Charity Cat Anthology Hop
Today I'm taking part in Kyra Lennon's Charity Cat Anthology Bloghop, where the goal is to write a story featuring a cat. Mine is very rushed, so it's not my best writing, but it's all I could do in the time that I had. I hope you all enjoy it, anyway.
“Adam, you can’t live your whole life like this! Ever since you left school all you’ve done is sit around in your room, playing games. You don’t even help with the housework! All I asked you to do was pick your brother up from school, and you couldn’t even do that! You need to learn some responsibility; you can’t just go through life relying on everyone else.” Mum stood in the hall, unshed tears sparkling in her eyes.
“Look, I didn’t mean to just leave him there! I just…forgot.” I shoved past her, chucking my keys onto the table.
“I wouldn’t mind if it was just this once, but it’s happening so often! You don’t have a job, you’re not helping me out at home, and now you’re not even looking after your little brother. I can’t do it, Adam, I just can’t. Not anymore.”
I paused, my back to her. “What do you mean?”
“If you don’t start helping me out soon…you’ll have to find somewhere else to stay. I have too much on my plate at the moment.”
I turned to face her; the tears had started to spill silently down her face. “Fine,” I said, grabbing my keys. “I’ll just go now then, shall I?”
“Adam, wait-” she said, reaching out her arms, but I pushed past them, slamming the door on my way out of the house.
I pulled my hood up and walked quickly down the street, before thrusting my hands into my pockets. I felt my phone vibrating and pulled it out; it was mum. I blocked the call and put the phone back in my pocket, cursing. Once I’d rounded the corner I hesitated. I already felt bad about the argument with mum; they were happening far too often these days. I get that she was annoyed about me forgetting to pick Jake up - I really had forgotten. I just don’t understand why she said all the other stuff. I’m only 18 years old; why shouldn’t I have a little fun before I have to grow up completely?
Sighing, I headed for the park; my usual haunt. It was empty but for a few louts who seemed to think knocking bins over was a fun way to spend a night. I skirted around them and headed for the kids playground; there wouldn’t be anyone else there at this time of night.
I slumped down onto a swing and pulled my phone out again; three missed calls off mum, and two voice mail messages. I put my phone back in my pocket without listening to them and glanced around, not that I was able to see much in the darkness. There was no sound except for the rustling of trees and the occasional sound of a bin being knocked over. Then I heard it; the tiniest sound, so small I thought I’d imagined it at first.
I got up from my swing, jumping when it creaked. I stood still, listening for the noise, but I couldn’t hear anything unusual. I approached the bushes where I thought it had come from and crouched down, carefully moving the bush to one side. In the darkness, a pair of eyes glimmered at me. Then, that tiny sound again; a mewing sound.
“What are you doing in there?” I said quietly, reaching my arms into the bushes. I picked up the shivering animal and examined it. It was a kitten, no bigger than the palm of my hand, with long fluffy fur that was matted in places. It was black all over, except for a small spot on its chest.
Standing up carefully, I headed over to the nearest streetlight so I could get a better look at it. One of its eyes was red and sore-looking, and all I could feel through the fur was skin and bones. Holding the kitten in one hand, I went back over to the bushes and searched around, just in case I could find the mother or any other kittens, but there was nothing. I frowned down at the kitten for a couple of minutes, wondering what to do. Do I take it home, or do I leave it here and hope for the best?
She looked up at me, her eyes huge in her tiny head, and mewed.
I turned and carried her home.
I unlocked the door and crept into the house, trying not to jostle the kitten. She hadn’t tried to jump out of my hands or anything on the way home, so either she’s really comfortable around humans or too weak to fight; my bet’s on the latter. She was still shivering uncontrollably, even though I’d taken my hoody off already and wrapped it around her.
Mum immediately came bustling out of the kitchen. “Where have you been? Look, I’m sorry about-”
“Shh,” I whispered, pointing to the bundle in my arms. “I found a kitten in the park. It looks like she’s just been left there; there was no sign of any other cats or anything. I didn’t know what to do, so I brought her home.”
Mum walked slowly forwards before peeking into the fabric. “Oh, poor thing; looks half starved.” She folded her arms, frowning at the bundle in my arms. “Well we won’t be able to keep it here for long, I’m swamped at work; I just wouldn’t have the time to look after it. I’ll drop it off at the cat rescue place first thing tomorrow.”
“OK,” I said, relieved. I held out my hands, trying to pass the kitten to my mum.
“I can’t look after it,” she said, holding up her hands. “I have 101 things to do; I just don’t have the time.”
“But Mum, I don’t have the slightest clue how to look after a kitten! I can barely look after myself!”
“Too right,” she smirked. “Just keep it warm and make sure it’s got food and water. It doesn’t look too young, so you should be OK giving it store bought kitten food. You’ll be fine, Adam; just look after it for one night and tomorrow we’ll take it in to the rescue place.”
