By Mark Crocker
Sitting next to her was her bond mate Devon who was also close to six feet eight inches tall. His hair was brown with hints of grey his skin was as pale as Lexsan’s like the rest of the colonists due to spending all their time underground.
“Do you think he will help us” asked Aerten.
“I hope so for your sake and your unborn children,” said Lexsan. “Why on Sirius did you ever have your late bond mate’s sperm used to fertilize your egg to have children? You know that we could not risk new life at this time. And then for you to be having twins. That is just poor planning”!
“As I said when I told you. I wanted something of him to give me a reason to live,” said Aerten.
Yhva looked over “I would have helped you by the normal method, Aerten. After all I am the youngest here and the last to be born on Sirius.”
“Let’s stick to the issue and not who is pregnant and who wants who. The issue is that we have some very major problems and if Merwyn can’t help us or refuses we have to figure out where we can go on the third planet and be far enough away from Ra to avoid any issues with that power hungry man,” said Lexsan.
“Merwyn will help. I know him well. I just wish that he knew I was alive. I fought with him at the last great battle at Albayand. Maybe next time we use the voice of that young lady you should identify me. Use my name that might help,” said Angus
“We can strip down the last ship and use that to help us,” said Bladud. “I can make it so that we have shielding that will stop the radiation leaking though the upper levels.”
“That’s the last thing we want to do. But if that’s our last option then that’s what we will have to do,” said Lexsan thoughtfully.
“And that will trap us here and we won’t be able to leave. Ever,” said Yhva.
“True but that is a very last resort,” said Lexsan.
“I think Merwyn will help us. We have gone to him in need and he has never turned away anyone that needs help. Look at how he took in Hermes when he knew full well what Hermes was,” said Angus.
“His mistake but a kind hearted move,” said Devon.
“True and Merwyn has always been kind hearted,” said Lexsan.
“But will he help us?” said Aerten trying hard to keep the panic out of her voice.
“I think he will. It will just take him time to make us his mind. I just hope that the radiation does not start to leak down to the lower levels,” said Angus.
“My estimate is that will start to happen in about one full cycle of this planet. That’s six hundred and eighty seven days,” said Bladud. “We need to make up our minds in half that time if I am going to put up shields to stop the radiation from leaking down here.”
“How long will it take us to get to the third planet?” asked Lexsan.
“With all of us it will take about six and half months,” said Bladud.
“Can we get there faster?” said Lexsan looking over at Aerten.
“If we lighten the load and take only what we need for the trip such as only food and water we can do it six months. But if we go with half rations we can make it in less than six months. Maybe four months and three weeks, maybe less it all depends,” said Bladud.
“I don’t want maybes, I need facts,” said Lexsan.
“You might not have six months,” said Devon on Lexsan’s private telepathic mode.
“I know, darling,” answered Lexsan on the same mode.
“Ok, Bladud, I want to know how much weight will give us a four month trip,” said Lexsan.
“Four months” said Bladud looking at Lexsan in shock. “That would mean that not all of us are going”.
Lexsan nodded “It’s time I told the truth”.
Lexsan stood up and took off her long robe. Her skin was almost transparent “I have lost the will to live and to keep refreshing my body. I am fading and have maybe six months before I totally fade. I won’t be going with any of you.”
Devon looked at Lexsan “I won’t leave you here alone, my love.”
“I know,” said Lexsan. “I no longer hold you to the oath we took over fifteen hundred years go. I release you, my love. My love is such that you are no longer bonded to me and you are free to live.”
“But I do not release myself, Lexsan. I bonded to you for life and I will stay for your life even unto the end you go. I will share that fate with you,” said Devon without emotion.
“I won’t be leaving either,” said Cian “I am tired of running. I ran away from home. I ran from Toner, I ran from the sun, I have run so much that I can’t run anymore. And here is a good place to die. I have seen so much death and I am tired of that too. I will wait my end here with Lexsan and Devon.”
“What’s the point of running anymore? We can’t have children there on the third planet and that’s the only reason for life. I won’t go to the third planet and watch our race die out. I will stay here and die quickly rather than slowly,” said Aeetes
“I agree with Aeetes,” said Meleager “I have no wish to watch our race fade from this universe I will go before the last of you fade away. It is better that way than to become a shadow of what I am. Death will come quick here and that is better than the slow painful death that will come on the third planet.”
The meeting started to break down into an argument over who wanted stay and who wanted to live and try and make it on the third planet. Lexsan banged her fist on the table trying to restore some form of order but no one listened and she knew that she had made a mistake admitting that she was fading and that the will to live and lead was gone.
