The sun finally dipped below the roof of the temple, casting long shadows across the dusty road. I stretched, my long limbs stiff from the lengthy nap, and hopped down into the street. I sauntered along a low wall, careful to avoid the feet of the evening tourists, and nimbly leapt up onto the remains of a modest building. Lykos was still stretched along the stones, his feet twitching.
I nuzzled his neck with my nose and his eyes flew open.
“Memphis,” he yawned, his pink tongue curling. He extended his legs, his whole body quivering as he stretched deeply, his ears flat against his head. He rolled onto his back and gazed at me sleepily.
“It’s almost night,” I sat, my tail twitching in anticipation. “A full moon.”
He rolled the other way and got to his feet, a grumbling purr in the back of his throat.
“You don’t have to remind me,” he said between licks of his paws. His gray coat caught a flash of the setting sun.
“Clearly I do,” I teased and he gave me a friendly swat. I leapt lightly out of the way and then jumped down onto the road, trotting away and calling out behind me,
“Just don’t be late!”
His low growl was barely audible as I continued further into the ruins, chuckling to myself. Lykos was one of my oldest friends, and even after centuries, he hadn’t changed much.
Cleon and Chloe were where I expected to find them, casually tormenting a mouse between them. They had the habit of haunting the place they grew up, a low building with a spacious courtyard. It once had a shallow pool that glittered in the morning sun, but it had long dried up. You could still faintly make out the mosaic tiles that lined the pool but only if you knew where to look. Cleon and Chloe often had the most memories of their former lives, and I was unsure if lingering in their place of birth helped or hindered their adjustment to their new life.
I watched them at play for a while, their sleek black bodies tumbling in and out of the shadows. I enjoyed their antics, even if they were sometimes tiresome. I let out a small mewling laugh as their prey managed to slip by them both and escape into a nearby crevice.
Chloe spent a moment pawing at the crack, then sat back and began licking her paws as though she meant for the mouse to get away all along. Cleon spotted me and bounded over, rubbing against me with a thundering purr.
“Memphis! I haven’t seen you in a fortnight! Where have you been off to?”
“The usual patrols,” I replied, purring myself as Chloe joined us. She was both more playful and more aloof than her brother, which made for a perplexing combination. She was difficult to read, and therefore less reliable.
“Are we meeting tonight?” Cleon still acted a kitten sometimes, and I laughed as I gave him a quick wash behind his ears.
“Of course. I’m just rounding everyone up, making sure no one forgets.”
“As if we would forget.” Chloe was gazing up into the sky, the fading light shining on her fur. I wasn’t sure if she liked me, and I couldn’t be sure if it was because I was acting as leader while Arete was away or there was some other grievance. I didn’t have time to find out that evening.
I gave Cleon a final lick and turned away. I sprinted now, feeling energized and wanting to stretch my legs. I streaked across the road and into a cluster of ruins, jumping up onto the walls and across the narrow lanes. Silently, Thaïs appeared beside me and we ran together, as if to escape the approaching shadows. We leaped together up onto the roof where Lykos was still lounging, catching the final rays of sunlight.
Thaïs approached him and they engaged in a friendly tussle before settling down next to one another, tails thumping. There was time before we had to move to the hollow, and for the moment we gazed down at the people wandering the dusty roads.
“They are different than they were,” Thaïs observed as the humans explored below. Occasionally they glanced up at us, but we were many and after a while our presence became another part of the scenery. It was the ones who tried to approach us that made us wary; a few of our cousins were curious and allowed them to come near, but they always darted away at the last second. Most of us maintained a safe distance. They were unpredictable, just as we were once.
I write for fun and to make sure my sister doesn't beat me in our blog challenge.