In the books, if not for Artemis and her accidental revelation to Samuel, there would be no Society in the Shadow of Civilization.
In reality, if not for Artemis, herself, - aka Miss Mis, Phantom, Her Highness or The Shedder - the books wouldn't exist.
Not that she helped with any of the typing or formatting. Her contributions mostly consisted of sitting in my lap, kneading her claws in my leg when I would start to nod off, and keeping my seat warm when I got up to take a break. Nonetheless, every detail about the fictional Artemis - her tree climbing prowess, her attentiveness to her human, her possessiveness of said human, and her conversational skills - are all 100% drawn from the living, breathing purr-ball I've been blessed with for nearly sixteen years.
This bit of black and white fluff appeared in Mom's yard one day, almost a year after Dad passed away. LOML and I were watering the plants when he heard her cries just a few feet from where I buried my dog, Smokey, five years earlier. I scooped her up in my arms and the purring started, almost instantly. Artemis chose me as her human. And, I've been thankful she did every day since.
At the time, Mom and I were the only residents of the house, and she happened to be out of town for a few weeks. When she came home, I announced, "We have a cat!" And, yeah, it didn't go over so well, at first. After Smokey died, my parents didn't want any more pets in the house. Not because they didn't love animals - just the opposite. They had loved and lost so many over the years, they didn't want to go through it again.
Miss Mis stayed outside a few months, until I had her spayed. Then, she had to stay inside for her stitches to heal. From that point, and for the duration of our time there, she became an outdoor kitty by day, and indoor by night. I bathed her daily, which she didn't like, but accepted as a necessity, and she would climb the ladder up to my loft bed to sleep on my pillow, right against my head.
Now, she's an indoor cat, who wanders out on the porch with me occasionally, but otherwise is perfectly content to curl up in a sunny patch on a chair or sofa. When my lap isn't available, of course.
The estimated life expectancy for a "domestic" cat in the "wild" (on the streets) is somewhere around five years. Kept indoors, it's extended to twelve - eighteen years. Some lucky cats even stretch their nine lives well into their 20s.
Last week, I was harshly reminded of the cruel fact I have no Philosopher's Stone to feed her, and Artemis will, one day, be gone. She became so ill, so suddenly, she was literally withering before our eyes. I really thought we might have to say our last goodbye.
Thankfully, with lots of love and a new dietary regimen, for now she seems to be on the mend. In fact, each day she is acting more like her usual, demanding self. Which is wonderful - every nagging "maaaow" gives me hope we might still celebrate her Sweet Sixteen next month.
So, next week, I'll be getting back on track with my writing schedule, and will (hopefully) be sharing the next chapter in Quest with you next Friday. Though, admittedly, I still have a lot of work to do on it.
Thank you for reading. Wishing you, and your furry friends, a beautiful day, night or some time in the between....