Demeter had loved someone once. She remembered it as if it were yesterday, the first few weeks in her world came drifting back...
She was abandoned at a few weeks old in a bin, and left to rot. By some miracle a Pollicle had heard her frightened tired mews and had tipped the bin to look for the tidbit of food. The little kitten had run for cover, into a open doorway. And there was another cat there. She sensed it. He was calico, and larger than her. Then footsteps were heard and the door banged shut behind her. Someone picked her up, cooing:
"Oh what a darling!"
"Such large eyes!"
"Must be a stray or something."
She cuddled up into the warmth of the person holding her and mewed pitifully.
"Oh poor little thing. Look after her Munja, and I'll get her something to eat."
She found herself on a blanket on the floor being fed by a bottle. She suckled on it weakly, and tasted milk....not mother's, but it would do...
Those were happy days. She was named Demeter by the eldest child, who happened to be studying Greek Mythology at school. Surrounded by food, warmth, and love, Demeter quickly outgrew the bottle, and moved steadily onto solid food. She couldnt remember a day when she didnt gobble her food down.
As she approached a year old, she became more aware of her surroundings. The kind woman who fed her every day, the children of the house, the husband who came in late, and petted her head once in the morning before leaving the house.
She took over the basket, and the other cat of the house slept in the kitchen.
One morning she would never forget was the morning she didnt bother to gobble her food. She felt relaxed at last. She purred at the woman who fed her, who cooed over her yet again, and settled down to nibble at the bowlful of meat chunks, thinking.
She arched her back to stretch halfway through her meal, when the calico approached her from the kitchen doorway. Demeter stopped mid-stretch and looked at him. The calico sat and looked at her - no, he stared.
Then he pounced at her, and frightened Demeter squealed and scratched and struggled as he tried in vain to mount her.
Her squealing caught the attention of the woman of the house, who rushed immediately to her aid, and dragged the male cat roughly from the queen.
No longer feeling safe, Demeter was out of the door like a shot. The tom had not entered her, but she still ran, like he was pursuing her. She just wanted to hide.
Demeter opened her tightly shut eyes. Oh God...she'd hated remembering that. She closed her eyes again and continued to remember her past life, scooting back into the darkness of the bushes, where no one could find her.
One day, as Demeter lay there in a alleyway, tired, hungry, and a former vision of herself, a familiar figure strolled by. Demeter caught the familiar scent too, and looked up. That was when she saw the male calico turning the next corner.
"Munja!" She got up, but he didnt turn, so she raced after him.
In her haste, running to catch up, Demeter didn't see the oil patch from the nearby oil tanker lorry that had spilled on the pavement, and she lost her footing.
She slid along the street, past the surprised calico, who turned to look at her as she fell off the kerb and landed in the gutter.
A little black with tar, Demeter picked herself out of the gutter, and looked at the calico, who stared at her.
"'ey Doll," he eyed her, "O 'now y'u from somew'ere."
Demeter nodded. "Yeah, from when you were young. You tried to...." She looked away, caught up in the memory she really didn't want to have. "I came running after you, and I slipped," She looked back to where she'd run from. "You didnt answer."
He stares at her, and she fights for breath. Then he speaks.
"Yeoah, I rem'mber ya," He nods, his rich Cockney accent sending shivers down her spine as he helps her up.
"Where were you headed," she asks, as they pace down the street, side by side, occasionally bumping against each other. She feels her face flush, but his registers nothing.
"The Junk'ard? I mean, whats the Junkyard?"
"Its a place where all the strays hang out and live. Some of us have homes, like me, but most of us live there." Munja winked at her.
They continue talking about small things, such as the weather, the price of catnip, and so on, when they reach the Junkyard entrance.
Munja hung back in the shadows, pulling Demeter with him.
"Listen doll, I gots somet'ing ta tell ya."
"My nome's not Munja. It be Mungojerrie," he points to himself proudly. "I never answer to my human given name outside the house. Tha's why I ne'er answered ya." "I work for this 'eally evil 'ough outta o' 'own cat. His nome's Macavity. I can't go in da Junkyard, the Jellicles wont let me in. Go it alone doll." He finishes the long sentence, and kisses her cheek.
