It was just getting lighter when the Jellicles finally lay down to rest in the junkyard. The Jellicle ball had died down a few hours before and everyone had just seemed to release themselves from the buzzing feeling they felt during the ball. Now in the dim light of sunrise cats had retreated into pipes, boxes, trunks of cars, and anywhere else they could find to shelter themselves from the morning chill. Two cats were sleeping soundly in an old half crushed car boot. Munkustrap, a grey and black striped tom lay in a curve protectively around his new found romance, a beautiful queen with brilliant eyes and sharp features; Demeter. Munkustap's body was scratched and bruised in places where he had fought the Jellicle's largest enemy Macavity, however his fur still shone with cleanliness and after Demeter had insisted on treating them, Munkustrap's wounds had felt considerably better and so it was decided that he just needed to sleep it off, just like everyone else.
Outside the car boot numerous cats had hid themselves in various nooks and crannies, the older cats seeking the warmer spots while the younger ones grouping together instead, only one cat slept alone. Mistoffelees. This small predominantly black cat had the strange and most unique markings of what any human would call a tux (with a white under belly, paws, and almost glimmering finish), and since very recently was called Quaxo- his 3rd name has been announced as Mistoffelees during his act in the Jellicle ball where he had used his gift to bring back their leader Old Deuteronomy from Macavity.
Mistoffelees shifted his position trying to protect himself from the bitter weather that seemed to slice through his coat, sending constant waves of shivers down his spine. His chosen place of living, a small damp pipe did nothing to prevent or shelter the small tom in any way, adding to that the extreme drain both physically and mentally his magic did to his body, Mistoffelees was not in good shape. In fact, it was a miracle he had managed to drag himself away from the other cats congratulating him before collapsing in a rather ungraceful heap away from prying eyes- Mistoffelees never wanted people to see him like this for he was a small cat for his age already and other young toms his age such as Pouncival and Tumblebrutus would often tease him about this, he did not want them to think him weak as well. Instead he hoped the sick freezing feeling would go away before the others would come and find him, "Probably want me to do magic for them," Mistoffelees thought tiredly as he closed his eyes tightly willing himself to sleep.
Outside the Junkyard, many miles away in an abandoned office building, Macavity padded the floors, still furious with his plans being thwarted once again. The ginger cat was very tall and thin; however his matted long hair hid that fact and gave him the look of a miniature lion. His coat was dusty but still showed the dramatic markings that only Macavity could pull off, they, along with his frighteningly long claws were his trademark. The reason for this outraged mood he was in (Macavity decided) was that little black tom he had noticed at the Jellicle Ball. He knew that he had been the one to bring back Old Deuteronomy from his clutches; he had been the one to make the Napoleon of crime look like an amateur, and so he would be the one to pay. Macavity did not care to seek direct revenge on his brothers in the tribe. The Rum Tum Tugger had not even been there when he had attacked, as the ginger cat knew that his laid back brother didn't care for fighting or indeed anything that wasn't centred on him. His youngest brother Alonzo has proved himself a nuisance at the Ball, sticking up for his tribe by confronting him after he had defeated his older brother Munkustrap. They would all pay in time, but for now his main obsession was concentrated on Mistoffelees…
"Grumbuskin!" Macavity barked. A fearsome looking cat with dark tabby brown tip to toe colourings and a round black patch covering his left eye entered the room cautiously, careful not to have his back facing Macavity- he knew that was always a bad idea.
"Yes sir?" Grumbuskin enquired, standing just a few feet away from his boss. Macavity glared at his 2nd in command and replied, "That magical cat, Mistoffelees." Grumbuskin nodded and growled lowly in distaste at the mentioned name. Macavity went on, "I want him. I want you to get him out of that junkyard and bring him back here, relatively unspoiled," he stopped for effect, "but have some fun with the others if you like." The two cats spoke for a little longer on tactics and weaknesses of the tribe before the huge Grumbuskin took his leave to round up the strays who worked for Macavity.
