolce! Baci! Bella! Magoo!
All: Yes Dad.
Dad: Is everything ready? Dolce do you and Baci have the Hot Catmilk and Catnip cookies ready for your furriends. Don't forget some leafy greens and veggies for your rabbit and rat friends.
Dolce: Got it, but Baci keeps sampling the cookies.
Baci: What? (as he wipes the crumbs of a catnip cookie from his mouth)
Dad: Save those for the guests. Bella is the pillow pile properly fluffed and arranged.
Bella. I spent all morning kneading and making biscuits on each and every pillow to make sure they are at their softest.
Dad: Good. Magoo, you ready for tonight?
Magoo: Don't worry. I'll keep an eye out for any hijinx.
Dad: Magoo, Don't crack your knuckles like that. You'll scare your furriends.
Dad: Okay everything looks good. Dolce, do you want to let everyone know that your Story Chair is open.
Dolce: Okay. EVERYBODY! DAD'S READY TO TELL THE STORY!
Dolce: Dad, Dad, Dad.
Dad: So here is this year's Christmas Story, The Tiny Red Sack...
Next to a large stone fireplace with a wide thick maple mantle and grey slate hearth stood a wicker cat bed with a thick fluffy red pillow. On top of the fluffy red pillow in the wicker cat bed, there were three little kittens sound asleep. Their mother was sleeping nearby on the hearth as she kept a watchful eye on her young kittens. Not too far away from the hearth and the wicker cat bed stood a most beautifully decorated Christmas Tree. It was covered in red and green ribbons and shiny glass globes of blue, purple, yellow and green. The reason the kittens were sleeping was that they just spend the entire morning climbing in and up and around the tree, and hopping over and running around the brightly papered gifts around the tree’s base. Now with the afternoon sun streaming into the room and warmly illuminating the wicker cat bed, the kittens were now dreaming of chasing and playing and tumbling.
A sound of human voices caused their mother to stir on the hearth and glance towards the hallway. Her ears twitched at voices she recognized and a couple that she did not. The fall of footsteps on the floor approaching the room where she and her kittens slept roused her completely.
Soon the female human of the house entered the room followed by two strangers, a Man and a Woman. The voices were friendly and laughing as they talked about the tree and the gifts and the four cats who laid peacefully next to the stone fireplace.
“The kittens are now eight weeks old and are starting to eat solid food.” The female of the house stated to her visitors. “I hate to let them go, but I don’t think my tree can survive all three of them.”
The visitors laughed.
“Now you wanted a female cat.” The female of the house said. “The cream colored kitten is a female who should have lynx points like her mother. The two boys will be chocolate points except for the littlest one who seems to have picked up a complete set of white socks.”
“Oh, they are so cute.” The female visitor cooed as she knelt down towards the wicker cat bed.
“When they are sleeping, they are very cute.” The female of the house laughed. “But when they are awake, it is a different story.”
“They are ready to go now?” the male visitor inquired.
“Yes.” The female of the house responded. “I normally do not let kittens go at Christmas time. The cuteness of kittenhood is gone by spring and sometimes for the children so is the novelty. But we have been talking about a kitten since Amaretti’s pregnancy was noticed at the Shelter so I am willing to let the little girl go now. I will worry about placing the boys after the Christmas season.”
The littlest kitten stirred and opened his eyes to look at the strangers. His brother and sister remained asleep entwined and oblivious to the commotion around them.
“Will their eyes stay blue?” the female visitor asked.
“Yes.” The female of the house responded. “I believe so, but I cannot guarantee that.”
“You are so cute.” The female visitor said as she scratched the only awake kitten gently underneath the chin.
The little kitten began purring and kneading on the red pillow. He loved it when a human gave him scratches underneath his chin. His brother and sister stirred at his movements, and rolled over slightly.
“The other two seem to be quite attached to each other.” The male visitor noticed.
“They definitely are.” The female of the house replied. “The little one seems to go and find his own adventures, but these two always seem to be near each other or at least close by. We find them eating side by side almost all the time.”
“I know we asked about a female kitten.” The female visitor stated. “But I would hate to break up such a tight sibling bond.”
“Would you rather take the little boy then instead?” the female of the house asked.
“No.” the female visitor replied. “What I was thinking was that maybe we would take the other boy kitten and his sister.”
“It will definitely help the kittens adjust if they have a sibling with them.” The female of the house thought out loud. “And it will mean one less kitten that I will have to take to the Adoption Clinic in the new year.”
The female of the house reached down and picked up the sleeping boy and the sleeping girl kitten and held them out to the female visitor.
“Merry Christmas.” The female of the house stated.
The female visitor took the little girl kitten and handed her to the male visitor and then took the little boy from the female of the house. The kittens awoke from their sleep and began purring as they were cradled in the visitors arms. The female of the house wiped a tear from her eye.
“We will take good care of these two little darlings.” The female visitor said as she reached out and touched the female of the houses arm in comfort.
“I know you will. “The female of the house said, “But it is still hard to see them go.”
The little kitten with the white paws watched as the the two visitors walked away with his brother and sister cradled lovingly in their arms. The wicker cat bed felt huge and lonely all of sudden. He climbed out of the bed and ran in the direction that the visitors had carried his brother and sister. The front door was partially ajar, and the little kitten made a dash for the open space.
