Deep in the spooky black woods, in a spooky black house, a litter of kittens was born. It was a dark midnight Halloween, the spookiest night of the year. That Halloween night the moon was full and at its spookiest, while the sky held no stars at all though perhaps that was because it was actually quite stormy that night.
The two proud parents were both midnight black. They were very proud of their sleek black fur, not to mention their sharp teeth and claws, and their bright yellow eyes. The father, Grizwal, was 3 times the size of your average cat while the mother, Mordamist, was only twice as large.
As you might have guessed, they belonged to a witch. The tasks that they were expected to perform were pretty much what other cats belonging to witches took care of. Because he was able to balance better, every Halloween Grizwal would ride in front of his mistress on her broomstick while she soared through the night. Meanwhile, Mordamist would stay behind to guard the house and gardens from any would-be intruders.
During the year the two of them would perform a variety of tasks depending on whatever it was the witch that they belonged to would ask them to do. The tasks could range anywhere from guarding the home to terrifying the local villagers by letting out horribly frightening yowls outside their bedroom windows while they were sleeping. They were also really good at finding whatever ingredients their witch might need.
Just like any cat that belonged to, or has belonged to a magical person, Grizwal and Mordamist had the gift of speech. They were able to converse quite excellently with any human should they choose to do so, though like most magical cats they very rarely ever did. Generally, they only spoke to their own witch and even then only when they had something of great importance to say. Of course, they also had the cat language and the common animal speech perfected as well.
Mordamist gave birth to six lovely kittens that stormy night, three boys and three girls. Five of the kittens resembled their parents with their short shiny midnight black fur and their sharp teeth and claws. All five had those same brilliant yellow eyes and they were all bigger than an ordinary kitten might be. Like their parents, these five kittens had magical powers, each possessing one unique talent that made him or her different from their siblings.
Mortimer, the eldest and biggest of the litter, had a yowl that could freeze a person to a spot and a growl that would send shivers down anyone’s bones. His sister, Midnight, was somewhat smaller than her elder brother but larger than the rest of the litter. She had a stare that felt as if she were staring right through you.
The next in line in both size and age was Grizal. Like his father he had a great sense of balance, being able to balance on a broomstick better than any of his siblings. He also excelled at sniffing out the invisible choke vine.
Nightmist was the next kitten, somewhat smaller than her older brothers and sisters but still far larger than any ordinary kitten. Nightmist's best talent was the ability to give people shivers a mile away with her cry. She also had the ability to stare a living thing, be it person or animal, to death.
Seltzer was the best guard cat of the litter. He was able to freeze someone to the spot with just a look, forcing his victim to stand still for as long as he chose to keep them there. He was also able to find the invisible silent dusk blooming screamer plant just by following its voice.
Unfortunately, the sixth kitten of the litter was the runt of the litter, an embarrassment to her family. Shimmer was the smallest in the litter, small even for an ordinary kitten. This little one's paws were small and dainty, while her family's paws were large, almost like a dog's paw. She was completely opposite from anyone in her family. Instead of short sleek black fur, this little kitten had long silver - white fur as soft as a rabbit's fur. Her eyes were deep blue, like a sapphire while her family's eyes were all bright yellow.
When it came to differences, her family even spoke differently than she did. Mostly her family growled, yowled, hissed, and even occasionally spat their words. They rarely ever meowed and you'd never find any of them purring contentedly. However, the runt of the litter was more known to speak softly and sweetly. Shimmer hardly ever growled and hissed, and not even once did her family ever hear her utter one of the terrifying high-pitched yowls they were known for.
Like most cats belonging to witches or any ordinary cat for that matter, Shimmer's family were mighty hunters. They were cats to be feared, by small creatures and even some of the larger ones. They killed any small creature they came across, making a fine meal out of any one of them when they were hungry or for various other reasons when they weren't. It was rumored, however, that this pretty little one had been seen having conversations with the local wildlife. She had even been spotted once talking with one of the neighboring village dogs, though her mother slapped her rather harshly when she found the two of them.
As did all cat’s belonging to a witch, Shimmer did possess magical talents. However, these too were not quite up to the normal standards of a witch cat. She could charm whatever she wanted, as well as locate anything you asked her to find for you. By singing only a few notes, Shimmer could put any living thing to sleep or even wake them back up again. She was even capable of loaning her magical energy to her mistress in order to help with the casting of spells, as well as being able to sense other people or creature's magical auras.
Shimmer's parents were understandably ashamed of their youngest daughter. Her siblings were horrified that she was even related to them, not to mention one of their litter mates. Shimmer herself was very much unhappy. She wasn't stupid and she certainly didn't need her brothers and sisters reminding her almost constantly.
