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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Instinct

   
 Neko edged around the corner to look out into the deserted marketplace. His senses all on high alert; waiting for something. Even though it was close to midnight, there were always citizens wandering here and there. It was in the very nature of his kind to be out roaming in the night.

 Now as he made his way home he grew apprehensive. Where had everyone gone? Were they really all inside the quiet doors he passed. Feeling as he did that something was coming, something that had the hair on the back of his neck standing. His eyes shifting to each play of light on the silent stones of the town of Cat’s Eye.

   Cat’s eye in the grand scheme of the whole was but a speck in the world of Cameria. Neko knew that the world was bigger hell, he yearned to explore it but so far his explorations had been curtailed to just the outskirts of town. He shook his dark head as he made his way out of the marketplace, and continued on his way home. Exploring would have to wait, he needed to see if his sister knew of any reason for the silence that had enveloped the town.

  As Neko walked into the main room of the home he shared with his sister, his ears twitched back and forth searching for the sound of her movements. He was a tall fellow with dark fur covering his body. His yellow-green eyes narrowed as he picked up the subtle sound of her humming in the direction of her bedroom. He unclenched his hands, not even realizing that he had balled them into fists as if expecting intruders. He took note that his claws had left marks on his palm. He went to the fire to see what was warming for the evening meal and licked his lips as the smell of his favorite savory fish stew was bubbling away above the banked embers.

  He had just grabbed the ladle to get a taste when he heard a hiss directly behind him. Just as he turned toward it, the ladle was smacked out of his hand. “What do you think you are doing?” CeCe said as she picked the utensil up from the floor. “You come sneaking into the house and like to give me a heart attack, and when I come out to investigate you are snitching bites of our supper.” She had taken the ladle to the wash basin to rinse it while she berated her poor brother.

  “I didn’t sneak into the house; I came in quietly. There’s a difference. Have you any clue as to why not one living soul is out tonight in the marketplace? I just came back from exploring the road towards the Forest and there isn’t anyone out and about. Not even the alley rats. It has me a bit spooked truth be told.” Neko asked this as he went and brought out two bowls to set on the table. CeCe picked the stew pot off the trivet and brought it to the table. She then returned to fetch a jug of milk out of the icebox. Neko by this time had finished with the place settings and taken his usual seat.

  “No one is in the marketplace, that is kind of strange. I haven’t heard anything. I spent most of the day working on dying the threads for the Queen’s tapestry.” Taking her seat CeCe dished the stew up before bowing her head in a brief prayer to the Goddess. “Maybe Bo Jangles or the twins have heard something. You should check after you finish eating. I have to admit; I’ve been a tad bit jumpy today. I feel like something is coming. I can’t place what it is, it’s just a feeling I’m getting.”

Neko looked over at his beautiful sister and wanted to scoff. She was always jumpy. He took pleasure in scaring her by jumping out at her and coming around corners when she least expected it. Her big green eyes would go even wider, making her look like an owl. At the same time, her brown and black striped fur would rise from her body making her look like a fluff ball. As if she knew what he was thinking, Neko felt CeCe kick him under the table. “Did you hear me?” Neko tried to think of what she had been saying before he answered her back.

  “Yes, dear sister mine. I heard you.  I will run over to talk to Bo later and I’ve been getting that same feeling too. This may not be a good thing if we are all feeling it. Yeah, I definitely need to talk to Bo.”  HE said as he tore off a chunk of bread and chewed on it deep in thought.

   Neko found his friend Dominic sitting across from his twin Donny, who was fast asleep. Dominic sat tearing small pieces of paper and making spitballs with them. When he’d have a small pile, he would take a straw and shoot them at Donny’s lounging form. Neko sprawled on the sofa next to him and watched for a bit before asking where he could find Bo. “Why ya want to talk to Bo, man? You know he’s an old stick in the mud. Last time I checked he was lounging out back in the big tree, watching your sister through the branches. He is such a schmuck.”  Dominic told him as he shot a ball right at Donny’s head.

   “I need to see what he thinks about the fact nobodies out tonight. It’s really weird and so quiet. I just get this feeling…” Neko was saying before Dom interrupted him.

“Feeling something is coming, that like it’s going to happen or something. Is that what you’re talking about?” As usual Dominic ‘s mouth ran ahead of his thinking. Neko just turned to stare at the grey and white furred bundle of energy, his green eyes flashing as he latched onto Neko’s idea. “Yeah, Neeks, I’ve been feeling that too, so has Don-Don. He has actually been up and about today. Said he was feeling restless. Couldn’t tell it know. But yeah.”

   Neko got up and headed for the back of the house and the back door that led out to the enclosed yard. On his way back he just shook his head as he heard Dominic still rambling on in the front living area. Once he reached the yard he walked toward the big Oyroro tree, looking up at the man-sized limbs. He tried to find the one that Bo had come to rest upon. He chuckled as he jumped up and quickly started the climb. All he had to do was to look towards his own home and figure out which offered the best view.

   Neko found Bo’s perch and came to rest on the limb just to the side and down from him “Hey Bo-man, what’s up? Caught my prissy sister doing anything I should blind you for?” Neko let his tail swing off the limb to help him maintain his balance. He tried to find a window through the leaves to see what Bo was watching. “Hmm, Bo I don’t see anything. Is CeCe even outside at this time of night?”

  Bo looked down at the young man, studying the face that was as familiar as one of his brothers. “No, Neko. CeCe is not out tonight. She is in her bedchamber; you can tell because the lights glow behind her shades. No, I am sitting up here thinking of the change that I feel is coming. I worry for all of Cameria because it doesn’t feel right. What has your tail in a knot this time of night?”

  Neko sat up, too agitated now that Bo also felt what was beginning to feel like a portent to disaster. “I came to ask you if you had felt it. And you just answered my question. What do you think it means? I think the whole town is feeling whatever it is. Everyone is staying indoors, there is not one person out on the streets. For some reason, my instincts are telling me to run. What should we do?”

  Bo stood up on the limb and stretched. His striped face pensive. His green eyes looked off into the distance and he sniffed the air. Neko watched as his whisker’s twitched slightly. And then he looked back at Neko. “My instincts tell me that it may be time to consult with the Queen. If something is coming, she will want to know.”

 He started his climb down from the tree with Neko close on his heels. Once they were on the ground. They were turning towards the house when the sky lit overhead. Both Bo and Neko looked up, and Neko felt something brush his arm when he glanced to the side, he saw that the light had drawn Dominic and Donny from inside. He turned his gaze back towards the sky as three stars seemed to merge as one and the new star shone with blinding light. Neko saw all across the town citizens coming out of their homes to look up at the celestial event.


   He only knew his instincts were screaming that danger was coming!

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