My First Adventure Part III


            The afternoon had become chilly, and the forest had been covered by a large shadow, much like the drooping blanket that lay on Ruger’s crate at home.
            “I’ve never been this hungry in my entire life,” said Bodie. He casually sniffed at the treat stashed in his bandana, but left it in place, knowing there wasn’t nearly enough for him and his 
friends.


            “I wonder what it would have said,” said Rocky.
            “What,” said Max, squatting to pee.
            “The letter my new girlfriend is sending me. Think she’ll tell me she loves me?”
            Ruger had let Bodie carry the second donut on his tail, so his mouth was free.
            “Dude, you were on the Bachelorette. She’s probably sending all the guys letters,” he said.
            “As a friend, sure,” said Rocky.
            “Every girl I know will run to anyone with treats, trust me, my sister Chloe said so. Besides, we’re too young to settle down.”
            Mia had gone quiet, ignoring the talk of treats and girls and letters. She was planning how to get her UGG back.
            “I’m sure as bark not sharing my crate with a girl,” said Max. He lifted from his squat, and kicked the ground behind him.
            Mia suddenly let out a sharp bark, and leapt on top of a nearby stump.
            “I’ll get five years to life in my crate if I don’t get that UGG back,” she said. “We are finding that house!”
            Bodie shook at the thought. Already an adventure in the woods was the farthest he’d been from Mama, but to go even deeper was unimaginable. He glanced at the superhero bandana that he’d moved to fit like a cape on the back of his neck, and stood tall on his deer legs.
            “Let’s do this,” he said. His stomach lurched with nervous energy and hunger.
            “I’m in,” said Ruger.
            “Me too,” said Rocky.
            “I just need to pee first,” said Max.
            The group headed in the direction of the valley, leaving Max to catch up several seconds later. They noticed every cat had gone out of site, but still felt like they were being watched.
            “Do you think they’re still…” said Rocky, his pupils half-moons as he looked up, “watching?”
            “They’re cats, of course they are,” said Max. “It wouldn’t surprise me if Oscar was up there lurking.”
            “He’s too fat to climb a tree,” said Rocky.
            “If you say to,” said Max, squatting to pee again.
            Having fallen behind once again, Max halted mid-run when a blue bow tie fell from above. “Uh, Rocky…where did you last have your bow tie,” he said.
            “I didn’t bring it. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I think…”
            “Oscar took it,” said Max, finishing the sentence.
            “He has been obsessed with it,” said Rocky.
            Max scooped the tie up, holding it between his teeth by the ribbon collar, and ran until he was next to Rocky. “Told you he’s up there,” he said between gritted teeth.


            All of the pups, except Mia, who was marching forward, stopped and looked in the trees more closely. Standing on a particularly thick branch, nearly invisible because of the orange cast of the sun, was Oscar, licking his front paw. He let out a horrendous, strained meow, and took off, barely able to balance because of his weight.
            With some struggle, Rocky and Max managed to loop the tie around Rocky’s neck and they were back on their way, running to catch up to Mia.
            Under her breath, Mia was chanting, “UGG, UGG, UGG,” like a train struggling to get uphill. They’d been walking silently for several minutes, when they finally approached a field of green grass. Tucked in the very center of the valley was an old house. It leaned slightly to one side, and the brick chimney had crumbled with the weather. In the distance, near a half fallen fence they could see a well, the wooden bucket hanging over it, swinging in the breeze.
            “That must be it,” said Mia. It was the first time she’d talked since the second half of their journey had started.
            Bodie and Ruger had disappeared in the grass a little ways ahead, and were munching away on it. At that moment, nothing tasted sweeter. None of them had eaten since early morning. Mia, Rocky and Max joined in, and when they’d had their fill, wandered back to form a line and look down into the valley.
            “Do we just go straight in,” said Ruger.
            “You can’t sneak up on a cat,” said Rocky.
            “Trust me, I’ve tried,” said Max.
            From where they were standing, they could clearly see that the front door was wide open. The low hum of purrs hit the air in a drumming pattern.
            “They’re paw-fully satisfied with themselves,” said Mia.
            “We rush them,” said Bodie. “It’s the only real chance we’ve got.
            “We’re ready,” said Ruger, referring to the donut that rested on his nub tail.
            “Just gotta pee one more time,” said Max, and squatted nervously.
            Mia surveyed the area while Max peed, noting that there wasn’t a single tree in the clearing. The wind had blown in an army of clouds, and they drifted quickly through the sky.
            “Ready,” said Max and puffed out his chest.
            “Attack,” said Mia, roaring like her idol, Wonder Woman.
            The pups ran at full speed, soaring through the tall grass, the stench of the cats getting stronger as they got closer. Mia was the first in the door, and she screeched to a halt at the site. Bodie, Max, Rocky and Ruger were close behind, and nearly trampled her before also stopping.
            Inside, the abandoned house was a literal jungle. Small gatherings of mushrooms grew from the bare ground. Only one section of the house still had hardwood flooring. Shiny objects sparkled everywhere. The cats had quite a collection of stolen goods, ranging from bobby pins (of which there were hundreds), earrings, coins, and various odds and ends. An old queen sized bed was in the far corner, slanted forward, because the front two feet had given way and sunken into a particularly swampy section. Mr. Tom sat in its center, stretched to his fullest length, resting his head on the UGG.
            “Took you significantly longer than I’d expected,” he said. A loud purr escaped, and rumbled. His front paw twitched, and he licked it several times, without taking his eyes off the pups.
            Sitting in the open armoire, towels and old clothes spilling to the floor from within, sat Mina and Elsie.
            “Can someone bring me a straw,” said Tom.
            Mina grabbed a hot pink straw from a splayed out pile on the second shelf of the armoire, and made her way to Tom. She bounded over Elsie’s head, and landed on all fours in the plush bed. Oscar yowled overhead, the blue bowtie hanging from his claw.
            “How in the bark is he doing that,” said Rocky. Straining to look down at his neck gave him the appearance of a double chin, as sure enough the bow tie was gone.
            Ruger had begun to arch his back, ready to pounce anything that moved when a loud chittering took over the purring. The pups looked around, noticing for the first time since entering the house that Mia was nowhere to be seen.
            “Miss me,” she said, from the doorway.
            Behind Mia were several dozen mice, all rather plump because of the all you can eat buffet the clearing provided.
            “Know what cats like even better than shiny objects,” she said. “Fat rodents with tails.”
            Mr. Tom’s eyes focused on the mice, and his mouth quivered to show his vampiric front teeth.
            “I’ve only heard stories of such creatures,” he said, and began to rise.
            “That’s what happens when you’re a prissy indoor cat,” said Mia. “Don’t you want to see what you’ve missed out on?” All the while, her eyes didn’t leave the UGG.
            “Catch them,” said Tom, and leapt from the bed, soaring over the pups heads.
            The pups scooted to either side, making a clearing for the other cats to get through.
            “What do we do now,” said Ruger, eyeing the door to make sure the cats were out of sight.
            “Easy,” said Mia. “We lure them into the giant hole outside.


Friends! There is only one more part to his story, and once again I will need your help in deciding what happens. Make sure to keep an eye out for my stories, and make sure to vote!

Until Next Time,
Bodie & Mama
             

           



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