She knew that witches cats did not possess long rabbit soft fur with long fluffy tails. They didn't possess eyes that blue, nor fur such a pretty shade of silver-white. They certainly were as small and dainty looking as she was. Witches cats were dark and scary looking, capable of causing you to shiver just by looking at them. They weren't usually as trusting and friendly as she was, nor did they possess such gentle talents.
Shimmer knew that she wasn't really a freak, after all, there were other ordinary cats born with white fur and blue eyes. Unfortunately, they didn't generally have magical talents like herself, nor did they usually belong to witches. That only meant that if she wasn't a witch's cat then she must be a misplaced ordinary cat luckily possessing both magical talents and the ability of speech.
This, of course, meant that Shimmer was tormented all through her kitten-hood. She was teased and tormented by her older and bigger litter mates. Her parents ignored her almost entirely, though they always made certain she learned whatever kitten lesson they chose for that day. Grizwal and Mordamist were going to make sure their daughter was well brought up, even if they were embarrassed about her. She was taunted and bullied by the neighboring witch's cats, and barely tolerated by the witch that owned her parents. In those long and unhappy few months, the only friends that Shimmer had were the various mice, birds, and other small animals that she happened to come upon whenever her family wasn't around.
On the day of the kittens three month birthday, the witch decided that they were old enough to sell. This was always a proud moment in a young witch cat's life, after all, they would be going to a new home and starting a life of their own. Her five brothers and sisters hoped to be bought by a grand witch, hopefully becoming the head cat some day of whatever home they were taken to. Shimmer merely sat there miserably, her ears drooping sadly, and hoped to at least find someone that wouldn't mind her strange looks.
After allowing the parents to give whatever words of advice and farewell they chose to give, the witch placed the kittens up for sell. Knowing that they would each be worth different amounts, the witch thought carefully before pricing each individual kitten. Seltzer and Nightmist, being the best two kittens of the litter, went first. They were both sold for 30 gold pieces and a bottle of dragon's blood. Mortimer was the next kitten that was taken. He went for slightly less than his brother and sister. He was only sold for 25 gold pieces and a jar of bat wings. Grizal went third for 20 gold prices and a box of frog hearts, while Midnight could only be sold for 15 gold pieces and a bag of skunk cabbage.
Hoping to entice some witch into buying Shimmer, the witch offered her up for 10 gold pieces and a cage of small white mice. A month later Shimmer was still unsold. Again the witch tried to sell the kitten, drastically reducing the price to 1 gold coin and a night blooming lily. Half a month later, she dropped the price to 5 dollars even. Unfortunately, the poor unwanted kitten was still there on her fifth month birthday and the exasperated witch (who didn't want the kitten either) told Grizwal and Mordamist to get rid of their daughter.
The next day the parents began a three-day journey, Shimmer trudging along at their heels. The poor little kitten barely spoke a word to her parents, her head held low in disgrace. Shimmer's ears drooped miserably, her tail dragging in the dirt as she followed to her new life.
On the morning of the fourth day, the family reached a hill overlooking a village that they had never visited before. Grizwal found a little hollow under a large rock at the side of the road where the family could curl up and sleep until nightfall. Seeing as though Grizwal and Mordamist belonged to a witch the night was their domain so they very rarely ever did much in the daylight hours. Shimmer actually didn't mind the sun, but she usually did try to be a good kitten and follow the wishes of her parents.
As soon as the moon rose, Mordamist cleaned her daughter roughly one last time before saying, “Shimmer, I'm afraid that we must part here. Your father and I must return dark woods and our witch, while you must try and make your home here. Remember that a witch's cat can not go into another witch cat's village without his or her own witch. You should be ok since you don't actually belong to a witch.”
Mordamist flicked her tail idly, glancing over toward the village before continuing, “I think this will be the best life for you. You don't really have the makings of a witch cat, but perhaps you'll be happy here. Try to find a villager or something and join their household, make them happy to the best of your ability. I know we've always taught you to hate everyone but your witch, especially the ordinary folks, and that you shouldn't ever love a human at all no matter who they are, but you’re just going to have to do the best you can. You'll probably have to get used to daylight hours as well, most ordinary folks tend to be up in the daytime I think.”
She turned her attention back down to the kitten, smoothing the fur on her daughter's head one last time as she added, “Be happy dear. Although we might not have shone it very well, your father and I do love you. You are our daughter after all, no matter how you look and act. Try to remember that in the times to come ...” Mordamist then nudged Shimmer towards her mate so that he could have his own moment with their daughter.
