This week’s Photo Prompt challenge comes from Sue Vincent.
Riley was in the zone, listening to music as she jogged. All of a sudden, a whirlwind of leaves surrounded her. She didn’t know what to do except close her eyes and block her face with her arms.
When the leaves stopped spinning around her, she lowered her arms and opened her eyes. She wasn’t in New York anymore.
The trees with autumn colors and free-flowing leaves were the same, but there were cats camouflaging everywhere and the scent of catnip was intoxicating. Orange tabby cats are lying on the leaves bathing. Tortoiseshell cats are scouting on tress. Calico cats are playing with each other. Riley looked at her paws and was shocked that she had paws!
Riley walked around meowing at the other cats but none paid any attention to her. A little scared that she would never get answers about where she is, how to change back to a human, and how to get back to New York, Riley had to do something fast.
She jumped up a tree and smacked a sleeping tortoiseshell cat off the branch.
The tortoiseshell cat hissed at Riley and sped to her and smacked her right back. Riley fell on an orange tabby and that cat smacked her, too. When she got up, Riley was cornered. Before she knew it, both cats had pounced on her and she couldn’t fight back.
Riley was desperately injured. She bled in several places, including her face, an eye was swollen shut, and she could not move. She closed her other eye and waited to die.
Some time passed and Riley opened her eye. She slowly looked around and came to find that she was lying on a cat bed with a cat toy to keep her company. There were two food and water bowls in the center of the small room, though, she couldn’t smell any food. She rested her head and eyes again.
When she opened her eyes again, Riley saw a familiar face. “Tiger? Is that you?”
“Yes Riley. How are you?”
“I’m very confused. How did I get here?”
“Smokey and I rescued you from the park. You shouldn’t have messed with any cats in the park. There aren’t any cemeteries here; other cats will eat you.”
“Is Smokey here, too?” Riley asked with curiosity.
“Yes. He lives on the next plot of land.”
With a sign of relief, Riley asked, “Where is this world?”
“You are in Cat Queendom. Our ruler is Queen Tabby Kitkat.”
“How did I get to this world?”
“Every 9 years, there are random whirlwinds that hit every city in the world. If a copper leaf touches your skin during this whirlwind, you become a cat and are transported to Cat Queendom.”
“If this happens every 9 years, how come it isn’t recorded in human history?”
“Marquess Persian Bubbles wipes everyone’s memory of the event, and makes sure it never gets recorded. The Marquess hires an army of cats for cities with security cameras. They get to be creative on the job, such as cutting connections and putting their face against the camera.”
“Why does this happen?”
“Because we need new blood. When we don’t have enough mixture, the population becomes less diverse and we have genetic problems, such as kittens being born crossed-eyed.”
“You were already a cat. How did you get here, Tiger?”
“I was a good cat with the right temperament, so when I died, I was transported here and was given my own territory.”
“Oh wow! That means that Smokey was a good kitty, too!” Riley said excitedly, happy to hear that both of her cats weren’t randomly discarded into the universe.
“Yes, he was.”
“I think I know the answer to this, but how do I get back?”
Tiger paused. “You don’t. Fate chose you.”
“I thought Bubbles chose me.”
“Marquess Persian Bubbles chooses where the whirlwind happens, not the person. Fate brought you to the area, fate placed a copper leaf there, and fate had it touch you.”
Riley looked down. “What about my family?” She said, her voice slightly off balance.
Tiger paused. “You have me and Smokey. We’re your family.”
That didn’t cheer Riley up.
“Give Cat Queendom a chance. You might find your soul mate here.”
“As a cat?”
“See, your pool of eligible bachelors have increased exponentially.” They chuckled. “How about you get back to sleep and we can talk in the morning?”
“But I have so many questions….”
“Tomorrow,” Tiger said, and left Riley with his favorite toy as she did for him.
Thanks for reading.