Lexsan sat down and closed her eyes wishing that she had not made such a mistake. It had been her wish that by admitting she was fading that the others would want to leave the forth planet. But she had failed.
In the end Devon, Cian, Aeetes and Meleager stood up and walked out of the room leaving Lexsan and fourteen others seated at the table.
“You all wish to go to the third planet. That is good. I wish that Devon, Cian, Aeetes and Meleager would leave here but they seem to have made up their minds to die here on the fourth planet. I wish it was otherwise but I no longer have the will for anything. And for me the end is wished for. I have seen too much and wish to see no more. I have seen the dreams of our race fall to ruin I have seen people die by the thousands, I have seen all my children die and there is nothing for me other than the love of a man that brought me such joy. Yet the will to live is gone. All that I did as a teacher was for nothing. All I did as a parent was for nothing. And there is some truth to what Aeetes said about having children. But there is hope. Bastet was schooled by the greatest genetic engineers on our planet. And if anyone can figure out how you can breed and have children on the third planet she can. I wish you all the best,” and with that Lexsan stood up.
For the first time the fourteen noticed that her feet were just a glass shells with only a faint outline of skin that showed was her veins and bones of her feet. Lexsan bowed and left the fourteen alone.
Rabbo and Merwyn opened their eyes and saw Athena and Helena sitting with two cups of steaming herb tea that Helena had made. “Drink,” said Helena “it will restore your strength and body.”
“Well, Dad” said Athena placing her hands on her hips.
Merwyn sipped on the herbal tea and looked at Helena ignoring Athena’s question. “This really is very good. What’s in it?”
“Thank you. Oh it’s a mix of Mint, Bayberry and Thistle. It will help you recover faster,” said Helena beaming.
“Well, Dad,” said Athena again.
“They need our help,” said Rabbo looking over at Merwyn.
“That they do,” agreed Merwyn. “I will hail their leader once I recover.”
“Is there anyone you know?” asked Athena.
“Yes Angus,” said Merwyn. “He was a master at arms in my head quarters company. I thought he had been killed.” Merwyn paused and looked sad. “The last time I saw him his laser pistol was dead and he was charging headlong alone into about sixty men with just his dagger. Brave and stupid. I would have loved to have brought him with us. But I thought he was dead.”
“So their request for help is truthful?” asked Athena.
“Did Merwyn not just say so,” said Rabbo.
“This is really very good, Helena,” said Merwyn sipping on his herb tea.
“Dad” said Athena.
Merwyn looked at Athena and smiled sadly. “They are in a bad way. Between a rock and a hard place. If they stay they are doomed to die in about ten years of this planet. They have a radiation issue. They can’t go out on the surface for long periods of time and they are living below ground to avoid the radiation and that’s making them sick too. Plus and thankfully they are avoiding Ra. But I think they would turn to him if there was no other option. So we are going to help them. And I will tell them so. And I will find a location for them where they can live. Somewhere like home. Well home like for Angus, I owe him that.”
Athena took a deep breath and looked at Merwyn. “Close to here I hope.”
“No, but not to close to Ra either. Maybe somewhere in between? After I hail Angus I will start looking,” said Merwyn. “In fact we all can look.”
“Even me” said Helena.
“Did Merwyn not say everyone?” said Rabbo looking at Helena.
“Why are you suddenly moody, Rabbo?” asked Athena.
“Sad I guess. Just seeing those poor people suffering makes me sad,” said Rabbo trying not to think about Lexsan, Devon and the others that where staying behind to die. To Rabbo it seemed wrong to just give up on living and not to fight to live. It seemed wrong also that the others had not tried to talk them into going with them. But what unsettled Rabbo more was seeing someone that was fading and that made him wonder about Athena’s comments about Merwyn fading and that worried him that Merwyn would start to fade one day and he just hoped that he would not be around to see that.
“So how many are coming?” asked Athena.
“From what I could see I think fourteen,” said Merwyn. “I don’t think there were anymore there.”
“That few?” asked Helena.
“Don’t tell them about those that are staying behind,” said Merwyn on Rabbo’s private telepathic mode.
“I thought there would be at least a hundred. Did that many die trying to get to the fourth planet?” asked Athena.
“There are only fourteen that are coming. Most are young, dear daughter. Younger than you, or close to young age,” said Merwyn smiling at Athena.
“Oh” said Athena smiling.
“So what are we going to do?” asked Rabbo.
