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Winter Solstice

By Azriella T. Jones

Action / Adventure

Chapter 1

Snow was lightly falling onto the plains of Third Earth. The snowflakes were fluffy and huge with no wind to displace them. It was the kind of snowfall that made it actually pleasant to have snow:  soft, calm, comforting.  In a way it was like someone up above was gently laying a soft quilt over the silent land below. Cat’s Lair was part of this dusting, and enjoyed its share of the sparkling crystals that fell upon it from the heavens.

Inside one of the bedrooms, with its open window raised wide, Galina awoke and stretched in response to the feel of the snow. She especially loved the combined smell of ice and snow, and had felt it coming. Glad it was finally here, she arched her back and then turned her head both ways, stretching and cracking the bones in her neck. Not quite tenderly, Galina kicked her bed partner in the foot causing him to rustle but he still wasn’t quite fully awake.  Okay, she thought, this calls for more drastic measures.

Galina slipped out of bed and made her way to the window, where she found a light spattering of white frozen dust accumulating. Gathering a handful, the she-cat brought it back to her lover who remained unconscious under the bed sheets. Galina held it under his nose and waited a few moments.  This should get his attention.  It was all that was needed to illicit an immediate response from Bengali as he began to register the familiar scent. His bright blue eyes flashed open and he looked at her in excited surprise,

“It’s snowing!”

“Yes, it is!” she grinned, “Isn’t it wonderful?”  Galina smeared the snow gleefully in Bengali’s eager face which he happily licked up.

“Come here you little minx!”  Wrapping his arms around her waist, he flipped her back onto the bed for a long sweet kiss.

Tygra had just finished his tour of overnight watch duty and was admittedly exhausted for it hadn’t been an easy night with the mutants up to their usual high jinks.  Once the disturbance had been settled with the help of Cheetara and Panthro putting things right, he’d seen the start of the falling snow.  The heating sensors on the cat’s eyes were activated along with the lairs’ windows and mirrors so nothing would freeze up and they would have an unrestricted view of the surrounding area.  Tygra yawned and rubbed his eyes; Lion-O entered to cover the shift change.

“Ho, Tygra.”  He greeted, “you look about ready to drop.  Bad night was it?”

“It was nothing we couldn’t handle.”  The tiger replied, vacating his spot to the lion.  “But you’re right, I am beat.  The perimeter is secure and as we got a light dusting of snow, I’ve activated the heating sensors so everything should be all right.  Have a good shift, Lion-O.”

“Thanks Tygra and rest well.”  He waved.

The tiger exited the control room and was making his way back to his room when he remembered Rangerkitty and what she did on the first snow fall of each year, no matter how big or how small. Tygra turned in the corridor and ran back to where he had come from. Figuring Rangerkitty might be in the hangar or on the front steps; he headed there, and found her just outside the main entrance to Cat’s Lair.

The tigress was standing alone, solemn, yet peaceful. She was watching the snowflakes fall over the jungles and forests that lay just before the place they called home. Slowly Tygra approached and slipped both hands around her waist hugging her shoulder and neck with his chin. Saying nothing, he knew what Rangerkitty was doing; it was something she did every year which he was usually never present.  So while this time he was, Tygra was not about to try and take center stage of her ceremony.

She acknowledged Tygra with a squeeze of her hand on his forearm and looked back up to the falling crystals that glittered in the blue morning light. “Good morning Father, thank you…I love you too.”

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