Jemima sat, watching the pale moon crawl across the dark night sky. Her new best friend, silver and white kitten named Chandra, sat beside her, equally entranced. Chandra was younger than her friend, but not by much. Little more than a month separated them. It was their connection to the moon that made them so close.
"What do you think the moon is made of?" Jemima asked. Chandra took her eyes up the bumpy surface long enough to steal a glance at her friend. The older kitten was frowning thoughtfully at the moon and her large, bright eye sparkled in the dim light.
"I dunno. Cheese, maybe," she replied, then nodded. Yes, that seemed reasonable.
"What about cheese?" a new kitten asked. He was light colored and had a perpetually mischeivious look upon his face.
"The moon," Jemima answered. "It's made of cheese."
"Uh, huh. That's what I've always thought," a kitten named Etcetera agreed. Her best friend, Electra, and her younger cousin, Excetria, were close behind her. They sat and craned their tiny heads back to examine the moon.
"Nah," the fluffy male kitten sniffed. "That's wrong."
"Oh, yeah? Then what is it, Pounce," Chandra challenged. Pouncival stratched his head.
"I dunno. I just know it's not made of cheese," he replied. Etcetera rolled her eyes. Then she snapped her fingers, startling Electra.
"I know!" Electra tilted her head curiously.
"Let's go find out!" A small yellow kitten sneezed into one of her forepaws and gave Etcetera a doubtful look.
"How are we going to do that," she asked softly. Etcetera shrugged.
"We could build a spaceship," Excetria exclaimed excitedly. A small black kitten with white and gray stripes shook his head. His crystal clear blue eyes narrowed skeptically.
"We can't make a spaceship," he said. Pouncival sat back, then jumped to his feet.
"I know," he said, hurrying towards a rusted, old pipe close by. The yellow kitten, Melina, stood as well.
"Tell us, Pounce," she called, hopping from foot to foot. Pouncival pointed at the pipe.
"Let's ask Misto! He always knows what to do," he told the other kittens. Chandra clapped her paws happily.
"Yeah! Misto knows everything," she agreed.
Excited, the kittens scurried towards Mistoffelees' pipe. Before they got there, a pure white kitten, a little older than the rest of them, stormed out of the pipe. Only now, she wasn't all white. Splotches of dark ink were on her face and chest. Her beautiful face was screwed up into a dark frown.
"Victoria! Come back! Let me try it again," a somewhat confused black cat called. His white face and chest were dotted with the same ink. He stumbled a bit when he ran out of the pipe. Victoria whirled around, giving him a deadly look. The young tom stopped in his tracks.
"NO! I'm going to clean up," she shouted, then spun back around. The black tom started to follow her.
"Don't follow me! I mean it, Misto," she yelled, not bothering to turn back around. Pouncival covered his mouth with his paw.
"What did you do?" he asked, trying to keep from bursting into wild laughter. Mistoffelees blushed and tried to wipe the ink off of his face. He only succeeded in rubbing it in further.
"Invisible ink. Only it wasn't very invisible," he sighed, embarrassed. Etcetera threw back her head and laughed. The other kittens quickly joined in.
"Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up," Mistoffelees grumbled. Then he sighed and waved his paws. To the kittens' astonishment, the ink jumped off of his fur and flew into the air. Mistoffelees jumped when he heard something crash to the ground.
"Mistoffelees!" Two ink splattered cats came around the corner, each looking enraged and exasperated. Mistoffelees gasped and ducked into an empty box. Melina fell to the ground, roaring with laughter.
"Misto! You got my mommy and daddy all inky," she laughed. A gray tabby name Munkustrap looked around.
"Misto! Where'd you go," he called, searching for the young magician. Jemima dutifully pointed at the box.
"He's in there," she tattled. Mistoffelees gave her a dirty look, then smiled pleadingly at Munkustrap.
"Hey, Munk. How are things," he asked nervously. The other cat, a pretty queen named Demeter, threw her arms up in the air.
"Well, it's not everyday that I get covered in ink," she snapped. Mistoffelees giggled nervously.
"Oh, yeah. That. Well, let me try to help," he offered. He waved his paws, but nothing happened. Demeter glanced down at her coat, then glared back at him.
"Uh, oh," he said as Demeter dove at him.
"You get this off of me!" She landed in the empty box with a thump. Startled, she looked around to realize that Mistoffelees had disappeared. Munkustrap covered a smile spreading across his face.
"We'll get you, magician," he called. A bell-like laugh sounded above his head. Startled, Munkustrap looked up, but of course no one was there.
"You'll have to catch me first," the bell voice laughed. Munkustrap shook his paw, pretending to be angry.
"We'll get you. Don't worry."
"I won't," Mistoffelees' voice laughed.
Demeter shook her head and stomped towards the water pipe. Mistoffelees could act like such a kitten sometimes, she thought. A returning Victoria frowned.
"Jeez, you, too?" she asked. Munkustrap and Demeter nodded and headed to the water pipe to clean up. Etcetera watched them leave, then looked above her.
"Misto? Come back out," she called.