"I'll be waiting and watching in the shadows for ya," he whispers, and slinks into the darkness.
Staring after him, chewing on her lip, Demeter turned to the Junkyard entrance and taking a deep breath, entered the Junkyard for the first time.
She trembled, peeking out from the bushes. Demeter was alone. The others had left to go back to the Junkyard. Crawling from the bushes, she started to make her way back there herself, and as she walked, she lost herself in her memories again...
The silver tabby never missed much in the junkyard. The vantage point from the tyre was a good one. Tonight his eye was caught in particular by the black-gold queen on the other side of the yard. She had to be a outsider because she wasn't with any other cat, and besides, he knew all the cats in the junkyard.
He decided to leave his spot, just for a moment, and went over to talk to her.
She looked at him, beautiful large scared eyes unblinking.
"Are you okay?" He asked her.
She just stared at the silver tabby, her eyes filling with tears.
"You sure?" He asked her, seeing the tears. She nodded.
"Can you talk?" She nodded again, and he gave a slight grin.
"Come on," he offered her his paw, but she still stood there, cowering in the half light, looking at him.
"It's alright," he coaxed her. "I just want to take you somewhere safe so we can get you cleaned up."
She looked at his paw hesitantly.
"Please?" He looked straight into her eyes, and a flicker of something passed through him as she put her reddish paw into his strong black one.
He took her over to the highest junkpile and led her up, helping her as she scrambled. He sat her on a old table, and then with a whisper of, "Wait here,"
She looked after him, wishing she wasn't all alone in this strange place.
The huge bright moon shone down on her like a spotlight, and she mewed, pawing at the air as if she could touch it.
He returned sometime later with a tall red queen, who sat down beside the black-gold kitten.
"Hi there. Who might you be?" asked the queen.
Big scared eyes looked at this queen.
The silver tabby dropped to his knees beside the red queen, and reached out one paw to the newcomer, who mewed and backed down, baring her teeth a little.
The silver tabby looked surprised, and the red queen looked at the kitten.
"I think she might be scared of you Munk," the red queen said delicately to the tom, who looked at them both.
"How come?" he asked.
"My guess is a tom. You know. They don't treat kits right these days. She's protecting herself."
They both looked at the kitten, who was by now backed right up at the edge of the table she was sitting on.
"You go." The red queen nudged the tabby, who got up. "Leave her to me, she'll be fine."
"Okay." He stretched out a paw to pat the kitten, thought better of it, and turned to leave, peeping over his shoulder once.
The kitten stared after his retreating form. Then caught the red queen looking at her.
"So kit, how about a little vocal exercise?" the queen asked.
But all it elicited was the scared eyes again.
"Okay...okay....first things first. My name is Bombalurina. Which is a bit of a mouthful," added the red queen. "You can call me Bomba. Everyone round here does."
"Now," she continued, grooming her cheek fur. "What might YOUR name be?"
Still with her tense shoulders hunched, the kitten said, "Demeter."
"That's a pretty name. Who gave it to you?"
"The humans who used to look after me."
"Used to?" Bomba looked up.
"Yeah...I.....they....had a tom....I was eating....he tried to..." Demeter closed her eyes and a involuntary sob rose in her throat, but she swallowed it.
"Oh, tell me about it." Bomba's voice grew indignant. "Some of them are like that."
"But," she looked round at the silver tabby on the other side of the junkyard now, "you don't have to afraid of Munkustrap, the silver tom. He's our protector and leader. He's nice, kind, and..." she winked slightly at Demeter, ".....a little bit more, if you get my drift."
Demeter raised a small smile.
Bomba then glanced over her shoulder, looking round as if someone would be listening to her. Then she leaned towards Demeter.
"There is one cat you NEVER get mixed up with."
"The one called Macavity."
"Macavity?" Demeter thought about what Munja -Mungojerrie - had told her.
