"Oh, Holly, you’re home! Do me a favor and grab the Club crackers out of the pantry.” Holly’s mother darted back into the kitchen , her words still trailing behind her. Holly dropped her schoolbag on the nearby recliner and went to do as her mom had asked. After some searching and pushing boxes around, Holly finally found the familiar green box. She brought it into the kitchen, handing it to her mom. “Here, Mom.”
“Thanks, Hol.” Penny said, taking the crackers and setting them on the counter. She hurried back to the stove, giving the pot of pasta shells another stir. “How was your day, honey?”
Holly shrugged. “Good. We got a new English teacher. I guess Mrs. Kimley won’t be bak for a while.”
“New teacher, hm? And what do you think of her? Or him?”
“He’s alright. Pretty nice.” Somehow, Holly felt that it wouldn’t be a good idea to tell her mother about how much Mr. Penn creeped her out. Penny Elizabeth was the type of mom who wold call the principal and share her concerns, asking for a thorough background check to ensure her daughter’s safety. Holly didn’t want her mother to worry. “He let us watch a movie instead of read.”
Penny rolled her eyes. “Oh, well, if he does that, he must be absolutely amazing.”
Holly just shrugged, opening the fridge to grab a bottle of orange soda. Penny looked at the drink and shivered, putting an overly disgusted look on her face. “Ugh! Honey, how do you drink that? It’s so bad for you!”
“But tastes pretty darn good!” Holly replied as she walked out of the kitchen and headed up the stairs to her room.
Holly pushed open her bedroom door and froze.
Sitting on her bed, calmly swiping a damp paw over its ear, was a skinny black cat. It looked up at her as she opened the door, but its blue eyes were calm, showing no fear of Holly.
“Hey, kitty. Where’d you come from?” Holly said softly, looking around the room. She noticed that she’d left her window open, which would explain the feline’s entry point. Holly slowly approached the cat, and it stood, padding across the bed to greet her. It suddenly leaped towards her, and Holly yelped, flinching. She realized that the cat was now in her arms, looking up at her with a face of pure adoration.
“Wha...?” Holly stared at the cat in confusion, then turned and called downstairs, “Mom! Can you come up here, please?”
Penny’s footsteps were heard pounding on the stairs, then she appeared in the doorway. She raised an eyebrow when she saw the cat in Holly’s arms. “Well, hello,” she said, coming towards Holly. “Who is this?”
“I don’t know,” Holly said. “It was in my room when I came in. I forgot to close my window. There aren’t any tags on him.”
Penny made a motion to take the cat, and Holly gently transferred it to her arms. Penny scratched the cat behind the ears, provoking a loud purr. She looked over the animal and pointed out “It’s a female.”
“I wonder where she came from.”
“Might be a stray. No one in our neighborhood lets their cats run wild with no tags, and I’m pretty sure no one owns a black shorthair, either.”
Holly resisted rolling her eyes. Of course her mother would know about their neighbors’ pets. “What should we do with her?”
“Take her to the vet, make sure she doesn’t belong to anyone or have a disease. Then we’ll figure it out from there.” Penny said, giving the cat another ear scratch.
“Well, let’s go!”
“This pretty little girl is a clean bill of health. I didn’t find any kind of ID to indicate an owner, and she hasn’t received any shots. She’s a stray alright, and a surprisingly healthy one. And she really is a beauty!” Dr. Leeman smiled at the feline, rubbing her back. The cat purred happily, flopping over to show her tummy. “Are you considering taking her in?”
Holly and Penny looked at each other. “That would be nice, having a cat.” Penny said thoughtfully. Holly nodded, grinning. Penny looked back at Dr. Leeman. “You know what, I think we will take her in.”
The vet beamed. “Excellent! Let me go ahead and prepare a file for her. I suggest you start thinking of a name while I’m gone.”
Holly looked at the cat as the vet left the room. The cat gazed back at her. A name drifted through Holly’s mind like smoke: Nyx.
“How about Nyx?” Holly said to her mother.
Penny’s brow wrinkled as she tried to place the name. “Like the goddess of night?”
“Yeah, N-Y-X. Nyx.”
Penny smiled. “I think it fits. Alright, Nyx it is, then.”