Nine Lives

I blush to admit it – fine, the facial fur hides it but I’m glowing underneath, trust me – but I lost my first life in so mundane a fashion that it shouldn’t really count. I blame my catnip addiction and I think we’ll move on rapidly to where that craving left me. High and dry in the Sunnydale pound to be precise.

The witch got this look in her eyes when she saw me. Appraising, considering, thoughtful. Scared me so much I hunkered at the back of the cage and waved my paws at her. Bad move. Her face melted and she made that indescribable sound humans do when they’re faced with something so cute there Are No Words for it.

So she took me home. I spent the next few months watching her and her fellow witch with deep suspicion. They were forever sprinkling powders around the carpet which made me sneeze and chanting just as I was dropping off to sleep – with one eye open, naturally. It was the irresponsible use of candles that accounted for life two though. The curse of having a tail that, if I say so myself, had become an impressive plume of fur, was that I wasn’t always sure where the outlying parts of it were. I brushed too close to the sandalwood candle – who in Bast’s name put it right by my litter tray I do not know – and within seconds the pleasant warmth had become a conflagration. My tail never quite recovered from the scissor job it received when they cut away the burnt fur.

Life three...ah, that’s one to be proud of. It’s not every feline who can say that a Goddess came this close to killing her. When the entire window came crashing down, a shard of glass embedded itself deeply in the carpet, slicing off a whisker and causing me to be permanently off balance for the rest of my life. In the overwhelming face of the evidence I found it impossible to get revenge by whispering, “I don’t believe in skanks” three times but I was tempted. I settled for spraying her shoes as she walked past me. Not quite as pungent as a male cat – or the burned hair – but it soothed my feelings.

I moved house after that. Not a bad little place and I finally had free access to the garden. A mixed blessing as they had catnip – swoon- and I was so blissed out that I wandered into the garden three doors down and got far too well acquainted with a dog whose manners to a guest left much to be desired. Bye, bye life four.

I began to get a little concerned at the speed with which I was getting through my lives. I had connections of course but in this town zombie cats tend not to lead happy second lives and it was a route I planned to take only in the direst hour of need. I kept the amulet handy and practiced the incantation every second Tuesday though, just in case.

Life five was a strange one. It was a hot day and someone had left a glass of milk on the counter. Knowing how quickly it would turn sour, I kindly jumped up to drink it, thus saving someone from the inevitable guilt at wasting the liquid of life, the white liquid gold, the – ahem. I got carried away for a moment. As I was lapping away, the rhythmic movements of my tongue lulling me into a state of drowsy contentment, a hard hand gripped me around the middle and I was lifted high. It was the strange smelling creature with the face of the Slayer – oh, we know that one in our world – the one who stank of plastic and sparks. Her hand crushed me as she scolded, a long scolding to endure when one’s innards are becoming outards. I was rescued (oh, the irony!) by the Glowing One who muttered something about Willow needing to fine tune circuits. Whatever. As my liver migrated south once more I headed for safer territory in the catnip patch.

The summer was a long one and I grew and relaxed, ate and slept in normal cat fashion. I trusted the witches now, deciding that if they’d wanted parts of me for a spell, they’d have done the deed by now. There was one moment when the red haired one stared at me oddly, her eyes flickering back to a book on her lap but she shook her head and said something about needing more blood than that. I felt an odd shiver pass over me and knew that a life had left me as her baleful eye rested on me.

Three left! This was no time to be taking trips but when one is unceremoniously grabbed and pushed into the capacious, redolent pocket of a coat with strong fingers pushing one back every time one attempts to – oh, the vampire catnapped me to use as a stake in his poker game, m’kay? I could have told him I passed the stake (heh, stake) age long since but I doubt he would have listened. That one was single minded. When the room exploded into ill mannered guffaws as he placed me on the table, he started a fight that left the table in splinters, the room bedaubed with varicoloured bodily fluids and one of my lives waving sadly as it left the room. To do him justice, he did take me home afterwards.

Two to go and my whiskers were twitching. The real Slayer came back, strangely mopey and prone to curl up in corners with me on her lap. The tears that girl shed! I was lucky not to drown in them but that was not to be my fate. She brought home a poorly prepared fish nuggets meal from the hellhole she worked in and I choked on a bone.

Well, I was resigned to the inevitable after that, especially after my first witch vanished one day, never to return. Still in my prime and with but one life left. The next one was It and I peeked around every corner, gingerly tested every cushion before sitting on it...I was a wreck. Yet the months went by and I was still alive. I relaxed. Hard to believe but I did.

Then They came. Hordes of them, chattering, taking up floor space, descending on the food like scavenging animals. They either backed away from me squawking about allergies (humph; their combined perfume made my nose wrinkle so much it stuck that way, but did I complain?) or persisted in grabbing me and making That Noise. I took to lurking in the basement, where I was eventually joined by the vampire. I eyed him warily but the Slayer sensed my fear and chained him to the wall. About time I got some consideration around here.

I should have known better than to relax. One of the annoying ones decided to have target practice in the garden. She had a loud voice and seemed fond of my other witch. How soon they forget. Her voice hurt my sensitive ears and she was one of the ones who sneezed at me.

I don’t blame her exactly. I’m sure she didn’t mean to place the target right in front of the catnip...but she didn’t seem very upset either. Not like the Glowing One whose fell hand had – well, let’s just say she should have stuck to her math homework instead of trying to show off.

So I’m lying here waiting for the amulet to take effect. Rather crowded down here. They could have buried me away from the annoying ones but I have to say they’re a lot less annoying now they’re dead.

I think I’ll go and pay a visit to Little Miss Aim Higher and To The Left. If I made her sneeze while I was alive, it’ll be fun to see what effect I have when I’m dead.

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