"Yeah. The worst of his kind. Of any kind. He's a villain, a rough out of towner." Bomba sighed. "I had the misfortune to get mixed up with him once."
"How?" Demeter's eyes were wide with curiousity.
"I don't know how. These things happen. But I had another misfortune," Bomba patted her tummy.
"Wow. You got kittens?"
"You learn fast," Bomba smiled. "Yeah. I did." She went into a dreamy eyed state.
"Only one. Guess he wasn't all he said he was."
"How do you mean?"
"I'll tell you someday. I don't think you're quite old enough for that discussion yet."
Bomba looked closely at Demeter.
"Say, how old are you?"
"I don't know."
"Hmm....." Bomba cocked her head on the side. "I'd say you're round about a year old."
"I guess." Demeter looked back at her. "What about you?"
"What about me?"
"How old are you?"
"I don't know," Bomba winked, "One, two, three years old? I don't keep track."
She looked at Demeter again, and this time her eyes widened.
"Gee kit, is that your normal colouring?"
Demeter looked down at herself, and saw all the oil marks on her normally spotless fur.
"I guess not," she grinned.
"Come on. You can't wash that off with your tongue. I've got a rainwater puddle over here that I drink from when I need it. You can use it to wash with." Bomba pointed.
"But I don't like water."
"You want to look nice?"
"Thought so. Come on."
About two hours later, Demeter had all the tar off her fur, and looked radiant. She had groomed every single piece of fur back into place, and her eyes sparkled, her tail swishing. Bombalurina proved to be a good hunter, and had caught and killed two large rats with a clever swipe of her claws.
Demeter sat munching her food, drinking from another puddle of rainwater, and feeling the most content she had done in ages.
Bomba reappeared as she was finishing her meal, and smiled at her.
"All ready to go kit?" She asked almost affectionately.
"Where we off to?" Demeter swallowed the last of the rat, and looked up.
"The tyre. You've got to go through the initiation ceremony so you can become a Jellicle. Part of the tribe."
Demeter didn't argue. She didn't know why.
"Munkustrap will do the ceremony. Old Deuteronomy's not feeling too good today."
"Who's Old Deut...Deuteronomy?" Demeter struggled with the name a little.
"He's our leader, the one Munkustrap's going to take over from."
By this time, they had started walking, and had approached the middle of the junkyard. And of course, a new cat never goes un-noticed.
"Who's this Bomba?" asked a black and white cat. He stared at them, and Demeter stared back, looking at the patch over his eye.
"Wait for the announcement," Bomba hissed at him, and pushed past him, Demeter following.
The crowd moved with the two queens, and Demeter found herself on the edge of the crowd, with a little white and striped queen bouncing alongside her.
"Hi," mewed the queen, who wasn't more than a kitten. "I'm Etcettreeer!" (pronounced Et-cet-tree-er. Etcetera's kittenish way of saying her name) She giggled.
"I'm Demeter," whispered back Demeter, and the kitten grinned and nuzzled her.
"K! I like you! Bye!" she bounced off, over towards a female calico, who ruffled her ears, and looked at the group. Demeter looked back at her. Something about the calico there reminded her of...
She found herself being swept upwards onto the tyre, and forgot her thoughts, as the red queen continued to push forward through the crowd of cats.
Munkustrap looked round as the cats began to assemble themselves. From his vantage point, even higher up on top of the old chair that served as a look out point across the junkyard, he could see the cats assembling quietly, and two figures making their way up towards the tyre.
He jumped down from the chair, and went to make the announcement. The final jump from the high junkpile was a long one, so he landed on the tyre with a bit of a bump, and both queens jumped. Then he saw the liitle black-gold queen's face change from surprise and fear to joy.
He smiled at her, and to his ultimate surprise, she smiled back at him! He glanced at Bomba, who nodded at him, and turned back to the new queen.
"Hi," he greeted her. "Feeling better now?"
"Yes thank you...." she said liltingly, and he gazed at her. What a voice. It nearly turned his knees to jelly.
