“A baby who’s born dead doesn’t need to go through the process of living an entire life. The need to have a body has been satisfied. We must imagine that these creatures were foreordained. They no more need to demonstrate anything. I believe that in the same way animals don’t need reason, they already are perfect beings. Just like women who don’t need priesthood, they have maternity, animals require their carnal body only to accomplish their path. But there is one problem for them, the idea that the more you can bear the more you’re given to bear. Because of human cruelty, their life is hard.
“Well, I invite you to think about what we’ve been discussing. It’s all for now. We’ll continue in our next session. Thank you for listening.” Not a big applause follows my speech, but I’m not surprised. It depends on the appeal of the topic and on its popularity index. I pick up my notes and leave the place.
Most of my relations have already left and I feel a bit lonely. I’m also concerned. I’m afraid that some people may hurt my two feline girls in the future and so insist on having them with me. I go and see them. They’re cute and tender. Donna loves running while Gelsey jumps up and down at the sound of the music in the background.
“Hi, how are you, dear?”
“Fine,” says Donna rushing towards me.
“I’m well, too,” screams little Gelsey.
It’s nice to hear their cat voices, acute and sweet at the same time.
“How did your lesson go?” Gelsey always enquires about my classes.
“It was interesting, though not very well received. There’s something I want to talk to you about. Something you should know by now.”
The mild climate makes you want to share time with those you love and the blossoms all around are vibrant and smell refreshing. I look at the sweeping hills all around, they remind me of green clouds. No shadows, no fog, no weird elements, only pure jade.
“When you see a ring, what do you think about?”
“Well, something round.” Gelsey hardly sits still.
“Something that goes on and on.”
“Yes, that’s right, Donna, something that doesn’t stop. Like eternity.”
“What’s eternity?” Gelsey looks at me with her big eyes.
“Try to imagine the infinite. There is no beginning and no end.”
“Well, you mean like us.”
“Correct, Gelsey. I wish to remind you of a story which has to do with us and eternity.”
“Wow, that sounds enthralling,” smiles Donna.
We are seated in a circle and get closer. The atmosphere is frenzied but the lapping of the waves makes us feel cool.
“I want you to think about the war there was in this world of the spirits. Remember?”
“Yes,” promptly replies Gelsey. “Our Father in Heaven presented a plan of happiness and was looking for someone who would carry it out and go to a place called earth to spread his word.”
“That’s right, chick. And progress toward eternal life.”
“Two spirits offered to go. One said that he would preserve people’s agency while the other said that he’d bring everybody back,” added Donna, quieter than Gelsey.
“You are both knowledgeable. The second one and his followers were cast out of heaven. Some of us decided to follow the first one and are preparing for a big adventure, to show our faith.”
“Those who go to spend time on earth will receive a carnal body and will have a veil, so they will not remember of our time here.”
“Yes, Gelsey. You know there are many spirits among us who’ve already left to start their journey.”
Donna looks thoughtful. “We’re excited about having a physical body but can’t imagine what it’s like.”
“Your spirit will be united with your physique and you’ll look the same as now; the difference is that this condition will give you opportunities to grow and develop in ways that aren’t possible in this premortal life of ours. You will prepare for next stage, your eternal life. So, can you figure out why it is important?”
They both seem puzzled, Gelsey with her golden eyes wearing her three colors, black, red and white, while Donna in her soft, fluffy black coat, tiny pointed ears and bottle green eyes, both of them magnificent.
“Without a physical body you cannot feel heat or cold, sorrow or happiness, sweetness and bitterness. You need to experience the difference. Without a veil it would be easy to embark on the right path. You would remember your life in this world of spirits.”
“Wow, it sounds scary.”
“No Gelsey, I think it’s challenging,” replies Donna.
“Yes, I tend to think that I’ll be free to make my choices with my reason and my heart. There will be temptations, but sticking to the same principles chosen here, one day we’ll come back.”
“How shall we be back?”
“We’ll all die. After death our spirit will enter the world of the spirits and await the resurrection. Then, spirit and body will reunite, and we’ll be judged according to our actions.”
“There are still unanswered issues, though. Discriminations, injustice, abuse. I’ve heard that on earth there will be hurting moments for all sentient beings.”
“I know, Donna. It will be part of life. Some people enjoy themselves bringing pain to innocent creatures like you that have the same right to life. There is no justification. But there will also be kindness, courage, faith, humility.
“To consider as equal all creatures shows that there is a grateful appreciation of what God has created, while taking away living beings’ lives is a loss to everybody.”
“It’s not consistent to worship the Heavenly Father and then be indifferent on his creation. Nature and God go hand in hand,” adds Donna.
“That’s why I’m worried,” Gelsey replies.
“We must all be careful because many people will try to harm us out of wickedness or to amuse themselves. That’s why I want us three to be together. I’ve come to say that I wish to adopt you both and hope you will agree.”
“We are different from you. Can you adopt us?”
“Of course. There will be different species on earth just like here.”
“How shall we recognize you?”
“Oh, we will, don’t worry about that. If we choose each other here, we shall find each other.”
“But what if you forget and become wicked towards us?”
“The moment I’ll see you I believe the veil will disappear even only for one second, and I will feel this same tenderness and love that I feel now. Your eyes will speak to me and I’ll know.” Tears drop from my eyes.
“OK, I will follow you,” says Donna with a positive look in her eyes.
“So shall I,” adds Gelsey.
“And I won’t disappoint you.
“Remember that you’ll also have your biological mothers, but the human species tend to separate animal mothers from their children. On earth you will hear of the brutality at the expense of animals because most human beings like to think that they are a superior race. When it comes to their own offspring, they expect not to be divided.
“The difference between good and evil is one important aspect you’ll have to learn.”
Some people start coming towards us, so we stop talking. There are women and men in their long fluctuating light dresses who approach my two baby girls. I suspect they want to ask them to share their future with them and I’m glad I’ve done it first. We’ve discussed Donna’s and Gelsey’s uncertainties to have peace of mind and joy in facing the future lying ahead.
The atmosphere is thick with tension. We have a universal language here and I can lip read what those people are saying. They want Gelsey and Donna to be part of their lives, but I sense they might not keep their promise. I know animals have an important role in the celestial kingdom and will enjoy salvation and immortality, but on earth that will be questioned. Human beings may strive to excel one above another; only some are willing to love and care for all other beings.
“Excuse me, please, these two cats have already made their choice.”
“Who are you?” A tall male spirit addresses me with suspicion.
“What do you want?”
“Well, let Donna and Gelsey explain to you that they need no invitation.”
“I don’t think you can claim their property,” says a woman with a light blue tunic.
“I don’t. It’s a free choice. They’ve come to trust me.”
“We’ll see. We’ll have a chat with these pretty little ones anyway. What do you think, babies?”
“Please, do not harass them.” I can see they are embarrassed.
“None of your business.”
The argument goes on. The group of people is against me. I don’t believe it’s constructive and decide to leave. Cats are strong. They can manage without me.

