A Guardian Angel - Chapter One - Chewy's story
What would the cats Janine cares for think of her ? What would it be like to eavesdrop on them on a cold winters night ?
Chewy - a small calico female with a patchwork of white, orange and black fur crouched beneath one of the many human made shelters arranged along the tall wooden fence that bordered the little park at Second and Central streets. She had gotten this name because of her nervous tendency to chew on her paw pads every few minutes when she wasn't hunting for food. She even chewed them in her sleep. She couldn't help it - they itched constantly - the maddening tingly sensation was creeping into her conscious thoughts even now as she peered out from the deep shadows under the human made shelters boxy enclosure over her head. She had suffered much as of late, her itchy paws were just the latest annoyance to be added to the long list of her life's woes.
She had been born a little over two years ago in one of these very shelters in the seedy little park that she called home. She had been the runt of the litter, and now barely tipped the scales at three pounds even though she was fully grown. Barely big enough to fight the rats that sometimes stole whatever meager scraps she managed to find, her life was a continuous series of hungry days and hungry nights. Sometimes she feared that the grumbles from her chronically empty belly were loud enough for the ratty looking humans that wandered this neighborhood at all hours of the night to hear and that they would suddenly emerge from their stupors and take after her. Luckily for her - so far none of them had paid her any attention - and for that she was grateful. But there was one who did - the human female that stopped along the trash strewn edge of Central ave and put out food and water for the local colony that called the corner park property home. Chewy had come to look forward to hearing the rumbly, grumbly motor of the human females car come sliding along Central and pulling to a halt with its wheels squealing like a trapped mouse a few seconds before it came to a stop. It wasn't shiny or vibrating with thundering music like some of the humans cars, and she got the feeling it was kind of an old, well worn human car - but she was glad to see it every morning just the same. She had been in that car once already, but could remember almost nothing about the experience other than she had been brought back to this same location missing the tip of one ear. She had been happy to be home at the time, and free of the little metal cage she was in, but things had become so much harder for her since then.
Now she could hardly wait to hear its grumbly motor this cold and snowy morning. This had been an especially troubling week for her. She had gotten trapped by an errant falling board in the basement of the seedy abandoned church on Second Street while rooting around for something to eat. She was too small and did not have the strength to move the heavy board once it had fallen across the hole she'd used to gain entry. She'd spent a miserable two whole days and nights trapped there until a group of foraging rats had ganged up together and moved the board out of the way for themselves. The second they had disappeared into the gloomy confines of the church basement she had bolted out through the hole into the frigid air outside. That was just about an hour ago, and now here she was crouched in the icy cold shallow snow and crispy dead leaves under the shelter, her diminutive nose twitching slightly as she sniffed the dry winter air for any signs of food. She could smell the sharp and pungent odor of the marking scents used by the other cats that prowled these grounds, as well as the sour tang of rat piss. She hated that smell more than anything - it reminded her that even after the human female came and left food, she would have to fight the rats for it if she wanted to eat.
She had decided today would be different. Hardly believing she could be so brave and bold - she had made up her mind to do something so against her nature that it made her shiver harder than the negative 10 degree wind chill warranted. She was planning on giving herself up to the human female that came to feed them. She had overheard some of the neighborhood cats talking in hushed whispers about the human female taking some of the locals away in a trap, and that sometimes they came back healed from their sickness or injuries. There was also a rumor gradually spreading from other far flung colonies of wild cats that this same human female had been helping them by finding them homes with other humans that actually wanted to invite a cat into their homes and take care of them - forever! She could not believe a human would ever do something like that for her - but she was going to try. It had been almost brutally cold all week, and her little body could barely generate enough heat to keep her shivering at bay. Chewy fully intended to run out to the human female when she got out to leave the food and water and cry for help.
So she shivered
and waited, waited and shivered, her breath making tiny plums of white vapor
that condensed on the underside of the shelters floor above her. Finally, after
what seemed like an eternity, her sensitive eyes spotted two bright spots far
down Central Ave coming toward her. Her little heart began to beat faster as
the lights grew bigger and brighter, and at last she heard the distinctive deep
grumble of the cars motor. It was her! The human female was coming to put out
food and water. She raised herself up off her belly, ready to emerge from under
the shelter and plow through the snow toward the human to make her plea. She
had no idea if humans could understand cat - but she would try her best.
|August 2017 - Chewy still on the streets|
She watched with wide eyes as the humans car stopped across the street, its wheels making that intermittent mouse-squeak sound - but her keen vision suddenly became aware of something else. Coming down the street from the opposite direction from the old car was one of the local ratty looking humans that she had seen from time to time over the past year. She watched with a sinking feeling in her heart as the man made a beeline straight toward the other humans car. Now why in the name of cats did he have to pick NOW to bug the human female before she could get a chance to plead her case for getting off this frozen street ? She watched as the cars window opened with a labored whine, and the human inside began conversing with the man standing stooped over next to the cars door. She hesitated, caught like a mouse under a paw between her fear of facing two humans and the burning emptiness in her belly. But she couldn't bear the thought of going another minute being this cold and hungry - so she threw instinct and caution to the bitter wind. Steeling herself, she stepped out into the snow and began making her way toward the impossibly high looking snowbanks at the edge of the street.
To be continued …
Have a great day!
"True happiness is... to enjoy
the present, without anxious
dependence upon the future."