Happy Birthday, Neon Cheetah!

Hi there! Technically, my blog turned 1 sometime in August, but today marks the first anniversary of my first post (see Aw Yeah Cat Drawings! ). So today, I’m giving you a treat- memes, fan arts, a book review (I didn’t do one last week b/c I was in California on a trip with my school), and a BIG REVEAL! So first, the memes:

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😜

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The Elder Guardian knows where you live…

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HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHno

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😆

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This actually happened. Oops…

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Two words. Chris Pine.

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Mr. Whiskers ALSO knows where you live…

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This actually happened. It was SO WEIRD. Please don’t bother asking.

 

Now, the fan arts:

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Eva and Zin. FEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLSSSS

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My friend dared me to do this. Wings of Fire + WondLa. 😉

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Kymera!

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Delphi Diggory (from The Cursed Child )

Now, the BOOK REVIEW! (Note: I’ll be doing another one tomorrow)

BOOK REVIEW…MONDAY (9/19/16)- Doll Bones

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Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been friends since they were little. For as long as they have been friends, they have played pretend games as well-building a fantastical world of monsters and pirates, all under the rule of the Great Queen, a china doll locked in a glass cupboard. But now they’re in middle school, and Zach has forfeited the game. Just after that, Poppy has visions of the Queen, and she knows that they must come back together again to help the restless Queen find peace. Can she, Zach and Alice complete the quest?

I read this while I was in California, and I thought it was very good! Four stars! Very imaginative and original.

Now…the moment you’ve ALL been waiting for…

the BIG REVEAL!

Remember my previous post, Graphic Novel Things?

Well, I finished the  first draft of the script last night, and I thought it would be fitting  to reveal the graphic novel’s story.

Now, do you memember my Daughters of Bast stories (see Stories: Part(s) 1,2, & 3) ?

I’m making the first story into the graphic novel!!!!!!!

If you don’t remember, just try and find those posts.

I’m not going to spoil anything, and I’m CERTAINLY not going to give you the script yet, so I’ll just show you the logo, and that will be the end of it.

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One more thing: It’s way better than the original. 😉

Well, bye for now! Have a nice day knowing that the Elder Guardian and Mr. Whiskers are stalking you at this very moment!

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Biggish news!

KIND OF BUT NOT REALLY BREAKING NEWS!

Sooooooo….

I have decided to do something crazy. Remeber the Daughters of Bast stories (see Stories: Part(s) 1, 2, & 3)? I have decided to rewrite them! Of course, I won’t delete the originals and print them out and burn them in the fireplace. Why would I ever do that? Okay, why did I bring THAT up?!?

ANYWAY, I’m still keeping the originals, but making new drafts. Maybe someday I’ll publish them! Bye for now!

 

Stories-part six

I’m guessing you guys are all going “Hallelujah! This is the last story we have to read!” This is the first story that I wrote in fifth grade.

The Cat and the Fox

By: Madeline Todd

Once upon a time, there was a grey tabby cat named Dusky. When she was a kitten, she lived with an old man named Mr. Barnes. Mr. Barnes owned a pumpkin patch. In the summer, he sold peaches. Around Christmas, he sold Christmas trees. Dusky was loved by all of the customers that bought from Mr. Barnes. But after three months, Mr. Barnes decided that it was time to give her away. So, Mr. Barnes put up posters around town with a picture of Dusky. Eventually, a woman named Ms. White saw the poster and decided to adopt Dusky. Ms. White was a tall, skinny woman with straight, black hair and a lot of red lipstick and deep, purple eyeshadow. She came to the pumpkin patch on an afternoon in early October. Mr. Barnes gave Dusky to Ms. White, and she thanked him and gave him a check for ten dollars. Ms. White then smooched and squeezed Dusky and stuffed her in a smelly, red cat carrier which she put in the passenger’s seat of her expensive car. Dusky did not enjoy this at all. “You’re going to have so much fun with me!” she said excitedly. Dusky did not agree. Smelly cat carriers and death squeezes were not “fun” to her. But this was nothing compared to what she was about to experience. After a while, Ms. White’s car pulled into her garage. Ms. White took the cat carrier in her house and set in on her dining room table. “Charlie! Come and meet your new buddy!” she called out. This made Dusky think. Who was Charlie? A rabbit? A dog? Another cat? the answer came to her as Charlie came into the room. Charlie was Ms. White’s other cat. He had long, brown tabby fur and a black nose. He also looked a bit overweight. Charlie looked up at Dusky with his green eyes, and then jumped on the table and meowed. Ms. White finally unlocked the carrier, and Dusky had a chance to investigate her new roommate. Charlie smelled strongly of halibut and cat shampoo. Dusky wondered to herself if he could talk. She knew that she could. But when she tried to talk to Mr. Barnes, he couldn’t understand her. That’s why she stayed silent inside Ms. White’s car. “Um…hello?” she said. “Hey, scrap,” said Charlie. He had a mean, rough voice. “Listen up. I’m the boss around here. So listen to me. No one else. And don’t you try to do your own thing. Or else,” Charlie instructed. Dusky shivered. “Okay,” she whispered. A grim smile spread across Charlie’s face. “Good. Now let me show you where you live,” he said. Dusky anxiously followed Charlie off the table and down a flight of carpeted stairs. Charlie went into a room and stopped. the room had a washing machine, a litter-box, and two cat beds. One was blue on the outside and yellow on the inside. Bright green paws decorated the outside. The second bed was pink on the outside and white on the inside, but the outside was old and patchy, and had no paw prints. Both beds had a blanket inside. The first bed had a red velvet blanket, the second one had a worn, faded, mauve blanket. “This bed’s yours,” Charlie said as he gestured with his tail towards the pink bed. Dusky was truly insulted. Charlie got the best things, whereas Dusky got all of the old, mangy stuff. But she had to live with it. Months and months went by. Charlie still played the boss with Dusky. The old bed turned out to be worse than she thought. It was scratchy and full of fleas. Dusky kept herself up all night scratching at the fleas. Dusky knew that something must be done. So on a cold night in January, she ran away. Mrs. White had and old doggy door from when she owned a dachshund twelve years ago. She intended to take it out and completely forgot about it. Dusky looked around the house. Mrs. White and
Charlie were nowhere in sight. Dusky pushed the doggy door open with her paw and bolted outside. The sky was covered in clouds, darkened by the night sky. Snow covered the ground, sparkling like a thousand diamonds. It crunched under Dusky’s paws. Dusky looked around. To the east and west were the other houses in Mrs. White’s neighborhood. To the south lay the the town, Pigeon County. To the north was an immense forest. Dusky decided that the forest was the best choice. With her eyes set on the bounty of trees, she bolted through the hard snow. Although it was dark, it was crystal clear in Dusky’s eyes. After a while, she reached the forest and began to navigate the maze of trees. When she reached the middle of the forest, she stopped. Dusky was panting. She was cold, tired, and her stomach growled. She froze, knowing that somewhere around here was watching her. And she was right. Two amber-colored eyes were staring at her in the dark. They looked like the belonged to a dog. A stray dog? Maybe even a wolf? But then, a voice spoke to her. “Are you lost?” said the voice. “No,” replied Dusky. “I ran away from home. I’m a cat.” “Interesting. We don’t get many cats around here,” informed the voice. “W-what are you?” stammered dusky. The owner of the voice stepped into Dusky’s field of vision. It was a fox. The fox had orange and white fur and a bushy tail. He sat down and wrapped his tail around his body in a cat-like position. “My name is Tirran. What is yours?” he asked. “Uh… my name’s Dusky. “Dusky… what a pretty name. Definitely fits you,” Tirran replied. “ I’ve never heard of the name ‘Tirran’ either. It seems to fit you too”, Dusky said. Tirran suddenly turned around. The sky was now a pale purple color. “Follow me. Come into my den so that we can avoid detection,” he commanded. The fox was quick on his paws. He zigzagged through the snow-laden  underbrush. Dusky followed him, mimicking his zigzagging gait. Tirran bolted down a hole under a tree. Dusky followed him, wondering if this hole was his den. The hole became a spiraling underground tunnel. Tirran padded quickly through the tunnel with great ease. Dusky carefully ran after him, following the fox’s footprints in the soft dirt. Eventually, the tunnel widened into a small chamber lined with soft moss and feathers. The feathers looked like they came from crows. There were small holes in the walls that stored leaves, stones, and berries. Dusky understood the presence of the berries. But why would a fox store random stones and leaves? Tirran sat in a corner. Assuming that he expected her to sit down too, she sat across from him. “Did you read my mind or something? Did you know I wanted you to sit down across from me?” aced Tirran. Dusky smiled and giggled. “You meant that metaphorically, right?” she said. “Actually, I didn’t,” replied Tirran. Dusky was puzzled. Was he joking? “I just assumed that you wanted me to sit down,” said Dusky. “Seriously, Dusky. No one else can do that. Except for me of course,” he replied with a mischievous smile. “You mean…I have powers or something?” asked Dusky. “Exactly. Although it may seem like merely assumption, it’s actually magic,” explained Tirran. “And also, no one has just one power,” he said. “So if you have one power, you’re bound to have another one.” “Wow! I thought that magic was only in bedtime stories!” exclaimed Dusky. “Let me give you a test. I’m testing you for telekinesis,” said Tirran. “Tellika-what?” said Dusky with a puzzled expression. “Telekinesis. It’s a fancy word for ‘moving things with your mind’,” corrected Tirran. He grabbed a the red aspen leaf from a hole in the wall. Then, he grabbed another aspen leaf. This one was orange. “I’ll give you an example,”explained Tirran. He set the leaf on the ground. He began to stare at the leaf, as if he were having a staring contest. The dry leaf began to wobble. Then, it hovered in the air. It rose higher and higher until it touched his nose. Tirran flinched and the leaf dropped to the ground. “Now you try. Focus on the leaf as hard as you can.” Tirran instructed. “And try not to flinch until the leaf reaches the height of your nose.” He pushed the red leaf over to Dusky. Dusky began to stare at the leaf. She stared so hard that her green eyes began to water. Dusky’s head began to vibrate. Soon enough, the leaf shook violently. It quickly hovered higher until it touched Dusky’s nose. She was overjoyed. “I did it! I did it!” she shouted. The leaf stopped in midair and dropped to the ground. “That was a great first try,” congratulated Tirran. He scooped up the leaves with his paw and placed them back in the hole. He looked at another hole with smooth stones inside. He took two of the stones. One was almost white, and the other was almost black. Tirran pushed the black stone in front of Dusky. “Stones are a little trickier. They are heavier than leaves, so it’s a little harder to lift them,” Tirran explained. Dusky began to stare at the dark stone. She stared for what seemed like fifteen minutes before the stone began to shake. It rose into the air very slowly. Dusky’s head felt like it had burst into flames. She couldn’t concentrate any longer. The stone fell to the ground. “It’s alright. It was only your first time,” reassured Tirran. He scooped the stones up and shoved them into the hole. “Do I get a grade on this telekinesis test?” asked Dusky. “Of course not! You’re such a goose. Why would I do that?” laughed Tirran. Dusky breathed a sigh of relief. Tirran was considerably nicer than Charlie. “Now for the final test: paw beaming,” he explained. “What’s that?” asked Dusky. “I’ll explain. This is the most dangerous of the three. You can destroy things with a flick of your paw. You can even melt rocks. And singe your enemies,” Tirran explained. He pulled a jagged rock from a third hole and set it down. “Stand back! Quick!” he said. He positioned his paw in front of the rock. A mischievous smile spread across his face. “3,2,1…here it comes!” he shouted. Tirran’s paw began to glow a brilliant blue. All of the sudden, a bright blue beam shot from his paw and the rock exploded. Sparks flew everywhere. Dusky stared at where the rock  once was. In it’s place was a miniature crater. Smoke billowed off of the top. She was in absolute awe. “Now do you see why this is the most dangerous?” asked Tirran. “Definitely,” answered Dusky. Tirran took another rock from the third hole and gave it to Dusky. “Imagine the rock exploding,” Tirran instructed. Dusky replayed the image of Tirran’s rock exploding in a flurry of sparks. Then she felt her paw grow hot. It also began to glow a deep purple. And just like that, a beam of purple light shot from her paw and the rock was destroyed. Once again, sparks flew everywhere. “Fantastic! Beautiful! Excellent! It couldn’t have been better than that!” congratulated Tirran. Tirran’s den began to smell smoky. Dusky coughed. “Can I *cough*cough* try again?” asked Dusky between coughs. “Of course,” said Tirran. Dusky did more paw beaming, and each time, the light was a different color.  There was red light, yellow light, pink light, and even a rare, iridescent light that was all the colors of the rainbow. More and more rocks exploded. Soon, Tirran was out of rocks. “Wait here. If it is nighttime, I will get you so we can collect more rocks. If it is daytime, we stay here,” he said. Tirran dashed back up the winding tunnel. Dusky waited in his den, looking at the rocks and leaves. A small, cupped hole held dust made from crushed rocks. She suspected that it was used for disorienting your enemies by lifting it in the air and throwing it with telekinesis. After observing the holes for what seemed like an hour, Tirran raced back into the den. “The coast is clear,” he announced. “Now come on. We’ve got rocks to collect.” Dusky followed Tirran out of his den and into the heart of the forest. The snow still blanketed the ground. The moon was almost completely full, casting a ghostly glow throughout the forest. “Let’s split up. I’ll go east, you go west,” Tirran instructed. He then proceeded to dash off into the east end of the forest. Dusky ran westward into the other side of the forest. She stopped by an elderberry bush and picked up some jagged rocks from underneath it. She also picked up some elderberries, assuming that Tirran also needed them. Dusky decided that the only way to carry the rocks and berries was to stuff them in her cheek. So that’s what she did. Even though it probably made her look like a chipmunk, she did it. Dusky ran back to the entrance of Tirran’s den. Tirran was waiting for her. He also had rocks in his cheeks. He ran down the tunnel, and Dusky followed him. When they reached the den, They spit out their rocks. Dusky spit out the elderberries as well. “How did you know that we needed berries? Thank you,” said Tirran. He scooped up the rocks and placed them in the empty hole. He put the berries in a much smaller hole filled with rose hips and more elderberries. And then, they both slept amid feathers and moss in Tirran’s den. The next morning, Tirran poked his head out of the den entrance. “I smell something strange. Something’s amiss,” he said. “Come, Dusky. Bring some rocks. There’s trouble around here somewhere,” Tirran said. Dusky ran up the tunnel and followed Tirran through the forest. “The scent’s getting stronger. I can identify it: it’s cat scent,” he informed. “Oh no. Please please please let it not be what I think it will be,” pleaded Dusky. “Who do you think it is?” Tirran asked. “Charlie. The main reason I left home,” said Dusky. She explained how Charlie had endlessly tortured her and how he got the nicer things. “I can understand that,” said Tirran. Dusky and Tirran reached the edge of the forest. But only a few feet away, a cat stood in the snow. The cat had long, brown tabby fur. His gleaming eyes stared directly into Dusky’s. She recognized the cat at once: Charlie was back. “So! The little scrap thought that she could run away from Master Charlie, eh?” he said. “Yes. But this time, I’ve got a reinforcement,” defended Dusky. “And who is this reinforcement of yours?” asked Charlie. And right on cue, Tirran stepped beside Dusky. He stepped closer to Charlie. The cat and the fox began to circle, hissing and growling at each other. Tirran swiftly gave a look to Dusky. She knew that it meant that he was distracting her, so Dusky picked up the rocks and began to lift them with her mind. She paced over to Charlie, carrying the rocks in midair. When she knew the time was right, Dusky flung the rocks at him. It was a direct hit. Charlie howled in pain as he was struck by the assault of rocks. After quickly recovering from the shock, he stood up and growled. Tirran hissed at him. Dusky did the same. Charlie suddenly backed up, then he charged straight at her, his tabby fur raised on his back. Dusky knew that there was only one thing left to do: paw beaming. She narrowed her eyes and pointed her paw at Charlie. Charlie was still charging at her, unaware of Dusky’s power. And before he could get to Dusky, her paw glowed purple and a beam of light shot out of her paw and hit him. Charlie was on his side, but he slowly rolled over and realized that his fur was on fire. He yelped in pain and rolled in the snow, attempting to put out the fire. Charlie succeeded, but his fur was badly singed. He ran off in the distance, never to be seen by Dusky or Tirran again. Dusky looked over at Tirran. He was smiling broadly. “You did well,” he complemented. “Thank you,” said Dusky. “I have a question for you,” said Tirran. “How would you like to live with me in the forest forever?” he asked. Dusky’s eyes widened. “Yes, please!” she shouted. And with that, Dusky ran off with Tirran and they lived happily ever after. As for Charlie…

Epilogue

Charlie came home to Ms. White, his fur singed and black-tipped. He limped through the old doggy door and meowed. “Oh, you poor thing!” exclaimed Ms. White. She thought for a second. And then something hit her. “YOU! It was you all along, Charlie! You are the one who caused Dusky to leave! You! You’re going to the Pound for that, mister!” shouted Ms. White. She stuffed Charlie in the cat carrier and drove him to the City Pound. There he lived the rest of his life among other naughty cats and dogs off all shapes and sizes. To replace Charlie and Dusky, Ms. White stopped by the local animal shelter and picked up two new cats: Hildegarde, a Siamese, and Twitchy, a black domestic shorthair.

