This story is set within the universe of The Shades (388 words). It was inspired by my recent acquisition of a virtual cat. Click on the tags to see earlier stories in the series. Enjoy. :) Thanks...
“That’s it, Sweeting. Just a little more formula.” Marcus Shade — former god in a distant time — former emperor of a distant world — fed the four-week old black kitten from a bottle. Her mother had been feral, dying from an infection. Marcus’ cell phone rang, as he placed the little bit of fuzz back among her five siblings.
“Hello, Pastor Houghton,” answered Marcus. “How may I help you?”
Marcus Shade and his wife Percy — who owned the town — were the only people in Pluto who addressed Pastor Timothy Houghton so formally. Everyone else called the head of Pluto’s Interfaith Congregation Tim. “Just called to see how our newest residents are doing and to let you know I’ve emailed the church’s schematics to the renderers.
Tim was referring to the six black kittens who had been born in the manger during the annual Nativity Pageant. The townsfolk appreciated the tender authenticity of the scene. “I’ve just fed them,” replied Marcus. More than that, Marcus Shade had journeyed to the Deathscape to visit their mother. He smiled to find her befriended by the souls of three cats, five dogs, eight rabbits, and a three-headed mantis from his former home world — Olym.
“Hopefully,” continued Marcus, “the programmers will have a virtual church ready for you to scrutinize by the end of the week.”
“Looking forward to it,” replied Tim, “and give the little guys some cuddles for me.”
“Of course, Pastor,” answered Marcus. “We’ll speak, again, soon.”
Ending the call, Marcus logged into Pluto’s Pet Pals
, his latest vehicle for philanthropic funding. It was a Sim of the town of Pluto — still being constructed — to which the church would be added. Interiors and exteriors were crafted for the benefit of virtual cats and dogs who could be adopted and cared for for a fee. The program was designed wth input from veterinarians, and all monies were earmarked for designated no-kill shelters across the country. If the endeavor proved successful, Marcus planned to expand worldwide. He checked that a black cat was included within the adoption options and that the pixelated kittens were just as adorable as his current houseguests. Then, the former Hades, god of the Underworld, called for his servant, Agathe. He had noticed dribbled kitten formula stains on his shirt.