Grizwal glanced fondly at his daughter before curling his tail around his paws and sternly saying, “Here are some rules for you to live by Shimmer. Never forget them and follow them well. First, NEVER talk to a villager or any ordinary person. You must only talk to the magical people and you should even be careful of them to some degree. Second, you must never bother the village witch or her cats. Try to stay unnoticed by them and as far from them as possible. Thirdly, you must stay away from the dogs and for goodness sake don't try to befriend them. Dogs can be dangerous. When you're bigger you can taunt and torment them a bit if you like, but for now, while you are small stay away from them. Lastly, the village cats. In every village, there is a head cat, the leader of the whole band of them. Don't go against him and his rules, but don't let him take advantage of you either. You've been taught how to take care of yourself in a fight and I expect you to do so. Also to always always remember to keep yourself clean and well kept. A cat is always prideful of his or her looks, regardless of who or what they are.”
He sighed softly before leaning down and nuzzling Shimmer gently, his eyes closed in regret. Grizwal hated this next part. He might have been ashamed of his youngest daughter, but he had still loved her in his own way. She was his daughter after all. Lifting his head back up, his ears drooped slightly in anguish, Grizwal gave Shimmer his best forbidding look as he gravely said, “Now Shimmer, as much as it pains me to say it do not ever come home. Don't even come into the dark woods. Don't contact your mother and me for any reason, nor your siblings. You are no longer a witch's cat or a member of our family, therefore you are no longer permitted to return.”
The miserable parents turned quickly and headed back in the direction they had come. They strode down the path so quickly that even their keen ears missed their youngest daughter's tearful goodbye. Her blue eyes blurry with tears, Shimmer watched her parent leave her behind as she sadly mewed out, “Goodbye mama, goodbye papa. I love you both. Her ears still drooping miserably and her tail still dragging in the dirt, the small silver-white kitten sighed sadly and turned to walk into the village.
When the lonely, 5-month-old kitten reached the center of the village she stopped and glanced around cautiously. She had no idea what to do, had never been anywhere without her parents. Shimmer had actually been in the village that lay snuggled right up against the dark forest, but that village was within her parents' territory. Her siblings and her parents had been right with her at all times so she hadn't been responsible for any decision at all. Her parents had given her a lot of rules of what not to do, but other than telling her to find a villager and make them happy they hadn't really told her what to do.
By the moon's position in the sky, Shimmer could tell that it was nearly midnight. This, of course, presented her with a problem. She remembered her mother telling her very clearly that she would need to start getting more use to the daylight hours because that was when most villages were awake. The little kitten knew that she could probably go exploring, learn a little about the place before the villagers were awake, but she decided against that idea.
Besides she was very much aware that the village cats were liable to be just as active in the night as a witch cat was. True, her parents always claimed that an ordinary cat could never know the night as intimately as they did but that didn't mean they were any less capable of getting around. Shimmer had no desire to run across any of the village cats until she felt a little more comfortable and less nervous. Darting over to the nearest house, Shimmer crawled beneath the porch and curled herself into a miserable ball of fur in the farthest corner. Her bushy tail covering her nose, Shimmer eventually fell into an uneasy slumber dreamingly unhappily of her parents' departure.
A good many hours later Shimmer was awakened from her slumber by the sound of footsteps striding across the porch above her. At first, the kitten was frantic because she couldn't remember where she was. She mewed softly in fright, calling for her parents before she remembered that her parents were gone forever. For a moment Shimmer felt like curling back into her ball of misery and staying there, but that would get nothing done.
Taking a deep breath the kitten stood up and stretched before sitting back down and giving herself a proper bath. Finished with the morning ritual Shimmer stretched once more before crawling out from under the porch. Still very use to the protection her parents always gave her while growing up Shimmer failed to look about before leaving the safety of the porch, thus walking right into the dog of the house.
A low menacing growl was Shimmer's first realization that she was in trouble. She swallowed hastily and glanced up to see a large black wolfish-looking dog with very sharp teeth standing over her. Shimmer never even had the chance to attempt to put the dog to sleep or charm him before he had launched into a frenzy of angry barking.
She crouched helplessly at his feet, momentarily terrified, as the dog snarled “My name is Killer and I hate cats. I tear them to pieces when I catch them. I eat them when I'm hungry and I haven't had my breakfast yet. You had better run before you become my breakfast cat!”