Demeter turned to Bomba, who nodded at the new queen as well. Just as Munkustrap left the tyre to do a check of the area, he heard her say,
"......Munkustrap." And his heart fluttered....
Munkustrap came back and went up onto the rubber tyre again later, and Bombalurina slipped down to sit on a old mattress, so she was out of the way of the ceremony, but also so she was there as support for the new queen.
She looked out across at the other cats. All the kittens, white and striped Etcetera, red/black tabbies Electra and Jemima, the completely white queen Victoria, and Pouncival, brown and white like his brother Tumblebrutus were there.
Then there was Mistoffelees the little tux cat, sleek Cassandra, the old Gumbie cat, Jennyanydots, and finally the whitish furred Jellylorum with the ginger tom Skimbleshanks.
No one else seemed to have turned up.....oh wait, Bomba thought, noticing Coricopat and Tantomile slinking out of the dark and towards Munkustrap and Demeter on the tyre.
Demeter watched the two black and white cats come up and hand something to Munkustrap, who thanked them, and watched them go down into the crowd of Jellicles.
Demeter's eye roamed the Junkyard, looking at all the cats, a little scared. She looked into the darkness, so she wouldn't feel so scared of the other cats.
At the back of the Junkyard, she made out a black and white cat....with that calico....Wait a second. Her eyes fixed on the scene. Wow. They were close....
She broke away from where she was looking, as Munkustrap held out the something he had received from the two black and white cats.
She took it, and stared at it. It was a little yellow marble, with pink and blue hints glinting from it.
"What's this?" She asked a little indignantly. She looked at Munkustrap.
"It's a marble."
"What?!?" She glared at him.
"It helps to unlock your power. If you have a special power, you will belong to the Jellicles."
Demeter looked at the marble. "Well, what do I do with it?"
"Don't tempt me!" someone yelled from the crowd, and Demeter's eyes flashed angrily as she looked up. Munkustrap gave a haughty glance into the audience, and whispered,
"Do whatever feels right."
"What, like shoving it up your nose?" Demeter thought. But instead, she rubbed at the marble.
"It's pretty dirty," she remarked, holding it up to the light and rubbing it a bit.
"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" came a yell from the crowd instantly.
Demeter and Munkustrap, not to mention the several others around the tyre, all looked to see the panic.
A little black and white tux cat in the middle of the crowd was lying on his back, paws over his eyes.
"What's the matter?" Munkustrap called down, and Demeter lowered the marble from the air, and put it in her lap.
The cat sat up. "Nothing." He rubbed his eyes.
"Okay." All attention turned back to Demeter on the tyre, who held the marble up again, and rubbed at it.
"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! STOPPIT!!!!!!" The tux cat rolled about on the floor again, and the kittens giggled, thinking he was doing it on purpose to confuse the newcomer and get noticed by her.
"Mistoffelees!" Munkustrap nearly lost his temper. "What the heck is going on?"
Demeter lowered the ball, and Misto sat up again.
"Geez, how should I know?" he yelled back at the silver tabby angrily.
Demeter looked down at Bomba, shrugged, then held the ball back up to the light and rubbed yet again at it.
"WAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! NO PLEASEEEEEEEEEEE DON'T DOOOOOO THATTTTTTT!!!!!!!" The black and white cat rolled about in agony, clutching at his face.
Demeter lowered the ball. "What's his name Munkustrap?" she asked quietly.
"That? That's Mistoffelees."
Demeter nodded, and called down, "Mistoffelees, what keeps happening?"
The reaction to her voice calling down was instant....she had a voice like a tinkling of small golden bells. All the toms turned to stare at the beautiful gold-black queen, and she blushed under their gazes.
Misto called up to her, "I keep getting a white bright flash in my eyes, in my brain and it stings my eyes too."
Munkustrap listened to Misto's words, and turned to the two black and white cats.
"Is this meant to happen?"
"No," called back the queen. "She has a very special power."
The air was electric.
"She has the power of foresight, to see and know when evil lurks." called the tom.
"Isn't that normal in most cats?" Munkustrap called down.