Mid morning came to the junkyard and most of the cats who resided there were up and about. Munkustrap had departed early with Alonzo to travel across town. They were worried for their father and leader Old Deuteronomy's safety after Macavity's latest attack. As they would be gone for most part of the day Skimbleshanks had been assigned as watcher over the tribe while Plato was also at hand to help, he was known to be quite a skilled fighter and protector-looked up to by the kittens.
The magical cat groggily opened his eyes and shivered, his pipe still contained a puddle at the bottom of it, making his side damp. He could hear voices and movement right outside and judged that most, if not all the others were up. Testing his strength, he decided to get up and head straight for the bonnet of the rusty car in hopes of drying off.
The weather was boiling to say the least. It was probably the hottest day in the year decided Mistoffelees as he left his pipe to feel a rush of hot air hit his face. Rushing across the middle of the junkyard, many cats ignored him. He reached the car and used his limited energy to bound up onto the flat surface. The metal was baking and the young cat liked it. He set himself down into a tight ball and instantly fell fast asleep. Midday came and the sun was not showing signs of terminating its attack upon the Jellicle home. Skimbleshanks had claimed that 'it was far too hot for any of the kits to be out for too long' so a few adult cats had been gathered to keep watch for any kittens who would stray out for too long, heat exhaustion was a worry which the Jellicle Gumbie cat Jennyanydots pointed out regularly. But when did the inquisitive mind of the kitten ever listen to its elders? Etcetera, Electra, Victoria, and Jemima were prancing about, closely watched by Tumblebrutus, and Pouncival. The two brother toms were happy to sit and watch the equally young queens frolic together whilst making comments on who they found the most attractive.
"Well I think Etcetera is alright," Pouncivil mused, peering from under the shade given by the tire shadow.
"If you could ever tear her away from her dearest Tugger," Tumblebrutus joked, doing a poor impression of The Rum Tum Tugger while his brother rolled around in uncontrollable laughter, many of the dozing cats around them glanced up, visibly annoyed at the loud interference. Bombalurina yelled from her comfortable lounging position,
"Could you two squirts keep it down, some of us are trying to get some sleep here! It's hot as it is without you two making anyone any more hassled!" The beautiful red queen turned back over to further herself away from the sun but spied The Rum Tum Tugger finally rising from an incredibly long sleep. His thin albeit well muscled tone frame, large mane like hair and laid back nature was extremely attractive to the female cats and most of them would follow him about mindlessly when he chose to make an appearance, and, his craving for attention meant he was about often, when he wasn't sleeping or 'generally up to no good' as his older brother Munkustrap would describe it.
Of course, due to The Tugger's popularity among the girls, he had weak bonds with any of the toms. They did respect him for his unique gift of "wooing" (if you could call it that) and some of the younger toms would sometimes follow him to learn his techniques, however he was not at all a fighter and whenever the tribe was in trouble, he would always make himself scarce until the immediate trouble was over, then, bringing everyone together at the end, he would always find a way to redeem himself (much like he did the night before at the Jellicle Ball when he sang for Mistoffelees). In truth he had only one close friend whom he could actually talk to. Many cats did not notice this particular bond, either being too wrapped up in their own bonds with The Rum Tum Tugger, or just plain ignoring the other tom. This cat that could to certain extent calm down the rogue Tugger was the one the only Magical Mr Mistoffelees.
Pouncival snickered as Bombalurina literally let her rant die in her mouth, her frown turned into a broad sexy smile, and the Tugger approached with his usual swaying strut. Besides him, Pouncival's brother turned away with a slight twinge of jealously on his brown and white patched face. It was known only to Pouncival that Tumblebrutus had an obsession with the beauty queen of the tribe.
After flirting somewhat with Bombalurina, The Rum Tum Tugger brushed her off to make his daily rounds in the junkyard. The heat caused him to become unusually short tempered.