Stories-part five

This is half Warriors fan fiction, half the combination of my mind and the mind of a friend.

The Sun at Dawn

Madeline Todd and Maura Benedick

It was early in the morning, and sunlight poured into an abandoned badger sett. This was the home of the  young loner cat Dawn, a she-cat with chestnut-ginger fur. She had a tingling sense in her belly, signaling it was time for her to go out and hunt. Slowly, she climbed out of the roomy hole and out into the open forest. Dawn scanned her surroundings for signs of prey. On the edge of the forest, she spotted a white rabbit. Dawn dropped into a crouch. Paw after paw, she inched closer and closer to the rabbit. When she was in only two feet of the rabbit, a strange, high-pitched voice entered her mind. Grass. Grass. Eat grass. Eat more grass. Dawn slowly realized that it was the voice of the rabbit that had entered her mind. The rabbit was still oblivious to the red cat until it turned it’s fluffy head around. It leaped into the air and Dawn began her chase. The rabbit darted through the grass, zig-zagging through the foliage. Dawn followed close behind, her white paws thumping on the ground as she ran. With a small leap. Dawn was on the rabbit and she fastened her teeth around its neck. The rabbit stopped struggling and went limp in Dawn’s jaws. She feasted on the rabbit and pondered. “How did I hear that rabbit’s thoughts?” Dawn wondered aloud. She ate the juicy meat and spit out a mouthful of fluffy, white fur. After burying the rabbit’s remains, she walked deeper into the woods. Dawn sat down, thinking she was alone. She stared up at the canopy undisturbed before another voice entered her head. This time, it was rough and growly. Scented cat. Eat cat. Meal for cubs. Meal for me. Taste good. Dawn’s green eyes widened as she turned around. There was a  mother fox peering out of the bushes. She fluffed up her fur and hissed at the fox. The fox snarled, spit flying from its toothy mouth. Dawn leaped onto the fox’s back and they tangled together in a blur of red fur. The fierce she-cat clawed the fox all over. The fox nipped and scratched.

As the fight ensued, yet another voice entered Dawn’s mind. This voice was fierce, but it resembled Dawn’s own voice. That cat’s in trouble! I’ve handled foxes before, but none as big as this one. I’m risking my own life for this….

Out of the blue, a cat jumped out of the bushes. She was a fully-grown cat who was white with ginger splotches dotting her fur. Her eyes were yellow, like miniature suns. The cat’s fur fluffed up as she landed on the fox’s back. Seeing it was outnumbered, the fox let out a terrified yelp and ran back into the brush.  Dawn was covered in scratches. The mysterious other cat stared at her with great interest. “Who are  you?” asked the cat, cocking her ginger and white head. “My name’s Dawn. What about you?” replied Dawn. “I’m Sun. I know this may seem extremely awkward, but I sense something in you. A power,” said Sun. “Well, I have noticed that I’ve been hearing the thoughts of everything. It started this morning when I was hunting. I heard the thoughts of the rabbit I was hunting. Then I heard the fox, and then you,” explained Dawn. “Ah, telepathy!” said Sun. “I have a power called telekinesis. It’s basically moving inanimate objects with your mind,” she continued. “What’s inanimate?” asked Dawn. “I’ll explain later. Now, I’ll give you a test of you powers,” Sun explained. “I’ll think of a phrase, and you have to tell me what that phrase is. If you get it right, you clearly have powers.” Sun sat silently on the spot, not moving a muscle. Her voice entered Dawn’s mind. The cat’s among the pigeons, the voice murmured. “‘The cat’s among the pigeons’?” asked Dawn. “Yes. It’s a human phrase. I’ve never understood the meaning. I speculate that it might mean something about us killing pigeons or something like that,” answered Sun. “Now, since I’ve shown you my power, you show me yours,” said Dawn. “Alright. Bring me a handful of leaves,” instructed sun. Dawn found a small pile of dead, rotting leaves and placed them before Sun. Sun focused her blazing, yellow eyes on the leaves. The whole pile began to wobble, and then they lifted up into the air. The leaves danced in a synchronized fashion in midair before drifting to the ground. “Whoa! Can you try it with a rock? A really big and heavy one?” asked Dawn. “It’s worth a try. Push one over for me,” said Sun with a lopsided smile. Dawn found a large rock about the size of a rabbit and painstakingly pushed it over. “Now stand back,” instructed Sun. she focused her eyes on the rock as if in a heated staring contest. The rock began to tremble, then shake, but then instead of levitating, the rock hovered over the ground for three seconds before exploding into shards. Dawn and Sun shielded their eyes as the dust and rubble cleared. “Telekinesis gone wrong,” panted Sun, brushing rock bits from her fur. “Do you want me to show you my home?” she continued. “I don’t see why not. It’s getting a bit windy. Sun led Dawn out of the forest, the wind tossing their fur. Finally, the duo reached an old barn. The floor was laden with hay and crawling with mice and rats. Hay bales were stacked against the wooden walls. Empty stall where horses used to be kept lay open and unoccupied except for mice and a few cats. Dawn’s ice-blue eyes widened. “I’ve never seen so many cats together in one place before! Well, once…” Her voice trailed off. “Don’t worry. You’ll warm up to them eventually. Guys! We’ve got a new resident!” exclaimed Sun. “Ugh. Who is it this time?” rasped a voice from inside one of the stalls. A scrawny, black and white tom with half his tail missing and numerous scars, one covering an eye, trotted out of the cracked door. “Oh. Hello, Lark. Where are Reena, Splotch, and the kits?” asked Sun. “They’re coming. Who’s the newbie?” asked the old tom. “Lark, this is Dawn. Dawn, this is Lark,” introduced Sun. Lark dipped his head, and Dawn repeated the gesture. Then, five other cats came out of another stall. One cat was a tan and white she cat, and the other one was a fluffy gray tom with white paws and a white spot on his chest. The other three cats were kits. The first kit was a she cat that was fluffy like the tom but had the fur coloring of the she-cat. The second one was a tom with the tom’s fur coloring but it was sleek like the she cat. The third one was a mirror image of the she-cat. The kits bounded over to Sun and leaped on her back. “Yay! Sun’s back! Play with us!” squealed the kits. They batted at her tail and nipped on her ears. Seeing the kits brought a pang of sadness to Dawn’s heart. She had kits once, but two had been eaten by a badger, and the other one starved to death in winter. The memory brought a tear to Dawn’s eye as the kits wrestled with Sun on the hay-laden floor. The she cat and the tom, clearly the kit’s parents, came over to Dawn and Lark. “What’s wrong, Dawn?” whispered Lark. “Oh, just memories,” murmured Dawn as she wiped a tear away with her white paw. With a sigh, Dawn looked away from the kits. By then, the parents had come over. “Dawn, these are Reena and Splotch,” introduced Lark. Dawn gave a shy smile to the couple. Splotch smiled as Reena called the rambunctious kits off of Sun. “Kits, come and meet your new roommate!” called Reena. The three kits leaped off of Sun’s white and ginger back and faced Dawn. “Dawn, these are my three kits, Fawn, Ash, and Moth,” introduced Reena. “Hi!” squealed the kits in unison. Ash looked away, intrigued by Dawn’s striped tail. He leaped on it, but Fawn and Moth stayed beside their mother. Reena padded over to Ash and gave him a scolding cuff on the ear before walking away. “Sorry. Ash has always been the…um…let’s just say a little more impolite,” apologized Reena. “Say sorry, Ash.” “Sorry,” squeaked Ash, his dark grey head bowed. “It’s alright. I’m sort of used to it,” reassured Dawn. “What do you mean?” asked Splotch, cocking his head. “I had kits of my own. Two were eaten, one died in the cold,” answered Dawn, her eyes beginning to cloud over with sorrow. “Then where’s your mate?” asked Reena. “He was hit by a car,” said Dawn shakily. “I’m so sorry, dear,” mewed Reena. “Let’s find a place for you to sleep.” Reena and Sun led Dawn to an empty stall next to Sun’s. Reena hollowed out a den in a large hay bale and lined it with bits of mouse fur, leaves, and even a blackbird feather. Dawn crawled in as Reena and Sun went back to their individual stalls. I think I’m going to like it here, thought Dawn. With that, she closed her eyes and fell into a peaceful sleep.

***

“My kits! My kits are gone!” Reena’s echoing wail filled the barn. Dawn woke with a start, pricking her black-tipped ears. She crawled out of the den and padded over to Reena’s nursery stall. “Are you having a bad dream, Reena?” muttered Dawn sleepily. Reena was hyperventilating, her green eyes wide. “No. My kits are missing,” she panted. She got up and paced around her stall. “Has anyone seen my kits?” asked Reena in a panic. Lark, Splotch, and Sun came our of their stalls to investigate. “Check the old pigsty!” yowled Sun. “They’ve been known to hide in there.” Dawn ran over to the pigsty to find nothing but emptiness and a few rusty buckets. “There might be something in the empty stalls. Come on!” said Dawn. She and Lark ran over to the three unoccupied stalls, but to no avail. Ash, Fawn, and Moth were nowhere to be seen. “There’s no sign of them anywhere,” concluded Splotch. “We checked the pigsty, the empty stalls, and the old chicken coop.” Reena lifted her head in a mournful wail. “We can give up hope, guys! They’re out there somewhere,” said Dawn. She tried to hear them using her mind, but heard nothing, only the panicked thoughts of the other cats echoing in her mind. “We need to search out of the barn,” suggested Lark. “In the middle of the night? Are you crazy? Old age has made you mentally unstable, Lark,” spat Sun. “We need to do it for Reena’s kits, Sun,” retorted Dawn. “Now let’s go.” The five loners padded out of the barn and into the night. The stars glittered above them, twinkling and illuminating the dark spring sky. When they reached a forest, Dawn threw out some instructions. “Reena, Splotch, Lark; check the trees, abandoned dens and the human neighborhood. Sun, telekinetically lift up large obstacles. I’ll try and listen for them with my mind,” she instructed. Reena, Splotch, and Lark set off into the woods. Sun jumped into the thick brush. Dawn walked towards the human neighborhood. She leaped onto the wooden fence and pricked her black ears. The moon was still high in the sky, illuminating the human dwellings below. Dawn turned her head around to listen. There was nothing to be heard but the blowing of the summer breeze. Dawn leaped down from the fence and padded on the trimmed grass. She opened her jaws to scent the air. The strong, rank human smell bombarded her nostrils. Shaking her head, Dawn walked on. She peered in the window of a nearby house. A long-furred ginger tabby, what the humans called a “Maine Coon”,  was sleeping in a fuzzy cat bed, snoring softly. Dawn jumped off the window sill and peered into the next house. She peeked into every house in the entire neighborhood with no sign of Reena’s three kits. The sun was beginning to rise, and Dawn padded back onto the trimmed grass. She knew a place that the local loners talked about. It was an abandoned tool shed where a band of rogues were said to reside. These rogues were ferocious, territorial cats who killed any cat that trespassed. As she made her way to the shed, she saw the silhouette of a sleek cat sitting on the fence. “Sun? Is that you?” she asked the cat.

