Stone Circle Prayer

By Rachel H Grant

Sarah’s three cats relaxed by the fire in a way that only cats can, a tapestry of black and white woven together in to a feline spell. Alice, Amy and Arnold brought untold joy; Sarah was so pleased that she had attended the Cats Protection open day the year before, looking for a kitten but taking home three adult siblings instead. A blessing in fur and whiskers; a vision of contentment and catnip fun.

However fun fled that night as Arnold disappeared. He did not come for breakfast the next day; he did not come for his evening meal. Still he did not appear the following day, or the next. Weeks passed, mutating to months, hatching as years. He was gone.

Sarah dreamt of him most nights. He was standing, still and regal, in a stone circle. Then he turned and was gone, merging in to the dreamlike mist all around.

black and white cat with green eyes
Image by Andii Samperio from Pixabay

With quiet desperation she searched online for stone circles in the area. There were three in a ten mile radius. She visited the first two to no avail; however at the third circle she found his red collar. Sarah ran through the surrounding woods, calling his name. But there was no sign of him.

**

Arnold sniffed his way round the stone circle, the air alive with feline wisdom. Shivering in a wind that felt as cold as centuries old snow, he could hear ancestors whisper in his ears. It could have been any day, but it was this one. A day that destiny would devour, like a vulture on its last meal.

stone circle at the foot of a mountain
Image by Paul Edney from Pixabay

The temperature suddenly changed, from cold to warmth in a second. Arnold sniffed the air, surprised. The day felt … different. A black cat approached from the other side of the circle. Its eyes glittered in reflected sunlight, like mirrors to another world.

Cautiously, they sniffed noses. “I am Adele, and I have come to get help from this magic stone circle. A cat who lives on my street told me about it. The circle sends you to another time. Watch, I will leave now and I will disappear, to find a better home.”

Adele walked slowly between two of the stones, and was gone.

Suddenly, Arnold was back at the first stone he had sniffed. Time shifted beneath his feet as the world plunged into darkness, stars above like the light of better futures, beacons of hope for the lost soul.

He began to sniff his way round the circle again. Another cat approached, eyes like full moons in the dim light. “Hello, I am Jasper. I have come to this magic circle to be free.” Jasper then walked out of the stone circle and was gone.

The grass moved beneath his feet, and he was back at the first stone again, the world spinning as grey daylight overtook the night. A light rain fell.

A grey cat who matched the sky above approached slowly. “Hello stone circle cat, I am here to request its magic. A new time and a new owner!”

“What is this magic?” asked Arnold.

“All the local cats know about it, not happy with your current home, you come here. You will find a better one on the other side of the circle.”

“But I am happy in my home,” pondered Arnold. “What will happen to me?”

Arnold skipped round the circle, then returned to the first stone, to begin his exploration anew. He did not know that he was in a time loop, but he sensed that something was not right. It was like he was trapped in the largest cat basket ever, he could see out of the circle but he could not walk free.

**

Sarah stopped her search for Arnold. He was gone. She learned to live without him, but would never forget, another feline footprint in that part of her heart that almost but did not break. How could it break when there were still two beautiful cats to look after?

So Sarah, Alice and Amy continued their lives together, curling up at night to dreams they did not remember, meeting Arnold somewhere cold, a frozen feeling in their hearts that evaporated with the dawn.

Years passed; Sarah’s hair turned grey as the cats’ whiskers grew white and their eyes saw less and less. The arthritic felines still slept each night on Sarah’s bed, the slumber of the old, a sleep from which one day they might not awaken. Then that day came, both cats sleeping their forever, bodies still and cold. Sarah awoke to the pain that all pet owners must one day face. She picked up a stray whisker, as the tears fell.

**

Arnold had been in the stone circle for days now, and finally pangs of hunger broke through the mysterious unease in his heart. He must eat.

A white cat approached him across the circle. “I am your guardian cat angel,” she purred softly. “I have come to send you home. Exit the circle by that stone there, then go home.”

“Home? My own home? Not a new home like all these other cats I have met?”

“Your home,” said the cat with her deep green eyes on his. “Go now.”

Arnold ran and ran. He could not wait to leave the stone circle behind. Then he was there, at his house and sprinting through the cat flap.

**

Sarah sipped her cold tea, then heard the sound of the cat flap. She froze. It was a week now since Alice and Amy had slipped away. Who then was coming through the cat flap?

Slowly she walked to the kitchen, then stopped in disbelief, turning to dizzy delight. It was Arnold! Looking not a day older.