“First I am going to finish this outstanding cup of herbal tea then I am going to warm my toes maybe use the bathroom and then hail Angus,” Merwyn turned and looked at Helena. “This really is outstanding tea. Is there more?”
Helena laughed and walked over to the range and looked at the sauce pan. “A little I think enough maybe for a cup each.”
“Dad ,what are you going to tell them?” asked Athena.
“I will tell them that I will help and I will find them a place to live. I will tell them that they can’t live here with us but I will help them once they arrive. I will help them build a home for themselves but not near us.”
“Why can’t they live here with us?” asked Athena.
“Because I don’t want them here as we would lose a lot of our freedom,” Merwyn looked Athena up and down. “You won’t be able to walk around naked for one thing. And as for wearing those outfits,” Merwyn laughed.
“I think I don’t want them here either,” said Athena thoughtfully.
“Me either,” said Rabbo.
Merwyn sipped on his tea and looked at Helena and smiled. Helena smiled back shyly and pulled over a chair from the kitchen table. “There is one problem however,” said Merwyn looking first at Helena and then at Athena “One of the women is pregnant. There might be a risk factor for her coming here.”
“How far along is she?” asked Athena.
“I’m not sure. Not that far as she is not showing much. But she was sitting down so it’s hard to tell,” answered Merwyn.
Merwyn finished his herbal tea, got up, went upstairs.
“Helena, darling” said Athena coming over and sitting down on the floor in front of her and placing a hand on her knee. “Darling, we keep going as planned,” she leaned in and kissed Helena softly on the lips.
Before things could go any further Merwyn came walking down the stairs.
“I checked on the girls and they are snuggled together sleeping well,” said Merwyn. “It’s still snowing hard outside.”
“Oh, it is?” asked Helena.
“Yes, it’s still coming down hard and it’s piling up deep. I think tomorrow we have a lot of snow to move to keep the pathways open,” said Merwyn.
“Will I be able to get to the barn without too many problems?” said Athena removing her hand from Helena’s knee.
“I think so,” said Merwyn as he sat back down in his chair. “Now to hail Angus.”
Merwyn closed his eyes and focused on his old friend Angus. As he did so he hailed as loud as he could on Angus’s private mode.
“ANGUS CAN YOU HEAR ME?” shouted Merwyn.
Very faintly as if Angus’s voice was being carried on the wind Merwyn heard, “I hear you, sir”.
“I will help you and those that are to come with you. When you are ready to leave the fourth planet hail me on my private mode. I know you are not as strong as you once were so do it as a group. I will find a place for you and I will help you build a new life. But I can’t have you all coming here,” Merwyn said still shouting so that his old friend could hear him.
“Sir, there will only be fourteen of us. Right now we are working out how much weight we can bring with us. I don’t think it will be much as the ship is old. Our ships engineer is checking the weight and I will be the ships captain. Sir, you always said that one day I would be an officer. I much prefer being a non commissioned officer. Being an officer is not what I am cut out for. Sir, I can’t hold this link much longer so I will end this by saying that I am indebted to you again. Thank you, sir. Sergeant Major Angus Macbow over and out.” And with that Angus’s voice faded away.
Merwyn opened his eyes and looked at Rabbo, Athena and Helena “well they will let us know when they are ready to leave. Tomorrow we start looking for a warm sunny place on the coast somewhere. Somewhere with an ocean climate that does not have many people. But that will be tomorrow.”
Rabbo yawned and hopped over to Cat his mother mischief and the rabbit kittens that were snuggled together by the fire. He was about to snuggle with them when Athena reached down and picked him up. “Come, Rabbo, you sleep in my room tonight,” said Athena as she placed his front paws over her shoulder.
“I thought you and Helena were going to play,” said Rabbo as Athena went up the stairs.
“No” laughed Athena. “Helena and Dad need time alone.”
“But don’t you join in?” asked Rabbo very confused.
Athena blushed and laughed “sometimes for my enjoyment and the enjoyment of Merwyn and Helena. But not tonight as they really need alone time.”
Athena placed Rabbo on her bed and slipped out of her tube top and short skirt. She pulled the covers back and slipped into bed.
Rabbo started to hop off the bed and over to his window sill.
“No sleep on my pillow like you used to,” said Athena.
Rabbo hopped back up on the bed and hopped over and sat down on the pillow next to Athena. The pillow smelt of Helena and Rabbo thought that in many ways Athena and mischief were much alike. The fact that they enjoyed playing and they both loved deeply and cared very deeply about those that they loved. And yet in some ways Athena and mischief were very much unalike in the fact that mischief was only willing to mate when she was in heat were as Athena seemed always willing to mate and often would dress in a way that stated she was willing. He wondered if that was part of the reason that he did not want the people from the fourth planet too close.
