"NO! I'M NOT LEAVING HER SIDE! PUT ME DOWN!"
"It's over, kid. Just let go. She's gone. We have to take her."
"NO! LEAVE HER THERE! DON'T TAKE HER! DON'T TAKE EDNA!" A doctor was attempting to pull Waffle off of Edna's chest, but he had his claws firmly embedded in the sheets. His brothers had never seen him like this; he was hissing and yelling, refusing to move from his spot.
"LET GO OF ME!" he snarled, and sunk his teeth into the arm of the doctor. The doctor jumped back and clutched his arm in pain. Waffle had bitten hard enough to draw blood.
"I did it, Edna... they aren't going to take you away. I won't let them." Waffle was talking to the corpse, too distracted to feel Hovis calmly take his paw and extract his claws from the mattress. Hovis picked him up, allowing the doctors to take Edna's body for funeral preparations. Waffle stared at Hovis, utterly betrayed. "Why... why would you do that...?"
"Calm down, Waffle," said Gordon. "Just calm down... her time came. There's nothing left to do. Edna's gone."
Waffle refused to believe it. He shot a dirty look at the doctors as they loaded his owner onto a stretcher and carried her out. "Mr. Hovis?" one said. "Will you come with us, please?" Hovis nodded, placed Waffle on the floor, and followed. Gordon immediately went over to his sobbing brother and began patting his back. "Relax... just breathe... that's it, Waffle..."
His cries slowly subsided and eventually stopped enough for Waffle to talk. "Why aren't you two crying? Don't you... don't you even care?"
"Well, yeah... but you heard her. She didn't sound like she wanted us to cry for her. Edna seemed pretty ready for it... didn't she?" Blik was more trying to make Waffle feel better than anything else. He too wanted to break down in tears, but he knew that would help nothing. He had to stay strong for his little brother...
"It's still not fair..." Waffle sighed and leaped back on the bed, intending to curl up and fall asleep for an incredibly long time. He was surprised when he felt something under the blanket. "What's this?" Sticking his paw under the covers, he withdrew it clutching an envelope. It looked incredibly familiar...
"Guys! Look! It's her will! Edna's will! I was there when she wrote it, this is it!" he exclaimed, waving it in the air.
"Will?" Blik asked, him and Gordon both looking up at it.
"Well, open it, laddie! Do you know who she wrote it out to?"
"She wouldn't tell me..." Waffle stuck a claw in the envelope and began to cut it open when Hovis walked in. Waffle stopped and looked over, wondering if maybe he came bearing news. Maybe the doctors were wrong and Edna had lived?
"So that's where that went," was all he had to say. He walked over to Waffle and took the will from his paws. "Edna gave me instructions to not read her will until after her funeral has passed. She was very clear about this."
"Do you know who it's for?" Waffle asked.
"I have no idea... I suppose we'll figure that out next week." He grabbed the door handle as he walked out, intending to close it, but he turned back. "But to be perfectly honest with you three, I think I know. She wasn't close to too many people, you all know that... we're the only four who even truly knew her... and who in their right mind would leave billions of dollars in cash and possessions to her pets?" The descriptor of "pet" cut deeply into the brothers, but they could not retaliate before Hovis had left.
Blik swore. "Of COURSE... I hate to say this, but I think Hovis is right. No matter what Mom said, we ARE pets. We're animals, plain and simple. He's probably... no, he IS going to get everything." He sighed and sat down, defeated. "Of course he will... the house, the money..."
"And us," Gordon finished. "Our fates our in Hovis's hands if that is indeed the case."
Waffle's heart sunk. "What do you think he's going to do? Think he'll keep us?"
Blik let out a short, derisive laugh. "Keep us? Are you kidding, Waffle? He HATES us. I'd bet that we're destined for the pound."
"But... but that means..." Waffle's lower lip trembled as he whimpered.
"Aye... we'll be separated," Gordon once again finished for his brothers.
"But I don't wanna leave you guys!" Waffle cried, clinging to Gordon without even thinking. This time, Gordon's comforting pats did nothing.
"I don't like this at ALL" Blik snapped. "Why do we have to lose everything...?"
"I suppose it was inevitable..." Gordon sighed, still trying to soothe Waffle, but to no avail.
"So what do we do now?"
"We just wait, I guess... what else is there to do?"
