“I’m telling you. You better leave that thing alone.” Badger The Cat spoke with the wisdom of a feline that had survived many tales to tell.
“Really, Bear. It’s just a silly bag.” Squeeler purred with exasperation at her brother’s daftness. Sometimes she really wondered if they came from the same litter.
“Oh, go ahead, Bear. Don’t be such a ‘fraidy cat.” Callie goaded. The orange, white and black markings on her face gave an appearance of a Halloween mask. A Cheshire grin crawled across her face. Half hooded eyes watched the curious tuxedo cat. Bear was such an easy target. “You know you want to see what’s inside.”
“Don’t listen to her. She’s only trying to get you in trouble.” Squeeler sat lady-like with her black tiger stripes matching perfectly on her front legs.
“Callie, leave the boy alone. It’s Christmas Eve, can’t you just be nice.” Badger admonished.
“I just want to see.” Bear poked his head into the bag. Curiosity was not subdued with satisfaction. It was just an empty bag. Disappointed, Bear tried to back his way out of the bag. Uh-oh, he thought. He moved forward and retried backing out of the bag with only the same result. Fear rushed through him. The bag had latched itself to him.
“What’s wrong fat boy? Can’t get free?” Callie salaciously mused enjoying the dilemma Bear had found himself.
“I told you to leave that bag alone. Now it’s got you.” Squeeler knew the bag was a bad idea.
Bear continued to try and free himself from the clutches of the bag’s handle. Ignoring his siblings’ musings and commentaries, he did the only thing he could thing he could think of - RUN! His short stubby legs moved down each stair. The bag grew angrier with each bounce. He should have listened to the wisdom of Badger The Cat. When would he learn to appreciate the intelligence of the alpha cat’s years of being the king of the household?
Bear really wished he’d let the bag remain undisturbed in its peaceful state. He was sure he had awakened a sleeping giant and now it was angry at him. Maybe, if he could run fast enough, the bag would not be able to stay with him.
A sharp right turn was made at the bottom of the stairs through the foyer he continued. The sight of his human parents standing in the kitchen with amused curiosity on their faces was a blur to him. His footing lost on the vinyl flooring, all four paws moved with no forward progress. The bag’s grasp tightened around his girth with each movement.
This was it. He was sure all nine of his lives were rapidly expiring. Finally, the pads of his paws mastered the slick flooring. Propelling himself forward, he found himself airborne missing the two steps into the den and landing on the wood floor. Continuing with the only plan of escape his frantic mind could envision, Bear tried to flee his captor.
The wall in front of him grew bigger. If the bag did not do him in, he was sure the wall would. Not quite sure how it happened, Bear diverted the wall in the nick of time, avoiding the near tragedy of a head-on collision. Unfortunately, the angry bag continued its hold punishing him.
Sounds of his name being called fell on deaf ears. His hysterical panicked mind could not comprehend that the hands grasping for him were friendly and not foe. Bear was sure that if he kept running eventually this nightmare would end. His heart pounded against the walls of his chest. In his distraction of hearing laughter and evading hands reaching for him, Bear did not realize the pending collision course he was traveling. The blunt force trauma of his head making full contact with the magic white box, known as the refrigerator, that held treats momentarily rendered him senseless.
Spinning like a race car that had just impacted with the wall, his world became a series of rotating blurs. All four paws splayed outward, the flat of his belly was the only contact his body could maintain with the floor. The spinning halted allowing his eyes to catch up with his stationary body. For a brief fleeting moment, the sounds of the angry bag were silent. Maybe, he was free. Bear regain his footing his hopes rapidly diminished. The bag was still there and its disposition had not changed.
Paws began in motion again through the foyer and up the stairs. Each one of his siblings sat at the top of the stairs, watching the pitiful display before them. His human parents followed him. Through their laughter at his hysterics, they called his name trying to coax him to stop. Bear could not see what was so funny about his dilemma. The only place he was sure he’d find safety was under the bed. Making a dive, Bear and the remainder of the shopping bag disappeared. ‘Safe,’ Bear thought as he peered from under the bed. His three siblings sat staring back at him.
Badger shook his head at his young protégé’. Bear was his prince – his successor. Poor child would never live up to having the title, “The Cat”, added to his name. Bear was too much of a dreamer. Peace, love and happiness were the driving factors that propelled him through life. The words, enforcer, benevolent benefactor, and peacemaker would not describe him.
Bear knew he had again disappointed his teacher. He knew he had proven again to his sister what an embarrassment he could be. Squeeler turned her head refusing to acknowledge again, another example of her brother’s insane antics. Callie with her masked face, condescending stare, and sly grin enjoyed the entertainment displayed at his expense.
The faces of his human parents appeared. Their laughter still fresh in his memory, he could not accept their sudden concern for his well being. He let them know of his displeasure with a low Bear growl followed by a long hiss.
Hands tugged at him despite his ferocious warning of stay away. His body was extricated from the bed’s safe haven. The bag’s grip once again tightened, reminding him of its existence. A few snips freed his girth of his tormentor’s grasp.
A night of peace, love and goodwill toward men had been filled with terror, fright, and torment. All was calm - all was bright because he was free of the mangled carnage that had once been an inviting shopping bag. Now, it was time to see what was in the stockings that had been hung on the mantle with care.
About the Author:
Tori Bailey is the author of the Coming Home Trilogy. She released the second installment, Ethel’s Song this fall through Turnip Press Publishing. Tori lives in the Athens area with her husband and four rescue cats: Bear, Squeeler, Zippee and Zane. Badger The Cat and Callie have passed on since the time of this story. Their presence is greatly missed but their memories continue to warm our hearts. Visit Tori at www.readtoribailey.com