COOK – INN
Musselburgh operating in Edinburgh & East Lothian
26th May 2019
Twin Trouble part 3.
Folks! Archie and Daisy, the adventuring ‘Bengal’ cats, are facing an eldritch enemy
who’s never heard of twins…
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”?
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.
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”.
ignored her. The wizard rubbed his bearded chin thoughtfully. “How about a
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!
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”?
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
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”.
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.
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”.
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.
accept”, he stated more firmly. “When will you return”?
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.
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
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”!
– 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.
Duncan and all of the Animal Investigators. xx
helpline; 07531 436 389. Please call to volunteer, donate, or for information.