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The First of the Third Ones

The Kittens of Willow Rill

Oreo & Houdini

Oreo

Lydia Olsen

I yawned and stretched out my growing black and white legs, nudging my sister in the process. It was early morning and I was already getting hungry. I opened my eyes and looked around at the world that was now mine. I scanned my surroundings searching for mother but she was nowhere to be found. I started to whimper, hoping she would hear and come running back. My sister was beginning to wake up and I nudged her again to accelerate the process. She opened her eyes, looked over at me, rolled them in annoyance and then tried to sleep again.


Oreo & Houdini

I whimpered louder and told her that mother is gone. My sister says that mom probably just went to get breakfast. I lied back down and tried to rest as I waited for mother to return. I waited and waited for what seemed like forever but she still hadnít returned. Sister woke and our stomachs grumbled as if in conversation with each other as lunchtime passed and dinner approached.

"We have to find something to eat! I am so hungry!", I said, unable to take it any longer.

"We shouldnít leave", sister said, "What if mother comes back?"

"Sheís been gone forever! My belly canít wait any more!"

"You can go then but Iím staying here!", Sister said firmly.

"Sister, I need you! You have to come with me."

"Iím afraid though", sister whispered.

"Donít be such a scaredy cat!"

Reluctantly she got up and we begun our venture. We made it out from under the porch and were greeted by the evening light. We stood there for a moment. Sister whined saying she wanted to go back. I was a little timid myself but my stomach encouraged me to continue on.

"Letís go...uhÖthis way!", I suggested with as much confidence as I could find.

We walked along through the grass stumbling here and there on our juvenile legs. We made our way through a large field before coming to a paved path that was still warm from the summer sun earlier in the day.

"Now what?", Sister whined tired and annoyed.

"Iím thinking!" I snapped back at her, starting to become fearful as darkness continued to fall. Then suddenly we began to hear human voices and we both grew stiff. Mother always said that humans should be avoided at all costs. It was part of our first survival lesson, as had been Motherís first lesson and her motherís before that. Sister and I huddled together and tried to stay in the shadows.

The slamming of a car door made us both run towards a nearby deck. We squeezed ourselves under the wooden posts and into the dark, damp dirt. Our chests rose and fell heavily and we both agreed that it was too risky to head back to our original home now. Sister and I cuddled up closely and closed our eyes trying to rest and ignore our grumbling stomachs.

The sun rose and noises from the house in connection to the desk filled our ears. We lied there still, missing mother and unsure of what to do. Our two short months of life had not prepared us for this! I found whimpers quietly coming within me without my control and I begun to lose hope.

Just then footsteps shook the deck above our heads. They approached closer, shaking our roof and greatly frightening us. We scooter backwards until our backs were up against the house. The footsteps traveled down the stairs and into the grass. We waitedóstill as can be until a little, freckled human face appeared tilted and peering through the gap between the grass and the deck. We were afraid because we had never seen a human up so close before! Yet, our fear subsided, as we smelt the cooked chicken the human held in her hand. She spoke softly to us and put the food on the ground. I tried to resist because I had heard that humans should not be trusted but I was so hungry but I had difficulty staying away! Closer and closer my stomach dragged me until I was devouring the bits of meats.

Then out of nowhere the humanís hand grabbed hold of my neck and I was in her arms. I struggled to get free, afraid of what she was going to do. The next thing I knew, I was in a closet surrounded by Barbie Dolls and girlís clothing. "Oh no!", I thought, "This cannot be good!" Within a few minutes later my sister was put into the closet with me and she glared at me angrily. "I told you we should have never left our home! Now mother will never find us!", Sister lashed at me with sadness and frustration.

We didnít do much for a day or so in that closet. There was food so I was happy about that but we were afraid of what was to come and sister tried to escape multiple times out of fear. Then one day we found ourselves being captured again and put into a large metal cage. Our cage was put into the back of a car and off we went to yet another humanís home.

When the car pulled to a stop, a man came around and picked up our cage and carried us into a room much larger than the closet we had been living in. The man spoke to us softly and brought out these things to play with. At first I was confused as to what he was trying to do when he bounced the stick with the dangling fluff ball back and forth but then I couldnít help myself, I had to attack it! My sister was not so eager and she watched from a distance always planning her next escape.

Days passed and without fail the man would come and sit with us and play with us. He was very affectionate and called me Oreo. I began to like him. Iím not sure what mother had experienced but I was learning that humans were not that bad after all. My sister, who the man called Houdini was not as convinced. After we had been at our new home for a month or so these two girls started to visit us. They would play lots of games with us and pet us when we let them. I would always run around like a crazy cat and have so much fun! Sometimes Houdini would join in for a little bit but I always made sure that at least one of the girls was giving all of her attention to me!

Time passed and we both began to grow accustomed to our new home. Everyday the man I had grown to love would come into our room and he would hold me and rub my ears and I purred. He was always sweet and fun. Houdini grew to like him more and more but she wasnít as sure about him as I was. The man always spoke to us about the other animals he had and I learned that he was taking care of my big brothers. "How cool!", I thought. I had never known that I had bothers and I was excited for the day when I would meet him.