The cat looked over at Dawn, confused. “Sun? Who’s Sun?” asked the cat. “Oh. I thought you were my friend Sun,” apologized Dawn. The cat’s expression turned into an amused grin. The cat’s long fur was not ginger and white like Sun’s, but pale cream The cat’s eyes were blue instead of golden yellow. “I’m Cloud,” said the cat. “I’m Dawn. Can you help me? I’m looking for the shed where the rogues are said to live,” explained Dawn. “I know exactly where that is! I used to be one of them, but they kicked me out. They said I was worthless,” explained Cloud with a hint of sorrow in her voice. She leaped down from the fence and began to trot down the sidewalk. Dawn followed close behind, falling into step with the former rogue. They walked through grass and hard rock and finally came to the shed. Planks of wood were falling off, leaving square-shaped holes in the wall. Cloud began to lead her in, but Dawn stopped her. “Let me listen,” she said. Dawn pricked her ears, and multiple voices entered her head. The first one was growling and tough, almost like a fox. These kits are ultimately useless. Why did Willow ever send out that patrol? The second voice was soft, but with a hint of sharpness. I made a good decision in taking these kits. They will make a wonderful addition to our band. The last voice was a voice she recognized. It was the voice of Moth, one of Reena’s kits. They were here! Where’s mother? Where are father and the other barn cats? I wanna go home! I’m scared… “They’re in here! C’mon, Cloud!” shouted Dawn. “Shh! Keep it down! They’ll hear you!” snapped Cloud. They quietly padded inside the shed and peeked in the doorway. The whole place was crowded with cats of all shapes and sizes, most of them bearing scars. Dawn tried to spot the kits among the throng and eventually spotted them with what looked like their “substitute mother”, a grey tabby she cat with the tip of her left ear missing. The she cat looked over and spotted Dawn and Cloud. “Intruders!” she howled. The rogues turned their heads to face Dawn and Cloud. A burly white tom  with one eye stalked in front of the group. The other cats murmured among themselves. “Well, my band, it seems that Cloud the useless and ultimately idiotic has returned,” the white cat sneered. “She’s not alone, either.” The other rogues howled with laughter, their heads held high in the air.  “If you want a fight, you can have it, Blink ,” growled Cloud. “Where are the kits?” “Oh. We’ve decided to keep them. When they grow up, they will be a wonderful asset to our band,” said Blink matter-of-factly. Suddenly, a shrill voice squeaked from inside the crowd. “I want my real mommy!” It was Moth, standing by her siblings and their rogue foster mother. “Well…maybe after they start warming up to Mouse,” continued Blink doubtfully. Trying to avoid detection, Dawn swerved around to where the kits sat. “Kits! It’s me, Dawn!” she whispered. Ash, Fawn, and Moth looked up at Dawn, their eyes clouded with worry. They slowly padded over to Dawn’s side and curled up below her. Mouse was oblivious to Dawn’s presence until she looked down to where the kits were sitting. “Wait a second,” she murmured. She looked up to see Dawn and the kits facing her. “What have you done with my kits?” screamed the rogue. “Your kits? I’m not so sure about that,” spat Dawn, giving Mouse a warning cuff around the ear that had a bite taken out of it. Mouse backed away in pain, screeching and clutching the injured ear with a paw. Blink whirled his head around. “Who are you, taking the kits that are rightfully ours?” he hissed. “I might ask the same of you,” retorted Dawn. A triumphant smirk spread across Dawn’s chestnut tabby and white face. Blink’s expression curled into a snarl. “Cloud, get the kits to a safe place. I’ll deal with them,” Dawn confirmed. “There’s too many of them! You’ll die!” mewed Cloud. “I can handle this. Take the kits, quick!” instructed Dawn. Cloud raced out of the shed, the three kits scampering behind her. A brown tabby raced out behind her, but Dawn blocked his way. With a snarl, she clawed the rogue in the face. In moments, the two cats were tangled in a fight. The rogue tabby hissed and clawed, his orange eyes blazing with the fires of battle. Dawn leaped out of his grasp and landed squarely on his shoulders and fastened her teeth on his neck. The rogue thrashed like a struggling fish before going limp in Dawn’s jaws. The rogue was dead. The rogues pooled out of the shed. One of them let out a gasp. “Thrush!” she cried. “Thrush is dead!” The whole band let out a gasp. Blink raced out of the crowd, his one green eye blazing with fury and his lips curled into a snarl. Then, he leaped off the ground towards Dawn. Dawn quickly darted out of the way and Blink crashed on the trimmed grass. Spitting, he launched himself off the ground and attached himself onto Dawn’s back, biting her tail. Dawn let out a shriek and spun around, knocking Blink off balance. She took advantage of the moment and pinned him to the ground. Blink growled and tried to claw Dawn’s face from his position. Dawn backed her face away from Blink’s white paws. She lifted a paw to scratch his belly, and sliced his belly, leaving a gash that ran from his neck to his hind legs. Blink yowled in pain as he lay on the ground, gushing blood. “That’s the price you pay for stealing kits that aren’t yours,” Dawn growled. Blink slowly got up and ambled towards the shed. “Split up. One group attacks this traitor, the other tends to Blink in the base!” yowled a pale grey and white she-cat. Dawn recognized her voice as Willow, a cat she had heard in her thoughts earlier that day. A group including Willow read into the shed. The remaining cats stalked towards Dawn, eyes gleaming and lips in snarls. Dawn shrank back, knowing she was outnumbered. Suddenly, a yowl resounded from above. “Loners attack!” It was Sun. Cats began to rain from the sky. First came Reena, then Sun, Lark, and Splotch, launching themselves off the roof of the shed. A few other cats Dawn didn’t recognize were also flying off the roof. They clung to the backs of the rogues and began the fight. Confused, Dawn leaped on to the back of a black rogue.  the rogue yowled and jumped so that Dawn was thrown off balance. She crashed onto the grass the same way that Blink had earlier. The black rogue prepared a blow to the stomach, but Dawn dodged him, quick as lightening. The rogue fell on his face and scampered off. Dawn snorted as she watched the black rogue disappear into the fray. Suddenly, a tortoiseshell she-cat bowled into her, knocking her to the ground. On the ground, Dawn aimed blows to the cat’s stomach. She sat up, knocking the tortoiseshell off balance. Then, Dawn sunk her teeth into the she-cat’s neck. The rogue yowled one last time before falling limp in Dawn’s jaws. Dawn dropped the dead cat on the ground and reentered the fray. Reena were fighting a large rogue side by side. Sun had pinned down a young rogue and was preparing a blow to the belly. There was no sign of Lark. Suddenly, a rogue yelled “retreat!” and the enemy cats raced back into the safety of the shed. Dead bodies lay on the ground, mostly the rogue’s. But there was one body that was recognizable. “Lark!” Sun cried, racing to the dead tom. The old cat lay on his side, motionless. Reena’s eyes clouded over with sorrow as the cats crowded around their friend. “He deserves a proper burial.Let’s go back to the barn and give him a funeral,” a cat Dawn didn’t recognize brought up. “Let’s go then,” murmured Splotch, his head bowed. “But where are my kits?” asked Reena. “I left them with a friend. She’s taking them back to the barn,” Dawn explained. With a nod, Reena led the cats back to the barn.

***

Rain poured down from the gray sky. Sun was telekinetically lifting up mounds  of earth to cover Lark’s unmoving body. Dawn placed the feather of a lark sticking up from the dirt to mark Lark’s grave. The other cats watched them with tears in their eyes. Reena was saying a prayer to wish him a peaceful journey into the afterlife, her front paws pressed together. “He was like a grandfather to them,” whispered Splotch, his fluffy grey head bowed. Lark’s funeral had ended and the cats went back to the barn to shelter from the rain. Dawn let out a mournful sigh and started towards her stall when Reena hollered “stop!” Dawn whirled around. “I have to introduce you to our new friends,” she meowed.  Three cats stepped forwards. One was a tom that was pure black with green eyes. The second one was a long-furred white she-cat with golden eyes. The third one was a light tabby tom that bore a slight resemblance to Reena herself, but with amber eyes. “Dawn, meet Midnight, Snowy, and my long-lost littermate Sparrow,” introduced Reena. The three cats said their hellos. “Oh, I forgot something!” said Dawn. “I have to introduce you to Cloud.” Cloud padded forwards, her bushy cream tail twitching. “This is Cloud. She helped get the kits back to the barn,” Dawn explained.  The cream she cat dipped her head. “Now, let’s get you four some nests. Dawn, would you mind sharing a den with Sparrow and Snowy?” asked Reena. “Of course not,” mewed Dawn. “I’ll even help make their dens.” The rest of the afternoon went smoothly. The dens were made, and the kits began to recover from the shock of being stolen. That night, the cats had a celebratory “feeding frenzy” of the mice and rats that inhabited the barn. All of the cats went to sleep with full bellies and warmed hearts. Once again, Dawn fell into a peaceful sleep.

~End~

Epilogue

“Meant to be”

Many moons had past since the kits were stolen and Lark had died. Reena’s  kits were now grown up and Dawn now had kits of her own with Sparrow. They had grown close since the rainy day they met. It was early in the morning, and Dawn woke up ate the crack of dawn. She peered out the old window of the barn and watched the sun rising. Dawn raced over to Sun’s stall and prodded her in the chest. “Wake up! I want to show you something,” she whispered. Sun’s eyes slowly opened and they padded over to the window. The sight before them was basically their picture, the sun a golden yellow and the dawn sky red. “All those moons ago, we really were meant to meet each other,” Sun meowed. “I agree,” Dawn mewed back.

Stories-part four

This is a story that I wrote before the Daughters of Bast came to life. It was partially inspired by the Search for WondLa series.

The great escape

By: Madeline Todd

150 years from now…

It was past midnight. Hillary Vulpis sat in her dorm at her boarding school. She was crying. Her smart-pillow piped up. “I sense that you are not well. Would you like some comfort?” it asked in a robotic monotone. “No,” groaned Hillary. She shut off the smart-pillow and lay down on the memory-foam bed. Her robot August (nicknamed “Auggie”) sat at the foot of the bed. He was the reason she was crying. Hillary built August for a robot-building project. Hillary had based him off of an extinct domestic animal called a “cat”.  She had gotten a bad grade for it because it apparently “did not conform to the standards of robotics”. This was extremely unfair because Auggie could do almost anything. He could play music, he could comfort, his paws could transform into tools for various tasks, and his power cell would replace itself when it ran out. Also, Auggie was Hillary’s only friend. Hillary was angry and she locked herself in her room in despair.  Auggie luckily provided some comfort. “Oh, Hillary. I completely understand. That teacher of yours is quite an insult to me,” he purred. “No kidding, buddy. We have to find some way to escape this prison,” Hillary replied. “Escape? All because of a bad grade? That seems very unnecessary,” Auggie inquired, cocking his feline head. “There are more reasons why, You know that, Auggie,” Hillary retorted. Hillary had been in the boarding school her whole life ever since her mother had died. Hillary’s father knew he couldn’t take care of a child all by himself, so he sent her to a boarding school when she was only a month old. She had hated the place ever since she arrived. Everyone was mean, including the teachers. There was no way to contact the outside world. It felt like a prison where Hillary would be trapped until she turned twenty. Hillary was thirteen. Hillary let out a long sigh as her body sunk into the soft memory-foam of her bed. Auggie kneaded the sheets with his paws. “I guess I agree with you now,” he meowed. He turned his head around, surveying the room. “This place is sort of a prison. Even for someone like me,” he continued. Auggie stopped for a second, looking out the window. “Would you like some early 21st century music to help you get to sleep, Hillary?” he asked. “Thanks, Auggie,” Hillary whispered. A hatch opened in Auggie’s back, revealing a tiny screen. On the screen was an album. It was a St. Vincent album. The picture on the alum depicted a woman in a strange cloak sitting on a throne. Her hair was like a silvery cloud resting on her head. One either side of the throne, strange symbols floated on a white, gradient background. Electronic music quietly played out of a speaker, slowly lulling Hillary to sleep.

When Hillary woke up, Auggie was sitting vigil on the foot of her bed, the music still playing through the speaker. “Watching it go, I’m just a bad believer…,” the music played. Seeing that Hillary was awake, Auggie shut off the music and closed the hatch in his back. “Morning, Hillary! I have an escape plan!” he meowed in a cheerful tone. Hillary groggily pulled back the covers and said “Okay, Auggie. Tell me when I’m actually awake.” Before she got out of bed, Auggie straightened Hillary’s hair so she would look presentable. Hillary’s red hair was pulled back in a fishtail braid at the back and two small pigtails at the top of her head that looked like tiny, russet geysers. People commented that Hillary’s hairstyle looked like a fox, with the pigtails being the ears and the braid being the tail. After Auggie’s quick makeover, Hillary put on her itchy school uniform and polished Auggie’s smooth, metal surface. Together, they walked over to the cafeteria for breakfast. At this time in Earth’s history, people are able to imitate foods in tiny tabloids which replace normal food. Hillary always thought this was very bland and tasted like pure starch. Auggie really didn’t care because being a robot, he did not need to eat or drink. After breakfast, it was time for classes, which included history (in the year 2015, people had regular food…), piloting gliders, creative writing, and many more classes to boring to even mention. Hillary went through the day,  almost falling asleep in class about five times. Then, it was evening and everyone went back to their dorms. After Auggie and Hillary had sat down on the bed, Auggie discussed his master escape plan. “First, we get up at approximately 1:00 a.m. Before exiting the dorm room, I will have to remove the tracking device located on your left shoulder blade. I will be careful so as not to cause you severe pain,” he explained. “Then, after I have disabled my tracking device, we enter the piloting gymnasium and grab one of the portable gliders. I will strap the glider onto my back and we exit the building through the pipe system. Afterwards, we unfold the glider and fly off! Sounds like a plan?” Hillary nodded in shock. How could her robot come up with such an intricately formulated plan? Hillary the tucked herself in to bed, Auggie watching over her as she slept. Hillary awoke with a start to Auggie’s beeping alarm. She tiptoed out of bed and put on a thin flight suit. Then, Auggie removed Hillary’s tracking chip, transforming one of his claws into a clean scalpel. After disabling the tracking device inside him, Auggie led Hillary to the piloting gymnasium. The pair dug through a closet until they found a portable glider. It was decorated to look like a Luna moth, an extinct  flying insect. On the side, the words Luna Moth were printed in bold, red lettering. Auggie scanned the craft with a laser. A hologram materialized above his tail, showing the Luna Moth. “The

Luna Moth was invented in the latter part of the 21st century. It’s specially designed wings and body resemble the luna moth, an extinct insect that is otherwise known as Actias luna,” he explained in a whisper. Hillary regarded the vehicle silently before folding it up carefully and strapping it onto Auggie’s back. Then, Hillary pried open a large manhole and the girl and the robot began their journey in the pipe systems.  Auggie had no trouble navigating the tunnels because the bottoms of his paws had turned into miniature suction cups that stuck to the damp wall of the pipes. Hillary on the other hand, struggled to keep a firm grip on the floor. Eventually, Hillary and Auggie reached another manhole and opened it up. Hillary peered out and saw that they were at least a few meters from the back of the boarding school building. The predawn sky shone a brilliant blue-violet.  Hillary unstrapped the portable Luna Moth and folded it back out, revealing the elaborate design of the craft. Hillary pried open the cockpit and she and Auggie jumped inside. Auggie grabbed a pair of flight goggles and handed them to Hillary. Then, after Hillary booted up the machine, the Luna Moth burbled to life. It hovered a few feet off the ground before Hillary steered it high into the air above the city.