Athena placed an arm over Rabbo and pulled him in close. She looked at him in the darkness and smiled. “You know Rabbo your mind leaks sometimes. I will admit that it would be nice to have those from the fourth planet close for the reason you were thinking. And I think you would be right. While I would enjoy myself it would not get much done. Right now we have to think what is best for the few of my race that is left. Before I would sleep with any of the men I would have to check their genes to see if it was wise for me to sleep with them. And well, you know me. I react first and think about things afterwards,” Athena laughed softly “unless I am planning something such as my girls.”
Rabbo wriggled closer and nestled into Athena’s hair.
“You see Rabbo since I made up my mind to have children which was long before you came along I had tried to seduce Merwyn a number of times. And well he always nicely turned me down. But you reminded me of a promise he made me when I was young and very sick. So I reminded him of the promise and well I got what I wanted and what I needed plus I have restored his interest in life and the pleasures of the flesh,” Athena giggled softly. “I was scared the first time as I had never been with a Sirian man. But well it was better than I thought and I liked it and liked it a lot. Bastet was my first lover and I have other girls and woman since and I like that a lot too. But I wanted a baby and to do that I had to pick the best genes. And the best genes on this planet are Merwyn's. As Bastet wisely said and she is right “Babies are made with love”. So I picked the man I love so deeply and I know he loves me so deeply. Now I give him the gift of another child.”
“You are pregnant?” said Rabbo.
“No, silly rabbit, but let’s hope Helena will be,” giggled Athena. “She is very willing very willing indeed and I think she needs a baby as much as another child would make Merwyn happy. Beside there is a plus side other than keeping Merwyn happy. The genes of such a baby would be good to mix with Wenna and Merryn. I just hope she has a boy.” Again Athena giggles. “If it is a boy he is going to be in for a lot of fun when he is old enough.”
“What do you mean?” asked Rabbo.
“Think about it, silly Rabbo. Two women, one man, oh the fun they could have.”
“Kind of like one male rabbit and two female rabbits?” asked Rabbo.
“Yes oh I understand,” laughed Athena. “Bossy and the one that does not talk”.
Rabbo yawned and tried to hide it from Athena but somehow she knew that he was tired and that he was fighting to stay awake. “Darling Rabbo get some sleep. I think tomorrow could be a busy day with all the snow outside”.
Rabbo snuggled closer still and closed his eyes.
Rabbo awoke to soft snoring coming from next to him. So as he opened his eyes he thought he would see Athena. Instead there was Helena snuggled close to him.
Gently Rabbo lifted himself up and was surprised to see Merwyn snuggled up next to Helena and Athena on the other side snuggled close to Merwyn.
Rabbo hopped gently off the bed and went to the bathroom. On his return to Athena’s bedroom he stopped and looked in on the girls who were still asleep. So quietly, Rabbo hopped up on his window sill peeked behind the curtains and looked at the snow that was still falling softly and gently.
Outside there was over five feet of snow. The air hung heavy as the small powder like flakes of snow fell silently to join the other flakes that were piling up in deep drifts of snow covering the garden and the pathways in deep light snow. Rabbo watched from Athena’s bedroom window sill wondering just how much snow could fall in one day and that if it kept falling how much snow it would take to cover the whole house.
Outside the house everything was still, other than the falling snow. There was no wind, no movement, only a white drifting curtain of snow that sometimes parted to show vague shapes of trees and outbuildings. All that there was had been hidden under a mantel of white heaps of snow.
Rabbo slipped gently off the window sill again and hopped as quietly as possible out of Athena’s bedroom and went down stairs. There was a slight chill to the kitchen as the fire had gone out some hours before and the cold from outside was just starting to seep into the kitchen. Rabbo looked closely at the fire to see if there was an ember to help get the fire going, but he could see none. So carefully he hopped over the pile of fur that was his mother, mischief Cat and the rabbit kittens and started to build a fire.
Once the kindling was in place Rabbo closed his eyes and focused on making the center of the pile of kindling as hot as possible so that it would burst into flames. As he focused his mind he smelt burnt wood and then suddenly with a pop and a hiss flames leaped out of the center of the pile of kindling.
Rabbo placed a couple of small logs on the fire and again focused his mind on the wood and that too started to smoke then burst into flames. Then he placed a couple of larger logs on the smaller logs and hopped off to the cool storage room where he got dandelion leaves, spinach carrots and carrot tops and hopped back into the kitchen.
