Of the Feline Pendella Purrfect
My name is Aikeem Abdul Jamal Yosaffa and it is with a singular clarity that I recall my first encounter with the feline Pendella Purrfect (also known as Orc Slayer, but that is another story). I was in New York City in the late spring of 1980 and it was very early in the morning. I was walking the streets of that great city admiring its nocturnal essence when I chanced upon a deserted alley. I heard a faint rummaging echoing from the dark at the other end and my curiosity got the better of me.
At the end of the ally, under a pile of discarded paper a tail whipped back and forth and some creature was having great fun with some garbage there. My foot brushed an empty can, startling the creature and out popped a cat.
I knew the instant she was in full view that this was no ordinary cat. If you looked just right and concentrated on the non-electromagnetic end of the spectrum you could see an amber aura surrounding this feline of obvious prodigious talent.
"This," I thought to myself, "Is a creature of power," where upon she gave me her most seductive kitty eyes.
For those of you who are not familiar with this unique feline form of communication let me enlighten you. The cat will close its eyes halfway and in such a confirmation so as to enthrall your spirit. If a human female were to do this to any man his mind, body and soul would become enslaved to said female. Cats being of a different species are just looking to ensnare your heart, soul and the occasional fishy treat.
"It seems dear lady," (for it was obvious to me she was female), "That I have caught you at play."
Imagine my surprise when the lady meowed and a wave of communication poured over me. It was more than telepathy and less at the same time. It was a million subtle movements intertwined with a look and powerful thought that all translated to, "Play? I was sharpening my nails. There is adventure to be had this night."" She watched me very carefully. I imagine she expected me to run screaming from the ally.
Did I mention Iím a bit of a traveler? As you may have gathered from my name I am not a native American or New Yorker for that matter. I am originally Egyptian, but I like to think of myself as a man of the Earth. I have seen many strange things during my travels and believe it or not having this cat talk to me was not among the strangest.
"Adventure you say? Of what sort would that be, dear lady?"
I was given to smile at her perplexed look. It is not often one sees a confused kitty. They are ever sure of themselves. She collected herself and came closer.
"Adventure in the name of the thirteen of which I am a member."
Now it was my turn for surprise. Did I mention Iím a bit of a historian?
Let me tell you of the thirteen. Each of the major species (except humans that is) has a council of thirteen whose charter it is to protect itís members from extinction and enemy forces (whatever form these forces may take). Most of the councils were created just before the great purge (yet another story) and every member is embued with arcane powers.
Not all of the councils serve the best interests of the world and some are the harbingers of evil. You can guess who these might be, the rats, the snakes, the jackals, the bats and the three-toed sloths (theyíre very bitter about missing the other two toes).
Typically the council members remain hidden and direct their charges from secret places, so it was much to my surprise that this feline revealed herself to me.
"I know of the thirteen dear Lady. I am honored that you have revealed yourself to me."
"I am Pendella Purrfect and I am in need of a human this night. I think youíll do." With this the lady rubbed up against my leg and claimed me for herself.
I suppose most men would have been put off by the ladyís assumption that I would simply acquiesce to her desires, but I have never been most men. I picked the lady up and stroked her neck and she let her motor go with a purr most profound.
After ten minutes of this (my fingers were becoming quite sore) I finally asked, "So what is the nature of this adventure, Pendella?"
Pendella shrugged herself out of my arms and jumped to the ground, "We go to battle the gutter folk. They are up to dark purpose this night. Come," and with the flick of a tail we were off into the night.
Pendella led me across many side streets, down secret alleys, under little traveled bridges and seldom used paths until we came to a manhole. She plumped her little arse down in front of the steel plate and began to lick her paws, "You may open it."
"Miss Purrfect why is it you so quickly assume that I can open this steel portal?"
"Because I choose my humans well."
I suppose this was meant to be a compliment, but cats do have a way of making you feel inferior even when they are complementing you. Of course she was right.
Did I mention Iím a bit of an engineer? Not that one needs to be an engineer to open a manhole cover, but it does mean that I am given to carrying a minimal tool set in my trusty backpack (which I ALWAYS have with me). After several seconds of rummaging through my pack I withdrew my special pry bar. It is special because it was made for me by the great oriental craftsman Shang Sen Su. Besides being virtually unbreakable its ends are ingeniously designed to serve several purposes and it collapses to only ten inches long. After only an instant I had the cover off. Of course this yielded a look of, "I told you so" from Miss Purrfect, but I ignored this dismissive.
"What a delightful aroma youíve discovered Pendella. I assume weíre to enter this dark place?"
Pendella wrinkled her nose at the stench wafting up from the nether regions, "That is a smell only a dog could love."
A faint tittering noise followed the stench up and I gave Pendella a sideways look, "How many gutter folk are to be expected?"