"Yes, but only a very minute sense is apparant. Hers is so strong she can connect with Mistoffelees, who has that power too, but not so great."
"Wow!" commented a black and red tabby, staring at the new queen.
"You have the power always inside you now, new one," the queen and tom stood up, and slunk up through the debris, relieving the marble from the queen, to a relieved sigh from Mistoffelees.
"You are one of us," the black and white queen told the newcomer, who smiled shyly.
"Use your power while fresh," the black and white tom added, and then slunk back down the junkpile with his queen.
Demeter glanced at Bomba, then at Munkustrap, who both nodded at her.
She closed her eyes, concentrated, and saw instantly a little gold ball, which flashed a bright image into her head, swirls of light exploding in her head.
She clutched her head as the power began to take control of her, and felt someone's paws on her shoulders, and a deep voice saying, "Demeter?"
She opened her eyes, and Munkustrap was there next to her, holding her body into his. She shivered, and spoke.
"I sense something evil. I sense..."
The air bristled at her words, and Munkustrap backed away a bit.
"It's not good," she whispered to Munkustrap. "It's a ginger tom."
He gazed into her eyes, and took her paw.
"Macavity," he whispered back, and Demeter's eyes widened.
She still felt the power within her now. At times it would be strong. Last year at the ball, she had sensed Macavity a number of times, but the Jellicles failed to respond enough. They just sat about and swished their tails, and mumbled about her. She could hear it with her paranoia, floating on the breeze. She shivered, and sat outside the Junkyard entrance. There was a scene here too, she remembered, drifting back...
"That was quite a remarkable spectacle as I hear, young Demeter," Old Deuteronomy said from the church wall.
"Really?" The queen looked up at this old cat, who must have been close on to double figures in age.
"Oh yes. In fact, one of the most significant and thrilling events in Jellicle history." Old Deut smiled kindly down at her. "You must be careful with the power. Mistoffelees can use his whenever he wants, but he has learned to deal with it. You must do the same."
He looked up at the silver tom lurking at the end of the street impatiently.
"You and Munkustrap, you go now. I'll have my sleep and return to the Junkyard tonight."
"Yes, Old...Deuteronomy.." Demeter managed the name, smiled, and raced down the street towards Munkustrap.
"Goodbye, little one," Old Deut. smiled after her, mumbling to himself. Then he curled up, face on paws, and fell asleep.
"What did Old Deuteronomy say to you?" Munkustrap asked the young queen trotting at his side.
"He just talked to me about my power, and stuff like that. That was all." She replied.
Munkustrap felt proud of her. She knew how to keep herself to herself. But that would change, he hoped. He saw some other toms across the way staring at him with the pretty queen. They were not Jellicles. You could tell from the way they walked, slumped and miserable. Munkustrap held his head high, walked tall. Demeter would be safe with him. They would just have to be jealous. Mind you, they could come near, he could fight them off in no time, make Demeter see his power, make her....
"Munkustrap...!" Demeter's scared voice came to him. "What is....that?"
"What's what.........oh!" Munkustrap's head snapped up. They were literally 300 yards from the Junkyard, and something had wandered in front of them while Munkustrap had been thinking about Demeter.
He hissed. "It's a Pollicle," he unsheathed his claws, staring at the brown monster.
Demeter gave a small shriek and cowered behind the silver tom, huddling for safety.
She peeked from between Munkustrap's legs, and suddenly there were two other cats there. One was the black and white cat that Demeter had taken notice of yesterday, and the other was.....
"What are you doing here?" she heard the black and white cat hiss, and the other spoke up.
"I'om 'ere ta do t'e same as yo'iu, rescuin' the Doill," he drawled.
"Back off," Munkustrap snarled, keeping one eye on the Pollicle and the other on the calico cat.
"Munkustrap," Demeter tugged at his tail, "Leave Mungojerrie be," she begged.
"You know him?" The black and white cat's face was incredulous.
"Yes...I...." Demeter began. "Oops, not good," she thought, seeing the toms staring.