"TUGGER!" a shriek ripped through the humid air and in the next moment, The Rum Tum Tugger found a small body come into contact with his own. He glanced down and found Etcetera hugging him possessively; close behind, Electra, Victoria, and Jemima were flashing innocent smiles. He gave her a wink and teasingly slipped out of her grasp, sending her to the floor. She did a small roll and positioned herself around his legs, rubbing her lovingly against his thighs. Electra moved towards him, followed by Victoria. They all swooned around him causing the unbearable heat to finally get too much for the curious cat.
"Ladies, ladies. I would LOVE to stay here with you beautiful queens, but y'know I have interesting things to do, important people to annoy," he at once thought of Munkustrap, "where is my dearest brother anyway?"
"Munkustrap and Alonzo left early to see Old Deuteronomy," Victoria replied airily.
"To see if he was ok after, well, you know, yesterday," Electra added in a hasted manner, her attention on the tom's flicking tail.
Tugger's heart dropped. His brothers hadn't asked him to go along with them to see his dad? He replaced the thought with a new one that he wouldn't have wanted to be dragged out of bed early just to go all the way across town to find that his father was dozing peacefully on the vicarage wall as he did everyday anyway.
"In this heat, they must be mad," he reasoned more to himself than the crowding kits around him, but somehow he couldn't shake the feeling of being deliberately left out. Stepping over Etcetera he shook off the others and retreated to a broken washing machine. He lay sprawled out on the top in view of everybody, basking in the heat, but the majority of beams were hitting the middle and other side of the yard. Now and again he would open his eye very slightly to see if his fan group were still watching him intently-they were. Now and again he would shift his position slightly, flexing his muscles or arching his back to make out like he was getting more comfortable. In reality he still wanted to show off, and his fans below him reacted as he suspected, with shrieking glee.
It was this particular noise which startled Mistoffelees awake. He felt his coat dry but dangerously hot against the metal bonnet- it was now he was awake, quite painful to be laying in such direct sunlight. He sat up. His vision swam. All that could be made out to Mistoffelees was a small greyish blur making its way toward him… Mistoffelees shook his head slightly and instantly regretted it.
Jemima sighed to herself and turned her head away from the direction of The Rum Tum Tugger's poses. She had spied movement to her right and found that Mistoffelees had woken up.
"That's funny," she thought, "I had not noticed him there before."
Bored with sitting in the sun watching The Rum Tum Tugger, she began to make her way toward Mistoffelees in hopes of him entertaining the tribe with more of his new found magic which was so unbelievably amazing she thought. However as she neared the car on which he was laying, she saw that his face was twisted in a grimace and his eyes seemed to be unfocused. She sped up to ask if he was ok and that he shouldn't stay in the sun for much longer, when he shook his head as if trying to rid himself of a headache. There was a slight pause in which Jemima saw the look of sickness on the magical cat's face and then suddenly he gave a soft moan and fell ungracefully off the car and onto the dusty floor below.
Jemima raced forward and called his name, "Mistoffelees…Mistoffelees?" Still no answer, "Quaxo?" she tried his former name to see if he was responding to anything else. Nothing. The smallest kitten nudged him slightly and he moaned again, but he looked to have fainted, so she glanced about in a panic for help. There was no need to call out for practically the whole population of cats awake in the yard had seen the event unfold (it had happened in the middle of the junkyard you see) and many rushed forward to help the fallen cat.
First there was, to Jemima's surprise, The Rum Tum Tugger. She had seen him sprint to the car and skid to an abrupt halt, Victoria, Electra, and Etcetera following behind, worried looks crossed all their faces. He briefly turned to Jemima to ask what had exactly.
"He just woke up and then looked like he was going to be sick. Then he just, fell." Jemima explained, becoming more scared by The Tugger's serious tone of voice. Quickly joining the crowd was Skimbleshanks, Ademetus, Bombalurina, and Demeter. Coricopat and Tantomile, in total sync with each other moved slowly towards the commotion, surveying the situation silently. Somehow these twins-identical black and white fully grown cats, a tom and a queen had a mental bond with each other, which enabled them to understand each other without talking. A rumour around the cat world was that they were owned by a witch. They rarely came to the junkyard as their home was situated out of town and they preferred solidarity, however they always managed to appear before an important happening occurred-as if they knew something was going to take place.
