Candy thinks about life.



Candy stretched languidly.  She’d fallen asleep early the night before, and now was waking in the early dawn.  Crawling off the quilt, being careful not to wake Sam or Arki, She went to the window to watch the dawn coming in over the houses opposite.  Light filtered from the eastern sky, seeming to paint its way across to the west.  Candy watched this, wondering what she’d do if she couldn’t see these things.  Whitie and Blanch couldn’t, neither it was said could the lynx cub who arrived with Elsa and her cubs.  Candy remembered playing with Tembi, the lioness tickling her paws until Candy was weak from laughing.  Candy remembered Whitie and Blanche playing with Tembo, and, when the male lion cub had got bored, which was rather quickly if her memory served her right, the two snow leopard cubs had turned their attention to the lynx cub, who played with the snow leopard cubs as roughly as they did with him, rolling them over and batting at their paws as enthusiastically as they did his.  Candy wondered how the three blind cubs played, how did they manage to do anything at all without their parents guiding them?  Candy often saw Whitie and Blanche playing, and there was no chasing, no leaping, nothing like that.  Just a lot of swiping at, and tickling of paws and  pulling of ears and tails, all in fun she was sure.  The dawn was well in now, and Candy turned back to the room, crawled over to the quilt and lay down, thinking hard.  She took the dawn for granted almost.  Of course, it would always be there, wouldn’t it?  Candy, deeply troubled by her thoughts, closed her eyes.

      “If I open my eyes now, it will be light,”  she thought, “I can reassure myself that it is daytime.  Whitie, Blanche and the lynx cub can’t know that for sure.”  Indeed, Candy had noticed Whitie and Blanche prowling round the room at odd hours.

     “Maybe they are awake at funny times because they Can’t see the light, so don’t know when it is night and they should sleep?”  Candy thought.  She opened her eyes and could see Whitie lying to her left.  The snow leopard cub seemed to be asleep, though there was no certainty, as her eyes were always closed.

     “Whitie!”  Candy whispered.  The snow leopard cub, awake since Candy had crawled from the quilt, crawled over to her and touched her paw with her own.

       “Candy?”  Whitie asked.  Candy looked at the snow leopard cub.  How on earth would she ask the questions she had formed in her mind?

       “You called me Candy,”  Whitie said, “what’s up?”  Candy took Whitie’s paw in hers, Candy was close to tears.

       “I was watching the dawn coming in over the houses earlier,”  the polar bear cub said, “and I wondered how you, Blanche and the lynx cub coped with not seeing things like that.”         “We’ve never seen things like the dawn,”  Whitie said, “so we don’t think about it, because we are not missing it, because we don’t know it.  I am blind, but that is only what others tell me I am.  For me, this is normality, and I get on as best I can.  So it is for Blanche and the lynx cub.  We play together, and we rarely think of what we don’t have, though it is always present at the back of our minds.”  Candy began to stroke Whitie’s paw.

       “Would you teach me how to play the way you do?”  Candy asked, “I want to learn, for I have noticed that you and Blanche play with the lynx cub, but noone else plays with any of you three.  Noone among the cubs that is. I know that some are scared of you three.”   Whitie looked troubled.

      “Scared of us?”  She asked, totally bewildered,  “What have we done to make anyone scared of us?”

      “It’s nothing you’ve done,”  Tigger said, “it’s the fact you are different from them.  The cub’s don’t understand, so they shy away.”

       “Tarker would play with me, but not with you,”  Candy said to Whitie, “I asked him, but he said he didn’t want to play with you, Blanche, or the lynx cub.  When I asked him why not, he wouldn’t reply.”  Whitie felt her whole world disintegrate.  She’d never known any of this went on.

     “They hate me because I can’t see them?”  She asked, hardly believing what she was hearing.

       “Not just you,”  Candy said gently, although she knew no matter how she spoke to Whitie, the hammer blow would be as violent, “they hate and fear all three of you.”

     “Tembi doesn’t hate me, not that I’ve noticed,”  Whitie said.

     “Tembi’s in the same situation as you are,”  Candy said, “she’s weak, and fragile.  They don’t like her either.”

      “You see now why I wanted Whitie and Blanche killed at birth!”  Stifftail screamed at Amber, “no cubs should be put through this!”

        “Shut up!”  Candy snarled.

       “Oh that’s big of you!”  Stifftail spat, “come here and say that cub!  You say that one more time and I’ll tear your throat out!”

       “Leave it out all of you!”  Arki yelled.  Stifftail spat at Candy, who turned her back on the male snow leopard.

       “What are we going to do?”  Whitie asked, her usual carefree manner vanishing.

     “First of all,”  Candy said, “you were going to teach me how to play the games you play with Blanche and the lynx cub.”  Whitie shook her head.

       “I can’t play now,”  She mewed, “not after this, not ever!  I just want to lie down, bury my face in my paws and cry!”  Candy tried to take Whitie’s other paw in hers, but was shaken off.

      “And what do you feel towards us?”  Whitie asked.

       “I don’t fear you,”  Candy replied, “I want to play with you, like, like normal cubs do.  Whitie, I didn’t want to tell you this!  I really didn’t want to tell you!  But I had to, or, or, oh I don’t know!”  Candy buried her face in her paws and lost it totally.

      “Misunderstanding someone breeds fear sometimes,”  Tigger said, “It’s not right, but it happens.”  Whitie, who’d taken Candy’s paw in hers and was stroking it, sighed heavily as she thought of the work Candy, she and Blanche would have to do to turn the situation around.


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