Shimmer stared up at the huge mutt above her, trying to calm her racing heart before she suddenly remembered that although she was small she wasn't at all helpless. She was the daughter of Grizwal and Mordamist, the meanest and toughest witch cats around. Shimmer might have preferred friendship over fighting, but that didn't mean she wasn't capable of taking care of herself in a situation such as this. Springing to her feet, Shimmer reached her paw out, claws extended, and slashed the dog as hard and as deeply as she could. Without waiting to see how the dog would react, Shimmer turned and bolted away as fast as her paws could take her. Unfortunately, she was running so wildly and desperately that she again failed to watch where she was going and managed to run right into the arms of a woman that had come out of the house to see what was going on.
The woman, whose name was Mrs. Brown, picked Shimmer up by the scruff of her neck along with the newspaper that had also been laying at her feet. When Killer came darting after the cat, snapping and growling, intent upon getting revenge on the intruder, Mrs. Brown firmly took her paper to his cruelly shredded nose with a sharp thwack. Killer immediately yelped in pain and surprise before turning tail and running back to the doghouse where he slept.
Mrs. Brown shook her head in aggravation before heading back into the house, kitten still securely held within her grasp. She took Shimmer into the laundry room and dropped her in a basket full of clothes before leaving, shutting the door firmly behind her. Mrs. Brown then hurried off to find her husband to tell him to go outside and see the dog's nose and make sure that he was ok.
All this time, Shimmer was out of her mind with fright. The only human she had ever really had any experience with was the witch that her parents belonged to and the witch had never ever bothered to touch her. In fact, the witch had always tended to glare at her before moving away in disgust whenever she happened to notice Shimmer at all. She also had always been free to go where ever she wanted, never ever locked within a room before.
Shimmer scampered around the room frantically, searching for a way out. She scratched at the door a few times and even tried jumping at the knob. Unfortunately none of the magics she knew involved opening doors and so eventually she was forced to admit defeat. Climbing up to the top shelf above the washing machine, Shimmer curled herself into the smallest ball that she could and hid in the farthest corner hoping not to be noticed whenever anyone returned to her prison.
A few moments after she had settled down Shimmer watched warily as Mrs. Brown returned. The woman carefully placed a couple of bowls on the floor, one of water and the other of cream. She also placed a saucer of leftover tuna beside them. Mrs. Brown guarded the door as she did so, making certain that her guest couldn't escape. She glanced up to watch the frightened kitten curiously for a moment before slipping back out the door and shutting it behind her.
Shimmer watched the entire time, still curled as small as possible in fright. She had considered attempting to escape while the door was open. However, that would have meant trying to dart right past the woman and Shimmer was smart enough to realize she would never have made it.
At first, the kitten ignored the offerings of food and water, not wanting to trust the woman's generosity for any reason. However, an hour later had the starving Shimmer deciding that perhaps it wouldn't hurt to investigate. She climbed down slowly, keeping an eye on the door the entire time. Shimmer sniffed cautiously at the proffered meal before licking the saucer and bowl clean in delight. After Shimmer had finished her meal, she returned to the top shelf to await the end of her captivity, though this time she wasn't curled into a frightened ball of fur.
A couple of hours later Mrs. Brown returned to the laundry room, opening the door just a crack to peer inside. She smiled slightly when she saw her captive dozing lightly on the shelf that she had claimed as her own. Since her small white guest had obviously calmed down enough to relax Mrs. Brown left the laundry room door opened as she retreated back to the living room.
Eventually, Shimmer woke up enough to realize that she was no longer being held captive. She leaped down from her shelf and crept over to the door. Shimmer peered cautiously around the door, before deciding to venture further out to investigate since she didn't see anyone.
She carefully explored each room she came upon, always making certain that there was no human ready to snatch her up or imprison her again. It wasn't until she came to the living room that Shimmer ran across a human, Mrs. Brown herself.
Shimmer immediately froze, staring her captor for a good long few minutes. She was tempted to turn around and creep away before the woman saw her. She wanted to be back home, not here in this strange house. She didn't want to be near strange people and she certainly didn't want them touching her.
After a moment though she sighed fitfully, realizing that this was her life now. Her mother had told her to find a human household and join it, to make the people happy so that she could. Well, this was her chance, she wouldn't ever have a better one. This woman apparently wanted to be friends with her and no matter how scary it might be Shimmer had to give her that chance.
Her ears pinned backward against her head nervously, Shimmer took a deep breath and crept over to where Mrs. Brown was sitting. She hesitated briefly before scrambling up to the arm of the chair the woman was sitting in, her fur still raised slightly in fear. Shimmer stepped slowly into Mrs. Brown's lap, resisting the urge to dart away at top speed when she realized the woman was watching her. Doing her best to remember to keep her claws sheathed and her fangs well covered, Shimmer lay down trustingly and began purring, her tail curling around her forepaws as she did so.
