Ah, born again to-
The dung beetle’s first full thought was stopped by a grazing cow, who happily crunched upon its skeleton.
Alright. Born again to reign! Lets see, starving, need something to eat right now. Oh thank the gods this leaf is here and I can-
The young caterpillar was slurped up by an toddling owl, who only swallowed half before spitting it out at the sound of a much more enticing mouse-snack.
DAMN THAT HURT.
The hatchling used its egg-tooth to labor itself into the world. Upon emerging, he immediately began to dig into the cool mud. His strange fin-like legs were weak, but finally he moved enough dirt out his way and then again onto himself to appear more like a small rock than baby turtle.
I shall not move until I have grown. I will not be humiliated by the failures of another inadequate form!
When Spring came again, an adult Painted Turtle scuttled into a nearby pond. He stayed to the edges, shadowed by leaning trees, where he could hunt for water spiders and fish eggs in peace. Save for one short encounter with a peckish raccoon, it was the most uneventful 27 years any creature had ever lived. The second half of which was mostly spent disappointed he hadn’t let the raccoon win.
A bubble on the surface of the pond indicated the last bored sigh of the elder reptile.
Finally. What have we here now? Alright, some sort of bird. At least that means I can fly from predators.
The empire penguin shuffled forward, only to be quickly drawn back into its father’s legs.
UNHAND ME, FOUL FOWL.
But the protest went unheard, and unanswered. The fluffy chick waddled on strong legs, taking its meals from his mother’s gullet, ashamed of it as he was. Determined to succeed though, the growing fledgling quickly became the fastest waddler, the strongest diver, and the best round-rock-finder of the entire huddle.
He had almost lost the last of his brown baby feathers when a leopard seal decided it wanted a snack.
…VICTORY! Again, I am man set loose upon the world! I will finally rise again and BE THE END OF LIVES and the BEGINNING OF EMPIRES.
The tiny babe scrunched his nose up defiantly.
“Oh look, he’s wiggling his little nosey!” Mary leaned down to the newborn and touched her nose to his.
Ah yes, a proper mother to nourish and protect me until I am again strong! Thank the gods to be human again. Foolish mortals telling me it could take centuries to return to my strength and glory! But NO, no universe has seen one like me before! I cannot be restrained!
“Look, Charlie, his coloring is just gorgeous!”
“Yes, he’s perfect! A show boy for sure, what shall we name the tyke?”
Mary laid the kitten with the rest of the litter, “He looks kinda like a Sir Waddles to me.”
MY TITLE is Attila and you WILL resp-
Charlie popped a formula bottle into the tiny whiskered mouth, “Gotta go ahead and get you strong if you’re going to be pulling in the blue ribbons, Sir Waddles!”
The small kit could not yet open its eyes to glare at the elder Mr. and Mrs. Greensworth, but it severely wished it could. Even if the formula was delicious and every instinct told him to cry out for more.
God what a pathetic sound this form makes.
“Oh yes, squeaking for mommy! Not your turn yet, you’ve got lots of brothers and sisters! Charlie, run go fill up another bottle for our beautiful little runt.”
It took almost a week before he could even see his captors. Warm hands continued to pick up the small form and lean in, cooing words of praise each time he blinked at the round faced woman or chirped a request to the long-nosed man. He was cleansed, nourished, and adored while he slowly learned to stand and walk and meow properly. Each of his needs were carefully met by practiced hands.
It was awful.
He’d seen cats before. Several traveled on the wagons of his army for both companionship and pest control. These warrior assistants were feisty creatures who were occasionally thanked with a half eaten fish or a palm of wine, but never checked on and rarely even named. There were countries to conquer, and that left no time for any waste of sentiment or tending.
But these captors were strange. Instead of encouraging the hunt of real mice, he and his littermates were offered cotton ones. It was insulting, really, for them to assume he could not catch his own meals. But the man occasionally spread a few dried leaves on their moistened kibbles, which made quite the tasty dish. These particularly savory treats always seemed to calm the turmoil in the toddling kitten’s soul.
As time went on, he was not surprised to be admired above his siblings. However, it did irk him that rather than his premier pouncing abilities, or the fact that he could catch the dancing feather faster than any of the others, it was his appearance they seemed to treasure. These humans did not have their priorities straight. What were looks to a combatant?
“Just look how he’s developing, Mary. Perfectly round head. Not a straight line in sight.”
“Except for my baby’s cutie whiskers! Isn’t that right, my little knight?”
The kitten had learned quickly that tone of voice meant he was about to get “tiny itty bitty kitten kisses” all over his freshly groomed fur. He would have to start the tongue bath all over again. Even if he did occasionally enjoy the attention.
But only occasionally. Woman with her ridiculous actions should be embarrassed.
Self assurance was the only way to maintain dignity in the circumstances of this form.
Other captors came for his siblings. They each seemed to trade a hefty price for his inferior kin. Well, except for Peanut, who was given away for free due to his unseemly stunted tail. This did not bother Sir Wad- Attila. It did not bother Attila. With each sibling sold off, his climbing spaces and chaises became all the more luxurious. His favorite, of course, was the plush pillow with sparkling fringe, which stayed in the house office. In this spot, a regular sunbeam from the high window warmed his soft fur in a heavenly way. Also, by pure coincidence, Mary Greensworth was often in the same room, working at her desk. He would occasionally sit on her stack of books so she could admire him and tell him what a good kitty he was.