Rabbo made breakfast for his mother mischief and the rabbit kittens. Then he placed their bowls in the normal spot before he went back into the cool storage room and got Cat’s raw fish and meat. He chopped that up finely just the way Cat liked his food and he placed that bowl on the table in the spot that Cat liked to eat his food.
Rabbo once again returned to the cool storage room and got out oats so that he could try and make porridge like Helena had the day before. Rabbo poured the milk into a large sauce pan and then added the oats. Somehow it looked like there was too much oats so Rabbo added more milk. Looking carefully Rabbo thought that now it looked like there was too much milk so he added more oats. And again he added too much oats so again he added more milk. Now the sauce pan was almost full and the mix still did not look right. But there was no room left so Rabbo turned on the heat and hoped that it would not boil over and burn.
He hopped down from the stove and pushed his tall chair over and picked up a big wooden spoon and started to mix the porridge.
“Need a hand there, Rabbo?” said a sleepy Athena behind him.
“That’s ok, I think I have it,” said Rabbo trying to sound unworried.
“Just how many are you feeding?” asked Athena.
“Just six. Why do you ask?” answered Rabbo.
Athena picked up a larger sauce pan leaned over and poured the porridge mix into the larger sauce pan. “I ask because there is enough there to feed twenty I would say maybe fifteen if they were really hungry,” said Athena smiling.
Rabbo stirred the oats and milk mix until it started to boil then he turned down the heat and continued to stir the porridge until his front leg started to get tired. Rabbo used the wooden spoon to taste the porridge and he noticed that it did not taste anywhere as good as the porridge that Helena had made the day before.
“Athena” said Rabbo. “Umm could you taste this? It does not taste anywhere as good as what Helena made yesterday. I think I am missing something?”
Athena walked over and tasted the porridge “Needs honey and a little salt.”
Rabbo went and got the honey and salt. He then added the salt and honey and again started to stir the porridge. Rabbo tasted the porridge and it tasted too salty so he added more honey. Athena leaned against the counter and watched with an amused smile as Rabbo added more honey then more salt then more honey and then more salt.
As Rabbo battled to get the taste of the porridge right Helena and Merwyn quietly joined Athena. Soon they too had rather amused smiles as Rabbo battled to get the taste of the porridge right. They watched as he added more and more honey and salt until the porridge was so inedible that Rabbo was at his wits end.
It was Merwyn that started to laugh first and soon Athena and Helena where laughing so hard. Rabbo bowed his head and had to admit that he had failed to make porridge and that he had wasted good oats, milk honey and salt. Still laughing Helena walked up to the defeated Rabbo and picked him up. “Let me help you to make porridge.”
Helena walked into the cook storage room came back with Rabbo over one should and holding a small sack of oats. She sat Rabbo back down on his chair and picked up a measuring cup and started to measure out the oats that would be needed to feed Merwyn, Athena, Wenna, Merryn, Diana, Rabbo and herself. She then poured that into the first sauce pan that Rabbo had used. Then she poured milk into the measuring cup and added that to the oats in the sauce pan. Then she brought it up to just below the boil and added a small amount of salt. All the time she stirred the mix watching the heat. Then she added a small amount of honey. As she did the whole process she told Rabbo how much oats to feed how many people and the amount of milk need plus she explained how just a pinch of salt was plenty and that the honey was really just to sweeten the porridge. Lastly as she explained she added the raisins to the mix.
Helena had Rabbo stir the porridge and supervised him while Athena went upstairs and woke up the children so that they could come down for breakfast. That took a while as the girls really did not want to wake up and getting them washed and dressed took a while. But Helena helped Rabbo stir the porridge and made sure that it did not stick to the bottom of the pan nor let it burn.
After breakfast Helena and Rabbo where still sitting at the kitchen table talking while Athena, Merwyn and the children went outside to clean the pathways and to milk the cows in the barn. “Rabbo would you like to help me cook dinner tonight?” asked Helena.
“I would love to,” said Rabbo beaming happily “But I thought Athena was cooking dinner tonight.”
“Oh, you are right. Could you ask her if I could cook dinner? That way I can teach you how to cook,” said Helena.
Athena agreed to Helena cooking dinner and soon Helena and Rabbo were planning what they would cook for dinner.
The children struggled though the deep snow towards the barn as Merwyn and Athena moved great mounds of snow using their mental abilities. Once in the barn the children sat down together more to warm each other than out of friendship and love. Cat who had followed along behind the children jumped up high on top of the hay and watched to make sure that the children were safe from anything that might try and bite them such as the rats that lived in the barn.