"Why should I?" the detached voice asked. Jemima got to her feet.
"We need your help," she told him. Mistoffelees sneezed, sounding as if he were sitting next to Pouncival. The kitten jumped.
"With what?" Electra could hardly contain herself.
"We wanna go to the moon!" she shrieked.
"Really?" Mistoffelees materialized on top of his pipe. He was cleaning his front paw carefully. He pretended to not be very interested.
"Yeah," Melina confirmed. "You have to build us a spaceship!" Mistoffelees chuckled.
"I do?" The kittens nodded eagerly.
"Yeah," Sawyerberth, Pouncival's cousin, cried. Mistoffelees grinned evily and leaned forward.
"What'll you give me?" The kittens blinked, then organized themselves into a huddle. After a few moments they broke apart.
"We'll do your chores for a whole week and Pounce will let you borrow his lucky marble," Melina reported. Pouncival crossed his paws over his small chest, looking a little upset about it. Mistoffelees smiled.
"No, no. I'm just playing with you. I'll do it for nothing. You know that," he said. Pouncival grinned happily.
"Great!" The other kittens nodded enthusiastically, glad to be let off the hook. None of them wanted to do his chores. They leaned forward, awaiting directions. Mistoffelees thought a moment, then pointed to a pile of junk.
"If you want to go to the moon, you need to dress like it." Pouncival nodded solomly, then pulled a burlap sack over his head and squirmed around until it was over him like a dress. He tugged a piece of cord around his waist and set an old fish bowl on his head. He grinned.
"Like me! I'm an spacetronaut," he cried happily. Mistoffelees shook his head.
"No, an astronaut," he corrected. Pouncival glanced at him, confused.
"An astro... Oh, never mind." Mistoffelees turned to the other kittens.
"C'mon, hurry up."
The kittens pulled on various pieces of junk until they felt they were ready to go into space. Electra even pulled a broken pair of sunglasses over her eyes. Mistoffelees raised his arms in the air. The kittens turned to him, silencing each other.
"OK. Now close your eyes and don't open them until I say so." Pouncival wrinkled his nose.
"Aren't we going to build a spaceship first?" he asked. Mistoffelees shook his head.
"We don't need one."
"Well, why do we have to shut our eyes?"
"Because I said so. Now, c'mon. I can't do it if you won't listen to me." The kittens snapped their eyes shut.
Mistoffelees waved his paws and transported the whole lot of them to an alley which he was sure none of them had ever seen before. Quickly, he transformed, at least in the eyes of the kittens, garbage cans into rocks and made the alley walls glitter with stars.
"Presto! The moon!" Etcetera's eyes flew open. She squealed in delighted and clapped her paws.
"We're on the moon," she shrieked, shaking Electra's arm.
The kittens quickly spread out to explore the "moon". A cream colored kitten with a gray "V" on her forehead sat down next Mistoffelees, observing the others. She noticed with disgust that Pouncival and Sawyerberth had begun to dine on garbage from behind the "rocks", calling it "moon cheese".
Suddenly, she jumped and crawled into Mistoffelees' lap. He looked down at her in surprise and noticed the way her body was tembling. Her bright blue eyes glanced nervously around the alley.
"What's that," she whispered.
Her name was Musidora and was Mistoffelees' dance student. He knew that she was also, by far, the shyest and quietest kitten. She would only talk in the presence of Mistoffelees, her parents, and one other kitten. That other kitten was Mistoffelees' magical apprentice, the black kitten named Inglebert. At that moment, that very kitten swallowed and crept closer to the magician. He looked as though he wanted to be in his lap as well.
"That looks like a Pollicle. A mean one," he whispered nervously.
Mistoffelees followed their gaze to see a giant, black Pollicle stalking towards them. It didn't seem to notice them yet. However, he knew that he couldn't round up the other kittens without alerting the Pollicle to their presence. Musidora clutched him tightly around the waist with her arms.
"Misto?" she asked, nearing tears. "What are we going to do?" Mistoffelees shrugged helplessly.
"I don't know," he whispered. Inglebert looked at him, surprised.
"Use magic," he said. Mistoffelees looked down at his paws.
"I don't know if I can. I think I used too much magic transporting us here. I don't know if I can get all the kittens back," he said.
Inglebert looked at his teacher in disbelief. Hadn't Mistoffelees always stressed never to overuse one's magic? He had scolded Inglebert badly one day after the kitten had used up his own magic reserves on a game of hide and seek. Abruptly, he got an idea.
"Why don't I try to help?" the kitten asked. Mistoffelees looked up.
"We could combine our powers and send back everyone, but us. We could go back without magic," he suggested. Mistoffelees didn't particuarily like the idea, but the approaching Pollicle gave him no choice.
"All right," he replied reluctantly. He felt Musidora's arms tighten around his waist.
"I want to stay with you," she whimpered. Mistoffelees started to argue, but suddenly could hear the Pollicle growling. The kittens could, too, by the looks of it.
"OK, OK. Count of three, then run." Musidora nodded and wiped her cheek with her paw.
"OK. One," she said softly.