After a few long hours of piloting, Hillary and Auggie landed the Luna Moth in a strange field. The pair stepped out onto the soft green grass. Hillary looked around her. The landscape surrounding her was nothing like the teachers and holograms had taught her. Instead of oak trees, there were towering trees that had mossy leaves and bowl-shaped knotholes. Strange birdlike creatures rested in the knotholes. They had beaks like pelicans and six wings that resembled those of hummingbirds. Their calls were long and sweet, like the loons that Hillary had seen in her eduholo shows. Pairs of these strange animals sat in the knotholes. Some took care of their young, but some fought for territory. Auggie  opened a hatch with a screen and took a picture of the otherworldly flock. But suddenly, one of the birds was hit by an dart, killing it in an instant and scattering the rest of the group. Hilary gasped in shock as the birds flew off into the distance, their iridescent wings fluttering quickly. The dead individual sat lifeless in the mouth of the knot hole. “Do you think we should investigate, Auggie?” asked Hillary in a hushed voice. “I don’t see why not,” replied Auggie. The pair tiptoed towards the strange tree where the dead animal lay. They peered in the knothole and saw the animal. Blood stained its neck where the dart pierced it. Auggie examined the arrow. It was wooden with a feather at the far end. The feather was from the same birds that had rested in the trees. Suddenly, while Hillary was examining the dart, she heard rustling in the bushes. Hillary froze in her tracks. Auggie fell silent. Suddenly, Hillary heard a raspy voice coming from the bushes. “What are you doing in my territory?”  the voice demanded. Auggie nervously looked over at Hillary. “I don’t understand a word that it said,” he whispered. “That’s weird. I understood it perfectly,” Hillary whispered back. Then, Hillary’s green eyes darted over to the place the voice was coming from. Standing in front of the vegetation was a strange, bipedal creature. It was covered from head to toe in white, peach-fuzz fur. It wore a long loincloth around it’s waist. On its face sat two leaf shaped ears and a short trunk. In it’s calloused hand, the creature held some sort of blowgun. The creature’s gleaming, sky-blue eyes bore down on Hillary and Auggie. Hillary backed away slowly. Auggie jumped out of the knothole, allowing the creature to take the dead bird for himself. Gathering up all of the courage that she could, Hillary spoke. “My name is Hillary. This is Auggie,” she said in a wavering voice she gestured to Auggie. She held up her hands in surrender. “We come in peace,” she explained. The creature’s expression softened the slightest bit. “If you say so. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Hawargus,” said the creature. Auggie tapped Hillary’s leg with a metallic paw. “I still can’t understand a word this thing is saying!” he said. “Um, uh….whatever your name is? Auggie here can’t understand a word you’re saying. Yet I can,” she explained to Hawargus. The alien’s eyes widened. “Let me look at you for a second, Hillary. You may have a special gift,” he replied. Hawargus slowly stepped forwards and laid his hand on Hillary’s shoulder. Hillary could feel the soft grip of Hawargus’s hand and his warm, damp breath. After a minute or two, he stepped back. “I was correct,” he concluded. “You have the ability to commune with our kind.” Hillary looked at him quizzically. “I also have a way to help your little friend  do the same,” Hawargus said with a grin. He pulled a tiny silver ball about the size of a  medium-sized dewdrop. “Give this to Auggie. When he ingests it, this little thingy will dissolve and the particles within will grant him the ability to communicate with us,” Hawargus explained. “But how?” asked Hillary. “That I do not know, my dear girl.” She took the little ball from Hawargus’s hand and helped Auggie ingest the ball. After ingesting the ball according to Hawargus’s instructions, Auggie’s metal body trembled slightly then stopped. He gulped and his wire whiskers twitched. “Ugh. That certainly wasn’t pleasant. Are you sure this is gonna work, Hillary?” asked Auggie. “It will be alright,…..wait, Hillary? What was his name again?” Hawargus asked. “His name’s Auggie,” Hillary explained with a little giggle. “Hey! I can perfectly understand this guy now! It did work!” Auggie exclaimed. Auggie began jumping up and down excitedly like a kitten playing with an enticing toy. Hawargus rolled his eyes. “Calm down Auggie,” Hillary said. Auggie abruptly stopped jumping and landed on his side. Hillary picked Auggie up in her arms and carried him like a mother would a baby. “Why are you here in the first place, Hawargus?” she asked. Hawargus sighed deeply and then began to speak. “I was exiled from my clan. They said that I was unworthy,” he said. “I’m sorry,” Hillary whispered as she laid a hand on Hawargus’s shoulder. Auggie stretched his neck out and nuzzled Hawargus’s face. “Hillary, how did you get here? I have never seen anything like you and Auggie in my entire 102 years of living,” he asked in a whisper. “I was in a terrible boarding school since I was a baby. Auggie and I escaped  at dawn,” Hillary replied with a mischievous grin. Hawargus stared at them for a little while, looking confused. Hillary shot a short glance at Auggie, who shrugged. (Believe me, I’ve never thought of what a robotic cat would look like if it shrugged.) After a few minutes of awkward silence and shrugs, Hawargus gasped. “I have an idea! Hillary, we could use that glider of yours and I can teach you the way to the city?” he shouted. “Wait, so you’re saying that we go back to my city?” Hillary asked quizzically. “Of course not! I’m talking about the great city of Eas!” he corrected. “What’s this ‘Eas’ place?” asked Auggie. “It is the great city that lies beyond the forest, ruled by Queen Follir,” Hawargus continued. “Okay,” Hillary muttered as she opened the glider. After the trio boarded the Luna Moth, Hawargus guided Hillary to the city. When the reached Eas, Hillary looked out the window and saw an enormous city with a strange palace right smack in the middle. Hillary landed the ship and opened the door. Voices, music, and the sounds of bustling traffic greeted the trio. Hillary cautiously climbed out of the glider, along with Hawargus and Auggie. Hawargus turned around and whispered, “Act casual and try not to call any attention to yourselves. The Queen despises humans.” He shuddered after saying this and they began to walk into the city. They disappeared into the throng of citizens and walked on. As they were walking, an elegant figure caught Hillary’s eye. The figure was dressed in elegant robes, and bangles and charms were crowded onto it’s four, lanky arms. On the back of it’s head were three antennae-like structures that had iridescent eye spots on either side. On it’s head sat large, bat-like ears pierced with hoops and gems.  The figure was flanked by three, heavily-armored body guards carrying large, spear-like weapons. Hawargus grew suddenly tense. “It’s the Queen,” he whispered. Hillary stiffened, trying not to call attention to herself as Hawargus had instructed. But suddenly, the elegant queen turned around and spotted Hillary. Her beady eyes seemed to bore into Hillary’s soul. Hillary walked as if nothing had happened, but Queen Follir suddenly let out a gasp. Her bodyguards snapped to attention. “Guards! I have spotted a human!” she shouted. “Where is it, your majesty?” said one of the guards. “O-over there,” said the Queen, pointing a shaky finger in Hillary’s direction. Her eyes narrowed and began to show a glint of malevolence. “Find the human and whatever companions it has and bring it to me. The companions will be arrested. In the meantime, I’ll figure out a fitting punishment for the human,” ordered Queen Follir. As the guards began to search the crowd, the queen let out an evil laugh. The guards were upon Hillary, Auggie and Hawargus in the blink of an eye. As Hillary struggled in the guard’s grip, she demanded, “What are you doing to me? What have I ever done to you?” But then, realization hit Hillary. The Queen hated humans. But why? The guards escorted Queen Follir back to the palace with the three captives. The palace  had white, tiled flooring and the ceiling was like a prism, reflecting light off of objects below. It was a beautiful place, but the fact that Hillary and her friends had been captured by a cruel queen and  were being dragged by guards took away from the moment. “Take the white one and the hunk of metal to the prison. I’ll take the human to…well where we put the humans,” snickered Queen Follir. The guard holding Hillary dropped her on the ground and bound her hands behind her back. Hillary followed the Queen down a long corridor. “Why do you capture innocent humans, your majesty?” Hillary demanded as they walked. The Queen looked back at her and said, “because I can. Humans are disgusting creatures.”

The queen laughed to herself. Hillary rolled her eyes. This is one insolent queen, she thought. After walking down flights of stairs and numerous corridors, Queen Follir opened a door and Hillary followed. Inside, there was a row of metal cages. Two of them held humans. The Queen pushed Hillary into a cage and locked it. As Queen Follir walked away, Hillary fought the urge to call her an idiot. “Looks like ol’ Queenie’s got herself yet another guinea pig,” one of the caged humans grumbled. “Luke, stop calling everyone guinea pigs!” shouted the other one. The second voice was right next to her. It belonged to a girl with dyed   black and white hair, a matching dress with a frilled collar, and squinting, brown eyes. She looked to be in her early twenties. “The name’s Chickadee. This over here is Luke,” said the girl, pointing to a teenager behind her. The teenager had dark skin, dreadlocks, and he was wearing something close to a biker jacket. “How’d you end up in here?” asked Luke. “Well…it’s a long story. You know those boarding schools? The ones where you don’t get out  until you’re twenty?” explained Hillary. Luke nodded. “All too well, missy,” groaned Chickadee. “So, the robot I had made and I hatched an escape plan. We ended up escaping successfully and then we found this alien named Hawargus. He’s really sweet if you get to know him well. He told us that we should go here, and then the stupid queen captured us,” continued Hillary. “You will not believe how insolent she is,” said Hillary. “When she was leading me here, I asked her why she was capturing all the humans. Her answer: ‘because I can’.” Chickadee did a face palm. “How can you even understand that freak?” asked Luke. “Hawargus told me that I can somehow understand the aliens,” Hillary answered. “Cool,” muttered Chickadee, not making eye contact.  Hillary sighed and lay down on the cold floor. She thought of Auggie and Hawrgus and silent tears began to stream down her cheek. Try as she might to think of the “early 21st century music” Auggie had always played for her to help her get to sleep, the lyrics of the songs were marred by memories. In the end, Hillary cried herself to sleep.

When Hillary woke up, it was still dark outside. She heard Luke snoring. Chickadee was almost silent, save for her occasional sniffles. Hillary lay on her back again, listening to the few sounds in the prison. Suddenly, as she was listening, she heard quiet footsteps in the hall. Was it the queen, coming to punish them? Had Hawargus and Auggie somehow escaped and were coming to her rescue? The footsteps stopped and Hillary heard the click of the door’s lock opening and the door creaked open. A figure stepped into the room. She was almost identical to Queen Follir, save for her smaller size and her dress. She was wearing a strangely ornate nightgown that had gems encircling the sleeves. The figure stepped over to the prison cells and bent down in front of Hillary’s cage. The figure’s eyes shimmered as they surveyed the prisoners. She sighed. “Stupid mother,” the figure muttered under her breath. “Capturing innocent humans and locking them up to be fed to the zoo animals.” Hillary’s eyes widened in fear. “Is that what the queen really does?” Hillary whispered. The figure sighed again. “She’s done that three times. I can’t remember what mother did to the other two,” the figure continued. “Who are you?” whispered Hillary. “I’m Princess Chareen, the queen’s completely unloved and shunned daughter,” the princess said sarcastically. “Ya think?” Hillary smirked. “She hates me. She acts like I don’t even exist,” Princess Chareen continued. “I know how that feels,” Hillary said. She slipped her arm through the cage bars and patted the princess’s shoulder. “I don’t really care for mother anyway. She’s a cruel, insolent, air-headed, evil hog,” Princess Chareen said. “Wow, you really hate your mom, eh?” Hillary laughed. The princess and the prisoner laughed together. Suddenly, Chickadee said, “Heck who are you talking to, Hillary?” Chickadee looked out of the bars and saw Princess Chareen kneeling in front of Hillary. The princess gave a shy wave towards Chickadee and Chickadee smiled in response. “Did you hear what she called Queen Follir? She called her ‘a cruel, insolent, air-headed, evil hog’!” whispered Hillary. The three girls shared a laugh. Then, a voice echoed behind the door. “Chareen! Get back here this instant! What are you doing in the prison?” shouted the Queen. “Nothing, mother,” lied Princess Chareen. “Sorry, guys. I have to go or mother’s gonna flip. I’ll free you someday,” said the princess. Chickadee and Hillary waved. Luke was still asleep. Hillary turned to Chickadee and said, “What do you think that the Queen’s gonna do to us?” Chickadee was silent for a moment. “Let me tell you about Lindsay,” she said. “Lindsay came in here a few months ago. She was a very bright person and she was as cool as a cucumber in the worst of situations. But one day, the guards dragged her out of the prison and I never saw her again. No one knows what they did to her except the Queen, the guards, and most likely anyone else watching.”  Hillary’s eyes widened again. “Well, Princess Chareen told me that she feeds them to the zoo animals and she can’t remember what else she did,” Hillary answered. “Fed to the zoo animals? Ugh. I bet they have some big, fancy-schmancy arena that the animals can eat in,” spat Chickadee. The girls didn’t talk for hours. Luke slept for about the same time. “Why has Luke been sleeping for so long?” whispered Chickadee. “Dunno. Maybe the Queen drugged him or something. He’s stopped snoring,” Hillary answered. Chickadee shrugged. Again, the girls didn’t talk for hours and Luke kept on sleeping. Many uneventful days and nights went by, and Luke eventually woke up. He didn’t talk much either. Then, after about a week in prison, the queen opened the door and let Hillary out of her cage. “We have decided on a punishment. Guards, take her,” ordered Queen Follir. The guards came in the room and dragged Hillary by her arms. Eventually, they cam upon a door which led to a large room. The room was like that of a Roman coliseum. In the middle was a large arena. On the sides were the seats for the people watching. In the seats were many aliens, which Hillary suspected were the Queen’s subjects and nobility. Hillary spotted Princess Chareen in the crowd, looking down miserably. “Human, step into the arena,” ordered Queen Follir. The guards dropped Hillary onto the cold ground and she crawled into the entrance. Standing in the arena was a fat looking alien holding  a lock to a gate. The alien looked down on Hillary and said, “I have faith in you, human. Please, defeat the creature so that the queen may be overthrown.” Hillary gulped. “I-I’ll try, sir,” she responded. The alien smiled. “You don’t have to call me ‘sir’ you know,” he chuckled. “Keeper! Release the creature!” yelled Queen Follir. Keeper took a deep breath and opened the gate. “Let the games begin!” shouted Queen Follir. No one cheered. The creature stalked out of the gate. It was a huge, lion-sized carnivore with black and russet fur, small ears, saber teeth, claws as big as Hillary’s hand, and an ugly, snarling face only a mother could love. The creature pounced and the crowd gasped. Hillary darted out of the way and tried to grab the creature’s back. She managed to climb on and the creature bucked like a bull at a rodeo. Eventually, Hillary was bucked off and she fell to the floor. The creature loomed above her, ready to strike her with it’s giant claws. Hillary stiffened and darted out of the way and the creature struck the floor, breaking it’s claws. A  howl of pain echoed through the arena. Hillary latched onto the creature’s back once more and held on tight, pinching it’s short fur. Hillary advanced towards the creature’s neck and held it in a chokehold. The creature’s growls turned into whimpers, and then into nothing at all. The predator dropped to the ground in pain, suffocating in Hillary’s fierce grip. Then, it stopped breathing altogether and died. Hillary checked it’s heart to see if the creature was really dead or just playing possum. Hillary could find no heartbeat, nor pulse. It was dead. Hillary stood up triumphantly. The crowd cheered, with the exception of Queen Follir, who was shouting “NOOOOO!” Hillary climbed the arena wall and exited onto the floor. The crow began to chant. “Hu-man!Hu-man!Hu-man!” they cheered. Queen Follir stepped out of the seats and faced Hillary. “This is the first time this has ever happened,” she said, hyperventilating. “This means that I will be overthrown.” Hillary pumped her fist in the air.  The crowd took up a new chant. “Death to the Queen! Death to the Queen!” they shouted. Amid the ruckus, Hillary asked “Overthrow you?” “It’s the rules, human. Although I have some plans to bend them,” she whispered. Queen Follir said the word “human” with particular disgust. Her mouth upturned in a wicked smile. “SILENCE!” she yelled. The chanting crowd hushed. “In most cases, since this human here defeated the monster, I would be overthrown,” Queen Follir explained. The crowd cheered. “But as your queen, I have decided to bend the rules. Everything will stay the same and there will be no overthrowing and the human will go back to prison,” she continued. The crowd booed, even the queen’s subjects. Suddenly, the whole crowd rushed out of their seats and were upon the queen. The guards tried to separate the mob, but to no avail. Everyone dragged the queen out of the arena and out of the palace. Hillary followed the mob closely, eagerly waiting for what would happen. Once the mob was on the palace grounds, they advanced towards a lake that lay at the center of the city. “What are you doing with me? I command you, stop this at once!” shouted Queen Follir. But the crowd pushed on. They stopped at the lake. where the two subjects gripping the queen walked over to the lake. Then, without warning, the duo threw her into the lake. Queen Follir screamed as she fell into the lake. A huge ripple spread on the surface of the lake. There was silence for three minutes straight and then, a few of the queen’s anklets and bangles floated to the surface. Queen Follir had drowned. The mob cheered, including Hillary and Princess Chareen. One of the subjects that threw the Queen into the lake stood up. “Now that Queen Follir has died, Princess Chareen, heir to the Ean crown, shall be queen. Her coronation will begin next week,” he said. “Hail Queen Chareen! Hail Queen Chareen!” the crowd cheered. Queen Chareen’s pale cheeks began to flush a bright red. The guards immediately crowded around the young queen as everyone returned to the city and the palace. Once inside the palace, Hillary gave Queen Chareen a congratulatory hug. After some celebration among the subjects, Queen Chareen said, “I have some announcements to make. Now that I am queen, I will make some new rules. All humans and other prisoners are to be released and will be free to roam the city. Capturing of humans or other citizens who haven’t done anything wrong is now illegal. All species are created equal!” The crowd cheered again. As the guards went to the human prison to free Chickadee and Luke, Hillary asked the new queen to take her to the prison to free Auggie and Hawargus. Queen Chareen rushed down to the prison and opened the door. Hillary looked around the cells to see if she could see her friends. Suddenly, a familiar voice greeted her. “Hillary? Is that really you?” It was Auggie, staring at her from the bars of the cell. Hillary’s eyes became wet with tears of joy. “Auggie! Are you okay?” she asked frantically as tears flew from her face. Queen Chareen pulled a key out of her pocket and unlocked the cell. Auggie jumped out and nuzzled Hillary’s leg. “Oh, Auggie, I missed you. I was so worried,” she cried. Auggie leaped onto Hillary’s shoulder and nuzzled her neck. “What happened to you? How did you escape?” asked Auggie. “I’ll tell you later. We have to find Hawargus!” Hillary answered. Auggie, Queen Chareen, and Hillary searched the cells for Hawargus’s fuzzy, white body. Eventually, they found him hunched in a corner, still dressed in his flight suit that Hillary had given him for the journey to Eas. He was considerably thinner. Life in prison had definitely had an affect on the alien. Slowly, Hawargus looked up. “Hillary? Auggie?” he rasped. “Hawargus you’re alive!” cried Hillary and Auggie in unison. As Queen Chareen opened the cell. Hawargus crawled out and embraced the duo. Tears of joy now ran from his large eyes. Queen Chareen sighed and led them all back into the main room of the palace. “You are all free to live in Eas,” she announced. Hillary thanked her graciously and started to go to the palace door with Auggie perched on her shoulder. She turned around and saw Chickadee and Luke coming towards her. “You guys alright?” she asked. “Why wouldn’t we be, guinea pig?” joked Luke. Chickadee elbowed him in the hip. “For the last time, STOP CALLING EVERYONE GUINEA PIGS!” Chickadee scolded. Hillary smirked. It was clear that the newfound friends were going to lead a happy rest of their lives, and that another great adventure lay before them.