Mrs. Brown slowly reached down and began gently petting the kitten, scratching lightly behind Shimmer's ears in an attempt to reassure the little one that she wouldn't be hurt. Shimmer soon found that she didn't mind the human's hand too terribly much. It felt kind of nice to be petted like this. Mrs. Brown soon fell in love with the small blue-eyed silver-white beauty, deciding to definitely keep her as a pet. The kitten would make a good addition to the household, provided of course they keep her away from the dog outside.
Shimmer had just been settling down to really enjoy this new found pleasure when her morning was once again shaken up. This time she was startled by the youngest members of the household. Four children, three boys, and one little girl, immediately came over to investigate their mother's new found friend.
Mark and Matthew, a pair of 10-year-old twins, were the first to arrive at their mother's side. These two were the spitting image of their father and full of rambunctious energy. They had messy brown hair and brown eyes twinkling with mischief. The two boys gave the kitten a curious look, but like their father they far preferred dogs. It wasn't long before the two of them lost interest in the newcomer and ran outside to play with Killer the dog.
Becky was the next to arrive and like her mother fell instantly in love with her new pet. Becky was 6 years old and took after her mother in more ways than loving cats. She was on the small side with long curly red hair done up in pigtails and bright green eyes.
Nicky, the youngest in the family, followed along at Becky's heels. He was 2 years old and like his brothers resembled his father with brown hair and brown eyes. After glancing at the kitten curiously for a moment or two, Nicky lost interest and wandered off to play with his toys.
Becky, however, stayed at her mother's side, more interested in getting to know her new found friend. The little girl reached out to pet the kitten gently before looking up at her mother and asking, “Mommy, what's the kitten's name?”
Mrs. Brown hesitated a moment before smiling at her daughter and saying, “Since your brothers aren't all that interested, I suppose it would be ok for you to name her.”
Becky studied the kitten hard while twirling a few curls from her pigtail around her fingers. She reached up once more to run her hand gently down the nervous kitten's back, paying close attention to the silver-white fur underneath her hand. After a moment Becky smiled triumphantly up at her mother as she said, “We should call her Silvermist because she's got such pretty silver-white fur.”
Mrs. Brown nodded in agreement, happy to allow the little girl to name the kitten whatever she wanted. She smiled warmly at Becky and murmured, “That's a nice name dear. Why don't you take Silvermist and go play for awhile? Mommy has to straighten up a bit.”
Becky nodded eagerly before picking up Silvermist, better known as Shimmer, and carrying her up to her room. The little girl firmly shut the door to prevent her new pet from escaping before putting the kitten down on the bed and searching around the room for a few items. Within moments the little girl had found what she had been looking for, a stuffed cat wearing a velvet dress and four matching little velvet socks. She quickly stripped the clothes off of the cat and held them up to a wary Shimmer.
It was a very pretty dress, a deep midnight blue with silver linings and white lace. The socks were the same deep blue color and it even came with a matching blue ribbon and a bonnet with holes for cat ears. Shimmer had this horrible feeling as she eyed the dress that the child was intending to put them on her. Her suspicions were confirmed when Becky picked her up and began attempting to dress her up like the stuffed cat had been.
Resisting the urge to scratch and bite, Shimmer tolerated the dress being forced over her head. She tolerated the little socks being placed on her feet, tied with a silver thread to make sure they didn't fall off. She even tolerated the ribbon being tied around her neck and the bonnet from being placed on her head. Shimmer sat quietly, allowing the girl to do as she wanted, though she couldn't help pinning her ears backward nervously. She continued having to remind herself that she couldn't scratch or bite the child, despite the fact that she really hated being dressed in clothes. really hated being dressed in these clothes.
Just as the little girl began growing tired of torturing her new found pet, a visitor could be heard knocking at the door. Luckily for Shimmer, the guest was someone that her new small mistress was attached to. It was Becky's best friend, Sharon, come to ask whether or not Becky wanted to come out to play.
Shimmer watched the two little girls curiously for a moment, glad that she was no longer the object of Becky's attention. Of course no sooner had she had the thought that Becky was turning her attention back to her new pet, dragging her friend by the hand.
Becky proudly scooped the small kitten up and held her out to her friend saying, “Sharon meet Silvermist. She's my new pet, a lot better than that old Killer outside don't you think?” To the kitten, she added, “Silvermist, this is Sharon … my best friend in all the world.”