All for show, of course. Just need to do well here to move up the life chain.
Though the chin scratches were very much appreciated.
When he was 9 months old, he and Charlie had their first spat. Charlie wanted the cat to get into a small space with a door only Charlie seemed to know how to work.
ABSURD! I have burned Balkans to the ground! I am no mere object to stuff into a cage!
“Come on, Sir Waddles! Please don’t be a fuss on your first show day!”
PLEAD ALL YOU LIKE, peasant! I do not take orders from the likes of you!
As Charlie retreated from a failed attempt to admonish the hissing creature, Mary calmly approached. She put a kiss on the cat’s forehead, and a cheese cracker in the crate.
I can not be fooled, woman.
She placed a second cheese cracker in the crate.
A short drive later, the three Greensworths stood in a large stadium filled with other felines and handlers.
“Look at all your competition, sweetie! Don’t be scared, you’ll do great!”
Scared? I am a ruler of men. These creatures and their mews of disdain would not frighten my youngest soldier. I will defeat them easily for you.
His promise rang true, and the couple treated their victorious furball to a fresh can of tuna for his county win.
“Oh my goodness, we’re headed to state, Charlie! STATE!”
“I know dear,” Charlie spooned a bit more tuna onto the cat’s plate, “it’s a thrill! But we can’t lose focus now. I think he’ll need a brushing each morning and night to keep his shine up and his muscles relaxed.”
That does not sound like a terrible idea. A creature of my stature deserves such attentions.
With each show, the pile of blue ribbons on Mary’s office desk grew. During the week, she would show them to Sir Waddles and let him swat at the dangling charms to keep his competitive nature strong. It was not long before the appearance of his crate in the ring meant the forming of a long line at each show. He hated the ink Charlie dipped his padded toes into, but it made both of his humans so happy when a young fan scampered off with an “autograph,” so he tolerated the action.
Do not bite the stranger. Do not bite the stranger. OUCH okay maybe one little- no no do not bite the stranger.
“Oh no! He doesn’t like head pats like that.” Mary scolded the admirer as red anger rose in her cheeks.
There was a smirk beneath his whiskers as Mary loudly cancelled the rest of the line. She and Charlie whisked their beloved pet away to console him with snuggles and crunchy peanut butter treats.
Attila began to enjoy the competition circuit. There was something about watching the faces of the skinny and the straight laced challengers fall as they realized their defeat. His curled magnificence was unmatched. Each judge would admire his brilliant ginger saddle, his bright white collar with matching sock pattern. They would oooh at his rounded chin, and ahhh at his flawless stance. If he thought their reverence was enough, he would reward them with a happy chirp. This was his title-clincher, and he knew it every time a human’s eyes widened before they turned to Mary, remarking on what a sweet angel she has.
She’d smile at him proudly and nod, and he would smile proudly back.
This time though, he could tell his companions were nervous. They had been going on about the East Coast championship for days. To him it seemed as any other show. But Charlie and Mary, seemed to be anticipating a much larger occasion.
Watch, my humans. Be sure in victory as I am, for I have never seen vanquishment on a company capable as ours!
Head high, feet together, chip loud and clear. When the places were announced, he found no surprise in being correct on the subject.
“And for the Premiership of the East Coast…. it’s Sir Waddles of the Greensworth family!”
The crowd applauded, loudly calling their congratulations to their fan favorite. He was engulfed in his mother’s warm arms as she whispered her joy and pride into his pointed ear “What a good kitty! My sweet boy! My winner!” His father brought the trophy close to his whiskers so he could see himself in the shining gold.
The champion cat arched his neck proudly.
I am Sir Attila Waddles. And I am the most beautiful fluff in the land.
Renascence (noun): The revival of something that has been dormant.
What could possibly not be hilarious about Attila the Hun struggling to reincarnate as a human and ending up as a champion Selkirk Rex*?
I chose Attila as our reimagined villain because much of what we know about him today is actually from very little proven documentation, so I felt he would be the most fun/uncomplicated to play with. In all his journeys, I imagine he came across cultures that believed in reincarnation, so he planned to return to human and continue his conquering. What he didn’t count on was loving the life of a treasured pet (and really, who can blame him? Who doesn’t want a life that’s mostly eating, sleeping, and being admired?).
So RENASCENCE fits for lots of reasons. First, I myself am no longer dormant. A little ibuprofen, tea, and sunshine has brought me back from my accidental hiatus.
Second, the word is not an exact synonym for reincarnation, and I like that. It’s not re-birth, it’s revival. So to me, rather than new lives, Attila is living out each part of him that’s expressed by different forms. And even conquerers have a fluffy side…
…well they do! We all have these strange sides to us that we let (or make) stay dormant for one reason or another. Sometimes we have to reach in and poke those sides of us, wake them up! Maybe not the bring-it-Byzantine parts, but the proud-beauties parts! What do you think it take to prod the parts of you that are too often quiet?
And I think it’s worth noting this kit goes from calling Mary and Charlie his captors, to calling them his parents, all because he allowed himself to enjoy what was around him 🙂
Too much metaphor for a talking cat? Yeah okay. But I like it. And I hope you did too!
Cheers to conquering our own dormant destinies!
*This is indeed a kind of cat. It has curly hair and is very fluffy. Also it was recently accepted into all of the premier, international leagues of cat breeding and competition. Yes, I googled this. Yes, I am aware this does not help my fight against Cat-Lady-Status.