Nine Lives, Ten Deaths? part seven
Cats and humans clashed with the fierceness of gladiators. Fall after fall, the big cats would die, only to be reborn again. When they had died the tenth death, they simply ceased to be. The humans did not have such a grace as dying again and again. Once their lives were ended, they too simply vanished. Trees were snapped in half by cats that had the same size and strength as their ancestors did back in a time when man was just beginning to share their existence with the cats.
Samantha stepped in front of Sebastian, her sword twisting and turning in her hands. She smiled at him as she swung her sword at his face. Miss after miss, she became more angry and her swings more erratic and misplaced.
“I will kill you, cat, and then I will have your essence for my own as well as that worthless she-cat you couldn’t save!”
“You talk loud for such a little woman, Samantha. I don’t intend on playing with you but rather bringing you down so you may be killed by a human.”
“Then you better get to it because from where I am standing, you are running out of humans to kill me.”
Sebastian looked around to see what she meant. Humans were falling much faster than the cats. Without a second chance, they died quickly. As the humans died, the opening to earth’s realm grew smaller and smaller.
“Alex, we have to either even the numbers or win this battle faster! If we lose the opening, we will be trapped here for the millennium!”
“Although I love the great cats and would spend my eternity anywhere with you, Alisha, I do want to see home again. We have a family to start and raise up to know the true meaning of love and honor.”
“I think the making might just be the best part of it all, Alexander. Fight with me and let’s end this!”
“You two talk as if you are going to win. I assure you that neither I nor my cats have any intention of letting you do that. Remember, Alisha, if you die, Alex becomes mine as does his home and his beastly cat. That is the law of our gifts so would you kindly do me a favor and just die?”
“Not today, Samantha, I have waited too long for this day to come to be bested by the likes of you!”
The two women brought their swords together in a strike that shook both the cat’s realm and earth. Blood coated the ground and flowed in to the waters that surrounded the battle ground. Red water lapped at the shores as Samantha and Alisha fought one another. Alexander fought enemy after enemy, watching them die as his sword found its mark. Sebastian lunged at Samantha, trying to throw her off balance. She swung her sword at him and fell forward as the blade missed him by mere inches.
Bastet moved towards the opening, trying to keep it open as wide as she could. She could see the tree and swing from where she stood. Both began to fade as the battled raged on. She needed to find a way to balance the realms before one canceled out the other. She began grabbing the great cats and tossing them through the opening. As the cats fell into the opening, the tree began to appear more alive and bright. She knew that man had depleted the number of big cats on earth for so long that the balance was shaken. The earth needed the cats to keep watch and make certain that man did not destroy himself completely. Guardians of the realms would be set into place once this battle were finished.
Samantha, distracted for but a second, didn’t see the blade coming at her. She sliced at Sebastian, pushing her own sword deep into neck. Pushing the sword deep, she stuck it in to the ground, much the same way she had done Tawny. As he struggled to free himself, Samantha screamed out from her own pain. Looking down, she could see the tip of the blade sticking out of her stomach. The blade had gone completely through her. She turned to look behind her, staring into Alisha’s eyes.
“You,” she cried out. “You were standing in front of me. How could you…”
“You brought on your own ending, Samantha. When you stabbed Sebastian, he absorbed your gifts while you held the sword. Weakened, you failed to see me move behind you. With Tawny’s help, I was able to move with the speed of a cat and shoved the blade in to you.”
“You lie to me, Alisha! I killed that creature with my own blade.”
“Did you forget the laws of the realm? We are not in earth’s realm. Here, only cat can kill cat, Samantha. She was pinned to the ground by your knife. She spoke to my mind and waited for you to make a foolish move. You did that when you gave yourself far too much credit. However, human can kill human and that…” Alisha said, pushing the blade one last time into Samantha, “Is exactly what I am doing to you.”
As her life’s blood spilled onto the ground, Samantha fell to the ground. Alexander watched as the humans they were fighting began to drift back in to the trees. Lions turned and followed them, disappearing somewhere in to the forest. Alexander knelt beside Sebastian, pulling the sword from his body. As Sebastian slowly stood, the wounds in his body closing, he walked to where Tawny lay. Gripping the knife with his teeth, he backed away, pulling the knife out of her body. He stood beside her, watching… waiting for her to move. Her eyes fluttered and then opened to look at him.
“I thought you would never free me from this ground, Sebastian.”
“I too was lost in the battle, Tawny. I forgot that you could not be killed by the hands of a human here. I thought that I had lost you forever.”
Tawny stood and rubbed her body against his, her purrs echoing loudly. Bastet came to stand beside them. She looked at them with sadness in her stare.
“Although you could not die at the hands of the human, Tawny, a life is still counted with such an injury. You died your tenth death by our laws.”
“What do mean Bastet? She is alive and well?”
Tawny nodded at Alisha, knowing fully what the queen cat meant.
“She means that although I am alive, I cannot return to earth’s realm. If I do, I will age and die there just as other cats do on earth. I must remain here for eternity.”
“Then here I too will stay, Tawny. I will not leave you again.”
“What happens to the tree and the swing if you both stay here?”
“The tree will still be guarded until another cat can be found and sent to keep watch on it, Alisha. The house and swing will be under my covering until that time comes.”
“Will Alisha and I still be able to pass through the realms?”
“Not until a new guardian is sent to you. You must return now before the opening closes. Watch over the great cats of earth, that your kind does not completely wipe them from your world. That is now entrusted to the two of you. Now go, before it is too late.”
Amidst hugs and tears, Alisha and Alexander returned to earth’s realm. The swing sat still, not even the breeze moving it. The opening closed, separating the two worlds.
One year had passed since their return to earth’s world. Alisha and Alex now dedicated their lives to opening reserves and the preservation of all cats. Their love became stronger as each day passed. One year, to the day, they had been blessed with a beautiful daughter. Tawnya would grow up, learning the ways of earth and the cat’s realm. She would know the reason for the swing and the old tree. She had already displayed some of the gifts she had inherited from her parents. Her ability to speak and understand animals was apparent in every way.
At five years old, Tawnya came running into the house, her eyes dancing with excitement. She was carrying a baby tiger cub in her arms. “Mom, the kitten’s mommy sent her for me. She needs us to take care of her. She said she will watch the swing for me until I am older.”
Alisha looked down at her daughter, taking the tiger cub from her. “And how did you learn all of this, young lady?”
“Her mommy told me she is a friend of yours. I heard her voice in my head. She told me to tell you this is Tawny and Sebastian’s cub. Do you know them, mommy?”
Alisha smiled as she looked out the window at the tree. The swing began to move back and forth, as a breeze blew across the yard. Alex came in the kitchen, staring at the tiger cub. The cub growled a tiny growl, displaying two larger than normal fangs.
“Wow, she has some saber-tooth looking teeth, huh? Where did she come from?” he asked while staring at the swing. “Is that swing moving?”
Alisha smiled and kissed Alex. “She has her daddy’s teeth and her mommy’s purr.”
Alexander looked at her and back to the swing. He smiled and looked at the cub. “I guess all is right with the worlds today…”