"It matters not newly beloved. I will protect you," and with this the lady jumped into the sewer. Now I am not adverse to adventure. As a matter of fact there are some who say I crave it. BUT, I prefer my adventure in light airy spaces not in dark dank smelly affairs. I pondered the black hole in front of me for a few seconds and then sighed. I pulled a flashlight from my trusty knapsack and clumsily dropped through the hole. I knew I wasnít going to like this.
Pendella waited for me on the narrow stone curb that lined this very old sewer. She was dry. I was not.
Pendella started down the dark place and I followed, "Are you going to enlighten me as to why we are pursuing the gutter folk. I hope it is for more than a late night snack on your part."
"Unlike some of my canine acquaintances I do not think with my stomach".
"Iím surprised you have any contact with dogs at all. I thought you felines hated them."
"Not at all. Some of my best friends are dogs. Rodents on the other hand are an entirely different story. One of our informants has suggested that the foul Lord Bitterplague is going to try and raise one of the nameless ones tonight."
I stopped in horror, "One of the nameless dark gods?!?!?!?"
"It is true."
"Is this Bitterplague insane! Does it not know what horror these creatures are capable of? Does it not know that these dark lords destroy all life with out exception?"
Pendella shrugged and continued on, "Rats are like that."
I followed her in amazement. I could not comprehend any creature being so vile that they would risk creation and there own immortal soul by releasing one of these nameless horrors upon the world.
We traveled for what seemed an interminably long time. The farther we went the louder the tittering got and the more foul the stench. Eventually I pulled a bandanna from by pack and covered my nose. My olfactory system was close to overload and I imagined my nose turning grey and falling off of my face.
The sides of the sewer were caked with a thick brown sludge. Here and there a sickly green gelatinous substance bubbled up from the heart of the brown sludge. Occasionally a cockroach of prodigious size would wriggle out of the sludge or a snake sized worm.
Eventually I was able to turn off my flashlight. Whatever the fungus was on ceiling of this dank place it gave off a green glow which cast an evil, but visible pallor to this subterranean nightmare. Pendella stopped, immediately followed by my heart.
"What is it?"
She was gone in a flash and for the first time I began to feel fear.
I waited a few minutes. Finally I could not contain myself, "Oh Miss Pendella. Where have you gone?"
There was a splash behind me and I spun with a start. Pendella dropped the carcass of a monstrous dead rat into the water, "Must you make so much noise? We are in the heart of the gutter folkís lair. A little more caution is advised."
"Well excuse me, but I thought you had abandoned me!"
"I told you I would protect you. I was merely removing their sentries."
"Plural? There were more of that size."
"Ten, actually, but no there are no more. Come."
I imagine my eyes were as wide as saucers, "Ten! I donít even like the one. Itís awfully large."
Pendella ignored me and continued her trek through this slimy place. At this point the sewer began to get wider. After a few hundred feet it opened up into an immense concrete cavern filled with ankle deep fetid water. In the center of that cavern was a sight to send shivers up the spine of the stoutest of heart.
Thousands of rats circled a clearing where in thirteen upright rats circled a very small pool of slime. The thirteen rats wore rags that formed long dirty robes and two of them held staffs made from some poor creatureís bones. These wizard rats (for that is what they had to be), swayed back and forth and tittered loudly with upraised claws. The pool of slime before them could only have been about a foot in diameter and it glowed with an eerie green light.
For some strange reason my horror turned to humor and I laughed (quietly), "I thought you said they were trying to raise a nameless one? It looks more like theyíre trying to raise a pool of slime. Why? Because rats are like that."
Pendella gave me a look like I was an idiot. At that moment there was a crack of black lightening that deafened the senses. The rats all began to titter in unison and my humor changed back to horror as I watched the pool of slime rise up out of the water and become a quivering mass of putrid flesh the size of five elephants.
The wizard rats all scampered away, but some of their slower fellows were not so lucky and were consumed in the growing corrupted green flesh. A black maw of torn cartilage and broken teeth opened on one side of the creature and issued forth a scream that causes me shivers to this day.
"Really Pendella, we werenít invited to this party. Maybe we should leave."
Pendella gave me a sideways glance and returned her attention to the monstrosity before us, "Weíre a bit late."
"And I forgot my nameless horror be gone spray. Whatís a man to do?"
"If only I had thought to bring some salt with me."
I looked at Pendella and wondered where she would keep it even if she had it, "Salt?
"It has been my experience that creatures of this configuration do not react kindly to salt. It tends to melt them."
"And how much salt would be required to do the job?
"A ton! Lady we do not have time to conscript a salt merchant and a dump truck!"
"Well, we could get by on only a handful if lobbed it were into the creatures mouth."
The creature screamed again and itís maw, I noticed, which was on the other side of a sea of blood thirsty rats, was easily the size of a small room.
"And being the only member of this party with the necessary appendages capable of throwing salt into said mouth, that task would fall to me."