~end~

Stories-part three

IT ALL ENDS HERE! This is the last Daughters of Bast book.

Daughters of Bast #3

Chaos Rising

Madeline Todd

Deirdre woke up with a start to the sounds of the alarm going off. Bast didn’t say anything about today being important, which is when she set the alarms. Then, Deirdre looked at the kitten calendar and saw the reason for the alarm. Today was April Fool’s day. This time, the alarm was playing Motown music. The night we met I knew I needed you so, and if I had the chance I’d never let you go… Deirdre laughed. For one thing, this clearly wasn’t Bast’s doing. It seemed more like an attempt by Bebo to annoy everyone out of their skins. For another thing, this did not work at all because Deirdre actually like this song. Still in bed, Deirdre began singing along. “Be my, Be my baby,” she sang. Ainsley sat up and stared at her. “What the heck…” she muttered. Deirdre shrugged and turned the alarm off. The two best friends got out of bed and began getting dressed when Ainsley let out a gasp. “Look over there,” she panted. Deirdre turned around to see a poster of Taylor Swift hanging on the door. This was also clearly Bebo’s doing. Deirdre ripped the poster to shreds and threw the scraps in the trash before going out the door with Ainsley. At about halfway down the hall, the girls heard a cry of “EEEEEEWWWW!!” coming from Bebo’s room. Ainsley cautiously opened the door to find Bebo staring at the walls with a disgusted look on her face. Phoebe was lying on the floor, laughing hysterically. Deirdre peered inside and saw the source of Bebo’s cry: there were Oscar the Grouch posters covering the entire room. There was even one with him standing next to Darth Vader. “Who did this?” demanded Bebo. “Alright, fine. It was me!” snickered Ainsley. Phoebe ran over and gave Ainsley a hearty fist bump before they went down the hall to breakfast. When they got to the kitchen, they saw that Elsa and Namidah were already up. Bast and Sekhmet were up too, but something was strange about them. Sekhmet was lying facedown on the kitchen floor. Growling, she pulled herself up and pointed an accusatory finger at the girls. “Who’s doing was this?” she growled. Deirdre peered nervously into the pantry to see that it had been carefully booby trapped. “April Fool!” Elsa shouted. Sekhmet did a face palm before lumbering onto the couch. Bast was making biscuits in the kitchen. Cheerfully, she pulled them out of the oven. “Breakfast is ready!” she meowed. Deirdre’s mouth began to water at the sight of the buttery, flaky, circle of baked goodness before her. She took a large bite to find that the biscuit tasted strange. Deirdre looked at the place she had bitten into and she saw a fluffy, pink and white substance spilling out of it. She prodded it cautiously, and a little dollop got on her finger. Deirdre sniffed the stuff to determine that it was shaving cream. Raspberry-scented shaving cream, to be exact. The weird aftertaste lingered in her mouth, so she ran to the kitchen sink and rinsed with tap water. Panting, she ran back to the table. Bast seemed to be holding back laughter. Ainsley was devouring her biscuit, but then she dropped it on the plate. Cat treats were stuffed inside her biscuit. Bebo bit into her biscuit to find purple, glow-in-the-dark putty. Seeing the others, Namidah ripped open her biscuit to find it stained  bright blue with dishwashing soap. Elsa picked out pony beads from her biscuit one by one. Phoebe brushed biscuit crumbs off a Japanese eraser shaped like a puppy. Sekhmet bit into her biscuit to find trail mix, but without the delicious M & M’s. It was all gross nuts and raisins, but at least it was the most normal out of all of them. All heads at the table turned to Bast, who’s biscuit was not the slightest bit tainted. “Happy April Fool’s Day, everyone,” she snickered. No one laughed. “Here, I’ll go and make some eggs for everyone,” mumbled Sekhmet as she left the table. Bast broke into loud laughter as the girls dumped their biscuits in the trash can. When Bebo came to the trash can, there was a surprise waiting for her: Yet another Oscar the Grouch poster. The girls broke into laughter along with Bast, whose laughter only got harder. Sekhmet made eggs as the girls rinsed with water, trying to get the tastes of fish, rubber, plastic, and putty out of their mouths. The eggs were able to silence the disgusting tastes and the girls went on eating.

***

It was late afternoon, and Deirdre was removing a booby trap that Elsa had crafted that morning from the trash can. Deirdre decided to head to the arcade and headed out the door. She slipped on the floor of the hall. Did someone wax the floor for April Fool’s? she thought. But there was no sign of wax. There was a small slip of paper on the floor. Deirdre read it in surprise.

Dear Master “A”,

I’m going to break it to fish breath and her little assistants soon enough. After that, I’ll come back to you and continue my work. The world will be a much better place without them.

Sincerely,

Bebo K. McBride

P.S: Show this to Set

Deirdre gasped. Who was Bebo writing to? Who was “Master ‘A’”? Who were Set and the other girls. Who was the “fish breath” person that Bebo referred to? Deirdre turned back from her course to the arcade and ran to Bast and Sekhmet’s study. She threw open the door to find Bast sitting on a chair, drumming her clawed fingers on the wooden legs. “Bast, I found something,” Deirdre panted frantically. Deirdre whipped out the note and handed it to Bast.  She narrowed her golden eyes as she scanned the note with great interest. As she reached the end of the letter, her eyes widened. “Set? Master ‘A’? Oh, no. Deirdre, big news: Bebo is officially a traitor,” meowed Bast. “A traitor? Sure, she loves Taylor Swift and Fruit Ninja, but surely she isn’t a traitor!” cried Deirdre. “Let me tell you something, Look at Master ‘A’,” said Bast, pointing to the words on the letter. “The ‘a’ stands for Apophis, the serpent of chaos. Set,” Bast continued, pointing to the words on the letter. “Set is the god of evil. If Bebo’s working for them, it’s bad news,” explained Bast. “I’m showing this to Sekhmet, then I’ll gather everyone and interrogate Bebo,” she said. The goddess stormed into a pocket of the study where Sekhmet was obviously working. “How dare she call me fish breath,” she heard Bast mutter. Deirdre left the room and set off to the arcade to distract herself by playing Pac-Man.

***

Bast had gathered Sekhmet and the girls around the dining room table. She pulled the note out from her sleeve, which was where she normally hid things like notes and the occasional pen. “Deirdre found this in the hallway this afternoon,” she explained. Bast read the note aloud and shoved it in Bebo’s face. “Explain this,” growled Bast. Bebo trembled, her blue eyes darting between Deirdre and Bast. Without a word, she raced out of the dining room. “Come back here and explain, you…..!” shouted Bast at the top of her lungs. Bebo didn’t come back. “I knew Bebo was up to something,” whispered Ainsley. “I’ve always thought of her as sort of a….bad egg, shall we say.” Bebo eventually came back, but she had two rolling bags. “I’m leaving. I knew all of you suspected me all along. You’ll regret this when the world is Apophis’s,” snapped Bebo. Without a word, she sashayed towards the door and she was gone. “Good riddance,” muttered Namidah. “This can’t be good. We have to confront Apophis and Set a.s.a.p, girls,” said Bast with a note of panic in her voice. “At least no one really liked her,” said Elsa with a shrug. “Yes, well…” said Sekhmet, her voice trailing off. “I’ll take Phoebe, Namidah, and Elsa for battle training, tomorrow” said Sekhmet. “After dinner, at least.” “Promise you won;t taint anything?” Deirdre asked. “Pinky swear,” said Sekhmet, holding out a furry, white pinky.  Then, Sekhmet went off to the kitchen, stopping to undo the booby trap in the pantry. Ainsley and Deirdre went off to their room. They plopped down in the bed. “Ugh. I knew Bebo would do something like that,” muttered Ainsley. “Yeah, well. For me it was pretty—” Deirdre was cut off as she heard footsteps thumping down the hall. “Oh. It’s Namidah. Apparently she has something important to do,” said Ainsley, rolling her dark brown eyes. “Do you want to investigate?” asked Deirdre mischievously. “Let’s do it,” sniggered Ainsley. “I have something perfect.” She opened the closet and pulled out two sleek white jumpsuits. “My spy suits. They provide soundlessness and almost perfect camouflage against the white carpets. Pull the hood over,” instructed Ainsley. Deirdre pulled the thin hood over her head and the girls headed out. “Might wanna pull your hair under the hood,” suggested Deirdre. Little curls of Ainsley’s hair were sticking out from under the hood. She pushed them in and they set out for Namidah’s room. The door was open, and the girls got down on their bellies and stalked into the room like cats preying on mice. Namidah was hard at work on her laptop, typing rapidly on the keys. Deirdre peeked around her shoulder to find Namidah on the Warrior Cats website. She giggled as she typed Deirdre’s name into the screen. Uh oh, thought Deirdre as Namidah typed “New York” in as Deirdre’s hometown. Namidah pressed the enter key and something strange popped up on the screen: Warrior name: Honeyfeather. Namidah giggled and looked around her shoulder. “Deirdre? Ainsley? What are you doing here? I said I was busy,” Namidah growled. Ainsley sighed and did air quotation marks. “You’re just making everyone warrior names that no one will bother to even use,” muttered Deirdre. Namidah’s expression brightened. “I just finished! Wanna hear everyone’s Warrior names?” she asked with a smile that was a little too enthusiastic. She exited off of the Warrior website and pulled up a computer sticky note that she had made. This is what it read:

Deirdre = Honeyfeather

Ainsley= Emberpelt

Bebo= Aspenshine

Elsa= Redfur

Phoebe= Pineclaw

Me!= Longleaf

“Cool, right?” asked Namidah. “Now let’s figure out what you would look like as warriors!” “Let’s leave. She’s become Warriors obsessed!” whispered Ainsley. With that, the girls snuck out of the room. As they were walking out of Namidah and Elsa’s room, Ainsley began doing the most surprising thing that Deirdre had ever seen her do. Ainsley took of the hood of the jumpsuit and began to sing softly. “Sheena is a punk rocker, Sheena is a punk rocker,” she sang. Deirdre looked at her confusedly as they walked back into their room. “I never thought you could sing,” remarked Deirdre. “Well, I only do it when I’m anxious,” said Ainsley. Ainsley walked over to the iPod and began scrolling down on the songs. “Bad Believer?” asked Deirdre. “Nope,” said Ainsley. “The song I was just singing.” Rock ’N’ roll music began playing out of the speaker. “You like the Ramones?” Deirdre asked. “No. This is the Yeah Yeah Yeahs covering the Ramones,” corrected Ainsley. Ainsley danced, curly, dark brown hair whipping along to the beat. In the middle of Ainsley’s dance number, Deirdre heard Bast calling. “Girls! Meet me in the living room!” she called. “Darn it!” muttered Ainsley under her breath as she turned off the music. The twosome walked out of the room and into the living room. Bast was staining next to a huge chest. Elsa and Namidah had already arrived. Elsa was holding a clipboard and a pencil. Sekhmet was slouched on the couch. “Alright, girls! Stand next to Namidah for me,” instructed Bast cheerfully. Ainsley stood next to Namidah, and Deirdre moved next to Ainsley. Soon, Phoebe came running and stood next to Deirdre. “Girls, Sekhmet and I have constructed a plan. For this plan, we need a decoy. This contest will determine our decoy,” explained Bast. “I will draw the name of a book character, a movie character, or a famous person and you four will try and act out that person. Each round, someone will get first place. Whoever gets first place the most times wins and is the decoy,” explained Bast. “Elsa has elected to be scorekeeper since she’s wheelchair-bound, so she will not be participating,” Bast continued. Bast pulled the chest open to reveal a bunch of dress-up items like witch hats, fairy wands, and even a fake steering wheel that looked like something taken of a pirate ship. “For the first round, imitate…” Bast said. She pulled a slip out of a mason jar and read it aloud. “The Wicked Witch of the West!” “I’ll go first!” said Deirdre. At the orphanage, they played The Wizard of Oz many times each month for entertainment, so she had the entire movie practically memorized. She pulled the witch hat on and began her act. Deirdre pretended to sink to the floor in agony. “I’m melting! I’m melting!” she moaned. Deirdre collapsed on the floor and stood up again before handing the witch hat to Namidah. Namidah pulled the witch hat on over her baby blue headscarf and began her act. She put one hand on her hip and bent over towards Sekhmet. “I’ll get you now, my pretty, and your little dog too!” she crowed, waggling a finger at Sekhmet. Sekhmet sniggered and Namidah handed her hat to Ainsley. Ainsley slowly put it on and stood there for a moment, confused. Then, she started hopping around wildly, flapping her arms and cackling weirdly. Ainsley stopped her act panting and handed the witch hat to Phoebe. Phoebe slipped on the witch hat and then jumped back suddenly. “Acck! The slippers!” she cried. Then, she tossed the hat back in the chest. Elsa began scribbling on the paper attached to the clipboard rapidly. She tapped Bast on the shoulder and they looked over the paper. “For this round, Deirdre wins first place!” Bast announced. Deirdre pumped her fist in the air before looking at Bast to see the next round. The second round, the girls had to imitate Mickey Mouse. Ainsley won that round for her perfect imitation of Steamboat Willy. Phoebe won the next two rounds with her imitations of Harry Potter and Nick Jonas. She was now the decoy. Deirdre gave her a high five before turning to Bast again. “Now, we need to decide what the decoy should be like. This decoy is someone willing to join Set and Apophis. We’ll each cast an idea for what the decoy should be like except Phoebe,” explained Bast as she passed out slips of paper and pencils. Once Deirdre was handed hers, she began to think. Someone who would work for Set would probably be dark….wait, I’ve got it! Goth girl! thought Deirdre as she wrote her idea down on the slip. She dropped it in the mason jar and waited for the moment of truth. Once everyone had submitted their ideas, Bast fished around the jar. She pulled out a slip and read it aloud. “It says…Wolfmother Fan,” read Bast. “Good idea!” Elsa began to giggle. “I got the idea from this kid at the children’s hospital. He was about fourteen and he really liked Wolfmother. It’s this super weird band that does rock, but no good rock. Not in my opinion, at least,” she explained between giggles. “I know Wolfmother. Here, Phoebe, I’ll get your decoy outfit ready and teach you a few chords for a Wolfmother song on the guitar to make yourself even more convincing,” explained Sekhmet as she took a nervous Phoebe by the hand. Deirdre plopped herself back down on the couch. “I’ll give you guys the plan. Phoebe comes out with the decoy, playing guitar in the middle of nowhere. Set and his girls come out and Phoebe asks to join their team. They hopefully let her, and we follow close behind. We give Phoebe the cue, and we attack,” explained Bast quickly. “Sounds like a plan! Wait, sorry. No pun intended, guys,” said Elsa. “Get some clothes on that you won’t mind getting all ripped and stuff and meet me back here,” instructed Bast. Deirdre sped off to her room and began digging through the closet. There she found a boring, solid baby blue tank top and some jeans that already had a few holes in them. She also slipped on some worn, red sneakers. Deirdre pulled her hair back with a barrette and walked out the door. When she came back, she found Bast chatting with a girl she didn’t recognize. The girl had white-blonde hair with dyed purple streaks and sea blue eyes. “Oh, good outfit, Deirdre. Allow me to introduce you to our fellow spy, Tabitha Means,” introduced Bast. Tabitha walked over and shook Deirdre’s hand. “Hey,” she said. “So, you’ve been a spy for Set and Apophis for this whole time?” asked Deirdre. “Yeah. those dudes were such idiots,” said Tabitha mischievously. Deirdre laughed. “I can’t wait for Phoebe to come out in her disguise. It’s gonna be so great!” exclaimed Deirdre.  Ainsley and Namidah came out wearing their “battle outfits”. Namidah sported  a simple t-shirt and jean shorts. Ainsley wore a pink tank top and ripped leggings. Bast introduced them to Tabitha and they waited for Elsa. Eventually, she wheeled into the room and waited for Phoebe and Sekhmet. To pass the time, Namidah showed them the at least six minute long video that she, Phoebe, and Deirdre took of Bebo playing Fruit Ninja. After the video had ended, Phoebe and Sekhmet walked. Phoebe’s long hair had been teased up to look something like an afro. She sported baggy jeans and a golden yellow t-shirt with “Wolfmother” on it in triangular lettering. Posed on top of the letters was a silhouette of a guy with an afro playing an electric guitar. Phoebe also carried a black electric guitar. “How do you like my ‘do?” asked Phoebe. Something seemed strange about her voice. Phoebe was speaking in an Australian accent! “What’s with the accent?” asked Namidah. “Apparently Wolfmother is an Australian band, so I did the accent to be even more convincing,” explained Phoebe. Phoebe plopped down on the couch, her afro bouncing. She began to practice her song on the guitar. “Have you been to the carnival? I would like to see ya, There’s a whole lotta people there, who would like to be ya,” sang Phoebe with her accent. Deirdre couldn’t help laughing. “Alright, Phoebe. You can stop now. Let’s go,” snickered Bast. “I’ve packed up all of our defenses. Deirdre and Elsa, you don’t need to worry because you have combat avatars.” The goddesses and girls went out the door and into a small patch of bushes. “This is where we lay our ambush,” Sekhmet explained quietly. “Well, looks like the kitty cats have arrived! At least you’re not late,” called a voice. A woman in delicate robes and bright was sitting in the bushes. “Oh. Hello, Isis. Where are the others?” greeted Bast. “Over there,” said Isis, gesturing behind her. Behind the goddess, a crowd of gods and goddesses were sitting down and talking. Bast, Sekhmet, and the girls walked over. Two of them Deirdre recognized. Sitting next to an older looking goddess with a dress that looked like running water was Anubis. Lying on his back on the ground, dripping dirty water,  was Hapi. He had changed his Hawaiian-patterned swimming trunks for ones that had neon-pink flamingoes. Deirdre plopped down in the crowd and scanned her surroundings. As she was looking around, she felt a hand tap on her shoulder. Deirdre spun around to see the woman with the water dress. Her eyes were outlined with mascara and sparkling, blue eyeshadow. She wore a headband that also looked like rushing river water. “I’ve been waiting for so long to meet you, Deirdre,” the woman purred. “How do you know me?” asked Deirdre nervously. “I just do. It’s a goddess thing,” snickered the woman. “I’m Nepthys.” “Oh yeah! I remember you! Bast did an imitation of you to get some information out of Anubis when he kidnapped Ainsley,” Deirdre explained. “Now that I think about it, her imitation sounded more like an eighty year old lady than you.” “Anubis did WHAT?” exclaimed Nepthys. “Sorry, mom,” apologized Anubis in the background. “Awkward..” muttered Deirdre under her breath. Nepthys turned around to give her son a talking-to and Deirdre ignored them. Her eyes spotted a scrawny, bronze-colored cat with black spots. Feeling sorry for the poor thing, she scratched it under the chin. The cat purred and closed it’s green eyes. “What’s an old kitty like you doing here?” cooed Deirdre. “Oh, I have a right to be here.” Deirdre paused scratching the cat and stared at it.

