Tessa’s Travels in Time

By Rachel H Grant


Tessa was born on a still spring night, in a time-tarred barn. Her first memory, at a week old, was of stars through a broken roof, pins of light in the night, a pin cushion of the gods. I want to go there, she thought feebly, away from these ugly siblings. I want to go to one of the lights, I want to be free.

Tessa’s first few weeks were spent sleeping in the hay, or exploring the field next to the barn. She cuddled with her feline family to keep warm at night, but avoided them in the day. She was different, and she knew it.

One day a strange cage appeared in the field, with tasty food inside. However it became the taste of freedom denied. Tessa was locked inside the cage, no way out. Frantic with the desire to escape these grey bars, Tessa gazed at the stars in the sky. Please help me.

The next day a lady abruptly arrived and seized the cage. Tessa hissed in alarm. She was placed in a strange vehicle which began to move. The day descended to the depths of a cat’s despair. Tessa meowed, willing the stars in the sky to reappear. Finally, the vehicle stopped. A huge building confronted her, as Tessa’s cage was seized once more. A fat middle-aged man surveyed them from the door.

“A black and white kitten! Just what the doctor ordered!” Tessa liked the man straight away, knowing that a new life awaited, several purrs ahead.

The man, Derek, adored her. She listened as he composed music, purring in accompaniment. He told her that he had never known inspiration as prolific until she entered his life. Of course, she did not understand his words, but she purred anyway. Somehow, she knew that she was helping him. And somehow, he knew that she was special. But he did not realise how special.


Tessa would paw at Derek’s feet when he did not pay attention to her for a while. He would chuckle, declaring, “This cat keeps me on my toes!” Tessa purred in reply. She began to feel that she was her owner’s protector, his health in her paws, his well-being in a flick of her whiskers. Sometimes she felt compelled to follow him around the house, just to make sure no harm came to him. It was almost as if … she was waiting for something to happen.

Then one night, she had a dream. In the morning, Tessa was not there, bed empty, food bowl untouched. Derek searched everywhere for her. But she never returned.

In Tessa’s dream, she saw a man – a different man, but somehow she knew it was Derek. He was in a room full of children, pointing at a large black board with white letters on it. But something bad was going to happen. She knew it. That was when she did it for the first time. The Jump.

One minute she was observing the man while she slept. The next second she was there, really there, in the classroom with the teacher. The schoolkids looked at her like they had never seen a cat before. But there was one boy she had her eye on. The dark energy emanated from him.

Tessa ran and bit his leg. In alarm, the boy dropped something from his hand. A knife.

“He was going to throw that at you Mr Castle!” one of the children shouted.

Mr Castle retrieved the knife, and flushed while a look of trepidation dimmed his eyes.

At the end of the school day, he carried Tessa home. She was very happy living with Mr Castle (Derek in different clothes) until … another dream.

She saw him. Derek with another face, with different clothes. He was lying in a ditch with other men, and somehow she knew that the ditch was called a trench. He was in mortal danger, she understood as her heart thudded hard at the thought. She jumped … and was there. By the man lying in the ditch, the man who was about to die. She howled hideously, her voice her only weapon. “This is no place for a cat!” he picked her up and began to walk. Behind him, artillery fire felled his colleagues. He looked back in shock, his frozen heart breaking through ice as tears formed in his eyes. His friends. He held the cat who had saved is life as if he would never let go.

But Tessa had other ideas. Her next mission was massaging her mind. She jumped from his arms … and back in time to 1597, to a witch being hunted for trial. It was Derek, dressed in women’s clothes and with a female smell, but Derek nonetheless. She was cowering in her tiny cottage as men broke down the door. Tessa knew she did not have much time to help. She didn’t know what witch trials were, but she knew this woman was in mortal danger. Tessa looked in her eyes and screamed with all the cat telepathy she could muster “HIDE!”

The woman disappeared with the grace of a cat. As the angry men entered, they looked around in alarm. “A cat! She’s turned herself in to a cat! She really is a witch!”

Tessa was violently grabbed. She hissed in anger and pain. Then used all her might to … do the special jump.

She found herself in a very strange place, with large windows looking out on stars. Ahead, a man spoke to a wide room full of people. It was Derek, in uniform and of course with a different body. But she would know him anywhere.

The man suddenly stopped speaking. He had noticed her.

“A cat!” he laughed. “We have a stowaway on the ship! I like it! A sign! When I first enrolled in space academy, I encountered a cat at the door of the school, a lucky black cat like a sign of good luck. I saw the cat again the day I graduated. Is this a sign? A validation of my intent to arrive in peace rather than taking a more hostile stance? Somehow I know it is.”