The Rum Tum Tugger rolled his younger friend over and to his distress found that he was sweating profusely and that his coat was hot to the touch. A sudden thought occurred to him that he may have a fever but when Electra had tried to climb on the car bonnet, she had leapt away as if it had scalded her, it confirmed to him that he had been sitting up in the sun for way too long. Kneeling down to gently pat the white face of Mistoffelees he heard Skimbleshanks give the order to Ademetus to call for the Scottish cat of the railway's mate Jennyanydots. A minute later, with still no reply from Mistoffelees, Jennyannydots bustled forwards.
"Out of the way dears. No crowding please! Poor Quaxo does not need anyone huddling round, its too hot, move away. Rum Tum Tugger, please go and make yourself useful by keeping the kittens occupied. Demeter fetch me some water if you would dear."
At these barks of orders, the cats scattered. Demeter rushed off to find cool water for her fainted friend while Skimbleshanks and Ademetus carried the small tom to a shady spot amongst the junk, Jemima, now quite upset by the drama ran off to a secluded part of the Jellicle home and the other female kittens followed her to comfort their friend, leaving The Rum Tum Tugger again feeling rather left out and useless.
He turned and ruffled his mane ready to sulk off and hide so he could watch how Mistoffelees was doing when Tantomile and Coricopat approached him. They both looked up at the taller rogue cat after sparing each other a look.
Moving his paws to his loosely hanging belt at his hips he pushed his weight onto the back legs and gave them a tired albeit quizzical look. Tantomile started the conversation,
"We believe you know Mistoffelees more than anyone."
"We believe that he knows you more than anyone"
"We also believe that no one knows about this unusual friendship, so we decided to talk to you alone," Tantomile started the sentence and Coricopat finished in the dramatic whisper they chose to talk in. What disturbed The Tugger was not the uncanny ability for the twins to finish each others sentences, but the fact that they knew of Mistoffelees' and his bond, he felt unsafe and unsure on his reply.
"Yeah, so what if I speak to him now n' then. Is it really important? He has just fainted you know," he replied flatly
The twins nodded together, obviously ignoring the rude way in which they were being spoken to. "Has he ever spoken to you about his magic?" Coricopat asked. The Rum Tum Tugger shook his head. True he had told him before the ball about his talents, thus the Tugger introduced him in his song as 'The Magical Mr Mistoffelees' a cute nickname he thought, but other than that, Mistoffelees had kept quite secretive about it. "Quaxo was young when he became Mistoffelees the magical cat, he is still young now, and his power is extremely strong. We can feel it restless within him. When performing any magic, it proves to be a great strain upon him." Tantomile picked up from here, "After bringing back Old Deuteronomy we could sense a weakness in him, a dangerous level of tiredness and yet he still kept upright till the very end of the Ball."
"So what are you trying to say? He shouldn't do magic anymore?" Tugger asked.
"Magic is a part of him, he cannot simply give it up," Coricopat answered.
"However it is a dangerous power he deals with, which drains him both mentally and physically after he uses it. That is why he fainted today, along with the heat."
The Rum Tum Tugger frowned, "What is he gonna do then, he has to do magic but he will faint every time he does! That's ridiculous!" His suspicious glare he gave the cats formed into an irritated one and he turned to leave. Coricopat and Tantomile gave each other a look and said together,
"He is in great danger." Then they turned and left the junkyard. The Rum Tum Tugger stopped in his tracks and spun around to witness the pair leave without a fuss, no doubt to return to their home-many cats with secure homes did and tended to visit the junkyard instead of live there. What exactly did they mean by that? A sudden wave of worry swept over him and he rushed to find Jennanydots.