Emi's Message

Submitted into Contest #30 in response to: Write a story about someone who loses their cat.... view prompt



Her fur was pure white. It covered her lithe, elegant body like a blanket of snow. Aquamarine eyes as clear as the ocean gazed out from her beautiful face. She had a long, graceful tail. When she purred in satisfaction her voice was a sweet melody. When she growled in anger she became a furious feline warrior. Her movements were sleek and silent. She was the beloved best friend and playmate of her young mistress.

Mireia lay on her bed thinking fondly about her dearest companion, Emi. The cat was the only friend she had in the whole world. Pushing her long red-gold curls away from her face, the 12-year-old girl thought about her life so far. 

She lived in an orphanage from the age of 5. For 7 years she'd been there. In all those years it didn't get any easier. She wasn't close to anyone so she didn't have friends. Quiet and reserved, she was bullied a lot. This made Mireia feel more sad and lonely. While other children adapted to life there and went on with their lives, she never did. She always felt like she didn’t belong anywhere. Being denied a family life made her feel unloved and abandoned. She always thought something was wrong with her because of her situation.

Shifting her position to get more comfortable, she stared up at the ceiling. Her sapphire blue eyes were not focused on anything but her mind was deep in thought. Usually Emi would be beside her. She imagined herself absent-mindedly stroking the back of her feline friend. Long, gentle strokes filled with so much affection. Emi loved that the most. Mireia's thoughts turned to the day she found Emi. 

On that day she had been sitting by herself as usual while the other children hung out with their various groups after their lessons. The head of the orphanage, Mrs. Castell, came over to Mireia and asked her to go with her to the forest. She wanted her to help with picking fruits and berries. Mireia agreed and went with her. It was better than staying alone with her thoughts. Mrs. Castell was the only person who was good to her.

While she helped Mrs. Castell, both of them heard a tiny sound. It was very faint and could be heard very slightly. They searched for the source of the sound. After a while of listening carefully and searching, Mireia found Emi. 

Emi was a newborn kitten back then. She was abandoned and hungry. Mireia picked her up gently and held her in her arms. She looked so weak and hungry. Mrs. Castell allowed the kitten to be taken to the orphanage. The children weren't allowed to have their own pets but they were allowed to take care of animals as part of their education. Mrs. Castell thought it would great for Mireia since she was always lonely.

The kitten was nursed back to health. Mireia named her Emi, which means 'beautiful blessing' in Japanese. She believed that the kitten was a wonderful blessing in her life. Mrs. Castell helped her with the name and she was very happy with it.

That was 2 years ago. Emi had grown into the most beautiful and elegant cat Mireia had ever seen. She loved her deeply and they formed an unbreakable bond. Mireia was growing up too. She wasn't a kid anymore. She was very close to her teen years

. Growing up was confusing to her. She didn't understand many of the changes which were happening to her. Mrs. Castell was kind and patient with her. She helped her to understand when she needed to. 

The dinner bell interrupted her thoughts abruptly, like howling winds moving through a palace's halls. It brought her back to reality and the present moment. Dinner time already? Where could Emi be? Mireia hadn't seen her for hours. This was unusual because Emi didn't stay away for too long. Especially not during meal times. 

Mireia sat up and swung her legs off the bed. Quickly putting on her shoes she ran downstairs. Thinking only about Emi, she forgot that they weren't allowed to run inside. Fortunately no one saw her. Or so she thought. Maybe she's in the dining hall or the kitchenI'll just check quickly before eating. She hurried to the kitchen to check there first. Emi liked to lay by the warm hearth there. She would either enjoy a bowl of milk which the chef gave her or take a nap. If not in the kitchen, she would be in the dining hall either waiting for Mireia to come or already curled up at her mistress's feet while she ate. These were two of her favourite spots. The third spot was in Mireia's bedroom where she curled up on the bed and slept blissfully. 

Today Emi wasn't in any of her favourite places. Mireia started to worry. She had already broken one rule by running inside the orphanage. Being late to meals was another offense. If anyone was late they wouldn't get anything to eat. The offender would be punished too. They would have to help in cleaning the kitchen. The job of scrubbing pots or floors would be given especially to them.