Tessa purred. She could feel it, destiny shifting beneath her paws. Whatever she came here to do, she had achieved it. But this place was strange. Time to jump again.

But she could not do it. The jump energy evaded her. She did not understand the concepts of time travel and reincarnation. But she knew she had a gift, and that the different people she had encountered had all been versions of the first Derek, her Derek. But the real Derek, the owner who had loved her so much, was many years and star systems behind her now. She could not return. The gift was gone, dimmed by the bright stars all around. This was her time now.

I am in the stars, she thought feebly, I am free. Only it no longer felt like freedom. Destiny’s paws had dealt an unkind blow. She was here forever. Time to enjoy herself, time to flirt with freedom, to taste just the one life as others knew it. It was time to be Tessa.

So she stared at the stars, and prayed for a freedom that could not come. Like a mouse in a huge field, you could chase it relentlessly, but it would forever evade capture. Some mice have luck; some cats have nine lives; some cats have dreams that never end.

Billy and Teddy Go to the Moon

By Rachel H Grant


Billy and Teddy’s Christmas Adventure

Billy and Teddy Tango with Taylor Swift

Billy and Teddy’s Most Excellent Art Gallery Adventure

Billy and Teddy’s Most Excellent Highland Adventure

Billy and Teddy’s Excellent Adventure

A Labrador’s Most Excellent Adventure

Billy and Teddy chased a butterfly across the garden. The sun stroked their backs like a proud mother cat.


Suddenly, a cloud of leaves spun between them like a hello from far-off autumn. A wind tousled the plants as a shape took form. It was the time capsule.

Regal ginger cat Ambrose emerged, eyes twinkling with feline secrets. “Billy and Teddy! I have a very important mission for you. It will be like no other!”

The sun lit stars in Billy’s eyes. “Another famous pop star to save?”

“No, this will be a real star, or to be more exact, the moon!”

“The moon?” repeated Teddy in confusion. “That white light in the sky at night? We can’t go there! It’s a long way away and looks very cold.”

“Yes, you are going there, but back in time! Men landed on the moon in 1969, as the world stood still in collective awe. But there is a plan afoot. Our feline cousins the Mutalians plan to sabotage the event, a vain attempt at establishing first human contact on international TV, watched the world over. They are complete show offs, and we won’t let it happen. Of course, I know feline history. Two earth cats save the day, yet again! Yes, Billy and Teddy, today you will become space travellers for the first time! Did I never tell you that the time capsule is also a spaceship?”

“Who … who are you Ambrose?” stuttered Billy. “Where do you come from, really, that you have all this technology?”

“One day we will have that talk. Not today. Today you need to prepare for the trip of your life! You’re going to the moon! The time capsule is already programmed for you, with two special cat suits for you to wear that will allow you to breathe on the moon, and so much classier than the human astronaut suits of 1969!”

“We met the Mutalians at Christmas,” stated Billy. “They said they would see us again.”

“Of course, they have access to the feline historic archives too. And they can time travel. But they are no friends of mine, I assure you!”

“They are friends of us.” Teddy arched his back in a huff.

“None of that!” admonished Ambrose. “If they are your friends you should enjoy seeing them again in these historic circumstances! Time awaits you, history is hissing at you! There is no time to lose!”

Billy and Teddy argued for a bit longer, but then resigned themselves to the fact that they were going to the moon. The moon! Them! Sometimes, they wondered what life would be like if they had never met Ambrose. The latter briefed them on the mission, eyes shining as though mini moons were inside.

So they travelled through time and space, to the moon in 1969.

It was superbly strange, looking down on Planet Earth beneath them. Then they entered the purple time tunnel, which ended just above the moon. They meowed in anxious anticipation. Space travellers, them! It was really happening. Time sucked in its breath, as in July 1969 Billy and Teddy landed on the moon.

The time capsule had been programmed to go to the far side of the moon, far from history’s favourite landing site.

Billy and Teddy nervously jumped from the capsule, missing its warmth immediately. Their space suits clung to them like a badly fitting collar. The light was dim, like a low wattage light bulb reflecting off the ground beneath them. Above stars accentuated the sky with a promise of other worlds … other life. Then Billy and Teddy saw them, their alien friends walking confidently towards them in similar spacesuits to their own.

They beheld in silence the large part feline, part human beings, upright on two legs with large green eyes that seemed to drink in their very souls.

