“Is it time?” The youngest, and most impatient, asked.“Soon,” replied the eldest and wisest. “Have patience young one.”“Pay attention!” Snapped the leader, who was neither young nor old. “We await the call.”
And when the call was heard . . .
The wolves responded.For it was time! ~~--~~~--~~
“Time to get moving bro, bus will be here in an hour. Weve just got time to grab our stuff.”Sydney Doran slid into the booth where his twin brother, Lee, was eating lunch.“Im not going,” Lee said with as much resolve as he could manage.“What do you mean youre not going?” Sydney was baffled, Lee so rarely disputed hisplans. “I got us tickets to Strangetown, well be in the desert by Saturday.”“What happens when we get to Strangetown? How long are you planning to stay there? Acouple days? Maybe a week?” Lee asked the same questions that he had asked repeatedlysince he and his twin had departed from Desiderata. However, this time his questions werefueled by more frustration than they had been in the past.
Sydney shrugged, “I dont know. Strangetowns a bustling place, figure we could pick upsome odd jobs, build a bit of a stash to see us through for a while.”“Yeah, you can bartend and I can wait tables and a month from now youll get an itchy footand well be off to Takemizu.” Lee sighed and then asked his brother, “dont you get tired ofbeing a stranger?”“A stranger is only a friend you havent met yet.” Sydney tossed off the old saying with ashrug and a grin.“But, we never stay anywhere long enough to actually make friends.”
“Is this about that blond that was flirting with you last night? Do you want to stay here awhile so you can take a stab at that?” Sydney wiggled his eyebrows. “You know Lee, thereare cute blonds in Strangetown too.”“What? No, its not about Ellen or any other woman. Its about me.” Lee set down hisburger and sighed; he wasnt hungry anymore. “Syd Im tired of carrying everything I ownin a backpack, of never knowing if Im going to be in the same place next week. I dontwant to keep leaving towns without saying goodbye to anyone, without having anyone tosay goodbye to.”“What happened to your sense of adventure? Wheres your Doran wanderlust?” Sydneytried to understand.
“I left my sense of adventure in Three Lakes when we were chased by that bear. As for thewanderlust,” Lee shrugged, “maybe Im just a mutant. Syd, weve had a great time andweve seen a lot of places and Im not asking you to give up your dreams, I just need tofollow my own.”“Do you want to go home? To Desiderata?”Lee shook his head, “I dont want to go back, I dont think we can. I want my own home,not Mom and Dads home. Im not going to find it if Im constantly moving around, neverspending more than a month in any one place.” Lee continued, “I need to plant someroots.” ~~--~~~--~~
“So are you going to be staying here?” Sydney looked around as they walked to the busstop. He kept trying to see what might draw his brother to stay here. “Its a nice place, Iguess.”Lee, knowing exactly what his twin was thinking, smiled and just shook his head.“Remember that town we stopped in last month? Lakeview? Something about that placejust keeps tugging at me. I keep feeling that I need to go back. Give it a chance for a bit,see if theres something there that will make me want to stay.”“I remember it. It was a nice place, kinda small though huh?” Sydney gave one of hispatented sneers before relenting. “Im sure theres something to it, if its tugging you back.Even if its not your final destination you need to give it a try.”
“Well, I guess I knew this day would come.” Syd continued, “I had hoped it would take youlonger to shake me off. What am I gonna do without my sidekick?”“Youll manage somehow, Im sure. Without me dragging you down youll move faster andgo farther.” Lee responded, “question is how am I gonna manage without you leading theway?”“When the bird takes its first step out of the nest it learns to fly pretty quickly.”“Flying has always been your specialty Syd, not mine,” Lee said quietly. “Ill leave thesoaring to you. At least for now.”
“Call me when you get to Strangetown, or wherever you end up. Just because I wont begoing with you, doesnt mean I dont want to hear about your adventures.”“Oi! Ill call so often that youll complain about the phone bill.” Sydney grabbed Lee in ahug, “youve always watched out for everyone else. Its time for you to watch out foryourself. Ill be fine, Lee, dont worry so much.”Lee nodded, “I know you will, just keep in touch okay? And call Mama sometimes too. Sheand Dad need to hear from us all.”“Alright, alright. Ill call you Sunday, is that good?” The bus driver was honking the horn.“I need to get on the bus if I dont want my bags to get to Strangetown before I do.”
