Sunday, July 13, 2008
A whistle like an approaching train sounded in the distance, getting closer and closer at an alarming rate of speed.
Akasha tensed and laid back her ears as the noise rose to a piercing shriek, hurting her eardrums. She sensed danger, terrible danger.
“Flatten yourself in the bottom of the boat, my darling Cairo, under one of the seats,” instinct made her call out above the driving winds. “Boys, get under me.”
“I want to come to you, Mamma,” Cairo wailed.
“It’s too late, baby. Do as Mamma says.” Akasha flattened herself over Cosmo and Cubbie, stretching her paws out in four different directions and putting her head down.
The shrieking noise escalated and the building collapsed around them like so much kindling, leaving the cats inside a gray funnel that picked them up, held them suspended in air for several heartbeats, then, like a giant fist opening, dropped them in the water. The boat landed with a splash several yards away, teetering madly on the waves.
As Akasha and the two male kittens hit the water an icy swell washed over them. Akasha pushed hard to the surface. She looked around frantically. “Cosmo, Cubbie where are you?” she howled, fear beating at her like the relentless waves.
“Mamma,” Cairo called out several yards away.
“Hang on, baby,” Akasha mewed, swallowing a mouthful of water as a second wave crested over her. Again she fought her way to the surface. The pounding rain mixed with her tears as she called frantically, “Cosmo. Cubbie. Where are you, babies?”
She treaded water and turned in frenetic circles, trying to look through the towering dark waves, but the rain streamed down in liquid sheets, blinding her. Everywhere, nothing but water and the boat bobbing farther and farther away, while Cairo’s voice grew weaker. “Mamma, save me. Save me, Mamma.”
“I’m coming, baby, I’m coming.” Pushing herself, she stretched one paw in front of another. She was so tired and the icy water froze her muscles, making movement an impossible effort as the rain pelted her.
A huge gray wave crashed over her. She sank in the freezing water, her drenched coat of fur weighing her down. With the rest of her remaining strength she pushed to the surface only to be hit with another angry wave. She tried to fight her way back to the top but this time her legs refused to move and the water sucked her under. My babies. She closed her eyes and drifted down. I’m dying and I can’t save them, was her last conscious thought.