Disclaimer: This is a fictional story and any resemblance between real people and places is unintended. It does deal with Transgender themes and the supernatural. If these are not for you than stop here please! Thanks again to Janet Nolan, Hope, Nellie and Paula for their great work and patience in proofing and first reads. Any mistakes of course is mine. (Important Note: Due to a mix up on my part I posted an earlier version by mistake. Hopefully I have the corrected version posted now. I apologize to my proofers for my embarrassing goof. Please not the boiling oil!)
Boots: the Cat’s Tale
Her ears perked as she heard The One’s slow lumber up the stair with the beat of a monotonous death march. With her tail swishing distractingly, she scented the cold sandwich he had had for lunch and the sadness that followed him like a jinxed cloud.
As he opened the door, Boots greeted him with a welcoming purr and received a friendly pat in return, as was only her right, from The One who fed and attended her needs. He did scold her as she wove between his legs, but it was an old dance for them and done fondly.
The buzz of the man-thing assured her that her food would soon be presented for her pleasure. Boots’ cat’s eyes missed nothing as she ate. She could see that the evil ones had once more been bedeviling her charge.
When he sank deep into his large recliner, she gracefully took up her post in his lap purring softly to assure him that all was well.
From the moment they found each other she knew that this one was different. Her distant ancestors from Temples of The Queen of Cats would have recognized him, as she did, as one bearing the Gifts of The Lady.
Sometimes a cat is just a cat, except when she’s not. The queen chooses who wakes and who sleeps. Boots, as she was to be called by The One, wondered if the reason The Queen of Cats woke her, was because of The Lady’s Gifts he bore.
Precious indeed were her Gifts, and Boots wondered why this male had them. She considered that in this one’s last life he might have done some terrible wrong and was being chained to the male clay as his punishment on this turn of the wheel.
Boots discarded that notion for fate might send such a one to a lower form to learn a lesson, but not this slow endless torment. No, this had the ill-stench of a demon about it.
Deep in a dream it came to her, the demon must have ‘shoved’ the descending Ka aside and forced it into the wrong shell. In the beginning Boots thought the demon had done so out of some perverse humor, but as she made The One’s place her own she could scent that the demon had come there often.
What happened in the past was beyond her, but with grim efficiency she made sure that no more such would trouble him in this place. Whether in the form of vermin or bug, she hunted them ruthlessly, but if she keep The One’s place safe she could do nothing for him when he left.
Still, the demon continued to try her and she began to wonder why? Certainly it was feeding on the misery it had caused, but why continue to try her when she had proved she could defeat the forms it could possess.
Boots soon had her answer, when one day The One pulled out a case full of women’s things. With care The One dressed and with a sad smile pulled on a pair of boots. Dancing around the small bedroom, The One soon came face to face with a mirror.
Boots could see that The One’s efforts to become more like she was inside had fallen short of what The One desired. The pure heartache and pain was so intense that she was taken aback, but that turned to panic when The One pulled a long metal claw and placed it on his lap.
Shock electrified her and she flew to The One’s side. Startled, The One, hesitatingly put the claw down and let Boots do the best she could to comfort her charge with her purrs and soft fur.
Tears fell and in a short while the woman’s things were packed up again, but every few weeks the cycle would repeat only to end in the same shame and pain.
Boots was outraged! This demon thing sought not just to feed on The One’s pain, but if it could force him to remove himself from the wheel in the demon’s presence it could devour The One!
How dare it cause such pain and even attempt to destroy one with the Lady’s gifts! Boots’ diligence in guarding The One became noticeable even to The One’s few guests because of her possessiveness towards him as she’d sit sphinx like in her duties.
It was going to try something soon, Boots knew as she lay in the crook of The One’s arm alert for danger. The end of this hunt was coming and the demon was circling its prey, anxious for blood. Boots settled herself, and in her dream-walk, asked The Queen for wisdom and courage for the battle ahead.
That morning after The One had made breakfast for the two of them and left with his lunch, Boots carefully checked every inch of her place. The demon had whipped some lesser foul things into a frenzy and they had tried her, but with claw and tooth she showed them no mercy.
