By Rachel H Grant
Billy and Teddy lay side by side in the winter sun, central heating cheer in their bones and Christmas mirth in their purrs.
“Time to wake up!”
Billy rolled over. Not again.
“Yes, it is me, Ambrose! I have a new mission for you.” The large ginger cat scratched the floor to accentuate his words.
“But it’s Christmas!” moaned Teddy. “A time for games and fun, not for serious missions and what’s that word you love, destiny!”
“Your destiny has found you!” declared Ambrose sternly. “But not to worry, this is a fun, a Christmas mission! Not too many miles down the road is the very very special village of Mormond. It is a village of good Christian people, however with the highest rate of illness in the region! They need some good Christmas vibes. They have erected a large Christmas Tree in their award winning village park. You need to go there and rub round it, not difficult for you at all but the effects of your feline healing energy emitting from the tree will benefit all the villagers.”
“Healing energy? Us?”
“Do not underestimate the powers we have given you! It is a cat’s mission to save the earth. How many times do I have to say this before you will take me seriously? But today, I am only asking you to save the village of Mormond.”
Billy yawned dramatically. “I suppose we can fit this in before tea time.”
“No,” proclaimed Ambrose. “You must go at night, when few people are around. The last thing we want is a good citizen seeing you and catching you as a stray! It’s the kind of village where anything –or any cat – unusual is noticed.”
“Very well then. We will continue with our nap for now!”
Ambrose returned at 11pm, or – in cat speak – the time of day when owners are in bed but there is still some food in the dish.
“Get in the time capsule! Of course, this time you are not travelling in time, it is simply a flying machine today.”
Billy and Teddy arrived in the park, frosty air filling their lungs as a gentle moonlight guided their way. The Christmas tree was so large it overshadowed the grass expanse around it. “The tree is ridiculously huge!” laughed Teddy. “They must really love Christmas trees here.”
“I guess the end of year budget was healthy,” agreed Billy. “Well, let’s do our magic and get out of here!”
So they rubbed around the tree. Then again. And yet again. “This is fun!” proclaimed Teddy. “I wish all our missions were this easy!”
“Is that enough?” wondered Billy.
“We’ve done as instructed. Now let’s get out of here!”
“Wait,” said Billy. “There are other parts to this park. Let’s explore. We can be tourists now our mission is complete.”
“And what an easy mission!” sighed Teddy. “Is Ambrose really serious? Heal the village through a Christmas tree? I suppose he knows best, Cat Elder that he is.”
So Billy and Teddy began to explore, visiting first the rose garden, then the rock garden with its many gnome figures (“Do these come alive at night I wonder?” mused Billy) and finally the children’s playground, where they ran up and down the slide in glee. “I don’t know about children, but this is certainly good for cats!” cried Teddy.
Then they returned to look at the Christmas tree one last time. To their surprise, it was surrounded by human size feline like animals, furry but erect, with tails yet two human legs, and the largest green eyes they had ever seen.
But they were preparing to carry off the Christmas tree.
“No!” screamed both Billy and Teddy in horror. “They can’t do that!”
They raced over. One of the strange animals turned. “It … it is them!” it stuttered.
Another of the beasts came towards them. “It is an honour to meet you, Billy and Teddy.”
“You … you know us?”
“We have followed your stories and your missions across time. We are the Mutalians from the planet Tango. We have some very dilute feline blood in our genetics, an experiment from millennia ago which went wrong. But enough of that. Suffice it to say, we have a connection to Earth cats, and we have particularly been watching you, Billy and Teddy. Your adventures are legends on our planet. Of course, this is the first but possibly not the last time that we will interfere. A Christmas tree with your healing energy! I’m afraid we could not resist. It is coming with us!”
“But you can’t do that!” hissed Billy. “The tree is meant for this village!”
“Perhaps there is a solution,” pronounced Teddy. “Why not find another Christmas tree and we will simply rub around it too? Then you have your tree, and so does the village of Mormond!”
“Well said! Well said! I can see why you two are heroes. Will you wait here while we find a Christmas tree? Our space shuttle is also a time capsule so we will literally be one minute.”
So that is what they did. Billy and Teddy had great fun rubbing around yet another Christmas tree.
“You don’t know how very grateful we are. This tree, it is going to a children’s hospital on our planet. Until the next time, Billy and Teddy! There is a future mission of yours we are keen to witness! We will see you then!”
“Spoilers! You will discover one day.”
And they were gone. “Well,” said Billy, “that did not go as smoothly as we expected!”
“It’s hard to believe creatures on another planet have heard of us,” agreed Teddy.
But it was time to return home. Christmas Day awaited, with turkey and lots of naps on their parents’ knees. Pure bliss. Time to forget, yet again, that they were heroes. Time to be normal cats.
But for how long? They asked Ambrose when they would see him again. His eyes twinkled. “Perhaps in a week or two.” Then he was gone.
Christmas morning dawned, as a wave of healing love engulfed the village of Mormond. Its citizens enjoyed a Christmas like no other, with peace and good cheer reigning high.
Billy and Teddy gazed out their window as the first snowflakes fell. It was a white Christmas. As they chased snowflakes, far away in another galaxy, children awoke in hospital to a feeling of love, aches and pains forgotten. It was time to enjoy Christmas, as they circled the grand Christmas tree and opened their presents, delight dancing in their eyes and hope stirring in their hearts.
And just for one day, all across the cosmos, Christmas peace touched every heart. It was a Christmas to remember. But for Billy and Teddy, it was just another adventure to forget. Until the next one.