Sarah hugged her cat as though she had not seen him for years, as indeed she had not. “Arnold, my Arnold.” Grief melted as happiness hugged her heart.

Tears streamed down Sarah’s face, joy and grief intertwined like the ribbon of life. Arnold sniffed her hair, his knowing eyes sparkling. Magic misted the air around them, as miracles unwound in their hearts. It was a day of destiny; it was another chance at love; it was a cat spell in freefall.

A few miles away, a stone circle sparkled under the sun, secrets hidden deep in its stone, mysteries silent as the sky above. Slowly, a stray cat entered the circle, hope in his heart. A better destiny would dawn.

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (director: Will Sharpe) is a first class and fascinating film which portrays the life of genius artist Louis Wain (1860 –1939). Uplifting and moving, the film charts Wain’s rise as a renowned illustrator of cats: depicting felines with oversized eyes and latterly in larger than life psychedelic detail. An incredible talent, Wain’s marriage, widowhood and final descent in to madness are relayed with sensitivity and stark detail.

As a cat lover, Wain served as president of the UK’s National Cat Club, and contributed to the global rise in popularity of feline pets. To him, felines everywhere owe a debt of gratitude.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy excel in the star roles of Wain and wife Emily. Wit tangoes with wisdom, emotion waltzes with enlightened monologues. The film is at once life-affirming and sad, a journey through love, notable achievement, fame and finally the fog of mental illness, a mist that shrouds a life with mystery and regret.

This film is a must see for art and cat enthusiasts alike.

two images of a tabby cat with large eyes, painted by Louis Wain
public domain work of art sourced from commons.wikimedia.org

A Tabby New Year

By Rachel H Grant

Irina walked slowly through the old house, brushing her wanton dark curls from her face, brown eyes glowing with fervent fire.  The creak of ancient floorboards sung a story beneath her feet, the beat of time sending shivers up her legs. Old pipework groaned, a poem of the passage of life. The new house was medicine to her soul, a powerful place in which to finish her novel.

Her beloved tabby cat Tabitha had peacefully passed away only weeks ago. The novel would be a celebration of her life; the story of a cat lover and sanctuary manager who learned to talk to cats, using the ancient language of telepathy.

Walking down the stairs in time to its creaks, Irina suddenly stopped. She could hear a cat purring. Irina hunted through the house. However there was no cat. An imagination on fire, that was all.

That night, Irina awoke abruptly, jumping as if she had heard a shot. She had felt a cat kneading the blankets next to her. She turned on the light. Nothing there.

Over the next few days, a pattern formed: distant purrs and night-time kneaders. Never a cat in sight. Was the house haunted by a feline soul?

It was New Year’s Eve. Irina sat alone but not lonely, her fictional characters chattering in her head, a strange solace. Absent-mindedly she moved her hand to stroke Tabitha, and then stared at the empty spot on her lap as tears finally formed in her eyes.

Then she heard it, punctuating the quiet atmosphere of the house like a drum.

A miaowing coming from her bedroom. She ran upstairs. However, despite searching the entire room, including removing all boxes from the wardrobe, there was no cat to be found.

That night, Irina again felt a cat kneading her blankets. This time, she did not even bother turning on the light.

On New Year’s morning, a crimson sunrise greeted her. As she set the coffee machine to go, Irina turned round in soul-slapping surprise. Someone – something – was scratching her back door.

Nervously, she opened the door. A large tabby cat confronted her, marching in as though he lived there. Irina smiled. Was this her ghost? But how could he have hidden from her?

Irina named him Zac. Despite attempts at advertisement, no owner materialised. Her local vet scanned for a microchip, but there was none. He was hers, and how her heart hiccupped with joy at the prospect of keeping him!

The midnight miaows, nightly kneading and distant purrs all disappeared. In their place, a real live cat had claimed her heart and secured his food dish.

Irina finished her novel. She typed the last line, then bounded down the stairs, Zac in tow. Time to relax. Zac curled on her knee, as a crimson sunrise shimmered in her chest, rays of celebration in her heart.

In Irina’s office, the computer keyboard lay lifeless, until one black whisper fell on the letter T. A sound of purring whispered in the room, and then all was silent. The room was empty. An old soul lingered for one minute longer, eyes glowing with supernatural gold. Then it was gone.

Downstairs, Irina’s smile was stuck on her face like a stamp. She thought of the last lines of her book, and wondered whether she should reword them. “A love of a cat endures long after their death, like a a sun that can never burn out. Feel that love, and you will never be alone.”