She feared this was just to wear her down, but such impudence couldn’t be allowed. The last moves were being made and she sat in the window gathering the warmth of the winter’s scarce sun to strengthen her for what may come.
It was time for The One to return and for hours she had been scenting the evil that lay just outside the threshold of her domain. Listening, she heard the beginnings of The One’s slow march up the stairs.
Boot’s fur rose in challenge to the evil without, as The One opened the door. The stench of the decay from the demon wafted like a foul miasma thundering down the stairs towards them.
A dog, the demon had possessed a Dog! Boot’s claws grabbed the wooden floor as she sprang forward to defend The One. She knew that in all likelihood that this was a gambit to get rid of her for it wasn’t a small dog at all.
The One, startled at the sudden appearance of a vicious dog, quickly tried to get inside, but the maddened animal lunged and forced the door aside. Knocked to the floor by the impact, The One tried to find something to defend himself with, just as a blur of black and white fury struck the fanged muzzle of the beast, attacking him.
Tooth and claw ripped and tore her enemy, but Boots knew she was outmatched. This close, she could tell the dog had been driven half-mad by disease even before the demon had possessed it and now it simply wanted to kill.
The One had backed away from the give-no-quarter battle and was shocked into paralysis by how his champion was being mauled by that hound from hell.
She raked her bloody weapons across the demon-beast’s sensitive nose again and again knowing any normal dog would have long ago given up the fight. This wasn’t a skirmish in the age old argument between feline and canine, but a fight-to-the-finish for an immortal soul.
As important as even that might be, it wasn’t a conflict over just any soul, but the soul of Her charge, one with the special attention of the Lady herself. That placed this duel into an arena, all its own, of good versus evil.
With so much at stake neither side could fold, for the loser would pay a terrible price. Roars of damnation and yowls of defiance shook the small dwelling while the significance and sounds of the battle were lost in the flow of mankind’s noise about them.
In her mad dance to inflict as much damage as possible before she fell, Boots was a fraction too slow as the jaws snapped shut about her. Twisting to lessen the damage, she almost made it when those jaws shut and her proud severed tail flew from her.
Very few alive had ever seen such a fight before, and years of pain and anguish fed his paralysis of indecision. He wanted to aid his champion, but didn’t know how until he felt something hit his shoe. Boots proud tail, that she held high as her banner, lay fallen at his feet.
The pain drained her strength as the teeth savaged her and she knew that this fight was over. Boots had hoped for more, but to give her life for the Queen and The Lady was a worthy end. The demon behind the dog’s eyes gloated as it closed for kill.
It never saw the kitchen chair. The One, tormented to the edge of taking his own life, exploded with the fury of seeing his loved one’s mutilation and focused all that power in one tremendous blow.
The old, oak, kitchen chair, hewed and shaped by his grandfather’s hands and now the only remaining piece of a set, shattered as it became the conduit of the Lady’s power and vanquished the beast’s foul demon sponsor. In that contest love overcame mere evil and the Lady’s will thwarted the demon’s bid for power and the demon was no more.
The energy of all the souls, the demon had fed upon and tried to make its own, swirled about it as it died and Boots prayed to the Queen and The Lady for them to make right the wrongs the demon had done. Slowly her eyes closed to the sobs of The One for his champion.
***** 6 months later *****
Boots lay sunning herself in the window sill. Her battle had cost her much, as her nub of tail demonstrated, but she wouldn’t have had it any other way. They were proud marks of a battle won and each was a badge of honor.
The Lady and the Queen each looked after their own, both The One and the champion had survived. Taking the energy from the demon’s passing, they had used it to give The One the life that should have been.
In the time that had followed, they had had their black moments, for sometimes achieving one’s dearest dreams is harder than the fight for them. The two of them had supported each other, and over time the dark times became less and the sunny happy ones came more often and reigned in The One’s place.
Her ears perked as she heard the happy tattoo of clicks and taps coming up the stairs. Boots stretched herself, knowing that soon she would return to the Queen, but comforted by the fact that The One would always have a companion to guard her back. She limped over to be greeted by her charge, as was her right.
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