The atmosphere in the Cramdilly household over that next week was even worse than after Audrey's passing. It was bad enough that their owner had died, but the three cats also had to live with the knowledge that sooner or later, they would lose each other. What other way could it have possibly been? Hovis had made it apparent that he did not care much about them, and the odds that the same person would adopt three adult cats were incredibly slim. And besides, even if that did happen, they'd be losing the house. As it stood, their lives were about to completely turn around. Everything familiar was going to be lost... Gordon, Waffle, and Blik were all sure of it...
The week went by entirely too fast. Before they knew it, the brothers were attending the funeral of their beloved owner. The attendance was pitiful; other than Hovis and the cats, the only other person there was Kimberly and her parents. She may not have known Edna very well, but Gordon had asked her to come and provide support, and she was happy to oblige. Her parents agreed that it was a good idea for Kimberly to help Gordon recover from the death of his 'grandmother', and were perfectly fine with taking her. The funeral went by uneventfully, if not impersonally. Nothing of her personal life was mentioned other than being survived by her 'grandsons', which didn't come as much of a shock to anyone. No one truly knew Edna, after all, so who could have provided her history? Watching the coffin close was one of their hardest moments. Edna Cramdilly was truly gone; as hard as it was to believe, there could have been no other way. Gordon, Waffle, and Blik could not even look as the coffin was carried out, ready to be taken to the cemetery.
Waiting. It was all they ever seemed to do anymore. The cats rarely ever acted on their own will recently, instead waiting for a signal that it was time to go somewhere else or to do something else. And once that was done, it was back to waiting for the next cue, sitting still as stone, not making a sound. This time they sat waiting for what could have been no less than a death sentence. After Hovis finished settling a few more things, he was going to open the will, and the words on that simple piece of paper may have sealed their fates. Blik and Waffle simply stared into space as was usual for these periods, but Gordon's gaze was elsewhere.
Kimberly and her parents were all sitting on the couch. She had her head on her mother's shoulder, crying softly as her mom stroked her hair. It did not matter that Kimberly had only seen Edna twice in her life. They had still known each other, and the two were still close, if not directly. Her death had obviously hit Gordon hard, and seeing her best friend this miserable was downright painful for her. Gordon watched all this, wishing that he could comfort her, let her know he would be all right, that there was no need for her to cry. But every time he tried to move closer to her, he remained rooted to the ground.
"You know that if you don't do it now, you might not going to get another chance." Gordon jumped at the sound of Blik's voice. He hadn't heard him coming up behind him. Blik continued to speak.
"So why don't you do it now? Otherwise she'll never know. Neither will you."
"I... I suppose you're right... but why aren't you making fun of me over this?"
"Now isn't the time for that. You love her, don't you?"
"And you want her to know?"
"And you want to know if she could love you back?"
"Yes, all right, I get it!" Gordon grew rather irritated at Blik's constant questioning, but he knew he had a point. He had two choices- get over his fear and confess right then, or Kimberly would forever be none the wiser. Rising to his feet, Gordon was ready to go over and talk to her, but there was one thing he still didn't understand. He turned around to face Blik. "Why are you helping me with this, my brother? I thought you said I was being ridiculous."
"Well, I..." Blik shrugged. "You're my brother, Gordon. It seems like you'd be really happy if she loved you back... and who knows. It might help cheer you up a bit. Goodness knows we could all use some of that." He wasn't expecting the brotherly embrace Gordon pulled him in as soon as he finished speaking.
"Thank you, Blik." With a smile, Gordon walked off over to his best friend. She hadn't seen or heard his and Blik's conversation. She didn't even look up until Gordon said her name. "Human Kimberly?" His voice quaked; all of the confidence he had was apparently left behind with Blik.
"Y... yes, Gordon?" Kimberly's voice shook as well, her reason being that she had just been crying. She wiped her eyes and sat up.
"I... I was wondering... if I could talk to you about something."
"Sure," Kimberly replied. There was then silence. Gordon felt every eye in the room watching him; Kimberly's, her parents', Blik's, even Waffle had decided to see what his brother was up to. He couldn't do this... not here...
"I was wondering... if we could talk... alone," Gordon elaborated. Confused, Kimberly got up from the couch and followed him, as he had already turned and walked away as soon as he was sure she would follow. His heart threatened to pound out of his chest as he walked into the the library, the closest empty room in the house.
"Hu- Human... Human Kimberly..." Gordon stuttered. His stomach twisted, his heart continued to pound, he felt as if he would break out in a sweat. He just couldn't do this... this was impossible... but he had to.
