A round-robin story
Part 1 by Bernard Doove © 2006

The little brown and white-spotted four-year-old chakat cub propped hir head on hir hands as shi looked out of the window and sighed. It was grey and gloomy outside, occasional showers keeping hir inside instead of playing in the trees as shi loved to do. Instead, hir mind wandered to other things that shi missed.

"Why so gloomy, little sis?" enquired another chakat cub, this one around seven years and patterned virtually the reverse of hir sibling. "We can feel you all over the den." For an undeveloped Talent, that said a lot about the strength of the cub's emotions.

"Why did Auntie Flametail have to leave?" asked Sweetspot without looking at hir older sister.

"This again?" asked Snowthaw with an exasperated sigh. "You know that moving to Chakona was hir dream. Even if shi was your favourite aunt."

"I know," Sweetspot agreed without agreeing. "Do you think shi misses home?"

"Chakona is hir home now."

"But do you think shi misses this?" Sweetspot said as shi waved a hand at the view. The sun chose that moment to break through the clouds and illuminate the wet scenery so that it sparkled and glistened off the wet foliage, making for a picture postcard moment.

Even Snowthaw was taken by the scene for a moment. "I suppose shi does. Shi had to leave behind a lot of things and people that shi liked so that shi and hir new mate, Copperback, could start a new life and family on Chakona.

Sweetspot finally turned to face hir sister. "When will shi visit us, do ya think?"

"I'm sorry, sis, but it's too expensive for hir to visit us for a very long time." Snowthaw gave Sweetspot a comforting cuddle, but wondered who would comfort hirself. Flametail had been hir favourite also, and although shi understood far better than hir young sister, shi still felt some personal loss as well.

"Do you think shi misses us too?" asked Sweetspot.

"I'm sure shi does," agreed Snowthaw.

Sweetspot held up something in the hand that hadn't been waving at the view. It was a bandanna that Flametail had liked to wear that shi had given to Sweetspot on the day that shi and Copperback had left. It was still strongly impressed with Flametail's scent, and Sweetspot liked to sniff it when shi thought of hir absent aunt. "Maybe I can send hir a present like this?"

Snowthaw stared at the bandanna, a thought occurring to hir. "That might just be a very good idea, sis. In fact I think I have a job for you that you will like. Wanna surprise Auntie Flametail?"

Sweetspot caught onto Snowthaw's excitement. "Yeah! Whatcha gonna do?"

Snowthaw explained hir idea to Sweetspot, and by the time shi was done, the younger cub was virtually bouncing in excitement. "Let's start now!" shi insisted.

"Sure!" Snowthaw agreed witha grin. "You know what to get, and I'll start on my part too."

Sweetspot dashed off. In the living room, their parents sighed with relief as the gloom disappeared from their senses. "I don't know what Snowthaw said, but it seems to have done the trick," Skyblue said as shi cuddled hir mate.

As their youngest cub dashed past them and outside, Dancingpaw replied, "Yeah, but now I'm wondering just what the heck they're up to!"


Continued in The Package, part 2.

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