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“Once you leave this holy place and return to the human’s earth, not only can we no longer protect you, you may never find her. And even if you do what are the odds she will know you?”
“I will know her,” the big cat said quietly. “That is all that matters.”
The council of cats sat in a round circle. There were nine, representative of a cat’s nine lives. They wore gossamer robes and the table at which they sat floated in misty clouds, the sun occasionally peeping through to warm their silken fur. In front of them, a magnificent white cat with glowing green eyes stalked back and forth.
He rose on his hind legs and placed his paws upon his sleek thighbones. “I must go back. She weeps so.”
The elder, a dignified Abyssinian named Ramses, gave a weary sigh. “We have been through this, Shardai. You spent twelve years with her this time and seven before that. Do you forget she had you killed?”
“That was a shock,” Shardai admitted, lashing his tail, “but in her mind she was saving me from pain and starvation. The tumor had grown large inside my chest.”
A petite silver tabby, named Lolita, who had always been enamored of the big white cat, spoke up. “She should have known better. I would have known better. We all know Shardai is a great fighter, who fights even death. You would have preferred pain and starvation to the ignominy of being put to sleep by a mortal vet.”
“She knew,” Shardai said quietly. “But she couldn’t bear my pain. She wished this for me,” his paw made a sweeping gesture around him.
A hundred feet below the clouds thousands of cats roamed and played. An occasional dog or horse was visible. Many stood at a golden gate, eagerly awaiting their guardians who would soon pass over. The gate opened onto the rainbow bridge, which connected Catarau and Heaven.
Cats that had used up a life on earth and passed on to Catarau had a choice. They could live eternally among their kind or cross over the rainbow bridge to be with their beloved humans.
But no humans could live in Catarau. Some people had brought great love but many more had maimed, killed and starved the feline species.
St. Peter, who respected their no-human rulings, often would stop on the other side of the bridge and call out the list of coming souls to the cats and other animals that clustered around.
The elder rapped on the table with his paw, drawing the council’s attention back to the matter at hand. “If that is what she wanted for you, why this desire to go back?”
“Her faith is weak. She is tormented. She will never know if I passed through to the other side or if I will be eternally caught in that one moment when I felt the pain of the needle passing into my muscle then looked into her tear-filled eyes with surprise.” He gave a small cat laugh. “She fears I fight on still.”
“But that is silly,” said a beautiful Seal Point Siamese, admiring her gleaming curved claws as she unsheathed them.
Shardai gave a shrug of his powerful shoulders. “Humans are not rational creatures. Look,” he pointed through the mists to a spot on earth that he had once inhabited, “even the dog pines.”
The council looked down at a liver-colored spaniel that lay with his head between his front paws, his chocolate brown eyes filled with sadness.
“Stay, Shardai. I could make you forget your wearisome human.” Lolita batted her eyelashes at him, her manner coquettish.
The elder said sternly, “Lolita, a council meeting is neither the time nor the place for your goings-on. If you are going into heat, I suggest you join one of your lovesick admirers on the green.”
The council collectively stared down into Catarau’s lush meadow, dotted liberally with catmint and a hundred other herbs and flowers designed to entice a feline’s senses. A dozen toms in assorted colors sat a hundred feet below the council, looking up, waiting expectantly.
Shardai laughed. “You don’t need me little one. But I thank you for the singular honor.”
“Then you are going back?” she asked.
Besides her young adult cat fantasy series, Sandra writes paranormal, time travel, western romance and new age non-fiction. Sandra hopes to be able to quit her day job and write full time in the not too distant future. She loves to hear from her readers. Feel free to contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Ms.Cox transports readers into the hearts of her feline characters. Akasha is a purr-fectly pleasurable adventure.” --Sherry Morris
Akasha, sets out alone on a perilous journey to find Cairo, her missing kitten. Danger follows her every step as she moves closer to discovering if her baby is dead or alive. The story of Akasha tugged at my heart strings. A perfect example of a mother's love. --Jeane Daly
The sequel to Shardai, Akasha had me in turns smiling and crying. Truly a story to touch your soul and make you view your fur babies in a new light. If you want to teach your children about the love of animals, as I’ve said before, Sandra Cox’s books on these beautiful cats, and the trials they face, are the books you need to get for them. you know an animal lover, then this book is for them. And if you’ve ever lost a little fur baby to death, this book a comfort for what lays beyond… the Rainbow Bridge, however you perceive it to be. --Angela Verdenius Heart & Soul sci-fi/futuristic romance series
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 166
Paper Weight (lb): 7.2
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