"What is it, Gordon? It's all right, you can tell me... you know you can tell me anything." Kimberly went down on her knees and slid and arm around him. Gordon's body went rigid. He swallowed the lump in his throat and, after a few false starts, managed to speak.
"You see, Human Kimberly... we've been friends for such a long time... and I was just wondering if... if you could... if we..." This was going terribly. Gordon was almost relieved when Hovis came in and saved him from making an evil bigger fool of himself.
"Gordon?" Hovis said. "It's about time that I opened the will. Come with me."
Gordon nodded. "I'll be back, Human Kimberly... I can tell you about this later..." With a heavy heart, he followed Hovis back to the living room. Kimberly came out of curiosity. Waffle and Blik were already sitting on the floor, and Gordon went over to join them. They all shared a look, and they all knew what that look meant- "This is it. It's over." The cats all looked up at Hovis as he tore open the envelope and began to read Edna's words.
"As you all know, I was not close to many people in my life. I had no siblings or cousins, and I lost my husband early in our marriage, before we could even have children. I also had no close friends; I was too devoted to my cats to truly place much energy into a friendship, and the death of my husband only made contact with other people even harder. However, there was someone who was always there for me, no matter what I needed. Someone who was a best friend to me through everything, and who would do anything for my comfort. Therefore, it should be no surprise that I have chosen to leave my fortune to..." Hovis trailed off. "This CAN'T be right."
"What? What's it say?" Waffle asked. "C'mon! Keep reading it?"
"The woman's mad..." Hovis mumbled, and then brought his attention back to the paper he held in his hansds. "Therefore, it should be no surprise that I have chosen to leave my fortune to her children, Gordon, Waffle, and Mr. Blik. Furthermore, I pass my contract with my butler, Mr. James T. Hovis, to the three boys. You are not out of a job, Hovis; I know how much you love this home, and I would just feel terrible if I forced you to leave it."
"You mean... it's ours?" Blik stammered. "The house? The money? Even you? Everything... everything is ours?"
"I guess it is..." Hovis said, stunned with shock. It wasn't that he thought he was more deserving of everything than the cats, really; but who would leave billions in the hands of three ANIMALS?
"Apparently Edna would..." Hovis mumbled under his breath. "She loved her cats so much... how could I put a thing like this past her?"
"WE'RE NOT GOING TO LEAVE!" Waffle scooped up a newt which had just happened to scuttle by. "You hear that, Ernst?" he asked it. "Do you hear that? WE GET TO STAY!"
Gordon had gone over to Kimberly. "I don't believe this..." he said. "To be honest... I thought Hovis would get everything and we would have to leave."
"I'm glad you don't," Kimberly said, pulling her friend into their usual tight hugs. "So what were you going to tell me earlier?"
"Never mind that. It's not important," Gordon sighed. "It doesn't matter... what DOES matter is that I don't have to leave my brothers... or my best friend..."
"Sooo... Hovis..." Blik was grinning evilly up at the butler. "It seems you work for me now. In which case... GO GET ME A ROOT BEER!"
"I most certainly will not if you are going to use that rude tone," Hovis said.
"I'm sorry, but perhaps you're forgetting something. You work for us now. More importantly, you work for me. I'll use whatever tone I'd like." Blik then snapped his fingers. "Now get me some root beer!"
"Very well..." Hovis gritted his teeth and walked away, dropping the will on the floor. Waffle looked over at it. He realized that if he squinted and concentrated hard, he could just barely make out the handwriting. Hovis hadn't read the whole will...
"I may be gone, but may my memory forever remain in your hearts and in my household.
"HOVIS! ROOT BEER!" There were few certainties about life in the Cramdilly household; things were always so chaotic and unplanned. But if one could be sure about anything there, it was that those three words would echo through the house, coming from the mouth of a brash black cat with an ego and sense of entitlement too big for his incredibly small body. It was also certain that Hovis would obey this order, but with gritted teeth and a faked composure. He didn't mind Waffle and Gordon too much; they didn't ask for much; but Mr. Blik...
But what could be done? Edna had left them his contract. And while he wouldn't have admitted it to Blik, he would have it no other way. This home was his as much as it was theirs, even if he merely worked there and had to sleep in the attic now that the brothers had taken all of the bedrooms, whether it be for their own sleeping use or to convert them into other things.
