END OF THE STORY
© 2009 By David Wainland
He managed the leap from grass to the top rung of the split-rail fence in one graceful arc. Bessemer settled back on his haunches, briefly emitted a soft purring sound, cleared his throat and spoke.
"Unaccustomed as I am to speaking..."
The crowd roared with laughter and approval. Of course he would be unaccustomed to speaking. No cat had ever spoken before.
Even the Raven swooped down to join in the celebration. He cawed at Bessemer who lazily swiped at the cackling bird with one damp paw.
'They're gone," he said. "I suspect all of them have departed. And here we are, left behind to clean up their mess once again."
The spontaneous laughter turned to a cacophony of hisses and boos.
All four paws now rested on the weathered gray rail and he arched his dark form while his course black hair stood briefly on end.
"Enough, it is ourselves we must think about now. Without them the world unravels. We'll pass unnoticed. What'll we do to perpetuate our kinds?"
"We can build one from scratch." The abrasive voice came from a huge figure standing toward the front of the mass. He had a peculiar flat head and two dowel shaped electrodes extended from the sides of his neck.
"I suppose they will all have to look like you," growled a dog face man with large sharp canine teeth," "May the Book show mercy on us all."
Once again the crowd laughed although a few held back wondering how one so ugly could make fun of another.
"Perhaps we could conjure up a few, enough to keep us busy." This time a hook-nosed old crone spoke. Her voice edged with a shrill and aged warble. "I have a kettle ready to boil and enough eye of Newt and tongue of frog to fill it twice over. All we need is the spell."
"Well you won't get it from me you old bitch," croaked a green and brown toad. "You've already sacrificed too many of my friends this day, hag. Why don't we drop you and your two ugly sisters into the cauldron? Then we can feast on your scrawny, boiled carcasses."
"There is no time for bickering," screeched Bessemer. "We have to unite and find a solution to this problem."
Another figure lurched forward trailing bandages behind. "Does anybody know where they went?" he strained his voice through a cloth-wrapped mouth. "Maybe we can find them then bring them back and force them to stay." He raised his wrapped arm and brandished a fist of rotted flesh.
"Yes, bring them back," hissed a snake like creature.
"Bring them back, bring them back." The crowd chanted. Even the dark one hanging upside-down from a nearby tree joined the cry.
"Bring them back, bring them back." It went on for long seconds.
"Enough!" screamed Bessemer, "Who will we send to find them? And if we do who would they trust?"
"Cat, do you think you are the only one who managed to steal into their hearts and homes? We became their friends while your kind still stalked mice in the primeval forests." A medium sized black and brown spaniel threaded her way through the crowd. "If I can't sniff them nobody can."
The crowd chanted anew. "Yes you can, yes you can!"
"You were too close too them if you ask me." Said Bessemer, "At least our kind remained independent. No, I don't think I can trust you, dog."
"Unless you have another plan, perhaps you should," said the dog.
The raggedly wrapped creature's muffled voice spoke again. "If you don't trust him alone, why don't you travel with him?"
"What did he say?" Quizzed Bessemer.
"That you should go with him," screeched the crone.
"No, not me. One of the others should follow him
"Go with him, go with him!" A new and louder cry rose from the audience.
"You would send a dog and a cat, together alone into the world? We'll try to kill each other."
"Go with him, go with him!" The crowd had become a mob and threatened to turn the rally into a riot.
"If I must, I must" said the cat finally, "But you'll lead the way and if you betray us again..." he let the words trail of into the wailing of the congregation and dropped to the ground.
"Let's go dog. Start sniffing."
The rabble cheered for a bit then broke up and retreated to their hidden places to await the the scouts.
They never returned.
Shadows fell, the leaf turned, the Book closed, the last man sighed, closed his eyes and once again, darkness was upon the face of the deep.
The story ends.