Out in the snow Merwyn had cleared a large area while Athena had finished the pathway to the barn. She walked in to see the girls sitting in a circle talking to each other in baby language. Only Diana seemed uninterested in what the twins were talking to each other about.
As Athena walked over and picked up a pail and stool Diana got up and joined her trying to carry another pail for Athena. Athena smiled down at Diana as she struggled with the pail while she tried to walk the pail over to where Athena would be milking.
“Would you like some help there, sweetie?” asked Athena.
“No, I’m a big girl,” said Diana.
Athena watched as Diana dragged the pail clanging over to where the cows where. The cows turned and looked at Diana with huge lazy eyes and then they turned back to eating the hay that had been placed in front of them to eat. Diana looked at the cows and stepped careful over the dung that was behind the cows. She watched as Athena placed the stool down at the rear end of one of the cows put the pail under the udder and started to milk the first of the three cows where producing milk. Diana stood and watched as Athena worked her way from one teat to another until the pail was almost full. Then Athena moved to the second cow took the bucket that Diana had dragged over and started to milk the second cow.
“Sweetie, could you get another pail?” said Athena.
Diana once again dragged a pail over clanging and banging and making such a noise that it echoed off the walks in the barn. Diana placed the pail next to Athena and again watched as Athena milked the second cow. Soon Athena was done milking the second cow and she got up walked into the dairy of the barn and grabbed a yoke and attached the two pails to the yoke. Then Athena went outside followed by Diana and head to the house to put the two full pails of milk in the cool storage room. They then headed back to the barn and Athena moved the stool over to the last cow and started to milk while Diana watched.
Meanwhile in the barn Cat sat watching the twins who by now had warmed back up. As the twins sat talking they looked around and then looked up at Cat. They got on all fours and suddenly they started to change into cats. First their faces started to elongate like a cats then their ears moved up the side of their heads until they were up high like a cats then the ears started to get pointed. Wenna was almost totally cat like while her twin sister had just the head and rear end of a cat. Wenna slipped out of her clothes and sat and look up at Cat who was looking down and both Wenna and Merryn.
Merryn looked over at her sister who now looked totally like a large cat with an oversized tail and ears.
Wenna sat cat like and looked around. Then she bounced off cat like into a pile of loose hay only to reappear a few moments later with a small rat in her mouth. The rat was kicking and wriggling and Wenna looked a little confused as if she was not sure what to do with the rat she had just caught.
“Help you I can. Drop rat and I help you kill it and eat it,” said Cat.
“Yuck,” said Wenna as she dropped the rat at Cat’s feet.
Merryn was stuck been half human and half cat looked over at her sister and watched as Wenna and Cat chased after the rat bouncing though piles of hay. Finally Cat caught the rat flipped it though the air before it came to land at Wenna’s paws.
Wenna grabbed the rat between her paws and flipped it though the air back at Cat who let it land in front of him. Cat grabbed the rat and batted it back and forth between his paws letting it get away before he pounced on it again.
Wenna watched and then leaped high over Cat landing next to Cat and took the rat in her mouth and started to run with the half alive rat in her mouth.
As Wenna ran with the half alive rat in her mouth Athena and Diana walked though the barn looked at Wenna, Merryn and Cat and passed on by.
Merryn looked at her hands closed her cats eyes and finished turning herself into a cat. When she was done she looked exactly the same as Wenna down to the last detail in every way apart from her eyes. Her eyes remained human like. Cat looked at Merryn walked over and sniffed her then batted her playfully across the head before chasing after Wenna who was strutting around with the half alive rat hanging and kicking from her mouth.
“Help teach you both to hunt like Cat” hissed Cat.
Wenna sat down still with the rat hanging from her mouth and dropped the rat to the floor of the barn. The rat lay still at her feet breathing hard and not moving.
Around the rats back and neck was bite marks and wet patches of fur when Wenna and Cat had been holding it and biting it.
“Kill prey and eat. Then show you how to hunt” said Cat to Wenna.
Cat turned to Merryn and sniffed her again before Cat turned and listened for more rats in the barn. “Kittens come I teach to hunt and teach to kill pest in bran. Make job easy to keep pests down in barn with three. Not me alone. Much work for me alone. But three make it easy” said Cat smiling at Wenna and Merryn.
Wenna and Merryn strutted cat like over to Cat and sat down. Wenna looked back at the rat that was still breathing and lying where she had dropped it.