"If we had salt."
I will not repeat what I grumbled as I began to dig into my trusty backpack, which of course contained not one, but two handfuls of salt. Did I tell you Iím a bit of a gourmet chef?
I swear that cat was smiling when she said, "I told you I choose my humans well."
It was just about that moment that the two of us noticed several hundred beady, feral, red glowing eyes staring at us.
"My thatís unnerving. Any ideas your highness? Iím feeling a bit outnumbered."
"I told you I would protect you," and with this Pendellaís aura began to burn more brightly.
Oh it was a sight to behold. That amber light wrapped around her like an ethereal cloak and her coat began to take on a metallic sheen. The rats that had begun to advance stopped. Pendella crouched low and her tail whipped about like a razor lash. Her enter body seemed to have doubled in size and her canineís (or would that be felines?) tripled in size.
One of the wizard rats at the other end of the cavern screamed at its cohorts and pointed its bone staff at Pendella and myself. Thatís when they charged.
The screams of the rats was deafening, but nothing compared to the roar that issued forth from Pendella. She met the rat front head on and I was reminded of an ambulatory meat grinder. Rat bits flew all about in a red path that opened before me. With out hesitation (well, maybe a little bit) I followed Pendella into the sea of vermin.
I swung my backpack about with one hand and clutched the salt with the other. The wizard rat closest to the slime god aimed his staff at me and I ducked none to soon. A dark ray of black light shot forth and blasted open the cavern wall behind me. Great chunks of the concrete fell into the ankle deep water and crushed the rats too slow to move.
The slime god reared up on its hind sludge and screamed from that horrific mouth. It then made for us in an undulating motion that I found quite disturbing.
Pendellaís momentum had been halted although she managed to keep the rats off us. At our feet, just under the water were the bones of what I assumed to be homeless people who had been unfortunate to discover the secret of the gutter folk.
One of the other wizard rats raised his staff in our direction and began to chant. Its staff began to glow with an evil purple light. I decided this was intolerable, picked up a splintered femur at my feet and hurled it at the rodent. It made a most delightful squeal when my homeless bone pierced its heart.
This activity served to inspire Pendella once more and she regained her momentum toward the slime beast that was in turn headed toward us. I resumed the swinging about of my backpack and crushed more than one vermin skull when we were but a few feet from the nameless slime god.
It was ugly, but even worse it smelled terrible. Great green gobs of greasy, grimy, globs of rotten, malodorous, fibrousÖ well you get the idea, were falling off it. It screamed again and I could not shield my ears from this nerve shattering noise. I hurled my plastic wrapped handful of salt into that vent of noxious smells and for the first time the blasted creature went silent.
Now itís hard to say that anything with no discernable features got a funny a look, but somehow thatís precisely what happened. The rats all ceased their attack and the wizard rats lowered their staves, which were in the process of powering up. The slime god began to shake and pulsate.
Pendella turned to me. She was quite out of breath and had a very concerned expression on her face, "I think itís time to go," and with that she turned and ran.
The rats all began backing away from their dark creation and the wizard rats all of a sudden were no where to be found. Thatís when it occurred to me to run like hell.
I was just at the entrance to the cavern when the thing blew. It didnít blow up into bits; it blew out into an ever-increasing blob of disgusting slime. The rats screamed as they were swept up in this tidal wave of puke green nameless god chowder.
I was about fifty yards in front of the mess when it hit the sewer I was in. I ran as fast as I had ever run in my life. I even caught up to Pendella who had reverted to her normal feline form.
"You didnít tell me it was going to turn into a river of goo!!!!"
Pendella leapt up on to my backpack as I ran by her and as she hung on for dear life she merely replied with, "Run faster!!!!!!"
The mess was only a dozen yards behind us when I leapt to the highest rung I could below the open manhole cover. I scurried up the rungs and Pendella leapt from my backpack out the opening. I lofted myself over the edge as the goo bubbled up below me, but I was too lateÖ my shoes were ruined.
I threw the manhole cover back over the open pit and sat down against a pile of discarded boxes. Pendella came over next to me to sit on her haunches.
"You did well human. I would have your name."
I smiled realizing I had never given the lady my name, "I am Aikeem Abdul Jamal Yosaffa, dear lady and when you promise adventure you do not lie."
"Cats never lie, Aikeem, that is a human construct."
"That may be lady, but Iíve known a few given to exaggeration."
I saw the smile in Pendellaís eyes and she replied by jumping into my lap and rolling on her back. I stroked her neck and belly and she began to purr loudly.
"You are a fine human. Iím so glad I selected you."
"Me too Pendella Purrfect."
And that was how I met and became Pendellaís companion for many, many years. Weíve had many adventures and Iím sure will have many to come. Did I mention Iím immortal?
copyright 1999 A. A. Roberts All rights reserved