Lilith loved walking, especially in rugged mountainous areas. She set out that fresh spring morning looking forward to the peaceful feeling she always got when surrounded by beautiful views.
She was an experienced walker, so thought nothing of scrabbling over rocks and working her way around obstacles, so when she came to a cave below her, she was fascinated. As Lilith slowly made her descent, her foot slipped on loose rocks and she plummeted into it. The impact caused part of the floor to collapse beneath her and she found herself falling into a deep crevice.
Lilith landed hard and felt something in her leg give way, a sharp pain coursing through it. Looking up she knew there was no way she’d be able to climb to safety. Her only hope was for others to be walking in that area and find her.
As she lay there shivering and in pain, Lilith heard movement near her, it was totally dark, she had no idea what it could be. ‘Oh great,’ she thought, ‘Ive got company, it’s probably going to have me for dinner.’ She giggled nervously. ‘Not funny Lilith,’ she said out loud. The thing moved closer and it took a lot of willpower to keep from crying out. That was until it purred. ‘What the?’ It purred again then gave a little high pitched chirrup. Something soft rubbed against her arm so she reached out and tentatively touched it. The purring ball of fur responded by rubbing its head against her hand then to her amazement, climbed into her lap, draping itself over her injured leg. She buried her hands into its silky fur and whispered, ‘hi what are you doing down here little cat?’ It purred again and Lilith felt a lovely warmth and sense of peace wash over her.
She must have fallen asleep, and was jerked awake suddenly by the sound of voices. There was no longer any warmth, no soft fur beneath her hands, or that comforting purr, and a terrible sense of loss and sadness overwhelmed her. Where had it gone?
The voices were closer now but she didn’t want to go, feeling such a bond with this creature who had kept her warm and comforted her so much. Self-preservation kicked in however and she started to shout for help.
Lilith was rescued by a hill walking group who, by sheer chance walked right past the cave. She was in hospital for some time, and all she could think about was the cat. The guide, Grahame, came to visit her when she had recovered enough, so she told him about her experience.
He smiled. ‘So you’ve met our wild cat hey?’
‘Does she live in that cave?’
‘Aye she used to lass, sadly no more.’
‘What do you mean sadly?’
‘Well she was one of the last surviving wild cats in these parts, and all of us in the village protected her. We left her food, made sure she was healthy, even managed to get her to the vets when she was injured, it left us with a fare few scratches let me tell you!’
‘But why are you saying was? Why are you saying sadly?’ That sense of loss returned to Lilith.
‘She’s dead lass, died of old age, had a wonderful life, we all loved her you see and deep down she knew it. I found her lying peacefully outside the cave one morning when I brought her some meat left over from tea.’ Lilith could see tears glistening in the man’s eyes. ‘We buried her there, nice and peaceful like.’ He sniffed, turning away.
‘But she was there, with me, in the cave. I heard her, stroked her soft fur, felt it under my hands! ’That was her sprit,’ Grahame said softly. ‘She comes when people are in need, we believe it’s her way of repaying our kindness so she watches over us. You would have frozen to death down there without her body keeping you warm and protecting your leg Lilith. She saved your life lass.’
Lilith began to cry, ‘so I’ll never see her again?’
Grahame smiled, ‘She’ll always be with you,’ he said, and rested his hand on his chest, ‘in your heart.’