“Right. OK then. I’ll look after her.”
“How do you know it’s a girl?” Mum asked.
I smiled. “Just a feeling.”
I went through through to the kitchen and grabbed a cardboard box in my free hand; luckily we had one there, waiting to go in the bin. I carried it and the kitten upstairs and put an old blanket in the bottom of the box, then carefully placed the kitten inside the box. She just sat there, staring at me with her big wide eyes. I put my hand in the box and softly stroked her head; she leaned to one side, as though she enjoyed the feeling.
“What’s that?” Jake said, running out of his bedroom in his dinosaur pyjamas. The kitten started at the sound of his voice and huddled in a corner of the box.
“Careful,” I whispered, not wanting to scare her again. “It’s a kitten I found at the park. Don’t get too excited though; we’re not keeping her.”
“Aww, it’s so cute.”
“Shouldn’t you be in bed?”
Jake sighed. “Goodnight.”
“Goodnight,” I said, picking up the box and shoving open the door to my room. I put the box down on my bedroom floor. “I’ll be right back,” I said to the kitten. “I’m just going to get you some water.” She looked up at me quizzically, cocking her head to one side like a dog. I chuckled before closing my bedroom door and heading downstairs. I got a shallow bowl from the cupboard and filled it with water from the upstairs sink. I put it in the corner of her box, shut my bedroom door and sat next to it, watching her. She was looking at the bowl of water as if it was going to eat her.
“Don’t worry,” I said, dipping my finger in the water. “It’s just water.” I held my finger out and she slowly stepped forward and licked the drop of water from the end. I tried to hold as still as I could, not wanting to scare her away. She carried on licking my finger even though there was no water left on it, so I dipped it in the water again and held it out; this time she didn’t hesitate. I moved my finger so it was hovering over the bowl, and she followed eagerly and began to lap the water. I stood up, carefully, not wanting to scare her. “And now, time to get you some food.”
The kitten food in the supermarket down the road was a right rip off, but I bought a box with my savings anyway. As soon as I put a bowl of it in the cardboard box, the kitten was all over it. “Wow,” I said, leaning over the box. “I guess it was worth all that money I just paid for it, then.” I reached my hand into the box and stroked the top of her head while she ate. “Do you feel better now?” I said once she’d stopped eating. Her little pink tongue flicked out of her mouth, licking her lips as if in answer to my question. I glanced at my clock and did a double take. “Time for bed, I think.” I looked down at the kitten for a minute before lifting the box up and putting it on my bed.
I switched off the light and settled down under the covers, my eyes itching with tiredness. I was just drifting off when I was jolted awake by a scrabbling noise, followed by the sound of a pitiful mewing. Turning on the light, I peeked into the box to see the kitten trying to climb up the side of it. “What’s wrong? Are you lonely?” I reached into the box and lifted her up, then placed her gently on the bed next to me. I made sure she was on the side closest to the wall, so she wouldn’t fall off. I turned the light out again, then felt tiny paws climbing onto my chest. She settled down right over my heart.
I woke up to the sound of my bedroom door opening. I peered at it with bleary eyes, at the same time noticing that the kitten was still fast asleep on my chest.
“I’m ready to take her now,” Mum said. “Do you want to put her in the box, and I’ll just take her in that.”
I hesitated, placing my hands protectively over the kitten’s tiny form. She woke up and stretched, yawning widely, before curling up again. A deep purr started to build in her chest.
“No,” I said. “I don’t want you to take her. I want to keep her.”
“What?” Mum said, eyes wide. “I told you, Adam, I don’t have the time to look after-”
“You won’t have to look after her,” I said. “I will. She came to me for a reason; I’m meant to look after her, and I will. I promise.”
“I just don’t think I can afford to pay for the vets and the food and everything else we’ll need for a cat, Adam.”
“That’s fine; I’ll get a job. I’ll pay for stuff for her with my savings until then.”
Mum looked taken aback for a minute, but then she smiled down at the kitten. “Well that’s a surprise,” she said. “Of all the things I would have bet on to make you take some responsibility, a kitten wouldn’t have even been on the list.”
“Hey, it’s just as much of a surprise to me,” I said, stroking the kitten’s head.
“Have you thought of a name?” Mum asked.
“Yeah,” I said. “I’m going to call her Faith.”
Faith stretched out her paws so they were touching my face, then closed her eyes, slipping back to sleep.
I allow Kyra Lennon to use this story in the anthology.
My bio (for use in the anthology):
Laura Clipson spends most of her spare time writing, whether it's poetry, fiction or posts for her blog. She has a Masters degree in Creative Writing, and she likes nothing better than to read a good story, or to create her own. She lives in England with her beloved cat, Misty.
Can be found at: http://mybafflingbrain.blogspot.co.uk/