Since she was already late, Mireia knew what her fate would be. She didn't care much this time. Her only concern was for Emi. More than anything else in the world she had to find Emi. She began to search in all the cat's favorite places. She called her as she searched. Nothing. She wondered if she should wait until Emi came to her. It was getting dark as sunset turned to night. Mireia couldn't wait. She was becoming more anxious and restless. Emi never stayed out at night. She knew the routines of the orphanage even better than the humans who lived there. Where could she be? Why doesn't she come when I call her? Could something have happened to her? Dread filled Mireia as if she stood on the edge of a cliff about to fall as that last thought formed in her head. She couldn't stay without Emi. She was determined to find her no matter what. Even if it meant breaking the rules.

Hours passed and Mireia searched everywhere inside. The curfew for sleeping had already passed but she still searched. She searched until she felt exhausted. Forced to go back to her room the determined girl fell asleep reluctantly. She had a dream. 

In her dream she saw Emi. The dream felt so real that Mireia thought she found Emi. She called her and ran towards her. The cat watched her silently for a while. It stared at her as if it wished to tell her something. As she got closer, Emi turned and walked away, leaving Mireia shocked and confused. She tried to run after her but Emi didn't turn back and finally disappeared in the distance. 

Mireia opened her eyes. It was morning. A bright, pleasant and sunny day starting with a beautiful, picturesque morning. It was so ironic to her own melancholic feelings. She thought about the incident with Emi last night. After much thinking she realized that it was a dream. She found tears in her eyes. They streamed down her face like tiny, narrow little rivulets. It reminded her of rain hitting her face or when water is splashed on the face while washing up. 

She was very upset by her dream which ignited her fears of losing Emi. This fueled her determination to find her beloved cat as fast as possible. Another day spent searching. And another. Still no Emi. Mireia couldn't handle it. Three days passed and Emi was not found anywhere. The whole orphanage had been searched in that time. Thinking that something bad might have happened to Emi she burst into tears.

At that moment the children who always bothered her found her. They bullied her as usual, pushing her around.

"You're so silly being like this over a cat."

"The cat left you. Get over it already."

"It's your fault. No one likes you. Even your precious cat left you too."

Their words made Mireia feel even more miserable. She had never felt more unloved and unwanted in her life. She cried more and they enjoyed watching her. They taunted her more and told her that she won't see the cat ever again. Mireia felt so alone, lost and empty. She felt like a person who doesn't know why she exists.

As if that wasn't bad enough those bullies told the mistresses at the orphanage about all the rules Mireia broke during those days when she searched inside and outside for her precious cat. The Mistress of Discipline was strict and didn't like rules to be broken, especially not rules she herself established. Mireia was called to her and punished. She was scolded and given the hardest chores to do. Those were difficult days for her but she couldn't do anything about it. She didn't have anyone, not even Emi this time. All she had were her tears. As the days passed she didn't give up on finding her pet.

Since she didn't have time to search because of those tedious chores, she decided that she was going to go out of the orphanage to find Emi. It was a huge risk and she knew it well. No child was allowed to go out alone. If they caught her who knows what they would do to her. At this point she didn't care. In her opinion they were already doing their worst to her. She had to take the chance. She had to find out what happened to Emi.

Mireia planned her escape at night. She packed a few of her things, took some food from the kitchen and stayed outside until the curfew passed. When she thought everyone was sleeping, she ran towards the exit of the place. The moment she did that an alarm was triggered. It alerted everyone and several lights were switched on in the building which was her unhappy home.

She didn't look back. All she wanted to do was get away from there and be reunited with Emi again. As she drew closer to freedom so that she could almost feel it, they caught up to her and took her back.

This time the Mistress of Discipline gave her a beating and grounded her. She wasn't allowed to leave her room at all. Mireia was beyond emotions now. All her attempts to find Emi were in vain. She wondered why the cat didn't come back. She wondered if the reason was because she was worthless and no one loved her, not even Emi. Lying on her back on her bed, Mireia's thoughts were the only way she had left to express anything.

Where are you Emi? Whenever you go out you always come back. Won't you come to me again this time? You won't? Not even now?

Many days passed. Mireia felt so hopeless with each passing day. She lost her will to live. All she thought is that the world is a cruel place and she hated it. She lost all hope of finding Emi. This broke her heart the most.

During this time Mrs. Castell was not in the orphanage. She had been away for a while and didn't know what had happened there. The orphanage was hers. She founded it and wanted it to be a place of refuge and love for those orphans who didn’t have love and care and a home. She wanted them to feel at home there and treat each other like family. The children were supposed to learn unity and equality. After going back there she found out everything that happened while she was away. It made her furious. She went to Mireia at once and was shocked at the scene which filled her eyes. Where there was once a child with curious, intelligent eyes there was now a child with dull, dead eyes. A child who accepted a bad fate and felt too hopeless. Mireia was even beyond tears now.

