It is for women and children, not for the King, though he is old, and tired, and was halfway through his retirement.

The whispers of the wind, the saying of the old wood, the advice of life, from the universe that almost pass him by. He was away from his prime, he has not much left. Soon, his fortress of youth will breach, and all that will flow is the old, darkened blood that will dry sooner than the chirp of the birds.

So there he was, taking life one day at a time, in his bed of roses; down the hall of that glorious building which pillars were laden with glittering carves of leaves, and twirling vines. There he was, by the humble garbage bin, on a wet pavement, sitting every night-fall. Listening to the night breeze, whispering news, old and new, good and bad. Weathering drizzles, the end of rain, drips of water. Enduring the crack of his bones and the squeak of his sinews.

For a pouch of food, glistening under the moon.

And a hand that he allowed to touch his once triumphant back, for a little while, reminding him of who he was, and what he deserve. What he should have, but never receive.

Closer are the days, when those too shall be over, though. As evil creeping near, darkness that had claimed members of the land that was once his kingdom. Closer is the end when he may no longer answer to the call. Closer the dark when he may no longer behold, when he may no longer hear a lady who’s draped in dark clothing, with her striking orange scarf, flipping yellow under the moon, and her tiny hand, now starting to wrinkle. The hand that always extend the silver platter, lined with gold, littered with little morsels from the ocean, or the farmland, or everywhere in between.

That last night was yesterday, perhaps, or was it? That last night was out of ordinary.

The lady stood there, even after he finished, and she stayed there when the little tortie girl came running behind her, with small meows and little chirps.

That last night, her face glistens and shines. “Hi!” She almost whispers, but, who knows, the tinkling in that voice, the shimmer on her face, as she pours down the bag on her shoulder, for many more silver platter.

There she stays, longer than ever before, waiting for the rain to pass. The thick leaves, the high branches, the wind told the trees to stoop lower, lower, lower. And the branches embrace her, like mother holding her child, cover her from the rain.

He wonders.

He wonders, so he crossed the street and closer to me, the lady in dark clothing, whose orange scarf flipped yellow under the moon.

My bag is white. It can be a sling, it can be a backpack, that night, it was a tote. Inside there were pouches after pouches of Whiskas, because many more cats will be out there after the pouring rain, looking for food to fight the cold and the hunger.

Inside was my tiny blue backpack, with almost empty purse, some changes enough to go home, and a red bag folded in two.

I was waiting for Fuuta, but he was not around. The rain had cast everyone away. The restaurant had closed with few patrons coming, and the small shops by where the kids hang around was dark and wet when the shower slapped and drenched down, as if to break all the glass window and doors.

The vile employee was not there, the guard post was empty, the fence had closed.

I turn back to the house next door; looking at the tortie lady, looking at Theoden the old king, named so by a friend.

It was as if I dropped my huge tote to the pavement of that wet pedestrian, leading to the humble garbage bin. I pulled out my red bag, laid it flat on the ground, wide open.

And there Theoden came, sniffing around.

I nudge him, encouraging him to step inside. He doubted. There is no smell there but a little cat here and little cat there. The rest is mostly soap and hot water.

I nudge him again. He looked at me and I pat the base of my bag, showing him how puffy it is compared to his usual bed of stone under the bed of roses he now call home.

He stepped inside.

The zipper stuck.

It’s not surprising that even on such enormous luck God is still my foil.

I hold both side of the opening together, bent backward and pull the zipper with my teeth. If the old cat use his claw and struggle I will be Fred of the Elm Street. Frankenstila? No, I can be sued by the blush on company.

Never mind. By the time Theoden started struggling I was already halfway to the back. I finish zipping, tied the zipper head to the bag so he won’t push out, sling him over and stand up.

My white tote bag then become a backpack and I walk home. No ride.

Not until the wind changed again, and my last attempt got an answer. A man that can be my dad came with his motorcycle on his way home from the university where he work. In Indonesia, that university is Ivy League.

He asked me if I have just got home from an assignment out of town.

Actually out of country, but I don’t know how I would explain that I captured the King of Rohan and carry him with me in this red bag over my shoulder, so I just smile and nod.

We say thank you to each other. I thank him for the ride, he thank me for his business. I wish him luck and he wish me rest.

Then we bid our farewell, between soldier and mercenary, and I walk my way home.

The cats swarms around even before I open the bag. Perhaps cat kings smells more prominently than ordinary cat?

I changed my almost wet clothes, go out and open the bag.

Theoden poked his head out, look around, hiss very fiercely, and go back inside.

Hola, ¿qué estás haciendo allí?

I went to the kitchen to calm the ladies down. I peeked on the sleeping babies and their bad tummies, and when I come back, he was already out there.

It is usually just kittens in the living room, but now we have Titosaurus, the plates breaker.

They seem to just hang around there though. Maybe exchanging stories on their own kingdom, and how they lost their statuses in this tiny, under maintained, under staffed, nursing home.

S’il vous plaît soyez bons les uns aux autres

This time both look at me, twitching their ears.

I laughed. I know I am delirious. I am tired, and I am worried to death about my little friend Fuuta. I am hungry, but there are so many things to do, so many things to think of.

And I am not even half a princess.

So I closed the door of my bedroom behind me, throw my body to the bed of springs, but never close my eyes.

Now that Theoden is here, though, there’s that quote slowly rise at the back of my head.

Out of doubt, out of dark, to the day’s rising,
He rode singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
Hope he rekindled, and in hope ended;
Over death, over dread, over doom lifted
Out of loss, out of life, unto long glory.

It’s the song of the King’s burial, but in Rohan, as in my church, when King died, and the son of the Kings died, they raise from their deathbed and into the hall of glory that will never be defeated in eternity.

Besides, it will be nice to see him brand new, like Rufus suddenly grow ten years younger, climb the stairs and lounged on the roof.

Just don’t turn my house into Romance of Three Kingdoms.

~ Josie


Out of doubt, out of dark, to the day’s rising,
He rode singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
Hope he rekindled, and in hope ended;
Over death, over dread, over doom lifted
Out of loss, out of life, unto long glory. ~ Gleowine. The Lord Of The Rings; Return of The King (J.R.R. Tolkien)


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Josie And The Whiskers' Syndicate

The first and only cat refuge in Bandung (West Java - Indonesia) a capital breeder of a nation without animal welfare law. We care for Bandung's unwanted animals, operate a TNR as much as our budget allows, and continue to educate people about compassion to animals

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