Sunday, September 26, 2010

Helping the kitsune

The Cat Club had a surprising visitor this week.  LT had opened the meeting as usual, welcoming everyone and asking if they had any news for the group.  Peep and Rudy both reported seeing the fox around the property over the last couple days.  She seemed to be watching them carefully or checking out the house and cars.  Rudy was concerned.  “Do you think she’s actually some sort of sneak thief who’s canvassing our property so she can rob it?” 

LT replied, “I doubt it.  What do our humans have that a fox would want?  Furniture, clothes, old radios?  I don’t think those are items that would interest a fox.”

“Food!  Food!  She probably wants the treats Daddy gives us, or the food that he and Mommy eat.”  Food was Rudy’s main love in life (other than One Life to Live), and if her food supply was threatened she would fight. 

The other cats looked unconvinced.  Foxes were pretty good at securing their own food supplies, and this one hadn’t even scavenged the garbage cans.  As LT was about to say that he didn’t think that would be a concern, the fox appeared at the edge of the trees. 

“I’m not going to take your food, or the humans’ clothes or furniture, although I wouldn’t turn up my nose at a cozy blanket to sleep on.  May I join you all?”  Inariko was a polite fox and had a healthy respect for the damage that eight cats could do to her if they wanted.  Yes, she could disappear on them, but they might actually damage her before she could react if they were very, very quick. 

LT looked at the other cats to see what they thought of this request.  “Does anyone object if Inariko approaches?”  When no one objected, he then asked, “Will everyone agree to keep their claws in and not harass her while she is here at the meeting?  I would like to offer her the same consideration we show each other at these meetings.”  When the other cats agreed, Inariko approached. 

“As I’ve told you, my name is Inariko.  I’m not exactly a fox, or more accurately, I am not just a fox….”  Inariko went on to explain that she was a kitsune and what exactly a kitsune was and did.  When they were reluctant to accept her explanation, she first disappeared right from where she was sitting, and then reappeared as an exact duplicate of Peep.  That demonstration scared the daylights out of all of the cats, and Bunny got hysterical at the sight of two Peeps.  Inariko vanished again and reappeared in her fox form and the others calmed Bunny. 

“Okay, okay, we accept that you’re some sort of a spirit that’s called a kitsune!  So why are you here?”  Rudy asked this question, because she was suddenly afraid that the kitsune had come to take her friend Harry, who was also kind of a spirit cat, being that he was the ghost of a cat who had lived on the property many years ago. 

Inariko posed prettily and told them.  She thought if she made a good visual impression it might help her message.  “That’s what I want to talk to you about.  I am a kitsune that is sometimes sent somewhere to do a good turn for humans or various animals.  When I arrived here I didn’t know why I was here, but last night I realized it was because something is going to happen on this land to the humans and cats who live here.  I’ve been hanging around here for a while now, and I really like all of you, and I don’t want you or your humans to get hurt.  Unfortunately, I probably won’t know exactly what the threat is until it happens, so all of you could really help me by keeping an eye out for anything unusual and sounding some sort of alarm when it does, so I can respond.” 

All of the cats instantly agreed to help Inariko keep a watch on the property and its inhabitants.  Of course LT, Peep and Rudy were worried about the Mommy and Daddy, but the other cats were just concerned about their friends.  They broke the day up into watches, and the cats agreed to patrol the property during their chosen time.  Luckily, the human lady with whom Bunny, Mr. Snuggles, Snoogums and Ladybug lived had relaxed her policy of not letting the cats out much and they were able to promise their help. 

As to the alarm, after scavenging the property for likely items, the cats constructed a makeshift tower out of bits of metal left over from what the Daddy used for his business.  They figured if they knocked it over, it would make a lot of noise.  Since neither human was home, they tried it out, and it was quite successful.  It was so loud that it woke a groundhog, who came out and scolded them thoroughly for disturbing his sleep, until he realized he’d overslept, after which he thanked them profusely. 

With their watch schedule and alarm tower in place, they ended the meeting, promising Inariko that they would give her any help they could.  Later that evening, when the Mommy and Daddy arrived home, they were greeted by all three cats who had been worried that something might happen to them before they could get home.  Peep wove in and out between the humans’ legs, Rudy escorted them into the house, and LT gravely watched from the walkway and then came in and butted his head against the Daddy’s hand, as he sat on the couch.  Each cat knew he or she would do everything possible to protect the Mommy and Daddy, even more than themselves or each other.  Life wouldn’t be worth living otherwise. 

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