The Nine Lives of the White Spotted Cat, Book 1

In 1919, a black kitten with a white spot on his flank was born near a small town. A year after his death, a cat who looked almost exactly the same was born, and a year after his death yet another cat was found. This happened nine times. Was it one cat, living out nine lives? Or nine separate cats? Could it be proof that cats really do have nine lives? It all started in 1919...

Puma had a mostly normal life at first as a kitten. His mother taught him and his sister to hunt and climb trees, just like any other cat. But his life is shaken when a mysterious white cat from his mother's past begins stalking his family, appearing everywhere like a ghost. Puma seems to be the only one to notice. Why won't this cat leave them alone? And what happens when he finally attacks?

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12. The Explorer

Puma couldn’t quite remember where he was when he woke up. But soon, looking around, it all came back to him, and what stuck in his mind the most was the thing he was thinking about as he was falling asleep:he was going to explore the house.

    Seeing that there were no humans nearby, Puma decided it was safe. He would start with the room he was in.  He began at the wall, cautiously sniffing around the perimeter. The walls were white, and several flat, multicolored things hung from them; there were many strange objects all around the room. He inspected and sniffed every one of them carefully. Ready for the next place, he went down a hallway, where there didn’t seem to be anything of interest.

    Puma entered a smaller room that instantly became his favorite. Standing at the edge was the woman, who was bending over something on the counter, working on something that he couldn’t quite see. She didn’t acknowledge him, which was refreshing after the awkward attention he’d gotten from the humans earlier. The room was filled with all kinds of good smells, and he could see food. He had the feeling that there was more than just what he saw there, that there was probably more hidden. Once he was big enough to jump onto the counter, he decided, he would get up there and find where the rest of the food was.

    Once he was big enough. He shook the thought away. No, by the time he was big enough to jump up to the counter, he would be out of there, reunited with his mother. At least he should be. He had to be.

    Though there seemed to be several more interesting things on the counters in the room, which he learned was called the kitchen, Puma chose to leave. He walked back down the hallway to the living room. As much as he wanted to explore the house, he had other things to focus on. How would he get out there? How would he find the way out of the town, and find his mother? Rose had to have found Rain’s body, or at least figured out that she was dead, and she probably thought he was dead, too. She wouldn’t be looking for him.

    Puma suddenly felt very overwhelmed. Escaping the house probably wouldn’t be very difficult, but how would he find his way out of the town? His hunting skills weren’t the best. Would he be able to survive on his own long enough to find her? His mother had told him before that she didn’t always stay in the same place. What if she’d left? What if Snowball had killed her, too?

    One thing at a time, he told himself. The first thing he had to do was get out of the house. So far the only exit or entrance he’d seen was the front door. The humans had twisted a doorknob, and it had opened. Looking up at it, he knew there was no way he could jump high enough to reach it. He wouldn’t be able to get out without the assistance of a human.

    None of the humans acted like they wanted him to leave. If they didn’t care whether he was there or not, they wouldn’t pay so much attention to him, and they wouldn’t have trapped him in the first place. But he couldn’t open the door on his own. And even if they would be willing to let him leave, how would he get one of them to open the door?

    I’ll have to wait, he reasoned, until one of them opens the door. Then I’ll dash out as fast as I can. Surely they had to open the door and leave at some point. They wouldn’t spend all their time in the house, would they? He just needed to wait.

    Puma walked over to the door and sat, intent on staying there until a human would open the door. Muscles tense, he was ready to sprint outside into freedom at any moment. However, as a kitten his patience was thin and wore off after about five minutes. Maybe they really do never leave! He thought. He decided that there was probably another way out and he would have to explore the house to find it, though it was partly his boredom and his curiosity of the building making him think this way.

    Though he kind of wanted to go back to the kitchen, Puma chose to take the opposite direction he had before. He went to a door that was open just a crack and squeezed through it. The two older boys were there, one sitting on the bed, the eldest brother standing, telling him to get up. When the eldest noticed Puma, he stopped what he was doing and slowly began to approach him. The younger of the two smiled and kicked back on his bed, now that his brother was no longer scolding him for being lazy.

    Puma’s first impulse was to run from the boy, who was coming toward him. He held back the urge. Stand your ground, he told himself. He had to learn not to be afraid of these people. The boy was right above him, his hand reaching down, about to touch him. Stand your ground. Stand your ground. Don’t run. It took all his willpower not to flee.

    Puma’s body tensed as he felt the boy’s hand touch him, fingers stroking his back. This was repeated a few times until he started scratching him behind the ears. He was surprised at how good it felt, and couldn’t hold back a purr. It took him by surprise when the boy lifted him up and sat down on the bed, putting him in his lap. “Who’s lazy now?” The younger brother asked. The older brother scoffed but didn’t pay attention to him other than that. He stroked and scratched him behind the ears for quite some time until Puma almost fell asleep.

    He opened his eyes with a start. I can’t get attached to these people! He had to leave soon. Jumping down from the boy’s lap, he landed hard on the floor and ran away into another room. Back in the bedroom where the boys were, the older boy shrugged. “Cats, right?” he said to his brother. But his brother was asleep.

 
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