After a working session I meet some of the kids that are preparing to depart. There is a great excitement around. The kids run along the green fields.
“You have no idea what we just did! We slipped under people’s tunics in silence and bit their ankles, so they jumped with their waving dresses, screaming. We had a lot of fun!”
I must prepare to leave the world of the spirits, too. I feel anxious and happy at the same time. I know it’ll be difficult but there will be nice events and good people to meet that won’t make me miss this wonderland.
I expect there will be lasting marks on me while the future experience will transform me, making me move from unawareness to knowledge. I’ll gain a perception of the world that will change my attitude towards life. I’ll take responsibility for my own actions.

Time has finally come. I call Donna and Gelsey and tell them that I’m about to start my journey to the planet earth and that I’ll be waiting for them.
“Donna, sweetie, you’ll come first. Because of my lack of experience with cats I’ll make mistakes with you. I hope you’ll forgive me for that. When your time will come to leave the earth, I’ll be very sorrowful.”
“Will it be then that I’ll appear into your life, distracting you from the pain you’ll feel for her death?”
“Yes, Gelsey, I’ll be busy taking care of you. You’ll have more privileges, thanks to my experience.
“Goodbye, I’ll see you soon. Behave and be happy.”
We hug. They’re inconsistent and soft at the same time. Their soft clothes are wavy. I try to conceal my tears, but it’s useless. They can feel how much I’ll miss them.
“I’m ready,” I say. And I’m gone.
The end

In the past Giusi Rotondo won a literary prize in Italy and was awarded a Certificate by the London School of Journalism for successfully completing a Distance Learning course in Short Story Writing. She graduated from the Nottingham Trent University (UK) in International Business, Major in the Management of the Music Industry in 2003. She also attended a Master in Event Planning in Milan, Italy, in 2005 and worked for a while in the Event sector.