"How?" Munkustrap diverted his attention to the queen, and the Pollicle took his chance, leaping forward to attack the Jellicle cat.
But in a split second something else was there as well, knocking Munkustrap over, nearly landing on top of Demeter, who squealed and ran behind a bush for safety. The calico had reacted immediately to the Pollicle, and had jumped forward
to protect the silver tabby who was looking after the queen so well.
There came a ear splitting howl from the huge Pollicle, who slumped to the floor, clutching it's torso and legs. As Mungojerrie had leapt forward, he had unsheathed his claws, and going across the front of Munkustrap, had managed to gorge a huge chunk out of the Pollicle for good measure.
The black and white cat pushed at the dog, and it whined, collapsing in a heap, blood seeping from its huge gaping wound. Muttering, the black and white cat joined the others, Demeter now creeping from behind the bush.
Munkustrap sat down shaking with Alonzo, expecting Demeter to come to him, to go to the Junkyard, to be safe from Pollicles.....but she didn't come. To his horror, Munkustrap found himself turning round....and there she was, licking and tending to Mungojerrie's wounds!
"Demeter?" he called, but she didn't respond to him, just kept on tending. Fuming, he got up, and padded over.
"Demeter?" she heard him say, and ignored him.
"Demeter?" muttered Mungojerrie. She'd been with him five minutes, licking at the cut on the face he'd recieved from the rock he'd fallen against.
"Mungo," she whispered back affectionately, and licked his nose.
"Mmm....noce s'and wet," he muttered again, and she smiled down at him.
He had a gash running down the side of the cheek too, she wondered where it came from. Maybe the Pollicle got him....it looked like a razor sharp claw mark.
"I know you are," she giggled at his words, and he opened his eyes.
"Wow," she thought. "I never noticed his eyes before."
"Deme?" He asked her, and she felt her heart flutter at the new nickname, "Take me....insode...."
She furrowed her brow. "Meaning?"
"Can y'u git me inta the Junk'ard?"
"I...." she began, but stopped as Munkustrap came up.
"Come on Demeter," he said, and tried to take her paw, but she wouldn't let him.
"Come on," Munkustrap said again, but she still wouldn't have it.
"What's happening to Mungojerrie?" she asked, trying to keep her voice steady.
"Oh, leave him for the Pollicles," she heard the other tom say behind her.
She instantly turned on him. "WHAT DID YOU SAY?" she hollered.
"Whoa.....Deme," came the gruff accented voice. "Calm dewn."
"I can't leave you," she whispered to the calico, going over to nuzzle him. A little surprised now, the calico purred, and nuzzled her back.
"You gos Doill. I'll just loy 'ere a whoil."
"No!" She stood her ground, turned round again, and glared at the toms.
"Are you going to take him in or not?"
Munkustrap turned to look at the black and white cat. "Oh well. Guess we better."
Demeter stared at him. Did he have a heart of stone? She wondered.....
Demeter's eyes fluttered open. Unknown to herself, while she had been reliving her past, she had closed her eyes to picture the scenes she remembered so well...she concentrated, pushing her power aside, trying to get at a deeper memory she had not relived at all...
Demeter wandered in behind Mungojerrie, who was flanked on either side by Munkustrap and the strange cat. She still had not asked his name, and didn't really care for him now. He seemed brash, ignorant, and she didn't warm to him at all.
The toms lay Mungojerrie on the far side of the yard, and she winced as he dropped awkwardly to the floor. Then the toms looked at each other, at Demeter, and left.
Munkustrap didn't even turn to glance at her, to ask if she was coming with them. He just walked away, head held high as normal, talking with the black and white tom.
Demeter pursed her lips. Fine, let him be like that then. She'd show him. She walked over to Mungojerrie, who saw her coming, and purred a little at her when she touched his paw with her own.
"Loive ya Doill," he whispered, as she licked the razor like cut down his face.
"What?" She drew back a bit and looked at his eyes, feeling faint.
"I saoid, O loive ya...Doill," he took her paw properly, and she stared. He raised her paw to his lips and kissed it.