Cat hunched down and wriggled his hind end and leaped on the rat. As he did so he bit into the rats neck breaking it and killing instantly. “Play with live food is fun. But Merwyn no like. So we play only when Merwyn not know. But when Merwyn around we kill quick and fast. Understand?” said Cat looking at Merryn and Wenna.
Merryn and Wenna nodded and looked at the rat that Cat has just killed. Merryn turned back into her human form and started to cry that Cat had killed a rat not understanding that Cat only killed for food. Cat picked up the dead rat and started to crunch on it. He looked over at the human Merryn and then at Wenna who was still in cat form looking at the half eaten rat and licking her lips.
As Wenna moved closer a large lion paw came out of the pile of hay and grabbed around her fur covered stomach making her look around. “You don’t eat raw uncooked food. You still have a human stomach” said the lion. Wenna instantly turned back into human form and looked at the huge tiger.
“Mommy” said Wenna not sure. Athena in lion form, turned and looked at Cat. “You don’t know that they can’t eat raw rat so I am not upset with you Cat. And they are too young to understand that they can’t eat what you eat. But we will talk about this. But Cat you can teach them to hunt. Just don’t let them eat the food they catch raw. Bring it to the house and I will cook it for them. You understand Cat?”
Cat looked at Athena in lion form and nodded as he crunched his way though the last of the rat. “I teach. I show hunting. I let them kill. But no let them eat. You cook what they kill. I understand,” said Cat as he ate the last of the rat leaving just the tail and gall bladder.
“Yes” said Athena.
“I help teach what can eat and what no eat,” said Cat nodding in understanding.
“Good,” said Athena.
Athena turned and looked at Wenna and Merryn “Now get dressed and let’s go into the house. I am staying in lion form as the fur is warm. If you like you can ride on my back”.
Wenna and Merryn got dressed and climbed up Athena’s back and she walked out of the barn across the snow to the house. Once inside the house she let the twins climb down. Then Athena sat down and turned herself back into human form.
“Mommy naked,” giggled Wenna.
“Mommy bad,” said Merryn.
Athena got up walked over to where her clothes lay in a pile and slipped on her winter toga, winter stockings and lastly her slippers.
Rabbo stood on his chair watching Helena as she mixed flour with a pinch of salt. Over to one side stood a measuring cup with warm water sugar and yeast mixed it. The yeast sugar water mix was all puffed up as the yeast fed on the sugar. Helena looked over and looked at Rabbo. “Ok you see how it has foamed up. That means it’s ready to mix into the flour that has a pinch of salt in it. Umm do you have any gloves as your fur will get in the dough,” asked Helena.
“No I don’t, but I can ask Merwyn if he has something that I can use to cover my paws and legs so that I won’t get fur in the dough,” said Rabbo.
“No matter. Let’s continue with baking bread,” said Helena.
Helena poured the water, sugar, yeast mix into the bowl with the flour and pinch of salt and started to mix it with a large wooden spoon that Athena used when she made bread.
Once the mix was nice and stiff Helena put it to one side for a moment before she stiffed some flour onto the counter top. Then she poured the contents of the bowl on top of the stiffed flour and started to knead the dough with her hands until it was nice and firm. She then used one finger to test the dough mix by pressing down and watching it rise up slowly. Then she sifted a little flour into the mixing bowl and put the dough back in the bowl before covering it with a warm damp cloth and putting it on a small table by the fire to rise.
“Now we wait until it has risen,” said Helena.
“Should we clean the counter top?” asked Rabbo getting ready to clean the counter top.
“No not yet as we will have to do a second kneading and let it rise again. Once that is done we can cook it and let it cool.”
“Ok” said Rabbo wanting the bread cooked sooner rather than later as he loved fresh baked bread.
Merwyn and Diana came walking in and sniffed the air. “Hmm yummy” said Merwyn reached down and picked up Diana. He then walked off carrying Diana who looked sleepy. Merwyn turned and looked at Helena and Rabbo from the living room doorway “Save me some of the bread when it’s cooked.”
“Everyone loves fresh baked bread, Rabbo,” said Helena smiling. “And I love to bake bread.”
“I know,” said Rabbo looking over at the covered bowl by the fire. “Is it ready to be kneaded again?”
Helena looked over and the covered bowl “No not yet.”
Just then Athena in lion form came walking in with Merryn and Wenna riding on her back. She strutted over to the fire place and let the twins slip off her back. She then turned herself back into human form and Rabbo and Helena heard Wenna say “Mommy naked” followed by Merryn saying “Mommy bad.” Once Athena was dressed she picked up Merryn and Wenna and took them into the living room for their early afternoon nap with Diana.