A stray draft tousled her hair, then was gone. Zac slowly licked her hand. Peace claimed the house, like a cloud of serenity, raining down silence. Irina closed her eyes, contentment caressing her heart. It was a new year, time for the ghosts of yesterday to go home. New days would come, and with them new dreams. Zac began to purr, a song for tomorrow.

A tabby cat with green eyes
MabelAmber on Pixabay

Magic Kitten

Noah lay in bed, tears rolling down his cheeks, a heavy stone turning in his heart. This was his first Christmas without Cheetah, his much adored Bengal cat. He had written to Santa asking for a kitten, however his mother had informed him that Santa did not give out living animals as gifts, and in fact no one should, as Christmas gifts may end up in an animal shelter after only weeks or months. “A cat is for life, not just for Christmas,” she intoned solemnly. “Besides, we will get you a kitten in the spring.”

However for once in her life, his mother would be proved wrong.

Noah awoke to feel something moving next to him. He stifled a scream, his six year old body quivering, his ginger curls standing in electric shock.

Tentatively, he opened his eyes.

A white kitten lay curled up before him, deep yellow eyes begging him to play.

Noah giggled. Had Santa really brought him a kitten?

white kitten playing with a Santa hat
StockSnap on Pixabay

A piece of paper lay on his bedside table, with lyrical old-fashioned writing like a missive from the past. “Love him like a glittering jewel, his feline power is beyond priceless.”

And so began a fifteen year relationship of fun and frolics. He named the kitten Miracle, as that is what he was and always would be.

Noah’s Mum was speechless. Had her husband bought the kitten without telling her? However, she quickly resigned to the presence of the new feline.

Noah grew in confidence and hurtled feet first in to a new happiness. Miracle lit up his heart like an inner candle of joy. He began a new hobby, football, and in-between practice spent happy hours with his cat.

Little did he know, that Miracle really did suit his name. He was a magic cat, chosen by Santa just for Noah. Every time Miracle looked in to Noah’s eyes, he imparted deep and ancient wisdom. Noah grew in more than just size, as maturity and magic magnified his mind.

The football hobby eventually turned professional; Noah had realised his dream. However, the day after his first record-breaking goal, the sixteen year old Miracle died. He had delivered his mission; Miracle had helped Noah grow in to the man he was and the man he would become. Miracle had furnished a new future, just as Santa had hoped and had foreseen.

Noah became famous, a pin up poster boy for young teenage girls. At the pinnacle of the young man’s stardom, dark times threatened to devour the planet. War whispered on the horizon, world peace as frail as a one hundred year old piece of paper.

It was during this period that Noah delivered the speech of his life during a routine TV interview.

“I have a heart to hope, and a soul to cry. Let’s choose the tears of friendship, and scrub out sobs of war and terror. Let’s choose peace over war, let’s create a paradise not a graveyard. Let every man and child, everywhere, live to see the sunset rise again in the pinks and reds of a brave new dawn. Let’s leave our children a better, a safer, a more peaceful world. Let’s begin now. Alight the flames of love in your heart, look at your brothers and sisters, feel their pain, share their hopes and fears.  Remember we are one, one human race, one planet. The future is ours to set free. Set it free to be reborn like a phoenix from the flames, set it free to deliver happiness and health to all, set it free to pulse to the quiet drum of peace. Banish the dismal drums of war forever. The future is ours, it is ours to mould like clay, let’s become master potters and mould the world we really want to see. Let peace perfume our world, a fragrance for the future of all time. Let love light our souls. Let compassion calm our rage, and empathy erode our divisions. It is time to stand united. It is time to say, enough, no more. It is time to create a paradise right here on Earth.”

sunset over the sea
Public Domain Pictures on Pixabay

Noah’s speech went viral. His message struck a chord at the heart of each nation, and the people knew a fresh hope.

Father Christmas watched with a silent smile on his lips. He had chosen Noah well. Miracle had performed his purrful magic to perfection.

However there was no rest for Santa. It was time to choose a magic Christmas kitten for yet another child. Santa’s smile grew wider.

Charlie turned over in bed, excited for Christmas Day, wishing it were here already. As he closed his eyes, a whisker fell on his pillow. A ginger kitten sniffed his hair, and curled up in the arch of his legs. Charlie would awake to a new friend … and the world would one day know a new leader. A man with the love of a cat colouring his soul. A leader with the innate instinct of a cat, and with feline secrets in his heart.