My first life is not forgotten. The lives between blur into each other, but memories of the first remain clear. The warmth and scent of my mother, my brothers, my sisters. All suddenly gone when the world turned cold.

After - the security of strong hands gently lifting me, carrying me, holding me. The vibration of a deep soft voice – comforting, caressing, seducing me into trust. A reassuring heartbeat against my body.




I still feel the sharp snap which separates all that I am from that tiny broken body thrown into the fire; my spirit escaping to its second home as the first smolders into ash. My murderer standing up and walking away as if I never existed. Already forgotten.

But I do not forget.

There have been other lives since. They wash into and over each other in my dreams. I don't know how much time has gone by since my first birth. I have ruled over territories, battling and defeating any who challenged me. I have been a mother nursing her young. I have led many lives.

I am now in my final life according to the lore of my Tribe. My body is that of a wanderer. A loner. I avoid all contact with the creatures who believe they rule this world I inhabit.

Tonight that will change.

Tonight, the creatures are celebrating the monster's birthday. This body has never seen him. This spirit will know him; has waited and watched for him through so many lives.

Entering the palace is easy. The creatures say it is protected by magic. I have none. Yet I am not seen. I am so ordinary, so much a part of the everyday – kicked, cursed, spat at, ignored. No one notices my tattered coat slip by. The rich brocades, the soft velvets, the satins and silks all blend in with the warmth of the fire. The scent of perfume blends with the tempting scent of cooking food. I ignore it all. I move with a single purpose.

Silent as the night I glide between the creatures and up into the rafters. The roaring fire throws huge shadows around the great hall. The flames almost touch the edges of the elaborate tapestry hanging so close to where I crouch. The ropes that hold the draping are old and frayed. It will take so little to loosen them.

From my lofty height I gaze down at the creatures one last time. Unblinking. My senses, honed to a razor's edge for this one last act, have found the monster. In my memory he is bitter and afraid. My first small body his only source of comfort. I watch him laugh. Happy. Oblivious. He has forgotten.

But I do not forget.

I have heard that there is peace between the monster and those who once hated him, who once fought him. He and his brother are now allies. That has no meaning in my world.

The great ones are here to celebrate. I hear the titles – Lord, Wizard, Mother Confessor, Seeker.

Tonight I do not fear them.

Tonight I do not care about them.

Tonight they are nothing.

Tonight my own proud bloodline strengthens my aging body as I creep toward the fraying ends of the rope to begin my final task.

Tonight, in my world, there are only two who matter.

The murdered and the murderer.

For I am of the Tribe of tiger, and I will have my revenge.

I have not forgotten.

{Note: The phrase "of the Tribe of tiger" is taken from the 18th Century poem "For my Cat Jeoffrey" by Christopher Smart.}