After the second kneading and proofing of the bread Rabbo and Helena cleaned the kitchen and together they started to make pasta and cook dinner. Dinner was very lively as the children had rested well and where feeling very playful. Cat now had come in from the barn had not eaten much as he had caught another rat while he was in the barn.
Cat turned to Merryn and Wenna and looked at them “Tomorrow you turn into cats and we hunt in barn”.
Wenna giggled but Merryn looked a little unsettled by the idea of helping Cat hunt and kill anything. Merwyn looked over at Cat put down his knife and fork “Cat, I’m not happy about you teaching the twins to hunt and kill. I know you and I know you play with your food before you kill it. I don’t want them learning bad habits and enjoying killing anything. So if you do teach them how to hunt please kill your prey as soon as you catch it. And please don’t play with it before you kill. I can’t stress that enough.”
Cat looked over at Wenna and Merryn who looked back and giggled. “I already tell them that,” said Cat.
“Good,” replied Merwyn as he picked up his knife and fork and started to eat again.
As dinner was finished there was a soft pounding on the door. Everyone including Cat turned and looked at the door. Merwyn closed his eyes and the opened them and started to laugh hard as he got up from the table. At the kitchen door was mischief and Rabbo’s mother who somehow had been left outside when everyone had come in. Mischief and Rabbo’s mother hopped over to the fire where the kittens were sitting after they had eaten their fill. Mischief ignored her own cold feeling and started to clean the rabbit kittens paying special attention to soft eyes.
Merwyn and Athena cleared the table and washed the dishes as Helena and Rabbo sat and watched the children and the rabbit kittens playing together. By the time the dishes were done the children were showing signs of getting tired and as they had been outside Athena thought that all three needed a good long bath. Not just to get them clean for bed but to get the last of the chill out of them from being outside most of the day. Plus as an added bonus it would make them very sleepy and much easier to get to bed.
Merwyn and Helena sat snuggled together in the living when Athena returned after getting the children to bed.
Rabbo was sitting in a small chair Rabbo size chair that Merwyn and been building in his free time and had just completed. Rabbo’s long ears where standing straight up and he paid no attention to Athena’s return as he was busy reading a print out that he had gotten from Isis.
“What are you reading, Rabbo?” asked Athena.
Rabbo looked up and thought for a second “Umm recipes as I want to learn to cook properly.”
Athena laughed and sat down in her chair “Helena has you hooked on cooking now?”
“Yes. That was so much fun baking bread. And Merwyn said that he has some gloves I can wear so next time I can make bread and help Helena. Plus they can be washed so that I can cook other things too.”
“Oh, you want to take over the cooking?” asked Athena.
“Yes, I do,” said Rabbo chuckling.
Just then Helena let out a squeal, leaped out of Merwyn's lap and danced out of the living room. Helena returned a few moments later carrying a wine skin and a goblet for Athena. She poured a goblet for Athena and then refilled Merwyn and her goblets before she sat back in Merwyn's lap astride him. Merwyn leaned in and kissed Helena who returned his kiss with such passion that it looked like she was trying to inhale Merwyn.
“She is good for Dad” said Athena on Rabbo’s private mode.
“I think he is good for her too,” replied Rabbo on the same mode “You won’t get jealous will you?”
“Of who” said Athena with a laugh in her voice? “After all I have been with both of them. Beside I love them both. For me sex is different than love. Sex is for fun and to pass the time. And I do enjoy that. But love and making love well that is a gift that I give to them and Bastet. I’ve never had sex with Merwyn, Bastet or Helena. I have always made love with them and I give my body to them willing as a gift. But I do like sex and when I am in Athens I do enjoy the girls there.”
“You don’t have sex with guy?s” asked Rabbo.
“I have only ever had one guy in my life. And you know who that is and I so enjoyed it and still do,” said Athena
“What about Anubis. Did you not have sex with him?” asked Rabbo.
“Yuck. Where did you hear that. He turns my stomach and I would not let him touch me,” said Athena.
“Oh just something I thought,” said Rabbo hoping he had covered his mistake.
Suddenly Helena stood up pulled her dress off looked at Athena and leaned over and kissed Merwyn and then Athena.
“I’m sleepy,” said Helena and winked at Athena.
Helena pulled Merwyn up and then reached over and grabbed Athena’s hand and pulled her up out of her chair. She dragged them both out of the living room giggling.
Rabbo returned to reading the print-out as he heard footsteps going up the stairs.