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Chapter Two

Cyrus stepped out of the mighty oak tree and stretched his weary body. He glanced up at its magnificent canopy and thanked it for providing him with safe shelter. He began to wash off what was now a mix of stale smoke and musty oak, fastidiously going over every inch of his body he could reach. As he did so a Raven perched on a lower branch directly overhead and squawked repeatedly, as if purposely demanding his attention. He glanced up at the Raven curious about what it had clenched in its beak. As he stared at it the Raven released the object. He jumped aside and watched the object cascade to the ground in an aberrant motion and settle a short distance in front of him. He gawked at the shiny object in wonderment then stretched out his paw and taped it cautiously a number of times. Once he was sure it posed no threat he stood over it, stunned by its sheer beauty. In bewildered awe he looked up again at the Raven. “Where did it come from?” he enquired, but the Raven remained silent and immediately flew off in a easterly direction.

As Cyrus held the shiny object in his paw a strange sensation surged through his body. He felt a strong connection to it, but it only served to confuse him because he didn’t understand it. It spooked him so much his fur stood on end and he flung it into the long grass deciding to leave it well alone.

Once again he peered up at the branch the Raven perched on. Only the song birds occupied the branches of the oak tree now. He listened to their continuous twittering and watched their swift swooping in and out of the oak tree. He felt envious of their freedom, of being free to go where they pleased wishing he too had wings to fly away. His mind switched to the shiny object again. As much as he wanted to leave it where he had flung it, something within his subconscious kept compelling him to rescue it. He walked to the spot where he thought it had landed but he couldn’t see it. He began to fret. For some reason he felt a strong urge to retrieve it fearing he had lost it forever. He kept scouring the long grass and weeds in the surrounding area frantically tearing at the undergrowth, but he failed to find it.

His heart sank, he felt bad about what he had done.

“Oh God…I wish I hadn’t chucked it now, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” he wailed. “Please God, help me get it back.”

He sat under the oak tree lamenting over the lost shiny object wishing he still had it clutched in his paw. Then his mind began tormenting him, compelling him to take another look at his home, but he didn’t want to look at it ever again, it was too painful. He tried to blank it out but his mind kept nagging him pressing him to go and have another look, because there would be no tricking his mind in broad daylight. So he decided he would do it this one last time. He inhaled a deep breath and began walking bravely towards the Manor again. As he grew closer he began to quiver in dread of seeing the same picture as what he saw at night, but when it came into view nothing had changed and now he could see more clearly the total devastation. His face crumpled into a frown, he froze on the spot and stared woefully at the charred ruin. He glanced east in the direction the Raven flew. At that precise moment the sun peeped over the horizon and blinded his vision. He could see no beauty in the golden life giving orb, not now, not on this morning, all he could see was a fireball, an unforgiving inferno like the one that destroyed his beautiful home and stole his devoted companion. He cut his eyes back to his ruined home and with a heavy heart he sat despairing, inconsolable and feeling like the saddest cat on Earth. He turned his debilitated body away from the ruin and with his head bowed low he began walking back to the oak tree, the only place in the grounds of his home he took solace. He wriggled his svelte body through the hollow and curled up with his paws wrapped around his head, he didn’t want to do anything or face anything, he just wanted his pain to go away.

All that day Cyrus remained in his oak tree hollow only managing to coax himself out of it late evening feeling worse than he did when he retreated to it. He stretched his tense body into an arch, let out a wide yawn and sat with a jaded gaze fixed in the direction he tossed the shiny object when his eyes gleaned something sparkling. He gasped and ran hastily to the spot. To his sheer amazement there was the shiny object snuggled within the long dewy grass. He immediately seized it before it disappeared again, clutching it to his chest feeling a great sense of relief to have found it. He felt the same connection as he did the first time he held it, it gripped his soul, but he wasn’t scared now, he just felt eternally grateful and lucky to be reunited again with the beautiful object. He looked up at the full moon enveloped by a dense starry sky and thanked it immensely for lighting up the patch it where it had landed and making it sparkle with it’s luminous beam of light. The night was calm albeit for the occasional whisper of breeze, which barely rocked the blades of grass let alone the branches of the oak tree. Cyrus heard the usual cackling of the resident night creatures, but they didn’t unnerve him, not now he had the shiny object again. He sat in the moonlight awhile pondering over it and wondering what it all meant.

Well, he finally thought, the Raven gave it to me so I shall see it as a gift, a good omen for my unpredictable future.

He brushed it against his cheek to mark it as his own, took it back to the hollow of the oak tree and placed it inside for for safe keeping. Now it wasn’t just a shiny object to him, it was his special object, a beautiful bright blue jewel. It made him glad of heart and no matter what it meant, he was very happy the Raven choose him as its keeper because now he had a gift as well as his wish. It didn’t take away his pain, it didn’t change his situation, but it did bring comfort to his shattered soul and helped him forget about his grave predicament. It intensified his hope of a happy outcome although he had absolutely no idea how that happy outcome would be realised.


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