“Did you just talk?” Deirdre asked. “Well, yes. I am a god, after all,” purred the cat. “My name is Ra. The Ra.” “The god of the sun can’t be that small,” exclaimed Deirdre. “Well, I go into this form when I go out every night to slay Apophis. He just comes back to life very morning. It’s pretty annoying, if you ask me. Anyway, in order for Apophis to destroy the world, he has to swallow me,” explained Ra.  Deirdre stared at the tiny god in amazement. A voice rang out among the gathered deities. “It’s time to set the ambush. Phoebe, get out there and do your stuff!” exclaimed Bast. Phoebe said goodbye to a god with a falcon head and whipped out her electric guitar and began to play the rehearsed Wolfmother song. In the background, Deirdre heard Anubis whispering, “Hey, I like that song!” Nepthys silenced him and they watched the disguised Phoebe. “Lay low,” instructed Bast. Everyone got to their bellies to avoid detection. Phoebe continued to play her song. Out of the blue, a girl came out. The girl was wearing a plaid, long-sleeve shirt, jeans, cowboy boots, and a cowboy hat. Her bright red hair, which was tied in a braid, made her look like a fox in a cowgirl suit. Phoebe looked up and began talking to the girl, and they left. Bast made a swift motion with her fingers and the gods, goddesses, and girls crawled on their bellies soundlessly after Phoebe and the “cowgirl”. Deirdre imagined a cat stalking a mouse as she put each hand down on the sidewalk. The group followed the girls until the girls stopped. There were four other girls standing there as well as a few freaky looking gods and goddesses. With a start, Deirdre recognized Set and Apophis among the crowd. Apophis basically looked like a giant snake with blazing red eyes. Set resembled Hapi, but with fiery red skin, blank, golden-yellow eyes, and what looked like a short toga instead of the flashy swimming trunks. Bast separated from the group and crawled over to Phoebe and whispered something in her ear. Phoebe nodded quickly and Bast leaped back into the silent throng. Phoebe whipped out her guitar and muttered some ancient Egyptian spell. The girl in the cowgirl outfit’s eyes widened as the electric guitar turned into a gleaming khopesh. Bast quickly turned around. “Advance further. I’ll get the attention of those evil gods. Then, we attack,” Bast whispered quickly. The cat goddess leaped and landed right next to Phoebe. Apophis turned around and hissed. Deirdre felt a tap on her shoulder. It was Ainsley, trying to comfort her. “It’s gonna be fine. We’ll win this war,” she whispered. Deirdre took a deep breath and sighed. “I suppose so.” She continued staring intently at Bast, who was in deep conversation with Set and Apophis. Then, they stopped and turned around. “Girls, get over here,” she instructed. Deirdre shakily got to her feet. Gulping, she walked to Bast’s side and held onto her free paw. Deirdre heard jeering voices of girls. “Ooh, look at poor scaredy-cat, holding onto mommy’s hand!” The comment was met by mean laughter. Once all of the girls had come over, Bast handed out instructions. “According to these pea brains over here,” she said, gesturing to Set and Apophis. Apophis hissed and Set gritted his teeth in response. “We each have an opposite on the evil side. Line up.” Deirdre stood beside Ainsley. When she looked at her opposite, a familiar face showed itself. Deirdre could recognize the blonde bangs and rectangular-rimmed glasses at once. It was Bebo. “We meet again, loser,” sneered Bebo. “I beg to differ about who’s the loser,” retorted Deirdre, her anger bubbling up inside of her. Deirdre looked over at the other girls. Ainsley faced a strangely pale girl with spiked, black hair, dark makeup, and an Iron Maiden t-shirt with the sleeves ripped off. Phoebe faced the cowgirl. Namidah was facing a girl with long, auburn hair and a neon pink fedora with black dots. Elsa wheeled ever closer to a girl with a prosthetic hand. Tabitha was smiling wickedly at a short girl with blonde hair streaked with electric blue. Set had his hands pressed together, fingers going in and out. “Let the games begin,” he announce wickedly. All of the sudden, the whole area was abuzz with screeches and shouts. Bebo unsheathed her khopesh and stalked towards Deirdre. In response, Deirdre rose up in her combat avatar. Her vision was blurred with the bright, transparent orange of her avatar as she sliced with her claws. Bebo swung her weapon wildly, causing the combat avatar to flicker ever so slightly. In defense, Deirdre grabbed Bebo by the waist and held her high in the air. With her free hand, Deirdre slashed at Bebo’s face. Bebo, unable to get a hold on her khopesh, thrashed in Deirdre’s grasp. Deirdre shrugged and dropped Bebo. She heard a sickening thud as Bebo, along with her glimmering khopesh, hit the ground. Bebo began to moan in agony. A goddess raced up and dragged the injured Bebo by the hand and put her in a nearby shed. The goddess went back and stood to face Deirdre. Deirdre, still in her combat avatar, backed away slightly at the sight of the goddess. She had a headdress and robes like any other goddess, but the goddess herself was a humanoid scorpion. Deirdre had a deathly fear of scorpions because of a nightmare she had when she was in the orphanage. A giant scorpion had chased her down a winding road and eventually off a cliff. Deirdre woke up sweating that night. With a start, Deirdre realized that it was Serqet, the goddess of scorpions. Flickering out of her combat avatar, Deirdre let out a scream. The scorpion goddess snickered. “Oh, so this ‘hero of the story’ I’ve been hearing about is just a big old wuss. Figures,” Serqet jeered. Hyperventilating, Deirdre slowly backed away. Then, imagining Bast leaping back into the crowd minutes ago, she leaped with the sheer agility of a cat. Deirdre clung to one of Serqet’s plated arthropod arms and began to climb up the goddess’s body. Serqet tried to shake the eleven year old off, but Deirdre pushed on like a mountaineer climbing Mt. Everest. Soon, Deirdre reached Serqet’s ugly head. With one hand, she held on, and with the other, she punched Serqet. Serqet once again tried to shake her off, but to no avail. Deirdre had something close to a death grip on the goddess’s head. In defense, she lifted her barbed tail up and guided it towards Deirdre. Deirdre leaped off Serqet and began to back away when a cloud of dust flew past her. It was Ainsley, running as fast as a hurricane towards the humanoid arthropod. Aiming her ivory wand at Serqet, Ainsley shot a blast of blue light straight into Serqet’s chest. The goddess hissed and began to advance towards the girls. Serqet dropped into a crouch and aimed her giant tail. Ainsley advanced towards the goddess, right in the path of her stinging tail. “Ainsley! You’re going to get yourself killed!” screamed Deirdre. Ainsley ignored her plea and advanced ever closer. Serqet lifted her tail to strike, the teardrop-shaped barb pointed down. With lightning speed, Serqet’s tail rocketed down on a path straight for Ainsley’s heart. Seeing her friend in danger, Deirdre jumped into Ainsley and pushed her away from the deadly blow. Serqet’s tail grazed Deirdre’s arm as she pushed Ainsley away from danger. Angered, Serqet snapped her jaws together and scampered away. Deirdre held onto Ainsley, cradling her as she hyperventilated. “Are you okay?” Deirdre whispered. “Okay? You saved my life,” panted Ainsley. “Now, let’s go save the world.” The girls stood up and raced back onto the battlefield. Deirdre’s head turned around to see Apophis with Ra in his his coils. Ra was slicing nonstop with knives at the great serpent’s neck. Apophis was slowly lifting Ra towards his gaping, fanged maw. Despite the danger, Ra kept on slicing. “He’s going to swallow Ra!” gasped Ainsley. “We’ve got to get over there!” Deirdre and Ainsley raced towards the serpent and leaped onto his back. Oblivious, Apophis began to force the scrawny cat into his mouth. “Climb faster!” shouted Deirdre. It was too late. Apophis had swallowed Ra whole. The outline of gleaming, golden orb showed through the evil serpent’s neck. “I have swallowed the sun!” Apophis hissed. “The world is mine!” Deirdre hyperventilated faster than ever. All of Bast’s efforts were wasted. The world was doomed. His job done, Apophis looked around and spotted the two girls clinging to his neck. “Get off, pests! You’ve lost the battle,” spat the serpent. The girls stayed exactly where they were. “Wait for it…” Ainsley whispered. “I heard that! Wait for what?” demanded Apophis. Deirdre looked up at the serpent’s neck. The glowing orb was glowing larger by the second. Thunder boomed in the distance. Apophis began to choke. The once powerful serpent now weakened. In a flash of blinding light, Apophis’s neck burst into flames and the orb rose out. The orb began to take the shape of a cat, then returned to the state of Ra. “Told you so,” meowed Ra as he hovered in the air before descending back down. Apophis cowered in the flames, slowly dissolving until he was nothing but ashes. Deirdre and Ainsley leaped off of the flaming serpent and back onto the hard ground. Deirdre whipped around to see Set howling out orders. “Retreat! Apophis is dead!” he shouted. They ran of for who knows where and Deirdre watched with a triumphant smile. Bast threw her head up in the air. “Victory!” she yowled. In the place of screams and howls of pain, the clearing erupted in cheers. “This is a cause for celebration!” an unseen god announced. “Alright then, Horus. Good suggestion. Meet me at my house tomorrow at seven p.m., and we’ll have a ‘The world is still here’ party!” Bast announced. The gods and goddesses all went into their human states and the clearing began to empty. Bast and Sekhmet stood proudly, battered and bruised but stoic. The girls picked themselves up and they walked home.

***

It was the night of the celebration, and the mansion ran amok with girls and goddesses setting up. Deirdre was pouring strawberry lemonade into wine glasses. Sekhmet helped tall Phoebe put up neon lights. Ainsley and Elsa were setting up Bast’s DJ station. Bast was making a dance playlist on her laptop. Namidah and Tabitha were planning party games. Paper decor hung from every threshold and ceiling. Deirdre was excited beyond her wildest dreams. A party with major gods and goddesses was better than even having a party with celebrities! Drowning in daydreams, Deirdre began to drift off and spilled a bit of lemonade. Quickly wiping the accident up with a paper towel, she arranged the cups and changed into “party clothes”(An overly sparkly and sequin-laden tank-top, lipgloss, flip-flops, and jean shorts). Putting her short hair in a bun, she went to join the others. Ainsley and Elsa had just finished up the DJ station and Bast set down her laptop and inspected the playlist. Elsa tried to peek over her shoulder, but the cat goddess quickly shooed her away. Ainsley was walking over to Deirdre. “So,” Deirdre asked. “How do I look?” She struck a pose like a wannabe supermodel. “You look great,” giggled Ainsley. “Thanks again for saving my life,” she continued. “What are friends for?” said Deirdre. Ainsley laughed. “This is just like a scene at the end of some cheesy movie where the boy falls in love with the girl after he saves her life and they get all mushy and stuff.” The girls fell into peals of laughter and Deirdre nearly fell down. Suddenly, they heard the scratch of records and someone doing beep box. It was Bast, testing out her microphone. She now sported huge headphones. Ainsley and Deirdre laughed even harder and flopped over on the  couch.

***

It was now seven o’ clock and the first of the gods and goddesses were arriving. Deirdre ran over and gave Nepthys a warm hug and led her to the party room. Looking over to the side, Deirdre spotted Sekhmet taking a selfie with a smaller lion goddess. She and Nepthys sat on the couch. Nepthys looked over at Deirdre, her sea blue eyes twinkling and warm. She put a comforting hand on her shoulder. “I can’t thank you enough, young one. You fought with the heart of a lion,” purred the goddess. In the short time that they had known each other, Nepthys had become an aunt of sorts to the orphan. In minutes, the place was crawling with gods and goddesses of all shapes and sizes. Deirdre spotted Hapi, now wearing a tuxedo, drinking lemonade with a goddess that looked like a humanoid hippopotamus. Isis was chatting with Bast over at the DJ station. Once all of the gathered deities had arrived. Bast stood up  and held the microphone in one hand and a glass of lemonade in the other. The once loud room hushed. “I would like to thank all of you, gods, goddesses, and mortals….wait, did that sound too much like Shakespeare?” Bast began. The crowd snickered. “Boy, she knows how to start a speech,” giggled Ainsley. “Anyway,” the cat goddess continued. “You all made sure that when the war was over, the world would be in one piece. Thank you again. A toast to victory!” Bast recited. “A toast to victory!” the crowd echoed. Deirdre reached over to ever god, goddess and girl that she could and the sound of clinking glasses filled the room. “Now, whaddaya say we have a dance party?” announced Bast. The crowd cheered and Bast sat down and put on her headphones. She spun a record around and scratched it before turning the playlist on. Everyone got to their feet and danced. Nepthys dragged Deirdre off the couch and swung her around in the air. Deirdre couldn’t help but feel dizzy as Nepthys placed her back on the ground and grabbed her arms.

