Twin Troubles Part Three
Scottish Charity Number: SCO40701
COOK – INN Musselburgh operating in Edinburgh & East Lothian
26th May 2019
Twin Trouble part 3.
Hello, Food Folks! Archie and Daisy, the adventuring ‘Bengal’ cats, are facing an eldritch enemy who’s never heard of twins…
Beginning to strut around, Archie turned a smug look on the wizard, knowing that the only bargaining chip they had was his lack of knowledge about feline multiple births. “It’s a well-kept secret, this trick of being in two places at once. Why should I yield to you my one advantage”?
The wizard’s own eyebrows now frowned in puzzlement. “Because I might let you live”, he speculated, “if you bequeath to me this amazing new skill”. As he spoke, both cats noticed sharp weapons adorning the walls. In unison those weapons had begun to raise, their pointy bits all aiming towards the animals. While Daisy prepared to shove her brother down onto the floor out of the way, Archie let out a calculating guffaw. “Do you imagine that I don’t have other forms”? He laughed some more. “Why, two is the smallest number I can be. Imagine an army, all moving at your beck and call. If you aren’t interested in that, then just go ahead and strike me”. He waved a paw generously at the wizard, while Daisy came to the unpleasant conclusion that he’d simply taken leave of his senses.
“Come over here”, she whispered gruffly, remembering all the other times she’d had to stop him being beaten up by the bigger, dumber cats in the street who didn’t like being shown how stupid they were. “I can protect you”.
Archie ignored her. The wizard rubbed his bearded chin thoughtfully. “How about a duel”?
Archie nodded, hoping some great plan would present itself as the rules of the game were laid out. He could hear Daisy swearing quietly at him in the background. Suppressing a smile, he assented to the game. He was rather enjoying himself!
Without warning, the wizard sent a shimmering blue mist hurtling at Archie. Instinctively he ducked, and it hit Daisy (who hadn’t seen it because Archie’s hide was in the way). She was thrown against the wall, howling. When she got up, she was in a worse mood yet. Wincing, Archie turned a charming smile on the wizard. “Is that all you’ve got”?
Daisy swore some more at her brother’s indifferent back. Archie was still calculating. “And now, I will make my doppelganger teach you a lesson”! He said, hoping this would improve his sister’s demeanour. Daisy, on cue, hurtled at the wizard – but slid right through the mirage that was him! On she slid, and on, into the curtain mentioned last week. Behind it she got a surprise. Sitting up at a screen, working a lever she’d heard the teenage humans call a ‘joystick’, was a weird old tomcat. White fur covered his mouth, and he looked as if he’d been in more than a few battles. He looked up at her and raised his paws in surrender.
“For as long as I can remember”, he began, as Archie ran into the little curtained area to see if his sister was alright and knocked her into a wall once more. The wizard had to wait while Daisy cuffed her brother deftly with a paw. He began again. “For as long as I can remember, I have lived here in this strange castle. Years ago, there was a magician, who fed me and looked after me. Kept the wolves from the door. When he died I had to find some way of keeping them at bay myself. I maintained the traps in this castle, adding to them every now and then. Invading animals met a nasty end, as I would have done if they’d caught me; and I used to forage at nights for mice and rabbits under cover of darkness. Never have I seen another creature like myself, and now you come to me. An animal in two parts. Now you will kill me, and take my castle for your own. I beg of you, tell me your secret before I die”.
Daisy, looking around, had seen telling tufts of fur and the odd dry bone lining the castle walls. She didn’t doubt that animals had met their end there. But she could see her brother beginning to yield to the temptation to tell the old tom how the ‘trick’ worked. If he did, then they wouldn’t be ‘special’ anymore, and that ancient cat might still have a trick or two up his sleeve. Stalking forward, she took the initiative.
“I might decide to let you live” she considered; “If you please me. I’ll take this castle for my own, but I have another home far away, which I’d like to get back to. I could let you mind this one for me, for awhile. When I come back – and make no mistake, I am coming back – I’d expect to find it a good deal more pleasant an environment”.
“There’d need to be changes”, said Archie, picking up the thread of his sister’s thought. “A place like this could house many homeless cats. He smirked now, as Daisy glared at him in surprise. And they’d be grateful”, he went on. “These younger, fitter cats. They might even bring you – my steward – gifts of fresh food. A mouse today, a vole tomorrow” (Daisy shuddered as she remembered that nice, cello-playing vole who’d helped them find the castle). The old magician’s cat considered this option. He wasn’t getting any younger. At length, he nodded reluctantly. It wasn’t a pleasant idea, having a hundred younger animals interrupting his train of thought at every hour of the day, and licking all the cream out of the milk bottles he had arranged a daily delivery of, from the local dairy.
“I accept”, he stated more firmly. “When will you return”?
Placing a practised paw over her brother’s mouth, Daisy spoke quickly. Archie just wasn’t good at this kind of verbal warfare. He was a mathematician; a puzzle solver. He only believed that he could ‘talk’ war. “I could be back at any time”, she said. “You just concentrate on following my orders and let me take care of the rest”.
And thus, it was agreed. The younger cats turned to go. An instinct made Daisy look round as her brother reached the front door. A portal of energy was heading towards them from the curtain. The old tom had betrayed them! Worse, inside the area of the portal Daisy could suddenly see a terrified Barney, cowering under a bush with an icicle on his nose. Guessing what had happened, she launched herself at the curtain whilst shoving her brother away from the descending portal with a hind paw. Instantly she had the magician’s cat in a headlock. She shouted at him to release the dog from the blizzard, and to leave innocently roaming animals alone from now on. “They’re my friends”, she stated, fearing that the other investigators might have followed them by now, and become trapped somewhere as well.
This time the wily old tom capitulated. The great lamp’s big doors swung open, and he disabled the fire pit while Daisy dismantled that hated hall of mirrors. The cats put a sign up outside the door saying, ‘Cat Hostel – under new management’. Presently a few stray cats – and a relieved Barney – wandered in through the now-safe door. Archie told the new animals the plan for a feline care home. One grateful stray even brought in a dead mouse for the new owners. Archie was feeling peckish, but Daisy pawed at him to refuse. Nodding wisely, he passed it to the new ‘warden’ in a generous gesture. The hungry old tom nibbled it happily. Suddenly he could see how this novel arrangement could work for him!
A week later the two cats and Barney came to check on their new care home. Twenty felines were already in residence, and the home was awaiting its first live birth. “Oh well”, mused Archie thoughtfully. “We couldn’t keep our secret forever”!
Daisy thought of the likely litter of maybe eight cats, some of which were almost guaranteed to be identical twins – and she laughed. “I guess the joke’s on him”!
Well, folks – all’s well that ends well. Narnia got its first care home, and Archie the cat was brought safely back to Granton in the end. 30 households were fed today. We hope you and your families keep well and happy for another week, waiting for the next blog.
God bless, all.
Janine, Duncan and all of the Animal Investigators. xx
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