“Okay, let’s go!” My mom shouted from the mudroom. “Remember your riding boots!”
I had a hard time swallowing the grin that crept across my face. I could not believe it was actually happening! My parents were going to finally let me stay home alone while they went to the barn for my sisters’ riding lessons. The only other time I was home “alone” was during the middle of the day, and it didn’t really count because my dad was right out back working in his shop at the time.
Tonight was the night. I could watch whatever I wanted on TV, eat ALL THE snacks, and not have to listen to anyone! I could even call a friend and talk for HOURS and no one would ever know! But, of course, just before they left, my mom went over all the rules about being good while they were away, etc. etc.. And even though I was super excited to be home alone, I knew I’d just end up staying in the kitchen most of the time, anyway. It was bright and cheery in there, and there was a small TV on top of the refrigerator, plus all the food I could eat!
The second they pulled out of the driveway I turned on the TV and started flicking through the channels to find my favorite shows. I knew with the TV going, I wouldn’t feel completely alone. I also had our dog, Jasper, with me. And before long, we were curled up in the big arm chair in the corner of the kitchen. We had a plate full of microwaveable pizza bites and one of my favorite shows was just starting! Everything was going perfectly until…
I heard a loud noise; and realized it was coming from UPSTAIRS!!
“MEOW!” There it was again. This time stronger and louder. It was our cat, “Kitty.”
“She must be shut in one of the bedrooms,” I thought to myself. But, going upstairs was NOT a part of the plan. I barely liked to go up there by myself in the middle of the day! I’d normally have to convince my little sister to go with me, and that’s only when I really needed something up there.
“The cat will be fine,” I whispered to myself. But, the meowing got louder. I could tell Kitty was getting really mad. And I knew if she was locked in a room for too long, she’d “mark her territory” to let us ALL know just how mad she really was… which would result in my mom getting really mad, and well… ugh. I knew what I had to do.
I glanced at the clock… I mean, if they were going to be home in a few minutes, there was no sense in me going up there alone. But, sadly, there were still a couple of hours lefts before I would see my family again. So I took a deep breath and scooped the dog up under my arm. Luckily Jasper liked Kitty, I think he was afraid of her actually (weren’t we all!), so at least I didn’t have to worry about him making the situation any worse.
I told him our plan as we tiptoed through the house. It was simple. We would climb the stairs, open up all the bedroom doors as quickly as possible, swing them open wide enough to make sure that Kitty could free herself. Then, we’d hurry back down the stairs, quickly make our way through the living room, then the dining room, and finally back to our safe place in the kitchen.
We stood at the foot of the staircase. Jasper trembled under my arm. I stroked his head trying to calm myself and then paused as I listened for her meow. When I realized it was definitely coming from upstairs, I knew we couldn’t turn back. We took a deep breath.
Each step creaked beneath us as we lurched closer and closer to the top. I reached for the wall and flicked on every light switch I could find. Soon the upstairs hallway was illuminated and I let out the breath I had been holding.
“This isn’t so bad,” I thought to myself. “Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty,” I called as I made my way around to open each of the bedroom doors. It was definitely not part of the plan, but I was feeling good! Look at me, home alone, UPSTAIRS, (at night!), rescuing the cat and our bed sheets! The pride I was feeling was tremendous! I was just about to turn and head back down the stairs when I …
I did it.
I let myself glance at the attic door.
“Why? Why do I always do that?!” I scolded myself. The chills were real, and they came fast! And that’s when I heard it.
It was coming from INSIDE the attic! Seriously, my night could not get any worse. I squeezed Jasper under my arm and took a steady breath as I made my way to the end of the hallway toward the sound.
Thoughts zipped through my head as I stood face to face with the attic door…
I can’t just open this door and run, then the attic door would be open until my parents came home to shut it. And I’m NOT going to stand around and call for the cat, now. Besides, what harm could the cat really do in an attic, anyway? I was just about to turn and leave the dumb cat to fend for itself, when Jasper perked up and let out a low growl.
Perhaps Kitty was right there on the other side of the door?
But then something happened that I will never forget…
THE DOOR KNOB STARTED TURNING!!
Jasper flew out of my arms and I took off running as fast as I had ever run before! Never slowing; Never looking back.
Shortly thereafter, my parents found Jasper and me back in the kitchen, curled up in the big armchair, blankly staring at the TV.
“Sorry we’re late,” my mom said. “Did you have a nice time?”
With that, I just started sobbing. I tried to cut my breaths with words as I attempted to explain exactly what had happened.
“I wondered why all the lights were on when we pulled up,” my dad chuckled.
Later that night, when my sisters and I were all in our beds, my parents told us that they searched everywhere, including the attic, and didn’t see Kitty. “She’s probably just outside hunting (something she did often),” my dad said. “She’ll be back in the morning.” And just like that, they flicked the lights off and left our bedroom.
“What really happened tonight,” my sister, Kate, whispered across the dark room.
“I’ll tell you in the morning.” I replied. “When it’s light out.”
She let out a nervous giggle, and we both rolled over in our beds to fall asleep.
It wasn’t long before I woke up to the feeling of someone sitting on the edge of my bed. I strained my eyes and blinked several times. There was Kitty sprawled out across my feet, and just beside her, a young girl. She was sitting with her back to me petting our cat. I rubbed my eyes and sat up, but before I knew it, she was gone, and Kitty had curled herself up into a little ball. I blinked again and scolded my imagination for running wild as I wiggled myself back down under the warm covers.
Even though Kitty had put me through a lot tonight, I decided to let her share the bed with me. I knew now that she had a connection with HER, and I definitely didn’t want to make either one of them mad.
(c) 2018 Abbie Richey Butler
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