A few weeks laterIt was Tara Kats day off and she had planned to start the day doing a chore that had beenput off much too long. When Madame had passed away it had been too difficult tocontemplate sorting her things, deciding what should be kept and what should be givenaway. Knowing that it was best not to be surrounded constantly by the memories that theitems would bring, Taras friends had boxed up most of Madames belonging and put themaway in the attic.However, the time had come to go through them all. Sam had asked about Madames teaset and Herbert had wondered about a book hed lent the lady in her last days. There wereother items of equal and lesser importance that should be located, dusted off and perhapsgiven away.
Tara had started the day with resolve, “As soon as breakfast is done well head upstairs.”That resolve soon turned to “Once Ive completed the dishes . . fed the cats . . watered theplants . . checked the mail . . well head upstairs.” Now half the day was gone and she wasplaying with the cats rather than seeing to the task at hand. Knowing that continualprocrastination would not make the job easier, she sighed, gave Samantha one last pat,picked up Faline and went back into the house.“Come along my loves, we have work to do in the attic today.” Tara said to the two oldercats. She then looked at the kitten in her hands, “and you, my dear, are coming with us. Iwill not have you wreaking terror behind my back.” As Faline was known to be arambunctious kitten this was not an undue concern.
Tara placed the kitten on the floor and pondered the stacks of boxes in the attic cupola. Tolift her spirits she considered the room itself and determined that once the chore was doneand the boxes departed that the cupola would make a charming reading room. Surroundedby windows it was sunny and bright with a gorgeous view of the Lake. Possibly it was theview that had given the town its name – Lakeview.And that was yet another method of procrastination, thought Tara. Determinedly, she chosea box and then opened it.
While Tara began searching the boxes, the cats amused themselves. Falines attempts toengage Samantha in play were largely ignored though on occasion she would swipe her pawat the kit to toss her gently aside. Samantha had been trying hard to ignore the youngusurper of her realm, however it was difficult to deny the kits charm. All kittens are cute,even to mature cats.
Mickey meanwhile took up a perch in the window seat. It was his favorite spot in the houseand from it he could see most of the town below. There was very little that happened inLakeview that Mickey wasnt a witness to. He knew which of the adults had receivedpromotions and which of the children had gotten an A plus. He watched the green thumbsturn plots of dirt into thriving gardens and cheered the fishermen who pulled trout from thelake.Mickey also saw the more troubling side of the towns residents. He knew who hadnt paidtheir bills on time and who had pest problems. He had witnessed spouses cheating andlovers quarrels. He knew which children should be given more love and which petsdeserved more attention.
Tired of having her tail chased by the kitten, Samantha joined Mickey on the perch. “Whatare you watching so intently my love? Surely you are not human watching again, they arenot that captivating.” Samantha considered humans only slightly less interesting thankittens. They were nice to keep as pets and generally useful for providing squishy food butshe could not understand Mickeys fascination with their day to day goings on.
Mickey chuckled to himself; he adored his partner, but she was such a felinist. “The humansare of interest to me because they are an interest to Tara. The past while has been difficulton our pet but I feel as if she is almost ready to move forward. Perhaps down there,” heinclined his head towards the town below, “is something, or someone, that can help her todo so.”
“You mean a man?” Samantha scoffed, “it was a man that was behind all of the problems tobegin with. Tara should have listened to Madame and stayed away from men all together.”“I dont mean a man, necessarily. She needs a distraction, particularly now.” Mickey lookedpointedly at the town below.Samantha followed his gaze, trying to find what Mickey was seeing. “Why now? Shes beengetting along fine as . .” Seeing the movement in front of a house below Samantha stoppedher train of thought. “Ooh!”
“What is it? What is it? Let me see!” The kitten was trying to claw her way up into the seatalong with the other two.“Oh! Go chase your tail, you little pest!” Samantha hissed at Faline.“No no, she should see.” Mickey remonstrated his partner. “Help her up and we will starther education.”“Shes far too young and foolish to be of help.” Samantha stated.“She is a cat. Tara is her responsibility just as she is now ours.” Mickey declared with an airof finality. With that statement, Samantha gave in and began assisting the kitten.