"Three! RUN!" Mistoffelees cried and the other kittens disappeared. The three remaining cats ran madly, the Pollicle barking furiously behind them. Musidora stumbled, but Inglebert garbbed her by the paw and tugged her along.
Out of the shadows in front of them, three more Pollicles emerged. The cats stopped running, gasping for air and looking around at the dogs in horror. Musidora pressed against her teacher, frightened gasps escaping from her mouth. Mistoffelees put his arm around her waist and pulled her and Inglebert close to his sides, hoping he could protect them. The largest Pollicle growled and stepped forward.
"Are you Mistoffelees?" Musidora looked up through her tears at the magician. She whimpered when she saw his face. A look of fear had replaced his cool, aloof one.
"Who wants to know," he asked, trying to sound brave. The Pollicle moved forward, backing them against a wall. Inglebert clutched Mistofflees' waist tightly and whimpered.
"Somebody. Are you?" Mistoffelees nodded slowly.
"Yes," he said softly.
"Well, I have only one thing to say to you." The kittens began to whimper louder, convinced they were going to die.
"Don't kill me," Musidora sobbed, turning her face into Mistofflees's chest. The Pollice growled again. Frightened, Mistoffelees shut his eyes and pulled the kittens in closer.
"Wha- what?" He could feel the dog's hot breath on his face.
Mistoffelees eyes popped open. Inglebert stopped whimpering and ducked a bit further behind his teacher.
"What?" he asked. The Pollicle grinned.
"Gottcha." From behind the dog, he could see several Jellicles moving out of the shadows. Mistoffelees could see them, too, and loosened his grip on the kittens. Musidora turned her face towards the Jellicles, a look of disbelief on her pretty face.
"What the-" Mistoffelees started to yell, but was cut short by a laughing Munkustrap.
"Should've seen the look on your face," he said.
Mistoffelees blushed furiously. He didn't know how to feel about this. He quickly decided on embarrassment when he saw a clean, beautiful Victoria saunter up beside the tabby. She blew Mistoffelees a kiss.
"Yeah, Misto. Gottcha!"
That set the Jellicles into a laughing fit. Mistoffelees could see Bombalurina and the Rum Tum Tugger, or Tugger as he liked to be called, holding each other up, they were laughing so hard. Even Skimbleshanks, Jennyanydots, and Jellylorum were laughing. After a minute or two, Munkustrap caught his breath. He nodded at the Pollicle.
"Hey, thanks, Killer," he said. The Pollicle grinned and wagged his tail.
"No problem. Any time you need to show a cat that's too full of himself a thing or two, give me a call," he said, although he wasn't looking at Mistoffelees. To the magician's amusement, the dog was watching Tugger. Then he and the other Pollicles walked off. Mistoffelees smiled sheppishly.
"OK, you got me. Does this make us even?" Munkustrap shrugged, then nodded.
"Sure." Mistoffelees breathed a sigh of relie. Then he tensed and glanced around the alley.
"Where are the other kittens?" The other Jellicles' smiles dropped off their faces.
"The kittens?! I thought you had them!" Munkustrap shouted. The two toms stared at each other in horror. Inglebert gasped and tightened his grip around Mistoffelees' waist.
"Gottcha again," a perky, young voice called from the garbage cans. The yellow furred head of Melina popped up, quickly followed by Etcetera, Electra, and Pouncival. The other kittens were scattered about the alley and they climbed out of boxs and cans.
"We were hiding!" Pouncival danced out, thrilled by their prank. Mistoffelees noticed that Munkustrap had a small grin on his face, showing that the tabby cat had had something to do with this too.
"Well, is Gang-Up-On-Misto-Day quite done," he snapped. Tugger laughed and stepped forward.
"Sure it is, buddy." Munkustrap laughed again and patted Mistoffelees' shoulder.
"Yep. Maybe next time you'll learn to make real invisible ink or least how to clean it up," he laughed.
Not really believing that they were done with their pranks, Mistoffelees scowled and released the kittens. He stalked off to his pipe to construct a spell to use if anyone else decided it would be funny to play another prank on him. He still couldn't belive a bunch of kittens had played a prank on him.
Inglebert cast a dirty look at the other Jellicles and scampered off after his teacher. Musidora wiped her nose and slid over to her father and mother, a playful tom named Mungojerrie and a sleek dark brown queen named Nyx. He hugged her, grinning at the joke that they had played. His sister and Musidora's aunt, Rumpelteazer, rumpled the kitten's fur on the top her head.
"Good trick, eh, 'Errie?" The tom grinned wider and the Jellicles began to walk back to the junkyard.
Jemima turned her face to the moon as they headed back. Jennyanydots had her arm around the kitten's shoulder and the other one around Chandra's. Jemima yawned, then smiled happily at her friend.
"That was fun," she said. Chandra nodded in agreement, then frowned thoughtfully.
"Yeah, but you think we'll ever get up to the moon?" she asked. Pouncival slung his arm around her waist and smiled at her in a very silly fashion.
"Yeah," he giggled. "And all we'll eat up there is cheese."