The weather was becoming chillier and the man spoke about the day when we would be moved into the house. I had no idea that a new adventure was in store! Then it was the day and Houdini and I were carried from the barn where we had been living in to the manís house. I was so confused! Everything had a different smell and there were other cats walking around! It didnít take me long to figure things out though because I am very curious. I smelt everything and quickly learned that the manís pile of dirty clothes on the ground is a great place to snuggle!

Looking back at it, it is amazing to see how far I have come! I started out as a stray kitten, afraid and without a home. I was lucky enough to be given a home by a man named Mike and his wife Audrey. They have shown me great love and have given me a chance to have a happy and enjoyable life. I am so grateful to know that I will be spending the rest of my days as a cat under the love and care of these great humans. Please know that every time you hear me purr, itís actually me trying to say "thank you" for all that you have done for me!


Houdini

Bridgette Nitza-Buwala
MSM Class of 2015

Any escape was what I pawed around foróa cold metal cage, roomy but not relaxing, held me captive. Alongside me, there was a boisterous boy kitten, my brother, who did not seem to be fazed by the capture as I had been. It took time and much concentration, but I managed to slip under the metal spoke that stood between my freedom.

Eventually found, I was not enthused to be back inside such a small area, stared at and cooed toward by two little humans. I was in unfamiliar territory, quarters that were far too close for comfort, and I was reasonably scared.

Days went by and my chance for another escape was lost. Transport to a much bigger space took place regardless of my reluctance to move. Left in an area with cabinets, carpets, the cage, and toys, I saw hope in the form of windows, food, and water. There was now room to roam, but I worried every time the large human, Mike, came in. He appeared to be harmless, as the boy kitten had much fun chasing an object or two around the room to Mikeís enjoyment. Nevertheless, it was best that I be skepticalójust in case.

We seemed to be given names by Mike, as he spoke, "Houdini" to me, and "Oreo" to the boy. I was not clear as to what they mean, but I didnít mind them either.

Mikeís mate, Audrey, would bring food early each morning. She did not visit as often or as long as Mike did, so I kept my distance from her for quite some time. I could see that she was trying to be my friend, but she also understood when I made obvious my hesitancy to approach her.

Furry creatures were barking and growling, curious as to who we were. Iíd seen another cat around, so they must have some idea of our likeness. However, "Oreo" acts much differently than I could ever imagine acting. Maybe the mysterious cat also acts in such an odd manner.

I found comfort in a quaint windowsill, a crevice just big enough that I could wedge myself against the wire and feel cool air on my fur. Twigs sprouting with greenery taunted me as I reached further and further through the wire in order to catch one for myself.

Another two humans, Lydia and Bridgette, became part of my experience here in the bigger space. Larger than the first two humans, but smaller than Mike, they tried the same antics with me, rubbing my fur with some long, dark stick and dangling feathers in my face. Unfortunately, every now and again I could not help but purrrrr, or react to the feathers with a tug of my paw.

After a few weeks of their presence, it became a bit easier to allow their affection. I no longer ran at the sound of their voices and footsteps. At the start of every visit, I waited to see what their intentions were, and after an acceptable amount of observation I gave in to the pets and the play.

A couple of weeks passed and then a third human by the name of Andrew would tag along with one of the original two. Tall and lean, he seemed to be most interested in "Oreo," and left Bridgette to pay me attention.

Although I seemed to enjoy the interaction, trips to a strange place caused me to retreat. Audrey and Mike stuck us two kittens in a cage more than once, and took us to a place where affection was forced and medicine was administered.

I was once again leery of all humans. Above an area where I often hid was an even more secluded holeóone that I could crawl into, where no one else could reach. Doors swung open and heads poked through, but most importantly I was untouchable in this spot. I could leave it at my discretion alone. I only chose to once I saw the humans distracted with "Oreo." It took some time, but I was able to again purrrrr and play with them.

Aside from these frequent visitors, the cat I had earlier seen was let in to intermingle with "Oreo" and me, "Houdini." He, who Mike called "Will," liked the window as I had. Unfortunately for me, Will was much older and much more aggressive, so he was often able to convince me that the sill is his rightful place, and his rightful place was to be left alone. However, every time he was taken out of our space, I did use the opportunity to rub my scent back over "my" special spot. In these moments, I saw the human visitors smile. I think they could tell that I began to feel a sense of belonging.

I was brought into a yet another space, just after such a feeling arose in the last one. To my surprise, this space was even grander than the one "Oreo" and I had recently grown accustomed to. Others were already occupying it, however. I was worried to overstep their boundaries, and noticed that one in particular felt it necessary to mark its territory. A room at the top of what Mike referred to as "the house" appeared to be the best place for "Oreo" and me to play.

A need for food was reason enough for me to relax and eat among the other occupants. Audrey fed us all at once, and thus I had to accept the dinnertime contact. After many nights, I learned that resting in close proximity to all others would not cause me harm.

Mike would not cease to pay us attention, though "Oreo" and I were now only two of his and his mateís eight cats total. Perhaps it is that persistence that has caused me to recognize their yearn to care for us. I now often stray outside of the room on top, but nights lying beside "Oreo" and Mike are what comfort me most.

Though I still enjoy my moments alone, sometimes hidden in the frame of Mike and Audreyís bed, there is no longer a need for me to escape. I am not held captive. Rather, I am home.

Read other stories by Michael Hillman