Once the kitten was settled between the two older cats, Mickey started quietly speaking.“We shall begin with the basics and introduce you to the residents of Lakeview.”“What does residents mean?” asked the kitten.Mickey chuckled softly, “the animals that live in town and their pets.”“Oh!”
“Now first off on the edge of the lake is where Cyd Roseland and Porthos live. Cyd is a verygood friend of Tara, they were kits together.”“Cyds garden doesnt look nearly as nice as it normally does. I hope that everything isokay with him, we havent seen him out lately.”“Tara has been concerned, and while he prefers to stay below, normally he does phone tochat. She has not heard from him recently.”Seeing movement at the front of the Roseland house, Samantha twitched her whiskers.“Well now isnt that interesting?”
“Very interesting indeed,” Mickey agreed. “I suppose that we now know whats beenoccupying Cyds time. New kittens need a lot of attention.”“I wonder if Tara knows?”“Im sure she must, new kittens are always big news.”“I havent seen her take a gift out though. Im sure that if she knew shed have been downto welcome it. The last time there was a new kitten in town, Tara was down at the Ottomasthe next day with a dollhouse.”
“Speaking of the Ottomas family, Sam seems to be mighty proud of David today. I wonderwhat he has accomplished this time? Most likely another A, whatever that means.” Mickeyconsidered human school and the achievements that kits accomplished there to be veryconfusing. Why did humans need to know such silly things as math and spelling?Faline looked at Mickey, then cocked her head at Samantha. “Why are you proud of thehuman kit?”Samantha swiped her paw at the kitten. “I have never allowed my name to be shortened inthat manner.” Samantha sniffed, “calling someone by a diminutive name is a human thing.Cats are above such nonsense.”
Chastised, Faline ducked her head, “then who is Sam?”“Sam is the name by which Samantha Ottomas is generally called. See her there? Thatsher oldest, David, fresh home from school. The little one rolling around with the furry lumpis called Sharla. I suppose that Sams mate, Peter, is at the station-house. Ms. Doraappears to have been baking, for she has a treat for David.” Mickey listed off the membersof the Ottomas clan for the kitten.“Unless it is tuna pie, Im not interested,” declared Samantha.“Ms. Dora is the best cook in town,” Mickey demurred. “I believe that I would even eatlemons if she baked them.”
When the other two cats just looked at him in disgust, Mickey quickly changed the subjectand moved on to the next house. “As we noticed earlier it seems as if Trent and Trisha havereturned home. I wonder if Tara has heard?”Samantha looked over her shoulder to where Tara was sorting books, “I would think shemustnt know yet. I do wonder what her reaction will be when she does learn of it? Surelyshes forgotten him by now.”“Humans can be odd about their attachments, I do hope she hears of his return before shesees him. It would not do for there to be a public scene.”“Why would there be a scene?” The kitten wondered.
Mickey sighed, “once upon a time, Tara thought he would be her mate. Now, he has a matebut it is not her.”“What happened?”“He couldnt stay, she couldnt leave.” Mickey explained simply.“He was a scoundrel.” Was Samanthas verdict.“No my love, he was just a boy.” Mickey placed his paw on top of Samanthas paw. “Let usnot pass judgment until we see what happens. We always liked Trent before, didnt we?”
Samantha grudgingly agreed and then moved the groups attention to another house. “TheTravellers arent the only family that has recently returned home. Robert Kim has broughthis wife and family back to Lakeview.”“I dont know why he decided to return. I would think that Lakeview would be very boringcompared to the city life they had.” Mickey said with an aside to the kitten, “Tara and Samwere constantly reading about them in the tabloid magazines.”“Robert believes that Simmywood is no place to raise a kit. He wants the boy to benefitfrom the same wholesome environment that he had growing up,” confided Samantha.“Where did you hear that?” It was not often that Samantha knew something that he didnot.