“We knew you would come,” spoke the largest feline, finally. “We know what you do now. You are going to try to dissuade us from meeting with the first human Moon explorers? But why? What a wonderful experience for Planet Earth, the first Moon landing combined with their first alien contact! What could comprise a better combo?”

“Well, first of all we would be forever in your debt if you leave now!” pronounced Teddy. “Adventurers for hire!”

“But more importantly,” intoned Billy slowly, so glad that he could use telepathy as meowing would be impossible through his tight spacesuit, “now is not the time and place. The peoples of Earth are watching their TVs, these annoying things that keep our humans strangely amused. There will be mass panic if what they term as aliens appear! Mankind is not ready. Fear will be your outcome, not a happy hello. Let Earth enjoy its first man on the moon moment. Don’t ruin it.”

“But we have come so far, and are so keen to establish contact! We are half human, and have so much in common, yes with the humans of Earth but also with its felines! We wish to meet both, to help both. Our mission is benevolent.”

“So we have an alternate plan, or at least our Cat Elder Ambrose does. You time travel, right? You should fast forward to the year 2020, when something called a global pandemic is happening! Ambrose says this is why our humans are home all day! Not that we are complaining. No, that is when mankind needs a helping hand, when contact with a coronavirus cure will be most welcome!”

“A coronavirus cure? Let our top scientists work on that. They can go undercover in 2020 to obtain a viral sample. Then we can work on it in our labs and yes … with our more advanced science, a cure is possible.”

“So we are agreed? You will return to Earth in 2020?”

“You have our feline promise, as proud as the loudest purr.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the moon, Neil Armstrong placed a foot on its surface, stating with historic simplicity, “that’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” On the planet below, the cheering began.

History was to repeat itself in 2020, during the coronavirus crisis. “I’ve got a plan,” Ambrose had confided to Billy and Teddy when they returned and told him of the mission success, with the punchline: “The Mutalians are going to come for us one day, and take us on a tour of their planet.”

“Well, well, well, fraternising with fellow feline adventurers! They will be pleased with my plan. Downing Street cat Larry is a recruit of mine. I will ask him to telepathically relay an idea to Boris Johnson. One to pass on to his friend in the US!”

And so it came to pass, that President Trump decreed a day of remembrance of the 1969 moon landing, as a means of instilling national pride and resounding hope during the coronavirus crisis. The famous footage was broadcast on every news channel, as a national day of “socially distancing” celebration took place.

President Trump gave a rousing speech at the end of the footage. “One giant leap for mankind is still in our hearts, in our collective memory like a song that never stops. That is because the indomitable will and aspirations of the US peoples will never die; we are a nation of pioneers, inventors, geniuses and entrepreneurs. Greatness defines us, and no living memory sums up the American psyche better than the moon landing 50 years ago. We succeeded then, and we will vanquish new worlds today. Coronavirus will not defeat our great nation! It …”

A hush, edging on hysteria, struck the crowd. But they were not looking at President Trump.

“We have come in peace.” The words were intoned softly behind him. President Trump turned, in alarm. “We have come in peace, and we have chosen to make contact today. Peace … and a cure for coronavirus.” The half human, half feline creature held up a vial of golden fluid. “Your coronavirus crisis is over. We have come to save you.”

The alien held out a hand. President Trump shook it, speechless, as history was streamed live worldwide. “We have come to save you, and to learn from you too. We are half human and half feline, we are the Mutalians from the Planet Tango. We have much knowledge and science to share.” The Mutalian stopped speaking, in relief. No telepathy today, this was hard work, enunciating words designed for another race.

President Trump finally spoke. “On behalf of the United States, and indeed the world, I welcome you. The world is ready for our next adventure. Space travel will be ours, new worlds to explore, new civilisations to found. With our new friends, the next chapter begins. From landing on the moon, to the universe. I welcome you, friends, I welcome you.”

Social media was in meltdown, as the world ditched disbelief for hope. A new day would dawn, a new future, pregnant with exciting possibilities. And it all began in 1969, when the Mutalians first decided to make contact with Earth.

Billy and Teddy watched the annoying TV box with their parents, in elation and stupefaction. The future would be different … but it would be good.

That night, a space capsule landed outside. Billy and Teddy ran through the catflap, as the Mutalians emerged from their ship. “We have come to take you on a journey, to our planet Tango. Will you come?”

The telepathic yes left their minds, as they smiled inside. Another adventure, and this time one that did not involve Ambrose! The future was theirs to play with, like a favourite toy mouse, always there, always fun.

The future was as golden as the coronavirus cure.