The Graveyard

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The cat slipped from camp, her glossy ebony fur blending with the deep green grasses at the tunnel. She padded into the woods, her delicate paws sliding whisper-soft through the green forest of weeds around her. She left a swishing trail of swaying grasses in her wake.

The birds chirped noisily overhead; red-breasted robins, throaty red-winged blackbirds, and the obnoxious blue jay, notorious for spoiling cats’ good hunts with his tumultuous warning calls.

The cat padded swiftly over the springy grass, her ebony fur shifting over her rippling muscles. Her intelligently inquisitive emerald eyes glittered in the fading light as they shifted over the land unwarily. Her stride was born of exuberant confidence and reliance in herself.

The foliage opened up before her, revealing a dreadful sight. The trees that once stood majestically, towering above the ground, now lay, broken ad splintered toothpicks, blackened and collapsed onto the earth.

The ashes and dying coals stung her paws as she trod on them. She padded delicately, for she knew that many living souls had perished here. Forestry vegetation had burned where it stood; any and all beasts unable to escape the flaming inferno had been incinerated wherever the burning tendrils had caught them.

The cat arrested her movement, gazing at a fallen log, a hollow shell of a once towering giant. Within lay a tiny kit, white fur stained gray with the trees’ desolate ashes.

The cat stepped close. The kit had been laid to rest inside the tree, for her flanks had stilled long ago. The miniscule body was charred and her tiny mouth visible, for the black soot had been cleaned away.

The she-cat stepped into the log and brushed the soot from the kit’s fur, cleaning out her toes, ears, and face with her sandpaper tongue. She cleaned the kit until she sparkled before removing herself from the grave.

The cat headed back through the ashes, back through the graveyard that once held life, and she aimed herself home swiftly.

And as the sun set slowly behind her, the blackness of the graveyard softly enveloped the shining white jewel, slowly snuffing out hope for a brighter tomorrow.





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