The Festering Hellcat

A youth ran into the bookstore eagerly, looked around, and ran back out just as eagerly. Then, he took two steps down the sidewalk and pushed open the door of the neighboring pet store. He ran to the counter and pushed a sweaty fistful of wadded cash and coins towards the cashier.

“Please, sir, please,” he said, panting a little. “Is this enough for a puppy?”

“Well,” said the cashier kindly, “what kind of puppy would you like?”

“Oh, I hardly know, sir. Just a puppy that I can train to play with me and help fetch my daddy’s slippers and keep my sister from crying herself to sleep at night.”

“I think I have just the thing,” said the cashier, a kindly old man and owner of the store. He led the boy past the cages of ferrets and mice and parrots, beyond the piles of adorable kittens, and all the way to the back of the store, with a short pause by the golden retriever pen. There, in the back corner, was a small crate with just one puppy left inside. It looked up at the boy with the cutest brown eyes. The little Burmese Mountain dog and the boy were instant friends.

“Yes,” said the lad, gathering the puppy into his arms, “this is my dog. Is the money enough?”

“Let’s go back to the front of the store and I’ll see.”

The owner walked back to the well-earned pile of funds and counted out ten dollars. He pushed the remainder towards the boy, being quite able to see that it was more needed there.

“Oh, thank you, sir, thank you!” yelled the boy and, gathering his money and puppy, hastily departed.


 

Far away, a monstrous cat with dark fur and evil green eyes was watching this event with great displeasure on a monitor her army had connected to the store’s security camera, festering in her frustration of plans brought near to ruin.


 

The tiny tabby picked up his paws and sat back, pleading for a pet or treat. His green eyes were wide with a longing for attention. The little girl fell in love instantly.

She tugged at the long floral skirt beside her. “Mommy, Mommy, please, I want that one!”

Without waiting for an answer, she picked up the itty-bitty ball of fur with her small, chubby hands and cradled him against her chest.

Sensing an avenue of escape from his crowded life, the kitten snuggled close and began purring. Maybe this human would finally accept him, love him, worship him.

The mother looked down at her young daughter. Why had she thought this was a good idea? At least that scrawny bit of fluff couldn’t eat much and wouldn’t be hard to care for when she lost interest. Still…

“Now, dear, you know Daddy said that we were supposed to buy you a puppy.”

“But the puppies are so big and noisy!” the child protested, pointing to the loudly barking sports dogs kennel. “Please? He wouldn’t take up much room, and we wouldn’t have to walk him all the time.”

The mother sighed. Her daughter would set her heart on the only green-eyed kitten in the whole store. For an instant, she considered buying the puppy, too.

Well, after all, why not? Their house did need a dog, and doubly so now, because of her foolishness. Getting them both together might help them, right? Sure.

“You know what Daddy said. Because the kitten is so small, I will get it for you, but we’d better pick out a puppy, too.” Firmly, she led the child to the collie pen. Her husband had told her they were the best she could get.

“Oh, Mommy, these ones aren’t so loud! Look at that one – she’s not barking at all!”

It was true. There was a wee collie lassie sitting very still and quiet in the middle of the cage. Her head was cocked to one side, and her whole attention was on these two humans who clearly needed her services. She stood up, walked over, and put her white forepaw in the girl’s outstretched hand.

“This one!” said mother and daughter together.

The kitten eyed the dog from his secure position. He did not care for this development. She knew too much.

The mother noticed the petite tabby’s ears lying back, and she hurriedly picked up the puppy.

“I’ll handle her, dear,” she explained. “Your arms are too full of kitten.”

“Okay, Mommy,” sighed the child, not noticing the daggers passing from the fierce green eyes of her new baby to the warm brown eyes of her new guardian. She was happy beyond her wildest dreams with a kitten and a puppy. She already knew that the kitten would be sleeping in her bedroom.

The little group went up to the pet store owner, who saw what was developing. He quickly outfitted the puppy with a collar and leash and slipped the leash over the girl’s hand, loop secure around her wrist.

“Both of these are your companions now. They need your love, and they need your care. Will you be good with them?”

“Yes, sir,” the girl said shyly, holding the kitten close and looking at the puppy who leaned protectively against her leg.

Her mother hoped so.


 

Note: When I wrote these stories, I did not know that pet stores with puppies in them often are attached to puppy mills. Don’t buy puppies at pet stores. Or kittens. Unless they are up for adoption from the Humane Society or some such. I also didn’t realize the separate stories here went together until this morning (the second was formerly titled, “Oh Yes, There Will Be Blood”). I hope to explore more of this world where cats are apparently evil and dogs protect us from them soon. Right now, I’m in the midst of exploring a world of unicorns and dragons where war is constantly brewing but one unicorn is teaming up with one dragon to create peace.


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