Blik snatched the root beer bottle from Hovis's hands without a thank you and immediately began to drain it. "You may go," was all he said, another order that Hovis obeyed.
"This is the life, isn't it?" Blik said. "Sitting around doing nothing, with a nice bottle of root beer in my paw... what more could a cat possibly want?" He finished the rest of the bottle, let out a large belch, and then settled down into the couch. Gordon was sitting on the couch as well, slumped down and flipping through the channels.
"You seen Waffle?" Blik asked, sounding incredibly bored.
"The lad said he was working on something upstairs," Gordon answered, showing just as little emotion. As if on cue, Waffle appeared at the top of the stairs. "Either of you guys know where I can find a screwdriver?" he called down.
"No," Blik answered, not bothering or caring to even look.
"What do you even want with a screwdriver?" Gordon asked.
"I was flipping through books in the library, and I found plans to build... get this... a BATTING CAGE!" Waffle said excitedly. Gordon didn't react, and Blik just rolled his eyes. After waiting a few seconds for an excited reaction that simply wasn't going to come, Waffle continued. "I'm building it in Edna's room."
"Why don't you check in the garage, lad?" Gordon suggested. "I have nae been out there yet, but maybe that's she kept tools."
Waffle nodded and went outside. Blik and Gordon resumed sitting comatose and staring at the TV, which Gordon had stopped on some sort of talk show. Not even Waffle's popping his head in and yelling "GUYS! GUESS WHAT I FOUND? IT'S SO COOL!" got much of a reaction from them; just a bored "What is it?" from Gordon.
"It's... it's... oh, just come look! It's really cool! Come on!"
"Does it have anything to do with newts?" Blik asked. Waffle grabbed his paw and dragged him off the couch.
"Just come look!" Waffle said, excited. "You too, Gordon! Come on!"
Gordon shrugged, turned off the TV, and followed Waffle, who had already zipped out of sight. Blik also went, though not without muttering, "It's probably something stupid..."
When they reached the outside of the garage, all Blik and Gordon could see was something enormous and covered with a sheet. Waffle was grinning and gripping the sheet.
"Gordon and Blik, my brothers, I give you," Waffle said dramatically as he whipped the sheet off, "A MONSTER TRUCK!"
Blik's jaw hit the ground. Gordon went closer to inspect it.
"Says here its name is Gear," he announced, reading the front license plate. Waffle had already placed himself behind the wheel and was pretending to drive it, laughing madly. Blik looked around the garage, obviously trying to find something. His search was over when he found a key ring with a sole key on it in the drawer of a cabinet. He leaped in on the driver's side, shoving Waffle out of the way. "I'm driving it!" he announced, and his tone made it clear that no one else should suggest otherwise.
"Do you even know how to drive?" Gordon asked as he climbed in.
"Not a clue!" Blik said, giddy as a child. He inserted the key, turned it, and pleased that it started with no trouble, put the car in drive and floored the accelerator without giving anyone a chance to put on a seatbelt. He barreled down the street with no regard for speed limits, the fact that one should keep off of the sidewalk when behind the wheel, or the physical limitations preventing a car from passing through a tree. He was also oblivious to Gordon's screams of terror and Waffle's cries of "WHEEEEEE!"
A few hours later, Blik's driving had calmed considerably. He had no idea where he had driven, but was sure that he'd find his way back eventually...
"Lads?" Gordon asked. "Why do you suppose Edna never told us about Gear?"
Blik just shrugged, and then resumed being lost in the operation of his new toy.
"I'm kind of glad she didn't tell us," Waffle said. "It's like a present from her now, isn't it? She gave us something cool, even after she died."
Blik nodded, again too busy concentrating to say a word. Only this time he wasn't concentrating on the road; his mind had gone to thoughts of Edna. He stared up at the sky. He wasn't entirely sure if he believed in a heaven, that Edna still lived on somewhere...
...but it was a comforting thought.
"Thank you," he said with a smile, wondering if Edna could hear him...
...she probably did.
Hello, fans! Thank you for sticking with me for the past four months. Hopefully you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Most things I've written, I look back a few months later disgusted... but IMO, this is my best work. I don't imagine looking back at this one with disgust.
So, is this end? Of course not! I have three more Catscratch stories in mind (well, technically 2 and a half... you'll see soon enough), a Pokemon story, may do a little Kappa Mikey thing, and I'm always getting more ideas! Never fear, for you haven't seen the last of Irk! I'm just getting started...
Until next time!