***

It was later in the night, and the navy blue sky sparkled with stars. The dance party was in full swing. After a flurry of dancy songs, The music began to slow. “Alright peeps, slow dance time! I tried to pick something a little more fun than the typical slow dance song, so here we have Strange Love by Karen O.,” Bast explained. Deirdre looked around and suddenly felt a paw claw her foot. It was Ra, staring up at her with blazing green eyes. “May I have this dance?” he meowed. Deirdre smiled and picked him up and cradled him in his arms. “This is the closest I can get to dancing,” Deirdre explained as she swayed back and forth to the music. Ra purred and closed his eyes. Looking around the room, she saw Ainsley arm in arm with Anubis. Maybe, just maybe, they had made amends in the time between the incident, the war, and now. The song stopped and Bast paused the playlist. Deirdre put Ra back on the floor and turned to look at Bast. “This last song is dedicated to my little hero, my dear Deirdre Huxtable. She showed herself to be brave and true in every situation, and I am proud to be your mother. Also, most of my other daughters know and love this song, so this is also dedicated to them. I present to you, our last song, Bad Believer By St. Vincent,” Bast explained. Deirdre couldn’t help letting out a whoop as the music rose to an electronic crescendo. She grabbed the arm of Ainsley and they danced together. Tears of joy were pooling in Ainsley’s brown eyes. “This is the best night of my life!” she cried. “Besides the night that Bast took us home?” corrected Deirdre. “Well, yeah..” Ainsley’s voice trailed off. Suddenly, Deirdre felt herself being viciously squeezed. She turned around to see Sekhmet smiling warmly. the lion goddess grabbed Deirdre by the hand and twirled her around. The music played in the background. But now I’m not afraid. I know I’m not a stra-anger.  Nepthys rushed over to the goddess and the girls and joined in dancing. By the end of the song, they were all clustered in a ball of smiles,  hugs, and joyful tears. The world is finally safe, thought Deirdre. For now, at least. I feel another adventure coming.

~End~

Epilogue

“Happy Birthday, Deirdre!” Bast, Sekhmet, Nepthys, and the girls were seated around the kitchen table. It was six months after the war on a sunny September day, and Deirdre’s 12th birthday was being celebrated. “We’ll have the cake later. Sekhmet, will you do me a favor and bring the gifts over?” asked Bast. Sekhmet ran into the living room and came back with her arms full of wrapped presents. “Open mine first!” pleaded Tabitha. The white-blonde haired girl jumped up and down as she handed Deirdre a present with “Happy Birthday” written all over the wrapping paper. Deirdre tore it open to find a t-shirt that had a little kitten with a sun hat. Deirdre held the t-shirt up to her chest. It fit perfectly! Next, Deirdre received an iTunes gift card for thirty dollars from Ainsley. “Use it to get St. Vincent’s new album,” snickered Ainsley. Deirdre put the gift card down and pulled out a small present from Phoebe. Deirdre tore open the kitten wrapping paper to find a little diary with an Egyptian cat hieroglyph on it. From Namidah, she received a stuffed tabby cat. Elsa gave her a sketchbook. “Thank you, guys! I love these!” thanked Deirdre. “Oh, that’s not all! You haven’t gotten our present,” said Bast mischievously. Nepthys picked up a small present with gold wrapping paper and a silky ribbon. Deirdre untied the ribbon and carefully peeled away the shining paper. The box onside held three miniature statues.

Stories-part two

This is the second story of the Daughters of Bast trilogy.

Daughters of Bast #2:

When Death falls in Love

Madeline todd

It was a normal day at Bast’s mansion. Bast was fixing bacon and eggs for breakfast, the girls were trying to get in more sleep on the couch, and Sekhmet had gone out that night to run an errand. She wouldn’t say what it was, but Bast and the girls knew it meant something good. Bast piled the fried eggs and bacon on plates and breakfast was served. As the foursome wolfed down their meal, they heard the doorbell ring. Ding-dong. Bast looked up from her half-eaten bacon and raced to the door. She opened the door to find Sekhmet. But she was not unaccompanied. Three girls stood behind her. One of them had the same color skin as Sekhmet and Bast’s human forms, and she wore a turquoise headscarf. Her eyes were like dark chocolate. The second girl was tall and skinny and had long, dark brown hair. The third girl had red hair tied in a bun. She was in a wheelchair. “Mornin’, everyone!” said Sekhmet in a cheery tone for this early in the morning. “Hello, Sekhmet. Who are these girls over here?” asked Bast in a tone just as cheery.  “Girls, get over here,” whispered Sekhmet to the threesome. The girls walked over (well, the third girl wheeled herself over), and Sekhmet introduced them one by one. “From left to right, these are Namidah, Phoebe, and Elsa,” introduced Sekhmet. The three girls gave shy waves. “Alright, newbies! Let me introduce you to your new room-mates/classmates. Girls! Get over here!” said Bast. Deirdre, Ainsley, and Bebo came running. “From left to right, these are Ainsley, Deirdre, and Bebo,” introduced Bast. The three girls gave more shy waves. “For the time being, I’m going to pair each of the newbies with buddies to give them a tour. First, Elsa, wheel yourself over to Deirdre over there,” instructed Sekhmet. Elsa pushed herself over to Deirdre. “Need any help?” asked Deirdre. “Naw. Heck, I’ve been in this darn thing for more than half of my life!” laughed Elsa. “It’s a long story.” “Alright then. The tour begins here. Now, I’ll show you the kitchen,” said Deirdre. So, Deirdre proceeded to do the entire house. After the tour, Elsa was in awe. “I had no idea that goddesses lived in mansions,” she gasped. “I’m sure not all of them do,” laughed Deirdre. The two girls shared a laugh as the tour came to a close. They reentered the living room to find Bast and Sekhmet chatting on the couch. Bebo and Namidah had already come back and Bebo was shoving earbuds into Namidah’s ears. “Do I really have to listen to Taylor Swift? This stuff is terrible,” she moaned in an accent similar to Bast’s and Sekhmet’s. “You aren’t truly a woman if you haven’t listened to Taylor Swift,” claimed Bebo. Namidah rolled her eyes and yanked out the earbuds. “You know what? I’m gonna go sit over there with people that actually have functioning brains,” she retorted as she walked over to Deirdre and Elsa. Namidah sighed loudly as she plopped down on the silky couch. “Bebo is just sad. All she showed me was her room, the pool, and that dumb ‘Fruit Ninja’ thingy,” spat Namidah. “Chill, girl. You get used to it. Sort of, at least,” soothed Deirdre. Namidah snickered. “I have an announcement to make! I am now officially anti-Taylor Swift!” she laughed. Deirdre and Elsa cracked up while Bebo did a face palm and grunted. Bast leaned over and gave

Namidah a hearty high five. Just then, Ainsley came back with Phoebe. “What’s the cause for celebration?” asked Ainsley. “I’m anti-Taylor Swift now!” shouted Namidah. Phoebe and Ainsley pumped  their fists in the air. “Alright, girls! quiet down. Let’s have a little welcome pool party. Sound good to you, Bast?” asked Sekhmet. “I don’t see why not!” said Bast with a mischievous smile. “WAHOO!” cheered the girls. After everyone had changed into their bathing suits, the girls and goddesses jumped into the pool. Bast proved to be the master of cannonballs, and Sekhmet was skilled at Marco Polo. Bebo kept pulling Sekhmet’s furry, white legs out from under her, making her bowl over into the water. This caused Bebo to be an easy target because she always lingered near Sekhmet’s legs.  The goddesses and girls partied until the sun began to set in the early March sky. Sekhmet made ginormous burgers on the grill and the girls ate outside. After a delicious cookout, the girls went to bed.

When Deirdre settled into bed with Ainsley, Ainsley said, “I have something to tell you.” She opened up the dresser drawer and pulled out a pale yellow post-it. Scrawled on the note in black pen where the words Help Me!!! “I’ve kept this note for a special occasion. I have a feeling I’ll need this tonight,” whispered Ainsley as she placed the note on her pillow. “I hope you don’t. I just want you to be safe. You’re my best friend,” whispered Deirdre as she pulled the covers over her torso. “Me too,” Ainsley sighed. The girls pulled the covers over their heads and fell asleep.

***

Deirdre woke with a start in the middle of the night to the bedroom window being unlocked. A robed figure snuck inside. It appeared to have the head of a black German Shepherd and it’s eyes glowed a brilliant gold. The figure leaped onto the bed with canine agility and took the sleeping Ainsley by the arm. Ainsley blinked and discovered she was being taken. She screamed and began to struggle in the creature’s grasp. Deirdre leaped out of bed and tried to grab Ainsley’s leg, but it was too late. The creature had locked the window and had escaped into the night. All that was left was Ainsley’s note. “She was right,” murmured Deirdre. Sorrow overtook her mind, and she fell asleep once more.

***

The next morning, Deirdre woke up to a silent room. She suddenly remembered that something had taken Ainsley in the night. Oh, it must have just been a bad dream, thought Deirdre. But then, she looked over at Ainsley’s side of the bed. It was empty, with only the yellow post-it there. Deirdre’s eyes widened. “It really was true,” she gasped quietly. She rushed to get her clothes on and threw open the door. “I have to tell Bast and Sekhmet!” she shouted as she ran down the hall. At last, she skidded into the kitchen. There, she found Sekhmet cooking breakfast. The smell of bacon and pancakes filled the air. The St. Vincent tunes echoed through the room as Sekhmet cooked. Unlike Bast, Sekhmet did not sing to the music. She merely swayed her hips and hummed, clearly more dignified than Bast. She seemed clearly more groggy as well. Her eyes had dark circles around them as if she had not gotten enough sleep. Meanwhile, the music played for more cheerily. “Am I the only one in the only wo-o-orld? Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah, ah,” sang the music through the small iPod speaker. Sekhmet turned around to face Deirdre. “Oh! Good morning, Deirdre,” purred Sekhmet. “Sekhmet, I need to talk to you and Bast this morning. It’s urgent,” panted Deirdre, still exhausted from running down the hall. Sekhmet turned of the burner and loaded the pancakes on plates. “Alright. Everyone should be getting up soon. Where’s Ainsley? She’s usually with you,” asked Sekhmet. “That’s what I wanted to talk about,” answered Deirdre. Sekhmet’s formerly cheery face turned worried. Unfazed, she put the pancakes on each seat at the table. With a sigh, Deirdre sat down and poured syrup onto her pancake so that it overflowed and dripped off the plate a little bit. Then, Bebo and Phoebe walked down the hall. “Just my luck that I got stuck with the beanpole as my roommate,” Bebo muttered under her breath. Phoebe sighed and speed walked towards the kitchen, avoiding Bebo and her spiteful comments. She appeared hurt as she sat down next to Deirdre. Phoebe only poured the slightest bit of syrup on her pancake and began to eat slowly. “Bebo  getting on your nerves?” asked Deirdre. “Heck yeah. Just MY luck that I get stuck with the idiotic, rude Taylor Swift freak as a roommate,” Phoebe groaned. “Sorry. She gets on everyone’s nerves,” soothed Deirdre. Phoebe nervously looked around. “Where’s Ainsley?” she asked in a panic. “I’ll explain later when everyone arrives,” muttered Deirdre. Just then, Namidah and Elsa came through the hall. Elsa looked over at the pancakes. “PANCAKES!” she shouted and wheeled herself faster than ever before towards the kitchen table.  Namidah followed close behind and eventually, everyone was there except for Ainsley and Bast. Eventually, Bast lumbered down the hall and sat down to breakfast. “I have something to tell you,” Deirdre addressed. “Ainsley has gone missing. She was taken in the night by this guy with a black dog head or something,” she continued. Bast put a paw to her chin in deep thought. “I should have known. Anubis,” she grumbled. “For the record, Deirdre, that was specifically a black jackal head,” Bast continued. “Anubis is the god of the Afterlife. He weighs dead people’s souls to see if they should go to paradise or….well…..bad stuff, basically,” explained Sekhmet. “But what would he possibly want with Ainsley?” asked Namidah. “I don’t know. But whatever it s, he clearly has bad intentions,” said Sekhmet in a worried tone. “We need to delve deeper. Girls, Bast and I will be studying today.” The five girls looked at each other with confusion. They shrugged their shoulders and finished breakfast. After the pancakes were devoured, Bast and Sekhmet went to the study and the girls separated. Deirdre dejectedly went to her room. She stared at the posters on the wall, Ainsley’s abandoned iPod and laptop that they shared, and the “Help Me!!!” note on the pillow. Deirdre turned on the iPod and    found it paused on Ainsley’s favorite St. Vincent song. It was paused near the end of the song. Deirdre resumed the song.  But now I’m not afraid. I know I’m not a stranger. As the song played, Deirdre felt a surge of hope from the lyrics. “I’m not afraid,” she said with a deep breath. The music rose to a crescendo and Deirdre began to dance just like she and Ainsley did back when she was here. Suddenly, Phoebe threw open the door. Deirdre awkwardly paused the music and froze in mid-dance. “I need a break from Bebo,” announced Phoebe. “Alright. Let me start over the song. Do you like St. Vincent?” asked Deirdre. “Uh huh. I heard it when Sekhmet drove us home. Is it Bad Believer by any chance?” said Phoebe. “Yes! Let’s dance,” cheered Deirdre as she fast forwarded to the beginning of the song. The music once again rose to an electronic crescendo. Watching it go, I’m just a bad be-lie-ver, watching it go, watching it go-o! Phoebe and Deirdre danced until the song was over. Deirdre turned off the iPod and sat down in front of Phoebe. “Whatcha wanna do next? It’s your call,” asked Deirdre. “Dunno. Maybe we can have a drawing contest. Where are the colored pencils?” answered Phoebe. Then, Phoebe searched the room and finally came across a pack of “professional” artist’s colored pencils. “Here. Let me get some sheets of paper, Namidah, and Elsa. I’m sure Bebo’s off playing Fruit Ninja, so I’m sure she wouldn’t want to join in,” announced Bebo as she went out the door. Deirdre arranged a desk with four chairs and the colored pencils in the middle so everyone could reach. She proceeded to turn on the iPod and put on some music. Deirdre scrolled down to a Yeah Yeah Yeahs song. She turned the volume lower and played the song. Oh despair, you’re there, from beginning to middle to end. Phoebe, followed by Namidah and Elsa, poured into the room. “Background music! Perfect, Deirdre,” said Phoebe as she put the pile of blank paper on the table next to the pencils. Phoebe stood in the middle of the room. “Who wants to be contest judge?” she asked. Namidah raised her hand. Deirdre noticed that Namidah’s fingernails were painted a pretty shade of green with little sparkly, pink daisies. Namidah sat across from the three other girls. “My first drawing challenge is roses. You may start,” she announced. Deirdre grabbed a fistful of pencils and began to draw. She drew and drew until she was finished. Deirdre was sure that she wouldn’t win because her rose basically looked like a bowl with a little swirly thing inside. The stem was perfectly straight and devoid of leaves. Deirdre peered over to her competitors. Phoebe was sketching madly with a “I know I’m gonna win this thing” look on her face. Elsa on the other hand was carefully tracing lines and coloring smoothly and swiftly. Deirdre looked over to Namidah. She was impatiently drumming her fingers on the desk. With a swift stroke of her pencil, Phoebe shouted, “I’m finished!” and began pumping her fists in the air. Namidah rolled her chocolate brown eyes. Elsa deftly drew the individual thorns on the rose’s stem before setting her pencil down. Namidah laid the three drawings out on the table in front of her. Phoebe’s rose looked pretty good, but it was lacking detail and it looked rushed. Elsa’s looked almost like it was a real rose that you might find in a garden. “The win goes to Elsa. The next challenge is monkeys,” announced Namidah. So, the girls drew on, pushing through the challenges with ease. Elsa won most of the time, with one exception when Phoebe’s willow tree turned out like an exact copy of the real thing. “My final challenge: draw Bast,” announced Namidah with a giggle. “Go!” Deirdre grabbed more pencils and began to sketch Bast’s feline face. Then, she continued onto the golden robes, the tail and paws, and the single, gold hoop in Bast’s left ear. Then, she posed her in the kitchen flipping pancakes and waggling her hips.  Deirdre set down her pencil and waited. Phoebe was finished and was smiling smugly. Her drawing didn’t look too realistic. Elsa was finished as well. Hers looked realistic, but she was standing straight with no background or expression. Namidah examined each drawing closely. She laughed when she got to Deirdre’s. “My winner is Deirdre. Contest over!” announced Namidah. After the cheering and clapping died down, the girls put some of the pictures on the bulletin board in Deirdre’s room. The others were taken to Namidah and Elsa’s room. Phoebe couldn’t risk putting her drawings in her and Bebo’s room for fear of them being ripped to shreds and thrown out. So, she hid them in a black folder with little sparkly cupcake stickers on it. Out of the blue, Phoebe asked, “Namidah? Do you have your phone on hand?” Namidah pulled a shiny iPhone with a Grumpy Cat case that said “no” in bold lettering at the bottom out of her pocket. “Alright, girls. We’ll go to the arcade and film Bebo playing Fruit Ninja as long as we can,” whispered Phoebe. “Great idea. Afterwards, lets text it to Bast and Sekhmet,” laughed Elsa. The girls snuck into the arcade and arrived at the Fruit Ninja station. Bebo was once again furiously yanking the joystick around, slicing little fruits into minuscule pieces. Namidah set the iPhone’s camera to video and began filming. Elsa, Phoebe, and Deirdre watched in anticipation. At one point towards the end of the video, Bebo missed a watermelon and screamed, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” She appeared to be keeping herself from cussing as she began slicing more fruits, only this time more slowly. Namidah seemed to be growing bored, so she stopped the video and pressed the stop button with a short, audible ding. Bebo let go of the joystick and looked over. Upon seeing the girls she growled like an angry leopard that got pinched in the toe. “You……..will……pay….” Bebo growled. The girls rushed out of the arcade and back into Deirdre’s room. By then, it was 2 p.m. The girls decided to hit the pool. So, they got on their swimsuits and went to the pool. In honor of Ainsley, Deirdre wore the hibiscus swimsuit that Ainsley adored with all her life. The girls played Chicken in the chlorinated water. Sitting on top of Namidah’s shoulders, Deirdre stretched her arms out to knock Phoebe off of Elsa’s wheelchair. She waved her hands wildly like a cat batting a toy. But Phoebe had the upper hand in being very tall and skinny and with a slap, she sent Deirdre flying into the water. Deirdre careened through the air and landed with an echoing splash in the pool. A little bit of water managed to escape the pool from the impact.  Deirdre poked her drenched head out of the water. “Let’s stop playing Chicken, okay?” she gasped, water streaming down her face. The others laughed and they filed out of the pool, their swimsuits dripping wet. After drying off in the spring sun, the girls went inside. Bast was checking iMessage on her laptop. Sekhmet smirked as she looked over the feline woman’s head. Then, the two goddesses laughed so hard tears streamed out of their feline eyes. “Namidah, this is so funny!” laughed Sekhmet. From the laptop, the girls heard Bebo’s cry of “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Everyone laughed until Bebo stepped into the room. Luckily, the video stopped just in time and the goddesses tried their best to act casual. “Like I said, peeps. You will pay,” growled Bebo. Deirdre quickly changed the subject. “How did the studies go, guys?” she asked. “They went great. Bast actually talked on the phone, doing her best imitation of Nepthys, Anubis’s mother, the goddess of the river. It was great. She got Anubis to tell her what he had done with Ainsley. He was taking her prisoner and in a matter of days, he would force her to marriage. We have to get her back,” explained Sekhmet. “Now sonny, you know that’s no way to treat a gal,” squeaked Bast in her Nepthys voice. Although the voice sounded more like an eighty year old woman than a goddess, the girls and Sekhmet roared with laughter. “Tomorrow, we set out to  the Hudson River. There is a passage that leads to the Underworld,” explained Bast. Deirdre crossed her fingers behind her back, hoping that she would not set the terrible alarm that she had last time. Then, Bast set off to make dinner. After an hour or so, Bast came back with a steaming plate of bean burritos. Deirdre’s mouth watered as Bast set the plate down. The girls devoured their burritos, beans and salsa spilling out of the tortilla as they took huge bites. As Deirdre ate, she thought of Ainsley and how much she would of enjoyed dinner. All of the happiness from that day slowly faded away and Deirdre hung her head in sorrow as she pulled out her Familiars book. It was a heated battle in the book. Paksahara, the evil gray hare, was in a heated battle with Aldwyn, Skylar, and Gilbert, sending ruby darts from the tips of her paws. Aldwyn had just unleashed a newfound power of telekinesis and was moving weapons off the dungeon wall to attack the evil creature. Although the book had entered an exciting climax, Deirdre was still weighed down by sorrow. She placed the book back in it’s tote bag and flopped facedown on the fluffy pillow. Deirdre tossed and turned and then had the idea of turning on music. To keep the good memories of Ainsley, she scrolled back up to Bad Believer and made it so that it repeated all night long. She plugged in the charger so it wouldn’t run out of battery and put it on the part that lifted her heart. I know I’m not ashamed, I know there is no da-anger, Give me life, Give me life, Give me life. Deirdre sighed and fell asleep.

