Dolce: Just don't let it happen again. Do you know how we had to clean this? Trust me vacuum cleaners are not a Cat's best furriend?
Baci: We had to lick it clean!
Dolce: Baci! Shut Up! No one is going to want come over now.
Baci: But it's really clean. Cleaner than a human could ever get it.
Dolce: Baci, Please be quiet. Did you get the supplies?
Dad: yes. One ACME Company brand Hot Catmilk Dispenser with Catnip Foam Generator and One ACME Catnip Cookie Processor 2000. By the way where did you find this company?
Dolce: Saturday Cartoons. The Coyote seems to highly recommend it. You will have to stock the veggies and greens manually for our non-feline furriends. Suprisingly, ACME does not produce anything for Vegetarians.
Dad: Can I start telling the story?
Dolce: Yes, but wait. I need to warn our furriends that it starts a little sad and just a little bit dark.
Dad: Do you want to tell the story?
Dad: Then don't say it is sad and dark. There is some foreshadowing.
Baci: That sounds sad and dark, Dad.
Dad: Stick a catnip cookie in it.
Dolce: What is he doing with his paw?
Dad: I do not know. Anyways... To all our furriends, welcome to the first part of this year's story:
Jingles and The Wishbringer
Next to a wrought-iron stove with a gently crackling fire burning within stood a wicker cat bed with a thick plush red pillow. On top of the plush red pillow in the wicker cat bed, there was a fluffy young cat, with brown fur and dark chocolate points and pure white paws, sound asleep. Curled up nice and tight to the fluffy young cat were three smaller bodies all fast asleep, a orange striped cat with her head peacefully laying on Jingles' gently rising and falling chest; a white-mitted brown and black tabby with her head resting on her sister, Myrrh's orange striped tummy; and a fuzzy black cat stretched out along Jingles' back. It was late morning at the North Pole and no one had thought to wake the Santa's only feline citizens.
Jingles opened one eye and looked about Santa's office. The jolly old man was nowhere to be seen. Jingles might have worried about this but it was getting closer to Christmas and he knew that Santa had so much to do and to get ready for. From the corner of his eye, he saw a flicker of bright white.
He extricated himself from the limbs and paws of his adopted family and gave a great big stretch as he tried to coax some energy into his normally lazy limbs. Jingles looked towards Santa's desk that stood in the center of the room. There next to the desk stood the most beautiful creature he had ever seen.
"Elbereth." Jingles whispered as his heart remembered the creature that stood before him.
"Hello, Beloved One" Elbereth smiled. "I bring you tidings."
"But Santa is not here." Jingles replied as he slinked out from under the pile of gently purring and sleeping cats.
"I have already brought Santa his scroll." Elbereth said. "I have left yours on the table. Do not delay in opening it, Jingles."
"The scroll bears no fear for me anymore." Jingles said. "Without touching it, I know of one name that it bears. I know that you took her to play and run at the Rainbow Bridge. Maybe one eon, when all this is gone, I will see her again; maybe at the Meadow or across the bridge. Tell my mom, Amaretti, that I love her and that I have missed her everyday since we parted."
"You are a Beloved amongst all Beloved Ones. I will gladly bear your message to your mother." Elbereth said with a faint smile. "But that is not why I have come to you alone. I come bearing a message from another."
Elbereth pulled a single black feather from beneath her cloak. The air chilled about the feather, and it began to sparkle with tiny fine ice crystals. Jingles' gasped at the sight of the lone black feather.
"Shadow." Jingles hissed as he instinctively moved to protect his family.
"No, not Death." Elbereth reassured the suddenly agitated cat. "A Prophecy from one who has seen Death."
Elbereth crushed the feather in her hands and she cast the fine powder towards the ground. A dark cloud swirled and floated to the floor of Santa's office.
"I am sorry." Elbereth said softly and then she disappearred.
The dust of the crushed feather fell to the floor in a peculiar pattern. Jingles read the words the dust formed on Santa's office floor.
"When Hope is Lost
And Joy not Found,
To Pay the Cost,
A Wishbringer is Bound."
As he mouthed the last word of the strange verse written in crushed angel feather, Jingles felt a terrible load fall apon his soul. An unexpected breeze gathered within Santa's office and scattered the message across the timbered floor. This message was for Jingles alone.
To Be Continued...