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What Marmalade was doing in Hell was anybody’s guess but in Hell he was and grin and bear it, he must.

Dogs everywhere was the first thing he noticed; large, black dogs with blood red eyes, salivating at the thought of a bite of Marmalade, who in his earthly life had enjoyed a somewhat pampered and sedentary lifestyle which (along with the rich food) had contributed to his untimely passing.

Here in Hell however, Marmalade was going to have to be quick on his toes; his claws having been clipped on entrance into the underworld, it was clear that self-defence was going to be tricky to say the least and the prospect of an eternity of being hounded was already proving to be such a downer that it began to break the poor cat’s already doomed spirit.

The only good thing about Hell was that it was warm, but this of course, was of little comfort to Marmalade who was sweating out calories by the hundred every hour trying to outrun, outwit and generally dodge the dogs of hell. There weren’t even any trees up which he could hide or rest awhile.

One day during Marmalade’s eternal flight, he spied a small hole in the ground, just large enough to squeeze his now sinewy body through. The hole led into a long and gently descending muddy passage. As Marmalade went along it became steeper and steeper until he was stumbling and tumbling, down and down and down until – BUMP! – he landed in the (mercifully empty) fireplace of what had been his earthly home.

The old lady sat beside the hearth, her eyes now mere ornaments as her sightless gaze fell upon the grate and she was suddenly struck by a feeling of longing for a long departed friend, the ginger cat with whom she had spent her childhood. She could smell him now after all these years, never had déjà vu been so powerful in her life. It was never to leave her now.

Meanwhile a million miles back up the chimney stack a pack of dogs gathered by a small hole howling and vainly clawing at it, rueing yet another cat’s chance in Hell.

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