***

Are you ready? Are you ready,ready? Are you ready for the ride? Deirdre woke to the alarm going off. Bad Believer was still playing, but the alarm, playing a Luscious Jackson song, drowned it out. With a groan, Deirdre pressed the snooze button and changed into a zebra-print t-shirt and denim shorts. Sleepily, she walked down the hall. Sekhmet was impatiently gripping the handle of a pot. “C’mon, just be ready already, come on, eggs, BOIL!” she muttered, clenching her fangs. Deirdre giggled under her breath. Then, she slumped onto a chair and watched Sekhmet. As the eggs boiled, Elsa wheeled into the kitchen and scooted herself next to Deirdre. “What was that Luscious Jackson alarm all about?” she asked. Sekhmet snickered in the background. “Oh, they do it when we have a big day ahead of us. Last time it was worse though,” murmured Deirdre. Elsa shrugged. Then, Phoebe walked down the hall, followed by Namidah, Bast, and Bebo. By then, the eggs were successfully hard boiled and the girls had breakfast. Everyone enjoyed it, with the exception of Phoebe, who nervously poked the slimy egg with her fork. After breakfast, Bast ran to the basement. She emerged a few minutes later dragging an immense boat. It looked just like a boat that the Egyptians used thousands of years ago, Eye of Horus and all. She and Sekhmet pushed it out the door and tied it to the top of Bast’s car.  The girls piled into the car and they set out for the Hudson River. Sekhmet pushed a button and the playlist that Bast had made for car trips began to play. They began to sing to the music. “I’m in love, I’m in love, I’m in love with a strict ma-chi-i-ine!” they sang. Deirdre smiled and danced to the music, thinking of how brave these goddesses were under the stickiest of situations. Bast continued wildly steering the car and dancing along to the music with Sekhmet. Bebo moaned, begging the goddesses to turn on some “good music”, which to her meant annoying pop. Bast, Sekhmet, and the other girls ignored her pleas and they drove on without the endless torture of listening to Taylor Swift.

***

After a few hours, the girls and goddesses arrived at the Hudson River. Bast unstrapped the Egyptian boat from the top of the car and loaded it into the water. Sekhmet pulled a tote bag from the trunk and pulled out swimsuit cover-ups. “Girls, put these on. We might get wet for more reasons than one,” she instructed. Deirdre pulled out a purple one and pulled it over her t-shirt and shorts. Bast helped the girls board the “Blast From the Past Boat” as Bebo called it one by one. She and Sekhmet steered the boat offshore and the boat glided through the rushing waters. The girls got some odd looks from the shore. A couple on a riverside walk stared at them with sunglass-covered eyes. A homeless man by the river’s edge watched them with glassy eyes as they glided past. Once they were extremely far from shore, something strange began to happen. A huge, blue figure rose from the water. His hair was like slimy seaweed and he wore Hawaiian-patterned swimming trunks. “‘Sup, ladies?” he said. Deirdre cringed. This guy seemed like he thought he was a “lady’s man”, but clearly, he was nothing of the sort. “Oh. Hello, Hapi. Get out, we’re on an urgent mission,” grumbled Bast. “Aw, come on, guys! You didn’t even let me show you my newfound talent! Here, I’ll do it anyway,” Hapi continued. Sekhmet began to steer the boat faster than ever before. Hapi got down on his belly and began doing “The Worm” in the middle of the river. Murky, dirty water splashed everywhere and everyone got very wet. Bebo cringed and tried to shake the water out of her blonde hair. With wide eyes, Deirdre stared back at Hapi, who was still making a scene. “He’s got some serious issues,” she muttered under her breath as the Egyptian Boat tore through the river. “Just our luck that Hapi was here today. Bimbo,” Bast panted as she rowed through the murky river water. Sekhmet nodded her soaked head in agreement, shaking water drops. Trying to shake the memory of the weird god, the girls and goddesses continued their search for the passage into the Afterlife.

***

After another hour of sailing down the Hudson River, Deirdre grew bored. She decided to look for fish from the boat. When she looked down, she did not see fish. But what she did see was stranger than fiction. The water had taken on a blood-red color. Confused, Deirdre looked up. The sky was red as well and odd shapes flew across the sky. “Is that me, or is everything turning red?” asked Deirdre nervously. Bast’s eyes narrowed. “We’re extremely close,” she explained grimly. “Whoa. This looks like the Crimson. You know, from Terraria!” exclaimed Namidah. Elsa did a face palm as they slowly advanced through the strange reality. Soon, the boat entered a dark cave. The boat came to a rocky, black shore. Sekhmet and Bast carefully docked the boat and the girls climbed out. The sight of the black rock and the red rivers and skies made for a hair-raising surrounding. “I know where Anubis is hiding. Let’s go,” instructed Bast. The girls followed the goddess’s lead into a smaller cave. It was completely dark inside, and the only source of light was the eyes of Bast and Sekhmet. Their footsteps echoed as they made their way through. Suddenly, a faint light began to show at the tunnel’s end. The girls and goddesses quickened their pace and reached the light. The end of the tunnel opened into a small room. The room resembled a man cave, complete with a boom box, a cabinet full of junk food, and Led Zeppelin posters. In a corner next to the boom box sat Anubis. He was draped in dark, iridescent robes and was wearing earbuds and nodding his canine head. Next to him was Ainsley, who squatted in a tight corner. She looked grumpy enough to punch Anubis in the face. If she did, she certainly had good reason to. She also looked considerably skinnier, even though it had only been about two days since she was taken in the night. Bast peeked around the corner and prodded Ainsley’s chocolate-brown arm. “Ainsley, it’s us!” she whispered. Ainsley blinked slowly. “Am I dreaming?” she muttered. “No. Come with us. We’re here to take you home,” Bast whispered again. Ainsley’s face lightened up. “Really! Whatever you do, do it quick! Anubis makes me want to barf!” exclaimed Ainsley. Sekhmet helped Ainsley to her feet and began to lead her out of Anubis’s man cave. When they were two steps out of the entrance, they heard the sound of the plug of earbuds being pulled from an outlet. Anubis had noticed them. The girls and goddesses whipped around to face the jackal-headed god. A wide snarl spread across his black-furred face. Sekhmet growled and Bast hissed slowly. “What are you doing with my girl?” demanded Anubis. “Your girl? She’s only eleven! Why do you intend to marry a girl who isn’t even old enough to go to middle school yet?” snarled Sekhmet. “Oh, I only intended to give her a little aging spell to make her old enough. Then I would marry her,” Anubis replied with a sly grin. Suddenly, Ainsley jumped out of the throng of girls and goddesses and faced Anubis. “Some husband you’d make!” she shouted as she threw a punch to his face. Soon, the god and the girl were locked in deadly combat, wrestling with each other on the rocky floor. “How dare you challenge a god! Who do you think you are, Ra?” spat Anubis as they rolled around the floor. “I challenge who I want! Now leave me alone or the goddesses get it!” screamed Ainsley. Despite the threat, Anubis still tangled with Ainsley. With a blur of gold and orange, Bast jumped onto Anubis’s back and began to scratch and hiss at him. Anubis let out a yelp and backed away. With a final scratch in the face from Bast, Anubis scampered away into another cave. Bast picked Ainsley up in her furry arms and carried her over to the other girls. Her arms and legs were covered in scratches and her  green heart pajamas were in tatters. She was hyperventilating and clearly still recovering from the shock. “Ainsley, are you okay?” whispered Sekhmet, her lion eyes softening with worry. “Yeah. I just wanna go home now,” rasped Ainsley. Deirdre put a comforting hand on Ainsley’s bloodied shoulder. “You have no idea how much I missed you,” she whispered. Ainsley cracked a smile. “For now, put this extra swimsuit cover up on. We’ll get on the boat home soon,” comforted Bast, handing her a pink cover up from inside the tote bag, now wet with river water. They slowly walked out of the cave, Bast and Sekhmet supporting Ainsley’s arms. After going back through the dark tunnel, the girls and goddesses boarded the boat and they set off for the shores of the Hudson River.

***

After about an hour and a half, the girls and goddesses had reached the river bank. On the journey back, there was no sign of Hapi and his strange dancing, so no one got wet. After Sekhmet and Bast tied the boat to the top of the car  and they got in the car. Towels were laid out on the seats to prevent them from getting wet. “Ainsley, since you have been through a lot and need some comfort, you can ride in the front seat and get the pick of the songs,” Bast said. Deirdre smiled and gave Ainsley a comforting pat on the back as she climbed into the passenger’s seat. Bebo groaned at the thought of listening to even more of the music that she hated with all of her life. Sekhmet plopped down in the backseat next to Deirdre and Bast started the car up. Ainsley opened up the glove compartment and fumbled with the iPod until she settled on a song. Surprisingly, it was not St. Vincent, but a Yeah Yeah Yeahs song. “Woo hoo, Ainsley! Wise choice!” cheered Bast as she began nodding her head to the beat and crazily steering the car. Out of control, Y control, you oh oh oh oh oh! Sekhmet and Deirdre danced in their seats, ignoring the constant groaning from an annoyed Bebo as the music played.

***

Soon, they were home. The girls went back to their rooms to change back into dry clothes and Bast and Sekhmet did the same before plopping down on the couch. When Deirdre and Ainsley got into their room, they sat down on the bed. “Do you know how much I missed you?” Deirdre said as she opened a drawer and pulled out a box of Muppets bandages. Ainsley nodded slowly. “Really? You know that to comfort myself, I had to listen to Bad Believer nonstop?” snickered Deirdre as she began placing the bandages on Ainsley’s scratches. Now, Ainsley’s arms and legs were covered in Kermit, Ms. Piggy, the Swedish chef, and even Gonzo shooting himself out of a cannon. “No! You really did that?” laughed  Ainsley as she began inspecting the bandages. “Muppets? You really know me, Deirdre. I missed you too.”

~End~

Epilogue

The evening of Ainsley’s rescue, all of the girls were crowding around Ainsley, giving her a form of therapy. To them, this meant putting her on the pull-out bed of the couch, putting on St. Vincent, and giving her a hand massage.
(This was done by Phoebe, who basically was lightly karate chopping her.) Bast was fixing spaghetti in the kitchen. Meanwhile, Sekhmet was looking out the kitchen window. A look of worry crossed her face. The sky was an odd red color. Two, squinting yellow eyes peered out of a cloud. “Bast,” she said, “I have a bad feeling about this.”

Daughters of Bast #3 coming soon

Book #3: Chaos Rising