Demeter dropped her gaze. "No," she whispered to herself, "He can't love me. No one does..." Her thoughts went to Munkustrap, how he walked away from her.
Then down to Mungojerrie.
"I can't love you Mungojerrie," she whispered to him. "I just can't, I'm sorry...."
"Woy not?" he asked, and his voice sent shivers down her spine. "Woy?"
"See? You're runnin' from me ain't ya?"
"Come here," he whispered to her, and drew her closer to him.
Demeter felt his lips press to hers....and then something contacted with the side of the head and she found herself lying on this floor.
Something hissed at her. It paced around her, still hissing, as Demeter lay there stunned. She blinked, trying to clear her head, but it wouldn't work. She closed her eyes as the ground spun under her, trying to get rid of the ache in her skull, her breathing getting heavier, and she moaned in pain.
"Tho' ya could steal 'im from ma, did ya?" a low voice snarled in her ear.
Demeter opened her eyes, still groggy, and thankfully the floor wasnt spinning anymore. The thing paced in front of her, and she looked up slightly, careful not to jar her aching head.
A calico queen stood in front of her. "Don't ya DARE touch ma mate," she hissed at Demeter, and Demeter cowered. 'Jerrie had a mate?
"That's roight honey, you stay there a whoil. Don't 'ome near us, ya 'ear?"
"No," Demeter whimpered, putting her paws over her head, and wishing the ground would open so she could fall in for a few hours until the calico had gone, and so her head would stop spinning.
Demeter shuddered....she didn't remember everything that happened that day. But Rumpleteazer didn't either. The two queens had slowly made up over the years, Demeter steering clear of Mungojerrie the whole time, and Rumpleteazer finally allowing Demeter to comfort her over Etcetera recently.
Demeter didn't remember what had happened to make Rumpleteazer forgive her so quickly. She was about two years old now, and a little older than Demeter, by a few months.
It was going to be a stretch on her memory bank then, to remember what came after Rumpleteazer and Mungojerrie were gone....
She awoke a few hours later, the ache in her head gone, the ground not spinning, everything alright...she touched her lips, remembering Jerrie's kiss...and tasted blood.
She looked at her paw in horror. It was covered with blood.
Mewing pitifully, Demeter scrambled to her feet, and made out to search for the red queen she loved....Munkustrap the silver tabby would not understand her now, she was sure...
"HEAVISIDES ABOVE!" Bomba yelled, jumping to her feet when Demeter appeared in front of her. She'd been peacefully talking to a lion maned cat, who eyed Demeter, and she eyed him back.
"Demeter?" Bomba looked at her, and Demeter realised she'd been staring.
"Sorry? What did you say?" she said, and Bomba sighed.
"Who did this to you?"
"Ummm.....I don't know...." Demeter dropped her head, and Bomba sighed again.
"Okay okay, come on, we'll clean you up again." She put one arm around Demeter's shoulders, and led her away.
"Look at you," Bomba said, cleaning Demeter's tail.
"Is it bad?" Demeter asked. Bomba stopped what she was doing, and face Demeter.
"Is it bad? Is it BAD?" She screeched, and Demeter's face registered shock.
"You've got blood all over you, and you think it isn't bad? Look, blood on your face, paws, gashes on your tail, on your body, geez Demi this is gonna take a while." Bomba went back to licking and preening Demeter, who just sat and watched.
"What do you say did it?" Demeter asked turning to watch the red queen.
"Claws, most likely," Bomba replied. She took Demeter's tail and showed her it. "See there," she pointed to a long gash in the fur, "that is a claw mark. Nothing else comes close."
"What about my body marks?"
"Some bruises," Bomba examined the queen's body, "and a couple claw gashes again. What surprises me is the amount of blood."
Demeter tried to wash her face to help Bomba out as she talked, but she hated the sight of her own blood, and lay down to whimper sadly.
She didn't remember Bomba leading her back to where the lion maned cat was, but she remembered sitting down with them to talk...
