Chapter 8: Time to Heal
Memories flooded his mind. The first time he met Swansea down in Victoria Grove, her shy smile as they talked intriguing him. Wandering the city trying to find the courage to ask her to go out with him…hearing her sweet laugh when he'd finally managed to blurt it out. The softness of her touch as they walked paw in paw wherever they went which made him feel so nervous and yet so alive at the same time. Wandering the city again, summoning up the courage to ask her to mate with him and finding the quaint fish restaurant down by the Thames. Holding her in his arms the night they had mated, savoring every moment. Bringing her to the restaurant he had found and the look on her face when she tasted how good the fish was…Macavity's laugh. They were surrounded by those three alley toms…him fighting them off as best he could while Macavity held her back…watching him rip out her throat and toss her into the water. Black.
"The one you seek is their protector. His name…is Munkustrap."
"The toms that were with him were also Jellicles…one is called Skimbleshanks…the other…is Mungojerrie. He doesn't go anywhere without his sister…you can find them around Victoria Grove."
Using his mind to throw the rocks at their heads…attacking and nearly killing them before the other two showed up…finding the tabby he thought was Skimbleshanks at the train station and brutally killing him. The look on Skimble's face when he saw him…listening to Mistoffolees and Tugger talking and realizing he had killed the wrong cat…so confused…arriving at the junkyard…Munkustrap telling him the truth about what happened. Swansea's murder…hearing Macavity's laugh again…watching him murder his love…springing the trap at the junkyard…chasing Macavity up onto the junk piles…pain…clamping onto his head with both paws…focusing everything he had…searing pain…
He woke with a cry and looked around the blurred, hazy room. He had no idea where he was only that he was lying on soft blankets and there were at least three figures around him. He couldn't tell what they were doing but the one closest to him seemed vaguely familiar. Turning he could tell it was a tom but with the lighting in the room, he couldn't tell much more than that; except that he was a darkish color. Wait…tom…dark color…Macavity! He growled at reached up wanting to get his paw around that murdering bastard's throat just as he had before…how did he survive…and felt paws catch his wrist and another familiar voice speak.
"Whoa! Easy Wisp, calm down," the voice said as it gently lowered his trembling paw, "It's me, Munkustrap. You're safe now."
The anger drained away again and he allowed the silver tabby to set his paw back down at his side. His body ached and burned at the same time making him wince and slowly his vision started to clear. "Where am I?" he asked.
"You're in Jenny's den," Munk answered, "Skimble and Mistoffolees brought you here after you fell." That would explain the third figure he saw when he first woke up. The black tux standing quietly by the door now said, "I'm amazed that you're even alive at all Wisp. For any magical cat to focus all their energy into one burst like that…" He shook his head, clearly in awe of what he'd seen. "…the strain alone should have killed you." Wisp managed a small smirk. "Swansea always told me I was as stubborn as a Peke."
"Ok, I think you two should leave," Jenny said as she came over to Wisp's bed holding a small cup full of medicine, "He needs to rest." With a nod, Munkustrap turned and walked out, Mistoffolees following him. Jenny helped the silver tom to sit up and gave him the medicine. Wisp drank it all, grimaced, then lay back down again. It didn't take too long for the medicine to kick in and he dozed off again.
It wasn't long before Wisp's injuries healed enough to allow him to move. The only serious ones he had were the places where Macavity had nearly electrocuted him with the jumper cables; the two scorched patches of fur would eventually grow back in. He'd asked about the others while he was in Jenny's care and she'd told him there weren't any serious injuries; just cuts and bruises. Jellylorum had taken care of that while she had tended to him. After three days of staying in bed, although it was comfortable, he had to move around. Jenny finally let him leave and he stepped out into the cool early evening air. Some of the kittens were playing tag nearby and as he walked, Electra, intent on keeping away from Tumble who was currently "it" and not watching where she was going, ran headlong into him. The force of the collision almost knocked him over and the kitten stumbled back and fell over. She shook her head and with an embarrassed giggle, looked up starting to apologize and stopped. Seeing who she'd run into, her face changed to a look of fear and she turned and scampered back the way she'd come.
He couldn't blame her. After what he'd done to Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer it was to be expected that some of them would still consider him a threat. And he could see it now on some of their faces as he looked around; Demeter stopped Jemima from getting too close to him and directed her toward the kitten's game of tag and Skimble gave him an uneasy smile as he passed by on his way to work. Glancing up he noticed Alonzo watching him from his perch on top of a junk pile then turned away and continued on his patrol. Wisp figured it was time for him to leave.
"Jenny finally let you go," Munkustrap said as he came up behind Wisp. The silver tom smiled slightly and nodded. "And by the looks of things, I'd better be on my way too," he said catching Victoria's glance just before she disappeared into her den.
Munk nodded but didn't answer. He knew there was no way he could allow Wisp to remain in the junkyard; the majority of the tribe didn't trust him after what they'd seen him do to Macavity as well as his actions against Jerrie and Teazer. It was best to leave him to his own fate. They didn't say anymore and with a last look around the junkyard, Wisp walked toward the main gate and faded away into the darkness of the oncoming night.
He wandered the streets for several hours as the day settled into a cool summer night. He needed to take some time to himself now; allow himself to heal inside. The physical pain would stop fairly quickly; the empty hole in his heart would take much longer. Would he ever truly let her go? Would her memory haunt him the rest of his life? Right now it certainly seemed like it. Looking up, he realized that he had wandered down to the Thames River and he noticed the fish restaurant across the bridge. Just seeing the place again sent a wave of pain knifing through his heart and a fresh memory of the two of them eating there. It seemed so long ago even though he knew it hadn't been. Though he felt that he couldn't go near the place again, the aroma of fish wafted across the water to him making his stomach growl. Well, maybe once more; for old times sake.
The chef that he remembered was still there and this time, Wisp actually enjoyed the human petting him; it was soothing in a way. When he went inside and got a piece of fish for him, Wisp quickly washed the fur on his head before he ate, wishing that just for once the human would wash his hands before he came out here. Bast, his hands were grimy. After eating he walked over to the water's edge unknowingly sitting at the spot where she had died. He looked down into the dark rolling waters below, his heart aching fiercely and actually felt a tear slip down his cheek and fall into the water.
"I love you Swansea," he said quietly as he glanced up at the star filled sky, "And I always will." He looked down at the water again as his eyes began to fill up with tears and he brushed them away before standing up and heading toward his home. He had a long fight ahead of him and it was only just beginning.