Mrs. Castell went to her and hugged her. She comforted her and told her that she's not grounded anymore.

"Mireia... dear child.. I'm so sorry this happened to you. Do not despair. I know you had your reasons for doing what you did. Although it's wrong to break the rules you have been punished more than enough."

Feeling so down Mireia didn't respond. 

"It's okay now," Mrs. Castell continued. "You can go and continue searching for Emi. I know how much you love that cat since the day you saw her. Don't give up on your loved one so easily."

This stirred Mireia. She whispered softly, repeating Mrs. Castell's words. "Don't give up on your loved one..." But... I searched for so long. She won't come to me."

Mrs. Castell smiled gently and said kindly. "Sometimes what we are looking for is right in front of us but we don't see it because we're too busy looking in other places for it. Don't lose hope, sweet child. Not yet at least. Emi is smart and has a strong bond with you. I'm sure she wouldn't leave you without a reason. Who can fully understand the behaviour of animals? Yet they are the ones who understand us the most and what we truly need. Go now. Get yourself cleaned and find your Emi." With that she smiled and left her. Mrs. Castell then took care of the Mistress of Discipline and made her realize her mistakes. She gave her one more chance to improve herself and made her realize that severe punishment doesn't help children but breaks them.

When Mrs. Castell left her room, Mireia thought deeply about what she said. She realized that it was true. Mrs. Castell was right. She shouldn't give up so easily. These days it felt like she betrayed Emi by giving up on her. She had to trust her own heart and believe in herself and Emi. Thanks to Mrs. Castell she regained her spirit and determination. After getting ready and eating breakfast she thought about where she should search. Realizing she hadn't searched the garden properly she went out there to do that.

After searching for a few hours Emi couldn't be found. Mrs. Castell also provided a search party to help Mireia. Still nothing.

Tired and feeling defeated, Emi's young mistress sat under a huge tree to rest. This time she really thought of giving up. Emi. If you're out there I hope you come back soon. I don't know where else to search for you.

Then a strange and remarkable thing happened. Unknown to Mireia there was a hollow in the tree which she leaned against. Gold light began pouring from the hollow and pooled Mireia's back. She felt a glowing warmth on her back. When she turned to see what it was, she was stunned beyond words. She fell into the hollow and found herself in a secret passage. Both sides were covered with lush green trees and hedges and beautiful flowers. Mireia realized it was a secret passage in a forest. 

Feeling both stunned and curious she walked along the passage. It was a long walk but surprisingly she didn't feel tired at all. Finally the passage gave way to a clearing in a forest. An enchanted forest. She marvelled at the fact that such a stunning thing could exist on Earth and be untouched by humans. Looking around she was mesmerized by the beauty of that place. Walking around she noticed the details of the forest. The trees and plants were lush and green. There were many gorgeous flowers with bright colours. The streams and lakes shone like polished mirrors and the quality of the water was so clean and pure. Untainted. In this place Mireia felt very happy and light-hearted. For a while she just enjoyed being there, watching the gorgeous scenery and listening to birdsong.

The most remarkable thing was that there were animals everywhere. All kinds of animals co-existing together. Mireia wondered at that. Some of the animals were drinking water, some nibbled on leaves on the lower branches of trees. Most of them lay on the soft sweet-smelling grass. She was so amazed at this rare sight. This was a Kingdom of Animals.

Suddenly she heard a familiar "meow!" behind her. Turning around quickly her shocked face turned to delight as she saw the object of her love in front of her. "Emi!" She called out delightedly, hugging her cat. "I searched everywhere for you. You were here! How did you even get here? I was so worried!" Tears of joy filled her eyes at finally finding her beloved Emi.

The cat just "meowed" at her as it snuggled against her. Mireia's joy was infinite. She vowed to be more careful and take better care of Emi. Until now she focussed only on her own pain and sorrow. Losing Emi made her realize that her loneliness was because of herself too. She hadn't tried to get along with others and she depended on her cat too much. Now she learned a valuable lesson from all this. Mireia was determined to improve her life. 

With Emi safely in her arms she looked around at the marvellous Kingdom of Animals. Watching the animals taught her some valuable things too. They lived in the present and they didn't let negative things get to them. They just lived with the flow of life. 

Realizing how precious this place was and believing that animals are our guardians, Mireia left that amazing place in peace. She didn't want it to become tainted by anyone. Going back the way she had come, she left with Emi.

February 29, 2020 03:58

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