He was quickly scooped up by the Female of the House, and pointed towards the car sitting in the driveway.
“Say goodbye to your brother and sister.” The female of the house said softly into the kitten’s little ear. “They’ve gone to their new Forever Homes.”
The little kitten did not understand. He wanted to go with his brother and sister. Who was going to chase him through the tree now? Who was going to hide behind the presents so that he could stalk them? Who was going to help him shred the white papers in the bathroom?
The front door of the house closed, and the little kitten was placed back onto the floor. He looked sadly up at the Female of the House and then back at the door. He stood there silently. He did not move even when the Female of the House went back to her business about the house. He did not stir until his mother came to get him a hour later.
“Come, my little boy.” His mother, Amaretti said. “The human has put some food into your bowl for you. It’s the fishy stuff you like so much.”
“Where did they go?” the little kitten asked. “Where are my brother and sister? We were going have races to the top of the tree today, and then we were going to explore the Forbidden Cave.”
“I’m sorry my son.” Amaretti stated sadly. “Your brother and sister have gone to their forever homes. And please do not call it the Forbidden Cave. It is the fireplace, and any exploring you kittens did in there only resulted in three soot covered kittens.”
“Am I alone now?” the little kitten asked mournfully.
“I am still here. my son.” Amaretti replied.
“Will you climb the tree with me?” the little kitten asked. “Will you chase me around the paper boxes?”
“I am not as good at those kind of games as your brother and sister were." Amaretti said.
“Then I am alone.” The little kitten stated sadly, and he walked towards the wicker cat bed with the fluffy red pillow. He did not feel like eating.
Amaretti watched her little son walk slowly back to his bed. She felt the sorrow that radiated over her remaining kitten. She wished she knew what to say, but she had seen this happen several times before. I can’t tell you why the humans pick one kitten over another, but I am sure you will find you own forever home someday, Amaretti thought to herself, I just wish you weren’t so sad on this day. Amaretti looked at the brightly decorated tree. She sniffed the air. It was Christmas Eve. Maybe the special visitor that Amaretti knew was coming could lighten her little son’s spirits and help him forget that his brother and sister were gone.
The little kitten slept away the rest of the day and most of the night. He woke several times but the feeling of the wicker bed being so empty without his brother and sister just made him sadder and sadder. His stomach began to ache with a hollow rumble that even his sadness could not hide. He stood up in the center of the pillow and stretched out his paws as far as he could. He could smell the fishy soft food in his bowl. The smell made his stomach grumble even more.
The little kitten went to the kitchen and hungrily started munching down on the remaining soft food in his bowl. He did not see the opening in front of the fireplace begin to shimmer and flicker with a magical silver light. The little kitten licked his cheeks as he finished the last morsel of fishy soft food. He still wished his brother and sister were there with him. He looked across from his bowl and saw the bowl that his brother and sister once shared. The sorrow that had been briefly chased away by his favorite food came crashing back down on him. He was alone. He slowly walked back to the room where the fireplace and his wicker bed sat.
The little kitten suddenly stopped as he saw a strange human kneeling next to the Christmas Tree. The human was all dressed in a red velvet suit with white fur trim. He had shiny black leather boots and a matching belt with a large square brass buckle strapped across his large girth. He had black leather gloves with the same white fur as his suit. Atop his head was a red velvet cap with the most enticing white fur pom-pom the little kitten had ever seen. The little kitten arched his back and tried to poof his fur up as much as he could. I am ferocious; I am strong; I am a great hunter; the little kitten tried to summon his strength as he hopped sideways towards the strange person. He got halfway towards the strangely dressed person when he noticed a golden tassel in the corner of his eye. Suddenly the person in the bright red costume with the white fur trim next to the Christmas Tree was less important than the golden tassel that was hanging around the neck of a large red velvet sack.
The little kitten jumped up and around the golden tassel, which simply swung from side to side in response to his actions. The more the tassel swung the more excited the little kitten got. Soon he was wrestling with the tassel and rolling near the opening of the large red velvet sack. As the little kitten rolled and batted at the golden tassel, he came dangerously close to the opening of the red sack. The kitten looked into the sack and saw the flash of something silvery and then something golden and then something brilliantly blue. He poked his nose into the opening of the sack and tentatively gave it a sniff. The scents that assaulted his tiny nose nearly overcame the little kitten.
The little kitten’s nose was a whirl with the smells of pine and sugar and cinnamon and crisp paper and gingerbread and freshly baked bread and most importantly, the smell of his brother and sister. The little kitten slowly crept inside the strange sack. He found many brightly wrapped packages, but not the source of the scent that he so desperately wanted to find, his brother and sister. The kitten was about to turn around and walk out of the sack when suddenly up became down and down became up. The opening of the red velvet sack quickly closed and trapped the little kitten inside. The little kitten tried to cry out using its most powerful kitten cry, but it was not loud enough to be heard over the joyful chuckle of the rotund man in the red velvet suit.
The air in front of the fireplace shimmered and flickered once again. Suddenly, the human in the red velvet suit, the large red velvet sack and the tiny little kitten were gone from the house with the stone fireplace and the wicker cat bed with the fluffy red pillow..
To be continued tomorrow...