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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15. The Second Escape

There were several times in those first eight days that one or more of the family members opened the door when Puma was there. But he had a couple good excuses for not having escaped yet. First of all, it tended to shut very quickly, faster than he could even get very close to it. Also, there always seemed to be somebody around. Even if he could outrun the person who had opened the door, someone else, often more than one person, would be there who could probably catch him. By now he was aware that the family liked him, and wouldn’t let him leave if they could help it. He was starting to like them, too, as well as their strange meat.

    There was one day when Puma had the perfect opportunity. It was his tenth day at the house, and once again it was just him and Florence. As she was sweeping the front room, he was gazing dreamily out the window. Noticing this, she walked over and stroked him and said, “You look like you want to go out there. Poor thing, you must miss the fresh air.”

    Naturally, Puma didn’t understand what she was saying but he always found it interesting to listen to the chatter of humans anyway. Florence then went to the door and opened it, looking at him expectantly. “Would you like to go outside?” She motioned with her hands. Cautiously approaching the open door, he looked up at her. I can go? She nudged him gently with her foot. “I know you want to go out there,” she mused. “You can come back in whenever you like. Just don’t go too far.”

    Reluctantly, he slowly went outside, very unlike the sprint for freedom from the last time he had gone outside. Once again, unable to interpret human speech, he didn’t know what Florence had said. He assumed that because of her persistent urging of him to leave, she wanted him to leave for good, never to come back, just like he’d originally planned. Doesn’t she like me?

    Puma’s original plan of escape, he quickly learned, was very flawed. He had no idea where to go. There was a dirt road, and on either side there were lines of houses as far as he could see, each with a grass covered yard. He couldn’t think of anything to do but what unbeknownst to him, his mother had done. Walking to the road, he decided to follow it. He knew that the car had taken a road to get to where he was now, and he knew there was a road next to his old home.

    He gave the road a wider berth than his mother had, preferring to stick more to the grass. Rose had been more used to roads, and there were more cars on the road in town than where she had been travelling. Maybe, he thought, since she’d told him she usually wouldn’t stay to live in the same place for a very long, she could have made home close to where Puma had been staying. That would make it so much easier. But then again, he realized, she could have moved somewhere farther away and difficult to find. That would make sense, since she may want to hide from Snowball after he killed Rain, and she probably thought Snowball had killed him, too. If she knew Snowball killed Rain. What if it hadn’t occurred to her? If she had ever found Rain’s body, she might not have noticed the tell-tale white fur. And what if she never saw her daughter’s body? Maybe then, Rose would think they were still alive and just ran away. She would be looking for them. But then if he found her, he wasn’t sure he would be able to break the news about his sister.

    Thinking about all the possibilities, scenarios, and his unanswered questions made Puma’s head hurt. Despite all this he continued down the road, away from the house. Perhaps this was a stupid idea. Maybe he could go back to the house, look as pitiful as possible, and hopefully Florence would take him back. No. He had to find his mother, and beyond that, the unanswered questions about what happened to her and where she went the night he went to take a walk ignited a curiosity that could only be quenched by finding her.

    Puma continued down the road for quite awhile at a very sluggish pace. With every yard the length of the grass changed. Some yards it grew just above his paws, others almost to the tips of his ears. Most of the yards had at least one tree, and maybe some bushes. He lost track of the houses he passed, though he soon learned it was five. It was when he was getting the edge of the yard of the fifth house that he saw something on the grass. It was a single white hair.

    The first thing he did was stare. Was it Snowball’s fur? It was definitely a cat hair. Then in the distance, he saw something. It was the tail of a white cat, which immediately disappeared behind a tree.

    Sprinting away, the kitten quickly found out that running in the grass that is taller than your feet is difficult, and reluctantly, he crossed to the road and ran on the side of it. He returned to his own yard out of breath. Florence was outside, standing on the porch. When she saw him, picking up the skirts of her dress, she ran over and picked him. “There you are!” she exclaimed. “You must be hungry. I have food for you inside. What kept you so long?”

    Puma didn’t feel hungry. In actuality he felt like he was going to be sick. Snowball had been there. Just five houses away. He had seen him, and he knew he was alive. Puma just knew it was Snowball. The sneaky way in which he had watched him, and then hid behind a tree the moment he looked up. Coward, Puma thought.

    Maybe it wasn’t that he was a coward, though. Snowball probably didn’t want Puma to know he was there. But now he knew where Puma was. No doubt he had watched him be carried away into the house by Florence. Now that he knew he was alive, Snowball would probably try to kill Puma.

    Now was not the time for Puma to leave the house. He had to be where he safe. He had to stay.

 

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