Word Count 498
(The Tale of Willow Skye Cont’d)
By Sharon Collins
In Cook’s Kitchen we are night-shadows, necessary, but not loved. We answer, when it suits us, to our colors. The Kitchen-Cook calls us Black-Cat. We are triplets and because she’s not all that imaginative, we all answer to Black. We are the current Castle Mousers and as noted, needed but not loved. Dogs get all the accolades. I’m sure you’ve heard the nonsense: Loyal Companion, Man’s Best Friend, such drivel…Some dog-lovers claim their dogs look just like them. That bit may be true; Dungeon-Master’s Wolf Hound sure does look like him!
This is, however, not the dog’s tale. It is ours. Survival in the shadows is not easy. There are those who say Curiosity Killed the Cat, but I’m here to tell you it was it wasn’t Curiosity, but the lack of a lick of cream that killed my brother Black.
The Kitchen-Cook sets the servant-girl Cecily to churning butter every morning while mice are still about. Being a mite timid, the mice fright her more than most. Therefore, she welcomes a whiskered shadow into the dairy with her. We wrangle the rodents; she rewards us with a spill of cream. So every sunrise we leave our hidey-holes near the hearth to help Cecily. Cook likes to set the seasoned cast-iron kettles, pots, and pans in the corner by the kitchen-hearth to warm overnight. On frigid, winter evenings, curling up in a warm nest robed in the aroma of goose fat, is fine thing indeed. Only the the promised lick of frothy cream could entice us to emerge.
The morning when it wasn’t Curiosity that Killed the Cat, it wasn’t Cecily who arrived to churn the butter either; rather it was her mean-spirited, cat-hating, sister Maeve. Knowing there would be no cream, we decided to sleep in. My kettle was perfectly toasty; sister Black’s pot was equally enchanting. My brother Black’s pan, however was set on a slant, allowing the lid to slip down on him as he slept. Little did we know as we dreamt of milk pudding and minced-mice pie, that Tragedy stalked us.
Cook bustled about the kitchen slicing bacon, and singing some silly song about a Gypsy Rover named Widrick winning the heart of some Lady named Willow-Skye. She sang that same silly song every single day. Didn’t I tell you she had little imagination? Anyhow, she grabbed up Bother Black’s pan, lid and all, and plunked it down on the firedogs to heat. Well you can imagine the howling that emanated as my bother leaped out of the pan right into the fire. I can go no further with the horror that followed. Needless to say, Cook screamed out, “Black!!! Black!!! Black!!!” as she chased his fiery-self round and round. When she finally recovered his hairless-hide, she noticed me and my sister, peeking out of our pot and kettle. Bursting into laughter, she exclaimed that we had new names. We are now known as Pot and Kettle and we’ve both been called Black.