“Hello? Anyone there?” I tried to shout, but my own voice sounded so strange and foreign that it startled me. “Hello?”
“Marigold Tuxedo Wigglebottom,” a booming voice said. “Welcome.”
“Oh, hello, but what do you mean?” I asked. I walked to the source of the voice, my paws almost gliding on the soft, cool surface. It was so bright yet I didn’t feel the need to slant my eyes.
“That is your name, is it not? Marigold Tuxedo Wigglebottom,” the voice repeated. “Or ‘Tux’ for short.”
“Yes. But where is this? Who are you?” I asked again.
“I am the one that breathes life into all living things,” it finally answered.
Then it was all clear to me. “I’m dead, aren’t I?” I asked, half rhetorically. “How did it happen?”
Images came flooding in. Every time Craig came home crying and hugging me all night, murmuring his usual strange gibberish, we would most likely move out soon after. And this time had been no different. I was sitting in front of our new apartment building, waiting for Craig to come home. My Elizabethan collar had been taken off and I felt energetic and ready to conquer all. Then I suddenly saw a squirrel darting pass me, and so without hesitation, I ran after it, across the small lawn, and into the busy street. “It was quick and painless,” the voice said.
“What about Craig? Will he be okay?”
The voice replied, “I know your bond with him was very strong, but Craig is no longer of your concern.”
“What should I do?” I asked. Then a door opened, leading to a field, green and grassy, with a big, tall tree in the center of it. I saw all sorts of animals there: cats, dogs, birds, squirrels, some are running around and playing, some are resting under the shades of the tree. I felt funny because I wasn’t afraid of the big dogs nor had the urge to chase the squirrels. “What is that?”
“This is the waiting place for companion animals,” answered the voice.
“Should I go in?” I asked. I lifted my chin and let the gentle breeze caress my fur. I smelt catnip!
“You have two options,” the voice said. “You could go in and wait for Craig, or, like some other companion animals, you could request to return.”
I saw a dog stopped playing and started running to a different direction. Then I saw a human appeared. The dog ran to the human and toppled the man over, giving him ample licks and slobbers. The man laughed and hugged the dog. Then they walked together and disappeared.
“How long do I have to wait?”
“I can’t tell you that either.”
“How can I go back to the land of the living? Can I return as a cat?”
“Your old body has been destroyed beyond repair. You had only used thirteen months and sixteen days of the age initially given to you, so yes, you can return as a cat, but a different fur color, different body shape and size,” the voice replied. “And you have to decide now.”
I sat there for a while, at the entrance of the field. Another gentle breeze caressed my face, leaving the sweet scent of catnip. Craig… or Catnip? I asked myself.
Catnip or Craig? “What if he doesn’t recognize me? Will he remember me?”
“Time is running out.”
Craig or Catnip? “Will I remember him? What if he doesn’t want me back?”
“I can’t answer your questions. You have to decide.”
I closed my eyes for a while, before finally saying, “Craig.”
“Very well,” the voice boomed. With that, the door was shut and the floor under me swung open and I floated down, way, way down into the dark. Then I felt myself going through another exit, into a cold and dark surrounding. I couldn’t see anything and was terrified, but a strangely familiar caress rubbed my face and body, urging me to come closer to the warmth, and I let my ancient instincts lead me to my new mother’s teat and drink her milk until sleep embraced me.
I had been thinking of writing something from Roger's POV, but it's probably going to be a dead giveaway for another plot I've been thinking about. In addition, many of my classmates really want Tux to go back, so this is it. Then again, I don't think this is one of my best writings, so it might not end up in the story after all.