A Black Rainbow And An Unsolved Mystery

Charlene Taylor

© Copyright 2000  by Charlene Taylor 

Photo of a Goldfinch.

There were no other words to describe what I saw though my kitchen window that night. Dark, eerie colors arched over a jaded moon. It almost gave me the creeps to look at it, but if I ever needed to get a picture of a moon it was this one. I glanced at the clock on the microwave it was 1:53 A.M.

I hurried to grab my camera before I could talk myself out of it.

My husband snored softly as I slipped in and out of the bedroom then crept back down the hall, grabbing the flashlight from the cupboard on my way past. I slipped back through the house and out into a soggy, wet night.

Two hours earlier we had experienced a terrible storm. July had been exceptionally dry until the storm arrived crashing, and banging as it unleashed torrents of rain, that flooded everything in a matter of minutes. The storm was the reason I wasn't asleep. It had unnerved me too much to go to bed.

The wet ground sloshed beneath my feet and though it was no longer raining the air was heavy with moisture and the steady sounds of drip, drip, drip came to me from everywhere. The night felt as eerie as a Halloween night in a graveyard and I couldn’t believe I was doing this.

In the middle of the backyard, I stopped, placed the flashlight between my legs, and was lifting the camera to focus on the moon when a sudden unearthly cry, like a lost soul from the nether world, penetrated the air. I froze, and my heart started beating like a trap-hammer against my chest. My impulses told me to turn and run back to the house, but I remained rooted. The sound came again and I glanced toward the back of the unattached garage were the sound was coming from. In the dimness I saw something small and white moving toward me. It was wispy and looked liked a low floating ghost and sounded like one too.

I let the camera drop to my chest, retrieved the flashlight, and shined it on the creature immediately recognizing a stray, white cat that had been hanging around our house lately. I had seen the cat on several occasions, but whenever I opened the back door, it would disappear like an apparition before I could even step outside. Now it was coming toward me, it's green eyes glowing in the light, and wailing, with the most mournful sound I had ever heard. Something, somewhere was wrong. Was this a warning? Should I high tail it for the house? I didn't.

The cat stopped a few feet away and stood looking at me. I knew it was afraid to move any closer so after a moment I hesitantly started toward it.

The cat immediately turned and darted back in the direction it had come from. I stopped, as I didn't want it to run away from me, but knew not how to get close to it. The cat stopped some distance away and stood looking at me. Then it yowled sounding almost normal and something gave me the impression that maybe it wanted me to follow it. When it reached the corner of the garage it paused just long enough to glance back at me, as if to make sure I was coming, then it disappeared around the end.

When I walked around the garage the white cat stood waiting for me and it was not alone.

On the ground a few feet from it was a tiny black and white kitten. At first I thought the kitten was dead, but then noticed it wiggle like it might be trying to get away. I reached down and picked it up, the limp wet creature was barely bigger than a mouse and so close to death that I was almost certain it probably wouldn't live long enough for me to get him in the house. I glanced around for the white cat; it was nowhere in sight.

The black rainbow forgotten, I hurried inside, dumped the camera and flashlight on the counter and immediately grabbed a dishtowel from the drawer wrapping the limp little body in it. Then I just stood there. I didn't know what to do next. I knew this was in an ER situation yet I had not a clue of how to administer first aid to a dying kitten.

Food I had to somehow give it food.

Grabbing milk from the refrigerator and a pan from the cupboard I heated the milk. When it was warm, I added water. But how would I give it to him? I glanced around wishing I had an eyedropper. I knew I didn't so I grabbed a loaf of bread from the drawer, tore off a small piece, soaked it with warm milk and forced it in his mouth. His eyes were closed but he mustered strength enough to emit a weak hiss. Then he started to greedily suck on the bread. After I did this a few more times I thought I better wait a while and give him some more later as I was sure it wouldn't be good to give him too much at one time.

I replaced the towel with a warm afghan and held him close. He started to purr and I wasn't sure but thought that perhaps that was a good sign. This cat probably knew more about humans than I knew about him at that point.

For the next few hours I fed him more of the bread soaked milk every hour and dozed in a chair holding him while we slept.

In less than 24 hours the foundling completely took over the house. I never saw anything come back to life so fast or take over so completely as Pusscat did. I felt like Saint Francis.

It took him a few weeks to fill out and start to look like a healthy cat, but he soon had the best of everything. I called him Lorden-Taylor, officially, but he was mostly known as "Pusscat."

With all my kids grown and gone the cat soon became the focal point of my life. I carried the camera around my neck almost constantly as it seemed like Pusscat was always doing some cute or clever thing. Instead of saying, "Do you want to see some pictures of my grandkids?" When I met my friends I asked, "Do you want to see some pictures of my cat?"

Three years later I lost Pusscat to Feline Leukemia. It was painful not only because I felt as if I had somehow let him down, but I also felt as if I'd let his mother down. I was never able to quite comprehend how that fearful stray had mustard the courage to summons me to the aid of her dying kitten. She had not only summoned me but had led me to him and that was no mean feat. However, I never saw her again. Had she been real? Had any of it been real? Yet the proof was in the kitten was it not?

As for the black rainbow, I had never seen or even heard of one before, nor since. But had it not been for that phenomenon I would have never experienced the miracle I had that night. By an act of God and a cat's love or instinct, call it what you will, they had somehow joined forces to create a mystery that can never be solved.

I find that most people don't want to write, they want to have written. I write just because I like to. I've had a few things published, but have had no desire to make a big deal out of it. I'm afraid that too many people do not take into consideration the commitment they are making when they are under the gun writing contracts and writing to "please." And far to many authors have lost their quality in quantity. Like Dorothy Parker - who was more or less no big deal - I'm more of less a dabbler. Aside from writing I'm a librarian and know well what people like and what they don't. And in other asides I'm also a musician, a gardener, a seamstress, a crafter of various sorts, a computer technician and web designer and anything else that happens to take my fancy. Life is too short to limit your goals to just one thing and my motto is, "If you aim for the moon you might just make it over the back fence." And who knows someday I may just happen to write, "Jingle-Bells."

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Another story by Charlene:
And A Redneck Cat Right Here In River City

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