Note: This is posted “as is”, no editing or proof reading involved, as part of the 30 Shorts In 30 Days project. During April I will be attempting to write and post a new short story everyday.
It is said that home is where the heart it, and that an Englishman’s home is his castle. People find a place to live that suits them, and when people live in one place for any length of time, they change it to suit them more. Rooms get decorated in colours and styles that the residents like, and the furniture gets picked to fit in. When two people start to live together, things can change. The odd piece of odd furniture gets introduced, usually a scruffy old armchair that someone can’t bear to part with, and a room or two will get redecorated in such a way that makes it stand out from the other rooms in the house. Over time however, those people’s tastes get more and more alike, and the rooms get decorated in a way that suits both of them, and the furniture gets replaced and once again becomes full, matching sets.
Polynius and Belia had lived together for a very long time, longer than either of them could remember. That was one of the advantages, and disadvantages of living so long, the memory started to go. And angels lived for a very, very long time. It wasn’t that they couldn’t remember if they tried, they just no longer had any real need to remember little things, like when their birthdays were, or how long they’d been together. It wasn’t until something came along where they needed to remember, that they would sit down and think about it. And then after a while, sometimes a day or two, they’d remember. The memories would come flooding back as though they were fresh, for even though the angels were thousands of years old, they hadn’t lost any of their faculties.
Nobody knew where the angels came from, or how long they’d been around. But they’d been part of the Endangered Creatures Programme at London Zoo since it started, a Programme to look after the reportedly extinct or mythical creatures.
Polynius was sitting in an armchair by the fire in the living room when Belia came in.
“Poly, I’m back, and I’ve brought you a present,” Belia called from the entrance hall to the apartment they shared.
“Please don’t let it be something else for the baby. I’ve told you, we’ve got enough stuff already.”
One of the things that Polynius had recently been trying to remember, was about babies. Two months ago the vet had informed them that they were pregnant, and since then Polynius had been trying their best to remember everything they could about young angels, something that hadn’t been seen for over two thousand years. And Belia had been behaving like a first time father with no experience whatsoever. What further made the matter confusing for all concerned, was that angels didn’t have a gender, or rather they had both. Or more accurately, they had a gender when they wanted one, or needed one. Angels referred to each other as “he” but really they were “they”; it all got very confusing.
“Don’t worry,” Belia said coming into the room holding a large cardboard box. “It’s not for the baby, it’s for you.”
“It’s in that box isn’t it?”
“It is,” Belia smiled widely. “You see, I know you’ve been thinking a lot recently, trying to remember what being a parent was like, so I thought I’d get something to help.”
“Please tell me that’s not what I think it is.”
“You see,” Belia continued as he put the box down in front of Polynius. “The humans have developed this thing recently, where to help new mothers get used to the idea of being a mother, they give her something to care for, something to look after.”
“You’ve got me a kitten haven’t you?” Polynius asked.
“You guessed!” Belia exclaimed happily.
“I could smell it,” Polynius replied as he leant forward and lifted back the flaps of the box.
“Well, I did give it a bath before bringing it over, it looked like it needed it.”
“Belia, do you know anything about cats?” Polynius asked.
“Other than they go well in chilli sauce? No, I’m afraid I don’t,” Belia admitted. “But I’m sure we can find out together.”
“And when the baby comes along? What of the kitten then?” Polynius asked, lifting the sleeping animal from the box. “Did you think of that?”
“I’m sure they’ll get along fine, they’ll both be babies and can play with each other.”
Polynius held the kitten up and looked at it dangling limply from his hands, turning it one way and then the other, to get a good look at it.
“Somehow Belia, I don’t think they’ll play well together.”
“Sure they will. Babies love to play, don’t they?” Belia asked, with an edge of doubt creeping into his voice.
“Some do yes. Tell me though, did you happen to get this kitten from one of the goblins working at the Programme?”
“I did, but don’t say we have to take it back, please. I mean, what’s wrong with it, don’t you like it?” Belia pleaded.
“Belia dear, I think it’s adorable. But it’s an adorable tiger cub.”