Soothing times.


Rain fell heavily, and Arki, concerned that Snowy would get wet if the wind changed direction, leant over her to close the window, managing to hook a paw behind the handle and pull it forward.  Once the window was closed, pushing the handle down was easy.  The window handles had been designed with arthritic humans in mind, so everything was easy to get hold of and operate, just right for a female polar bear with weak paws.  Snowy was grateful Arki had closed the window, for her paws were getting cold.


The furball mistrusted Tigger, ever since the Bengal tiger had leapt on top of him after perceiving a threat to Arki and her  cub.


The quilt community had heard of the goings on downstairs during the storm, and some of them liked the idea of having their paws massaged.  Tigger knew what it was like to have his paws massaged, as Amber had shown him many a time.  Arki wasn’t so keen on a paw massage, as she wasn’t sure she’d like it after her traumatic arrival at her new home.  She always kept her paws well tucked in, and only let others touch them in very rare situations.  Brunetta saw Arki watching Amber massaging Tigger’s paws, and asked her if she wanted a paw massage.  Arki looked at Brunetta, wondering if she dared refuse the offer.

     “I don’t know,”  Arki said, staring down at her forepaws, “I don’t know if I can Brunetta, I probably wouldn’t like it.”

     “I’ve tried it, and it’s fine,”  Tolstuka said.  Arki looked at her.

       “Well,”  she said uncertainly, “if you say it is okay.”  Tolstuka leapt onto the quilt and stumbled across to Arki, finally falling over as she tripped over her own paws.

     “You clumsy cub!”  Arki laughed.  Tolstuka looked at her forepaws as if they’d done something inexcusable.

     “I tripped over my own paws!”  she whimpered, “I’m not good at walking on the quilt.”  Arki reached over to Tolstuka with her right forepaw and took one of the cub’s forepaws in hers.  Tolstuka wiggled the toes of the paw Arki held, trying to rub the larger polar bear’s pads.  Arki looked at Tolstuka, then, sighing with resignation, rolled onto her side, letting her cub have access to all four of her paws.

     “Go on,”  Arki said, “here are my paws.  Tolstuka took Arki’s left forepaw in both of hers and began to stroke it.  Arki breathed deeply, waiting for the fear to kick in, but it never did.  Arki could feel Tolstuka’s paws gently massaging hers, but Arki felt no fear or panic.  If anything, she was drifting into sleep.  Tolstuka, having massaged three of Arki’s paws, turned her attention to her left forepaw.  Arki felt peace stealing over her as Tolstuka massaged that final paw.  Arki felt everything more clearly, for her left forepaw seemed to be more sensitive than the other three.  Arki had enjoyed the massage so far, but this was something different.  Arki closed her eyes, concentrating hard on the sensation in her left forepaw.  Arki breathed deeply, wanting the massage to go on forever.  Amber, noticing the expression on Arki’s face, smiled and said:

      “You’ve found Arki’s soft spot Tolstuka.”  Arki found she couldn’t pull her paw away.  Even if she had the strength, she didn’t want to.  Tolstuka looked at Arki’s face.  The large female polar bear’s eyes were closed, and she was almost asleep.

      “I hate that paw massage stuff!”  Stifftail spat.

     “Noone’s forcing you to have your paws massaged, so shut it!”  Brunetta replied crossly.  She was fed up with Stifftail’s moaning, and with the furball’s antics too.  The two miserable animals made a right pair, and she wished they’d sit in a corner and be miserable together, leaving the rest of the quilt community to do what they wished.  The furball was soon siding with Stifftail, and both were shoved off the quilt and chased into a corner by Clarence, who’d wandered upstairs to see what was going on, just in time to see Arki fall asleep.


Confined to their corner, the furball and Stifftail watched what was going on.

     “Clarence’s one of those who likes having his paws massaged,”  The furball whispered to Stifftail, “watch this, I’ll teach him a lesson.”  With that the furball crawled towards Clarence, who was now lying on the carpet talking to Amber.  When the furball was in range of Clarence’s right hind paw, he slapped the pads of the lion’s paw with all his force!  Clarence screamed and, growling with fury, turned on the furball, landing a crashing blow between the male polar bear’s ears with one massive forepaw.  Seeing stars, The furball retreated.

       “Will you leave Clarence alone!”  Amber yelled.  Stifftail hid his face in his paws, in case his face should give away anything.  Clarence snarled and spat, threatening the dazed male polar bear with all sorts of destruction.  Clarence was furious!”  Arki, hearing the commotion, yawned, stretched her paws,, opened her eyes, and watched proceedings.

      “Go on Clarence, wallop him!”  Whitie yelled.

      “Don’t encourage him!”  Amber snapped.



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