Tale of Two Kitties, A
2. The Cat That Ate The Vulture
The addressee in question, Queen Berúthiel of Gondor, known by most people by a variety of nicknames that belong to the realms of the unprintable and by her husband Tarannon as “pumpkin,” was clearly a member of the damp shelf brigade. Such disposition of character led her to hate the results of her husband’s suggestion with the all-consuming energy of one thousand fiery orange suns.
It was her new place of residence at Osgiliath she so detested. She should have loved it - it had been very carefully arranged and undecorated until it looked like the sort of thing that makes happy men slit their wrists in a fine Spring morn. The chambers looked as though they had been ransacked by the sort of people who take everything that isn’t firmly nailed down, and beneath the funereal yews and cypresses outside, several statues looked as though they were in the extremities of gastrointestinal discomfort. Even the weather kindly obliged to the mood and so a perpetual grey cloud hung over the place.
It was perfect and therefore loathsome. Just the past week her mouth had experienced some discomfiture and she had realised, much to her consternation, that she had been smiling. She was not supposed to smile. She was supposed to have an aura of complete misery about her as though it were some very wide-brimmed black hat. In here, all the misery she could inflict was by writing her husband extremely long letters with excruciating syntax and then demand that he read them in public as the Queen’s Address to the Nation. She had tried tormenting the servants at first, but she soon realised that much the same effect was achieved, with considerable less effort, by Cook’s dishes, and so she ceased in that endeavour.
It was under such circumstances that she found the first cat. It is a well-known fact that gardens attract cats, although the reasons for this are still shrouded in that veil of mystery that envelops the feline race. In the case of this particular garden, its miasma of misery could only appeal to a monstrous creature spawned in some ghastly pit of a cursed land.
That is, of course, a description that applies to most cats, but the animal in question was particularly malevolent, even by feline standards. It was the kind of cat that soon decimates the bird population of a given area (in this case, it was mostly comprised of vultures), chases dogs up trees, does something unspeakable right in front of the nearest door and then sprawls itself on the ground bearing an evil grin while subjecting the handiest rodent to agonies that surpassed even Cook’s roast chicken.
Berúthiel took an immediate liking to him. She named him Cuddles.
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