The sun melted like marmalade over the hill, early dark ushered in on crow’s wings, and she settled on the porch boards in the light of a jack-o-lantern who’d seen better days, with the new kitty perched at her side. Handsome, tuxedoed fellow sporting delicate, white toes – he murmured encouragement in a raspy purr, and she sipped a hot toddy before turning the cards on the Black Cat Deck.
“Ah, Kitty darling, your past.” Of course, of course, the bold, ever-impetuous Knight of Swords. “Unafraid, pugnacious, eager for challenge. This is a young kitty, a kitty who has not, in fact, seen the elephant. (And might spit at him if he did.) Here is a gypsy kitty, a traveler, a jack-of-all trades.”
Kitty blinked in the firelight, his eyes the color of sage, nose twitching at the distant scent of burning leaves, ears full of the owl’s hoot - reflecting upon his six autumns and marveling at his several remaining lives.
“The middle card is your present.” She stabbed with a finger. “See the artist kitty-cat? The Ace of Wands speaks to your creative side. Are you feeling inspired?”
Oh indeed! Inspiration had come in the form of midnight mouse hunts, basement exploration, the emptying of the bathroom cupboard. He’d created a nest of quilt batting beneath the boy’s bed and a launching pad from the girl’s windowsill. This, his latest home, was a simple place, but also marvelous. One might say magical.
“At last, Kitty Dear, your future.” She flipped the card and steepled her fingertips, leaning close in the candlelight. “Ah, how lovely, how auspicious! You’re well on your way to achieving mighty deeds. The Nine of Cups is the wish card! If you remembered to make a wish before we began, it’s sure to come true now.”
Kitties are more doers than wishers, but he had indeed considered . . . perhaps, he’d thought, a tin of sardines might go over well.
And so, he tolerated the kiss she planted atop his head and washed his whiskers rather more quickly than normal, leaving behind the moon and the burnt pumpkin scent with the aplomb of one who knows his escape route.
“The wish card has a powerful magic.” Inside, she set sardines on bone white china. “Sim sala bim! Here you are, Prince Kitty!”
He might, he reflected, keep this human
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