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Rated: E · Fiction · Contest Entry · #2243082
If we can have a man on the moon, then...?!? Writer's Cramp contest Jan 30, 2021
Many years after giving birth to her last litter of kittens, Smokey began noticing the moon differently. Maybe because she was nineteen years old now? Some days she wasn’t at all sure if she was losing it or actually finding a new reality. Either way, she found it fascinating.

Something had certainly begun when she was teaching her son, Speedy, how to lap water from a bowl, instead of forever hanging from her for sustenance. The magic happened one night when the moon reflected itself in her bowl of water. It really wasn’t HER bowl at all. This one was outside and belonged to the dogs, but they were nowhere near and the big bowl gave her far more benefits than her inside one. Smokey naturally took advantage. She visited here often on still, moonlit nights, loving the intensity of the reflected moon in the water, like a glowing halo around her head, making her feel particularly mystified, although becoming most disturbing to her valuable sleep time, as she dreamt of quests and schemes to discover the truth of who inhabited that mystical moon. The major problem in those faraway days was being fresh out of time, because of the incessant demands of her own furry family. When she found time to scratch herself, that’s what she did… thoroughly. And washing. Did it never end? One day, she promised herself—but that one day took an awful long time to happen. So much Life kept getting in the way.

On another still night, her two-legged family lay on rugs out on the lawn, studying the star-studded sky and its amazing focus this night… the Harvest Moon. Details of its surface were the clearest seen in memory, according to the parents. They all began wondering if there was, in fact, a ‘Man in the Moon’. Dad said there had been, back in 1969… but only for a short time—two days, he thought—that the Earth visitors were there.

Mum said she’d seen the silhouette of Father Christmas, his reindeer and sleigh sailing across the moon last Christmas Eve, but no report of a detour and him stopping there—not in her living memory, nor any history books, either.

“I can see the Easter Bunny in the moon,” declared the youngest, Nicky; and he must get up and jump about a bit. It was all so exciting. Michaela and Brett nodded vigorously. They’d always seen the same. Bizarrely, Mum and Dad had never shared this vision. Nor had Smokey, who found all her questions and imaginings rushing back.

Could she have talked ‘human’, she'd have told of her particular concerns. No-one, it seemed, gave consideration to the Cat and her Fiddle of Hey Diddle Diddle fame. Smokey had heard of the cow who jumped OVER the moon, but no reports of one getting stuck there. And that little dog laughing?!? That wasn’t any of her canine sisters—Gypsy, Taffy, or Sheba. There was one ‘howler’ on foxy nights, keeping an eagle eye out for her feathered friends, but nary a laughing clown among them. Annoyingly, even the cutlery got in on that rhyming act, with a final, dramatic mention.

This miscarriage of feline justice gave Smokey an even deeper curiosity about the mystery of the water bowl reflection, made even more vivid by this appearance of a huge ‘halo’ of the Harvest Moon around her head. As she tried to absorb the mystique of the occasion, a splash of water missed her mouth, flicked into the air before her nose, and in the near-daylight brightness, flashed like a diamond. Smokey couldn’t resist a quick but gentle paw-pat on the side of the bowl, causing more amazing ‘diamonds’ to fall… a shower of them. She couldn’t resist more pats, stronger every time, until there was a lengthy trail of ‘diamonds’ stretching and snaking their way across the ground. Despite an initial warning growl at their alien-ness, she soon found herself totally bewitched by this amazing happening.

Abruptly, everything changed. The ‘diamonds’ formed themselves into a giant glittering ladder, soaring forever into the night sky. With a hasty glance over her shoulder, Smokey realised her ‘humans’ couldn’t see this… actually seeing nothing out of the ordinary happening, though the shortest distance away. Tentatively, she put one paw on the first step, doubting she’d get far at her age. Her war wounds as she liked to call her scarred old tissue and joints when they ached, would surely not permit her going far. To her amazement, she heltered and skeltered up those steps as if she were a two-year-old again. In nanoseconds she was at the top of the ladder, stepping out onto the moon itself! She looked back at her Blue Planet in amazement. How insignificant in the Universe's scheme.

“You’ve puzzled and pondered for a long time in your tiny world, and I have taken pity on you.” Eerily, the voice was inside Smokey’s head, through a shimmer of rainbow hues in her mind’s eye. As the iridescence intensified, Smokey understood how her young family had formed the belief of a rabbit in the moon. The long bunny ears were actually the tall, sharply pointed ears of the Great Siamese Cat, Bastet—the Feline Goddess of Motherhood of Egyptian times. The original MUMMY?!?

“Yes, my dear, I am! Enshrined forever in the heavenly glow of the Moon, itself the embodiment of immortality and eternity. As you saw, I can send you a ladder of diamonds any time… or never; keep you here to watch over your world… or send you back in the quiver of a cat’s whisker—the thing I WILL do this time. But NEXT time, my dear, I’ll summon you for your 21st and I will reveal ALL. But enough now. I’m weary.”

And Smokey felt herself sliding all the way back to her own special ‘Home, Sweet Home’, amazingly content to wait.

(990 words)
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