Sharon reached a hand out to pet the kitten delicately, running her fingers through the silver-white fur. She smiled delightedly and nodded claiming, “I agree, she's a lot better than your brothers' old dog. She's pretty.”
The two girls played with the kitten for a few more moments before both deciding to go out and play whatever game their childish little hearts could come up with. That was when Shimmer realized there were worse horrors than having a 6-year-old little girl play dress up with you. Unfortunately for her Nicky had become bored with his toys and decided that he wanted his turn playing with the kitty.
Being only two years old Nicky didn't know how to be careful. He petted too hard. He shrieked in her sensitive ears, giggled delightedly while pulling her tail. Shimmer wanted nothing better than to scratch young Nicky's hands but again her parents' last words prevented her from doing that.
Shimmer lasted a week. She was dressed in a new doll's outfit every morning by Becky. Tormented by Nicky all day. Teased and taunted by the boys when they returned home from school. The dog growled at her every single time he saw her. The father never watched where he walked, nearly stepping on her frequently. She was constantly petted and cuddled by Becky and her mother throughout the day.
She couldn't escape them. She never had a moment to herself. More than that though she wasn't able to go outside and play in the sun or moonlight like she had always been able to do. Becky and her mother were afraid that she would run off if they let her out so they kept her safely behind closed doors.
On the evening of the second week, however, Shimmer had had enough. Luckily it was around this time that she noticed a window that someone had left open by accident. She wasted no time in leaping to the windowsill, ignoring Becky's cries behind her, and leaping down to the ground. Ignoring the slumbering dog in the yard, Shimmer quickly dashed off into the night never to be seen by the Brown family again.
She reached the road she had come in by and immediately turned left. Shimmer remembered that her parents had gone right and so she had to take the opposite path considering she wasn't supposed to go home ever again. As she ran, Shimmer delightedly leaped a few times into the air for no reason other than that it felt good to stretch her muscles and be out in the moonlight again.
When she had finally burned out her excess energy Shimmer settled down slightly, merely trotting at a reasonable pace. She didn't know where she was going but she knew that she would never again become some villager's pet. She simply wasn't pet material and her parents had already told her she wasn't a witch's cat. She curiously wondered what she was or where she would end up.
Shimmer was still pondering this thought a few miles down the road. She knew that she had to belong somewhere. She just had to. Everyone had a place they belonged or at least some sort of purpose, didn't they? That was around the time when she spotted this handsome tom cat curled up on a stump right next to the road.
She pulled to a stop and warily crossed over to sit at the edge of the road curiously studying the cat in front of her. He had bright gold eyes and a very striking black and white coat. As soon as he noticed her, the tom cat sat up and gave her a friendly cat smile before saying, “Hello there. I'm Felix, what can I call a lovely little cat like yourself? Also, what brings you to the road all alone?”
Shimmer flicked her tail a little self-consciously before shyly saying, “You may call me Shimmer. I'm currently running away from the Brown family.” She then proceeded to explain to him how her parents told her that she wasn't fit to be a witch's cat and that she discovered for herself that she wasn't fit to be a pet cat. Her ears drooped slightly as she added, “I'm not really sure where I fit in really. I thought I'd just travel down this road until I found somewhere to belong. Why are you out here alone, don't you belong to anyone?”
Felix climbed to his feet and gave her his best charming smile before saying, “Sweetheart, I belong to myself, the world, and the wind. I go where my paws lead me or the wind happens to take me. I'm what the humans might call a stray, but I call myself free. It isn't a bad life. I can scratch where and who I want. I can eat whenever I want, sleep wherever and whenever I want, and leave whenever I want. More importantly, I can do whatever I want and I never have to worry about any silly humans petting me unless I want them too.” He paused momentarily before asking, “Would you like to travel with me? You might find that the free life is the perfect life for you.”
Shimmer smiled at her new friend, nodding her head excitedly as she said, “I'd like that very much Mr. Felix, thank you ….”
Felix quickly shook his head, his tail flicking in irritation complaining, “Don't call me sir, Felix will do. Sir makes me feel like an old tom cat. Anyway, you just stick with me Shimmer and I'll make sure you’re safe enough. I'll show you all the best places to go around here and I'm sure we can discover some new ones.”
She gestured back in the direction that she had just come from as she said, “My parents went off in that direction to the spooky black woods. I'm not really allowed to go back in that direction, can we continue traveling in the direction that I was heading?”
Felix didn't care in the slightest, after all, he had no real place he had been traveling to. He was merely happy to have a pretty companion, even though she was still a half grown kitten. She would be fun to talk to and he was fond of talking to any pretty cat he happened to find.