“Went down and said my welcomes to Cheech and Gabby. I wanted to see what type ofcreatures they are.” She was pleased to see that she had surprised Mickey.“And?”“Cheech is quite full of himself, can you believe he offered to paw a napkin for me? Like Idhave any use for a napkin with a paw print on it.” Samantha giggled and twitched her ears.“Poor fellow, so used to adoration from humans that he doesnt know how to behave himselfaround sensible animals.” Mickey felt pity for the cat, “what about the dog?”“Shes quite alright,” was Samanthas reply. Then she sniffed, “for a dog that is.”
Mickey twitched his whiskers, “such high praise from you my sweet. I shall have to taketime to visit with this paragon of a canine.”“Hardly a paragon, just more . . . sensible than most canines of my acquaintance.”Samantha eyed a pair of dogs in the town below; “The Critturs are a perfect example oftypical canine behavior.”“They are high spirited arent they?” Mickey concurred, “Danny and Sarah spent enoughtime on the road to be happy with the home theyve found. Perhaps we would be overlyexuberant in the same situation. Not all are as lucky as you, and have inherited their petfrom a parent.”
“Their pets seem to enjoy their antics though. Theyve been quite lavished with affectionsince finding the Picassos.” Samantha noted, “Matthew must be on his way to the station-house, I think Danny hopes to join the crew along with Spotty.”“It takes a special breed to remain calm in the face of emergency. I feel Danny would beprone to howling along with the sirens. Not much help in that.” Mused Mickey beforecontinuing, “Spottys the bravest dog I have yet to meet. I heard he rescued some kittensfrom a fire last week, went right in through the smoke when he heard them crying.”“Do you think that they are okay? Will humans be found for the kittens, do you think?”Faline could feel pity for human-less kits now that shed found her own.
“Perhaps Tiramasu will share her human with one of them? Her house is much larger thanshe and her pet need for themselves,” Mickey considered.“Humph, have you ever known Tiramasu to share so much as a crunchy with another cat?Much as I dislike speaking ill of other felines, Tiramasu needs to learn manners.” Beingunwilling to share your crunchies with other cats was the epitome of bad behavior inSamanthas eyes.
“Its difficult for a cat to learn manners when their human caters to its every whim. Julianshould just say no on occasion. Being overly pampered is Tiramasus problem.”“Do you think he really fixes Trout Almondine for her upon request?” Samantha glancedover her shoulder, “Tara can generally understand when we are requesting a meal.However, I specifically asked for beefies this morning and received fishies instead.”“She tries. But humans dont always pay close enough attention to understand. I highlydoubt that Julian is even as capable as our Tara is at communicating.” Mickey knew thatTara was a particularly gifted human when it came to felines. “I believe, my love, thatTiramasu was bragging in order to ruffle your fur.”
“Can we please quit talking about Tiramasu? Ill be off my dinner for a week just thinkingabout that obnoxious she cat.” Samantha said sourly.“What about them?” asked Faline as her eyes watched the door to a house nearby open.“Who are they?”“Oh! That would be the Gavigans. The Mister must have come home for lunch today and isheading back downtown to his office.” Mickey nodded and then continued, “we dont knowthe Gavigans very well, they dont have any animals that live with them.”
“Why dont they?” Faline asked, she could not imagine a human without an animal to sharetheir life.“Not everyone does, but life is better all around when humans and animals share homeswith each other.” She might occasionally complain, but Samantha was very happy to haveTara for a pet. “Maybe, when the child is older, they will find an animal companion for him.Personally, I believe it is best when the animal is first. That way proper dominance isestablished more quickly.”
“The Ramaswamis seem to be of the same belief, dearest.” Mickey inclined his headtowards a small group outside another house. “It looks as if Officer Melanie is bringing anew friend for us.”“Oh, I do hope it is another cat. There are too many dogs in this town as is.” Samanthasaid as she peered below.“You, my sweet, would think one dog was too many.”“No, one dog is just right. We felines need someone to acknowledge our superiority.”Samantha chuckled. “Plus, dogs are good for slavish obedience.”
“Not to worry dear, it appears to be a kit rather than a pup.” Mickey pointed out, “and sheappears to be a stellar example of the feline breed.”“Whats her name?” asked Faline.“I do not yet know,” replied Mickey. “We shall have to venture down soon and find out.”Faline considered this, “but I thought you knew everything Mickey.”“Not quite child,” was Mickeys amused reply. “I do not think that it is possible to actuallyknow everything, though we can try.”
