Trembling violently, Makita, the Himalayan cat, stood on a bridge aglow with brilliant colors. Sunshine warmed her back and fresh air filled her nostrils. She smelled fear but it emanated from herself.At the bottom of the bridge, a semi-circle of cats stood waiting.
A regal Abyssinian raised his paw and beckoned. "Come, friend. Join us."
The Himalayan took a tentative step forward. "Who are you?"
"I am Ramses and this is the Council of Nine." He lifted his paw to encompass the other cats. "Actually, the Council of Ten." He put his paw around the little tabby that sat at his side.
The tabby purred in response and licked his ear.
"Where am I?"
"Catarau," Ramses said.
"Catarau," she breathed in wonder. "It really exists."
"This is the first life you’ve lost then? I didn’t think I’d seen you here before."
"Yes." She looked around. Lush grassy acres stretched as far as the eye could see, dotted with mountains of—she sniffed—kibble.She sniffed again. Nearby, catmint plants waved their pretty leaves in the breeze.Kittens chased butterflies. The more mature cats lay or sat in the luxuriant transparent grass, sunning themselves, some on their backs with their paws in the air.A light breeze in the blue sky tossed and separated the grass. Clouds floated not only above her but below as well. Mists rolled beneath them.
A lonely howl rose to meet her.
"Bennie," she whispered. Her tail twitching, her ears flat, she crouched and looked through the mists. A brindle-colored boxer nuzzled her lifeless body, then threw his head in the air and bayed as if his heart would break.