It was a perfect sunny afternoon for a catnap and the old farm cat lay sleepily in a pile of straw near the barn door. The sun warmed her tabby coat and she stretched and flexed her claws and yawned pinkly. The bees droned in their pursuit of pollen, birds twittered in the trees and lulled the cat called "Mother" into a deep sleep. She dreamed of stalking mice in the dark corners of the barn, and her whiskers twitched and teeth chattered in anticipation - although if the truth be told, her mousing days were long over and her ribs showed from hunger. She curled up more tightly as if to protect the kittens who had been so much a part of her life for over a dozen years. It was her hundred children, and their children, and theirs, that caused her to be called "Mother," and it had been many generations since anyone remembered her given name.
A gentle breeze played against her fur and her slow breathing rasped back and forth in the rhythm of deepest sleep. She never heard the stealthy pawsteps as they approached and she was only awakened when a shadow passed in front of her and blocked the sun. "Mew?!" she awoke with a start, and blinked heavily at the silhouette of a large cat standing before her. She sat up stiffly and squinted into the sun as a small gasp escaped her.
Before her sat the most beautiful cat she had ever seen, with a pelt like burnished gold, stripes of tawny brown, large sapphire colored eyes, and tall ears with tufts. Around her neck she wore a chain of gold from which an amulet hung, and from her brick red nose to the dark wild markings around her tail, she was the image of feline beauty.
Mother was too stunned to speak. The golden cat turned her gaze from Mother and surveyed the surroundings, and then she spoke.
"Blessed cat called 'Mother,' you are old and tired, and I have come to take you home. I have known of you for many years, and of your trials and tribulations. As of today, that will all be forgotten and you will dwell in my temple, where you will want for nothing. My servants will care for you. You will have a couch in the sun, fresh fish, and the love and respect of all."
Mother struggled to find her voice, not quite understanding if this was a dream or not. "And who may I ask are you, and where in the world did you come from?!" Mother finally managed to stutter.
The beautiful cat smiled slyly. "I am Bast and I am from another time and place. I dwell in the Temple of Bubastis near the River Nile - which is rather nice, as temples go - and I am the chosen of Ra, the sun god, the protectress of mothers and children, the goddess of fertility...and several other things which I don't recall at the moment."
"What would you want with me, and why would I want to leave here?" Mother asked. "This is my home."
Bast looked at the barn door hanging on one hinge, the pile of manure nearby, the junked and rusted vehicles of Man, and she sniffed. "Home? It's not much of a home, is it?"
Next > "It's all I've ever known."