“Okay wise one, why dont you tell us about the new guy down there?” Samantha askedmockingly, pointing her paw towards the last house on the row.“Ahh Mr. Doran is a bit of an enigma.” Mickey stated as he considered the subject inquestion, “he arrived in town a short while ago and took up a job at the station-house.While he seems personable enough, I do not know why he came to Lakeview.”
“It is a bit odd isnt it? Very few humans choose to come to town with no previous ties.”Samantha thought about the families in town, “Most of the humans that live here grew uphere, or their mates did. There are a few that came to Lakeview to take a job; but Iveheard that Mr. Doran did not acquire his position at the station-house until he had alreadybeen here for a short while.”“This is true.” Replied Mickey, and then he continued, “I asked Spotty about him. But, youknow how close-mouthed Spotty is about the humans he works with; all he would say isthat Lee is nice and does his job well. For a rookie.”
“Perhaps, he will find an animal companion soon and we can learn more about him.”Samantha said before turning from the window and curling up on window seat, “and nowthat we are done it is time for my nap.”“Is that all of them?” asked Faline, feeling a bit let down that story-time was over.
“That is all that we can see from here,” replied Mickey with a yawn; for indeed it was naptime. “The only ones remaining are the Goodies. They live next door, so youll be sure tomeet them as soon as you are able to traverse the stairs out front.”“Tell me about them Mickey, please,” Faline begged.“Well alright, Ill tell you a bit.” Mickey agreed, “Youll like Mrs. Goodie as she is almostalways outside in the garden or the greenhouse and she generally has time for a rub or anice chat.”
“Mr. Goodie is nice enough as well but he is away quite often, traveling for his job.” Mickeycontinued, “oh and they have a dog companion named Bela.”Samantha opened one eye, “Bela is a yappy dog. Much too hyperactive for my tastes,always getting into mischief.”“The mischief is fairly harmless and it amuses the Goodies.” Mickey yawned, “and now it isnap time. If you are not going to nap Faline you should go entertain yourself.”“Can I go outside and play?” Faline asked her elders.
“As long as Tara has no objection, I assume it would be acceptable.” Was Mickeys reply,“but stay on the balcony.”Tara seemed to have no objections when Faline asked for permission to go out. She was tooengrossed in her reading to do more than flick her eyes towards the kitten and say “Ill feedyou in a little bit kitty, now go play.”
Faline scampered out the door, leaving Tara and her feline friends to their own occupation.Upon reaching the balcony she momentarily sat oddly still, taking in the sights and smells ofthe outdoor world. While the balcony did not have quite the same view as the frontwindows did, looking towards the hills rather than the lake, it was an enjoyable place for akitten to spend time. It was particularly nice in the late afternoon when the suns warmthpermeated the stones. Perhaps, here in the sun, she would indeed take an afternoon nap.Before she could curl up however, she spied a slight fluttering of yellow and brown to theside of the balcony. The kitten crouched, her entire body twitching, before leaping towardsthe butterfly that had been sunning itself upon the tiles.
Nothing can provide entertainment for a kitten as a group of butterflies can. Faline leapedand pounced chasing the small creatures up and down the length of the balcony. She couldnever quite catch one but she was determined to continue trying. Even butterflies can beworn out by a kittens endless energy and before long they attempted escape on thebranches of the nearby tree. Their defection daunted the kitten for only a short while,before she leaped after them once again.
“I suppose you think we should do something to help her?”“Of course we need to do something!” Mickey peered down at the wailing kitten. “Bother,this is all my fault, I should have been out here keeping an eye on things.”“It is not your fault love, you did tell her to stay on the balcony. And that is not thebalcony.”
Welcome to the town of Lakeview, home of the Boolpropian Round Robins eleventhgeneration of Dorans. Now that youve met the residents, we can get on with the story. Ishould hopefully have the first chapter ready soon(ish).My name is Ndainye or Jenn and Ill be narrating this generations story. I want to passalong my thank you to all of the narrators of the previous generations heirs and spares.Youve all done such wonderful jobs and Im honored to a part of the project. I appreciateall of the support that both the collaborators and the readers of the project have given.