"Hey new one," the lion maned cat said to her, and she just eyed him. "I'm the Rum Tum Tugger, but you sweet thing, can call me Tugger," he reached out to touch her paw, but she flinched away, staring at the floor.
"Hey what's the matter with you?" He tried again, and she reacted the same way, moving herself away.
He went to get up, and she cowered again, then feeling her paws hitting the ground hard, her heart pounding, and hearing Bomba call after her, "Demi! Wait!" as she ran away.
Demeter stopped concentrating. Her mind didn't need to concentrate now. She remembered how last year she had rejected Tugger at the ball when he moved over to her and brushed against her. In fact, she had never had a tom. She rejected them all....and yet....and yet he was always there....watching her....making sure she came to no harm....responding to her calls...
She went to the centre of the Junkyard...knowing he would be there. She had loved someone once, yes, but he wasn't ever to be hers.
"Mungojerrie," she thought, "I will always love you.".
"Doll," she added to herself, with a smile.
She went up onto the junkpiles, seeing him staring up at the moon. The night was heavy over the junkyard, and she could see the cavelets the Jellicles occupied from her place near the tyre. Bomba was asleep in the cavelet nearest the tyre, her paw and face outside the cave. That was Munkustrap's cavelet, she knew that.
But the silver tabby was the one on the tyre tonight, and Demeter moved over beside him softly.
He jumped as she brushed softly against him, purring, and looked at her. She was still so beautiful. He remembered back when she used to brush against him when they first met, and the way she said his name, sending him to the Heaviside and back again. Now as he looked into her eyes, he saw contentment in her face. She nuzzled him more insistently, looking deep into his eyes, her gaze sweeping through his soul.
She no longer looked frightened of anything. The power was in her still, he knew that. But she used it but occasionally, and it always triggered when something bad was about to happen. She was the most precious possession to him, and he wanted to take care of her always.
"Munkustrap," she purred softly into his side, and his heart caught fire as her lips moved over his.
What was going on? he wondered, as she kissed him. Bombalurina always said Demeter was frightened of toms. Bomba had even insisted that something had happened between Mungojerrie and Demeter when Munkustrap and Alonzo had left her there alone, and Munkustrap was inclined to agree, and blamed himself.
He broke the kiss, and she looked up at him. But before the frightened look could pass over her face, he took her paw, and snuggled against her, purring.
"Not frightened anymore, young Demi?" he asked.
"No..." she whispered, hesitating.
"What's the matter?" He caught her eye and she looked at him.
"No, I'm not frightened, of anything....anymore..." she looked at him, and a confident glimmer shone in her eye.
"Why's that?" he asked, and she answered him.
"Last year....Macavity....I never thanked you for rescuing me when he was going to steal me. He wanted me for my power, so I could not save the Jellicles, so he could kill you all. He wanted to kill Old Deuteronomy too."
Munkustrap looked at her. "I never knew that. I thought he wanted to steal you from me, so he could have you for himself."
"Oh no, it was nothing like that....I mean, I know he said he loved me but I don't believe it after tonight...." Demeter stopped mid-sentence and looked at him. "What do you mean, steal me from you?"
"I...." Munkustrap looked away.
She was pressing her paws to his chest instantly, trying to look in his eyes. "What do you mean?" she repeated.
"I mean...I....love you," Munkustrap whispered to her, his breath tickling her earfur.
She gazed at him. "Why do you think I came up here tonight?"
"I give up," he shrugged, grinning at her. "You wanted a nice kiss?"
She swatted his shoulder playfully, "No silly. Because I love you as well. You're the only one who ever truly cared about me, and I nearly threw it away. You save me from every Macavity scare, you always listen, and you are always there. I never want to lose you Munkustrap." she finished softly.
"Oh Demeter.." Munkustrap took her in his arms and nuzzled her softly, affectionately. "Be my mate," he whispered gently. "I want you so much.."
"Oh Munk..." Demeter nearly cried with joy. "Of course I will."
At last. Demeter had gotten her one true love, and she never planned to lose him again.