The two of them set off immediately, Shimmer following along at Felix's side allowing him to lead. She managed to stay with her new found friend for two weeks before deciding that the life of a stray wasn't for her either. The pair of them had gone where they wanted and whenever they wanted. They had eaten whenever they wanted, provided of course they could find something to eat. They slept wherever and whenever they wanted. Felix chased and caught mice just like any of her family, though Shimmer still found it hard to do so. She had befriended a few of them after all. Still, Felix never seemed to mind her oddities. He introduced her to a few cats he knew so that they could play with them and generally just have a lot of fun.
Unfortunately, there were a lot of bad things too. Stones, boots, and other hard objects, not to mention water were thrown at them by angry people not wanting them around. They were kicked at and screamed at. One person even tried to poison them, though they were both luckily enough to avoid that fate. They went hungry some days and sometimes they had to sleep out in the freezing cold rain. It had also been difficult to keep herself clean like her father had told her to do. So one day she felt that she simply must tell Felix goodbye and find some life that did not involve being either a witch's cat, a pet cat, or a stray cat. She continued to travel east away from her parents, hoping against hope that she would be able to find where she belonged soon.
Three days later Shimmer came across a farm. It seemed like a decent place and the few cows in the pastures near the road seemed friendly enough. This encouraged her enough to actually head over to the farmhouse to see what she might find there. She immediately ran across an older calico cat that gave her a wary look before telling Shimmer that her name was Daisy.
Shimmer wasted no time in informing the other cat about who she was and why she had been traveling. Daisy merely smiled at the half-grown cat and told her that she was a barn cat. Her job generally was simply to catch the mice and rats that clambered about in the barns and silos. They had the option of heading over to the farmhouse to get attention from the farmer and his family, but they could avoid them if they wanted to. It was a fairly easy life and they were fed every day on cream and kibble by the farmer's wife. She also told Shimmer that she was welcome to stay if she liked, they could always use another cat around the place.
Shimmer flicked her tail uneasily a moment or two, uncertain about whether she should stay. She didn't particularly care to catch mice and rats after all, but maybe she could simply ask the rodents to stay away from the barn. Besides, Daisy seemed friendly and the life seemed nice so she thanked Daisy for the chance.
It only took a week for Shimmer to know that the life of a barn cat was not for her. She really needed to belong, not just live. Although she didn't want to be a pet cat, she did want to mean something to whomever she belonged to. Besides that, eventually, someone would probably notice that she wasn't catching any of the mice or rats. Therefore, on the morning of her 6 month birthday, she said goodbye to Daisy and begin her journey once more traveling ever eastward.
Shimmer traveled for days down a lonely dirt road, not meeting anyone along the way or even coming across anywhere she might stay. It seemed as if the road stretched on endlessly with no end in sight. She was hungry and her paws were sore but more than that she was sick at heart. It seemed no matter where she looked there simply wasn't any place for her in the world, at least not that she had found yet.
Then on one ice cold, rainy day Shimmer's heart broke completely. She had lost hope and she just didn't feel like she had the strength to continue on. Crawling into an old hollow log at the side of the road, she began to cry as hard as she could. She cried so hard that the sobs rocked her body even harder then the chills were doing. It almost seemed as if her big tears wet the ground more often then the raindrops did.
Shimmer was crying so heartbrokenly that she didn't even heed the rain stopping or hear the footsteps coming closer. She never noticed the man sit on her log so that he could begin looking her over curiously. It was for that reason that she was scared out of her mind when a king voice asked, “Why are you crying, my dear?”
Her ears immediately pinned to the back of her head, her claws digging into the wood underneath her paws, and her fur puffing out to three times its normal size. Her heart beating painfully and her eyes wide with fright, Shimmer tried to control her fear. Finally regaining control of herself, she crawled out of her log to see who had addressed her. She was, after all, a very polite cat and someone seemed to be trying to be nice.
Shimmer was very startled to see that it was a human man with eyes as blue as hers speaking to her. Simply because she was so upset Shimmer forgot her father's rules regarding speaking to humans and answered in a pitifully sad tone, “I'm Shimmer SilverMist of Grizwal and Mordamist. You, sir, may call me Shimmer.”
(Now you are perhaps wondering why Shimmer kept the name Becky gave her. Well, a cat or dog must always keep a name given them, even if they have one already. They simply add it to the first one. In this way, they always carry a bit of their past with them. It is merely the way things have been done for centuries in the animal world.)
