by Rachel H Grant
Previous Billy and Teddy Adventures
Teddy woke up, his eyes twitching with dream-driven excitement. He had met King Teo, Ruler of Tigers. A huge tiger with twinkling wise eyes. “I am giving you a mission,” intoned King Teo. “Save the Highland Wildcat.”
Teddy meowed softly. Billy raised his head, whiskers twitching. “We have a new mission,” said Teddy.
The two cats stared in to each other’s eyes, their previous adventures roaring in their hearts.
“We need to help the Highland Tiger. I guess we should ask Ambrose what to do.”
Ambrose was the regal Cat Elder who had assigned all their previous adventures, a large ginger cat with a vicious sense of humour. They had never attempted to summon him before. Using feline psychic powers, they blasted him a message using a mystic wavelength. Cheaper than the phones their parents played with! “Ambrose, we ask for a mission to save the Highland Wildcat!”
Billy and Teddy looked at each other, a cat grin lighting their eyes as they heard the familiar whirring of Ambrose’s time capsule.
Then it was time to explain about King Teo. Ambrose regarded them sternly. “You boys have been up to unsanctioned mischief! The time capsule is not for frolics and fun. But yes I will help you.”
Ambrose’s eyes lit up with inner fire as he mentally planned their adventure.
After several minutes, he spoke (in cat telepathy of course), with a determined demeanour.
“Do you recall the healing energy I attuned you both to so many cat moons ago now?”
“How could we forget,” said Teddy drily.
“I have a new magic energy for you. You will be Feline Healers Supreme! And there are so many more adventures that could use this energy … “
Ambrose jumped in to his time capsule. He returned as violet smoke filled the room, emitting from the capsule like a swarm of ferocious fireflies.
Billy and Teddy felt their eyelids droop, as the smoke of a thousand senses massaged their minds.
“Wake up you fools! The smoke is attuning you to rejuvenation energy. You can impart it to anyone you rub around. It is a longevity pill. For a cat, you will gift them an extra two or three hundred years to live!”
“What about our humans?”
“This energy is feline, it only works on cats. But cats are magic. Heal the right cat with this, and you heal the world.”
“Okay, so how does this help Highland Wildcats?”
“There are beautiful feline souls I visit often, resident at Highland Wildlife Park. Alas, they are not wild and free. But these wildcats have the perfect chance to produce kittens. The longer they live, the more kittens there will be, kittens who will be released in to the wild and will repopulate the Scottish hills and glens with our feline poetry in motion, stanza in stripes cat – the Highland Tiger.”
So the three cats climbed on to the sofa and planned, purred and planned. Then it was time for Billy and Teddy to weave their molten magic.
Wildcat William slept in his pen, deep within the Highland Wildlife Park. He dreamt of a beautiful princess, a wildcat named Leiana with mystic powers. He purred as he slept, a perfect dream of a better tomorrow. Then the sound of a bizarre today awoke him. A strange silver machine had landed in his pen. He growled grimly.
To William’s surprise, a small black and an even smaller grey cat emerged. Their eyes beamed hellos … and something else. “We have come to save the Wildcat.” William appraised the two felines, wondering whether they were fools or heroes. “We only need to rub around you, and your life will become so much longer … “
William regarded them with disdain. However, something in his heart fluttered at the thought of living longer, surely something they would all like to do.
“How much longer?”
“Two or three hundred years, during which time your offspring will take over all the highlands and ensure that wildcats continue for centuries.”
“If this is the case, I have one wish. Return in two hundred years, and set me free! I wish my last days to be there, in the wild, where we all at heart belong. The song of Scottish streams and the murmured poems of trees, these are in our blood. The land is just an extension of us, we are the soul of Scotland. Yes, come back and set me free.”
“And there will be a surprise when we come back,” declared Billy with a twinkle in his enigmatic eye.
So William the Wildcat lived in the Highland Wildlife Park for two hundred years, never aging one year, his sleek healthy body the wonder of scientists. Tourists from all over the world came to Scotland just to see William. He was an international supercat-star.
A religious group famously worshipped William, recognising him as a son of God, and conducting an annual religious gathering in Aviemore. Other groups made William their honorary chair. A cuddly William replica became the mascot of many sport clubs. William children’s novels and William animated films were adored by children the world over. William was truly an inspiration to any and all.
Sometimes William thought of Billy and Teddy, but not very often. The years soldiered on, days turned in to months then years, time flowing like a river that would never stop. However life did not improve, it just went on and on. Was this the magical life Billy and Teddy had promised?
One day at sunset, a strange whirring sound broke his slumber. It was them. They had not forgotten their promise.
“I am young but weary, healthy yet so tired,” pronounced William. “I am ready for my final days, and it is time to be free!”
“We have a special surprise.”
Billy and Teddy transported William to the place and time they had deposited Princess Leiana, Highland Wildcat princess with magical powers, so many adventures ago. “She will be near,” they advised William in reverent telepathic tones.
“The legendary Princess Leiana is real? We tell all our kittens her story. But we never believed it.”
With that, William walked proudly in to the woods, a solitary figure in the light of the setting sun. Freedom fired his heart. The scent of the wild filled his lungs. The spirit of Scotland shone in his eyes. This land, his home, his legacy. From the undergrowth, the eyes of his many offspring watched shyly. A king was in their midst. And as the last Wildcat King, he would be remembered forever. For memories do not die, they live in stories, in happy endings that enchant children and in the poems of tomorrow. Memories are feline meows deep in the heart, a Scottish song of a thousand better futures, a ballad of beauty and unwritten wisdom.
William’s disappearance from the wildlife park prompted many conspiracy and religious theories. His statue at Edinburgh Castle gazed disdainfully at his fans, fools and heroes both. And in his granite eyes, secrets simmered and died.
(c) Can Stock Photo / davemhuntphotography