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The Courtship of Kitten I
An extravagantly loved kitten,
an elegantly white, long-haired kitten, once lived in a rich household. She lay on silken pillows and drank cream from a china dish. She was the only sweetness in a tumultuous family.
"How glorious I am," she purred as she groomed her soft paws. "How deserving of adoration. But how inconsistent my staff." The people about her seemed not as attentive as they could have been.
Grim times plagued the land. A war was being fought. A late winter day came when Kitten's people had quickly to abandon their estate and go as refugees on the road.
The noise, the confusion of their leave-taking, perturbed Kitten. "I feel such distress," she announced. But none of her staff responded. She retreated to the attic and hid in her secret nest behind Cook’s bed, and, as cats will do, she napped, waking now and then to the distant clamor of running feet, frightful crashing, woeful cries, furious whispers. She dared not come out, even at mid-day for her diced chicken livers.
Much later, at supper-time, she woke to the most mysterious sound of all, that of silence.
No rustle. No murmur. No footfall anywhere, upon any floor.
Kitten emerged from beneath Cook's bedcovers. She crouched, alert and receptive. She parted her lips, wrinkled her face into a grimace so as to expose the tender, perceptive place in the roof of her mouth. Not one candle burned in any room of the vast house. If it had, the pulse would have quivered upon her palate, upon the tips of her whiskers. Instead – emptiness, aloneness.
“I am bewildered,” she protested.
Her voice rippled the quiet. Her cry moved outward and downward, eventually to touch walls and eddy there.
"Attend to me!"
She heard the backwash of a faint echo.
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