She lifted a paw to wipe away some of her tears before adding, “I'm crying because I don't belong anywhere. My parents told me that I am not a witch's cat. I learned really quickly that I also wasn't a pet cat, or a stray cat, or even a barn cat. I've wandered down this road and searched for somewhere to belong for more than a month now, but I do not believe that I'm destined to belong anywhere.”
Shimmer hung her head, her ears drooping miserably as she said, “I'm a freak. All of my brothers and sisters are all solid black witch's cats like they should be, just like my parents. I, however, am silver-white as you can see. I have all the talents of a magic cat. I can put someone to sleep and wake them back up again by singing a few simple notes and charming someone is easy. I'm great at locating anything you might want and I've always been good at loaning my own magical energy to others to help with spells. I'm capable of sensing other people or creature's magical auras, but even so, I simply don't have the makings of a witch cat. I'm a nobody …” With that said the small feline began to mewl in sorrow once again.
The man had been very surprised when the cat first began speaking to him, it wasn't every day that cats begin speaking. However, the moment she mentioned her parents were witch cats. He quietly studied the small half grown cat for a long moment as she cried before gently saying, “My dear Shimmer. Has it ever occurred to you that you might be somebody, but that you haven't been patient enough to find out what yet? It has only been a little more than a month after all. The best things in life take time sometimes.” With that said the man stood up and waved his walking staff in the air before beginning to walk away. The rain immediately started up again, but this time instead of freezing raindrops like normal it was purple gumdrops.
Shimmer stared after the man walking away in bewilderment, before looking more closely. He seemed to be slowly fading away with every step he took, but that wasn't what startled her the most. It was his outfit, the very clear outfit of a wizard. He was wearing a deep blue velvet robe with silver linings. He also wore a large matching cloak around his shoulders along with a matching hat attached to his silver belt. Her eyes drifted over to the walking stick in curiosity, realizing that it was made of pure silver. It seemed to shimmer and shine with a life of its own.
She continued to gape at the man in surprise for a few moments before she realized he had almost faded completely away. Shimmer leaped to her feet and frantically called, “Wait! Oh please wait ...”
The wizard turned around, fading back in completely, and asked, “What can I do for you Shimmer dear?”
Shimmer flicked her tail hesitantly before timidly asking, “May I um, that is could I, no that's not right at all.” She took a deep breath before continuing, “Would you mind terribly much if I came with you?”
The wizard smiled gently at the nervous cat as he murmured, “Not at all my dear, I was hoping that you would find the courage to do so. By the way, my name is Merlin.”
A year later ...
Merlin, his silver-white familiar named Shimmer carefully held within his arms, 'popped' into the annual witches convention. He set the cat down gently on the ground before surveying the gathered witches curiously. Glad to see that a very lot of them were attending this year, including the witch that had originally owned Shimmer. He then spoke up in a booming voice, interrupting a speech about invisible choke vines, “Let it be known that Shimmer SilverMist is not a nobody. She is not a witch's cat. She is not a pet cat, or a stray cat, or even a barnyard cat. Shimmer SilverMist is my familiar. Let her be welcomed anywhere with or without me.” He turned his gaze down to the assembled cats and glared at them before adding, “I wouldn't recommend for her to be teased and tormented anymore, for there could be grave consequences given to the individuals involved.”
The witches and their cats who had never seen Shimmer before just nodded in acceptance, agreeing wholeheartedly with the wizard. They were well aware that wizards were by far the most powerful beings of magic, this one even more powerful than the others. Their familiars, be it cat or another beast, a whole lot more powerful in magic than their own cats. They had no desire to get either of them angry and so they were happy to agree.
Grizwal, Mordamist, Mortimer, Midnight, Grizal, NightMist, Seltzer, and the few neighboring cats were petrified, along with their witches. They knew that they hadn't exactly been nice to the small silver-white cat and realized that Shimmer could get them all into trouble.
However, Shimmer merely walked over to her family and gave each of them a kiss on their noses, rubbing up against each in farewell before returning to her master and companion. Merlin nodded his head once towards the gathering before gently picking up the cat and 'popping' back out of the convention. The two of them arrived back in his study where Merlin once again set the cat down on a nearby table. He then promptly removed his hat, attaching it back to his belt before returning to his spells.
Shimmer SilverMist curled up on the table with a yawn and went to sleep, a secret smile gracing her face. She knew who she was now. She was not a nobody. She was not a witch's cat. She wasn't a pet cat, a stray cat, or a barnyard cat. Shimmer SilverMist was a wizard's familiar. Not only was she a familiar, but she belonged to Merlin, the most powerful wizard of all wizards.
Shimmer SilverMist was one happy and contented cat.