Bummer, the last chapter already. Thanks for everyone who came over to share this adventure with us. I hope it lived up to your expectations. Now, grab your treats, get a warm spot and enjoy the final chapter...
Chapter five in which Josie takes a leap, and the kittens get a home
Josie was standing on the last rock, backed up as far as she could go. She kept her eyes locked with the wolf, and her teeth gently but firmly in the nape of the gray tuxedo kitten’s neck. She knew she was trapped – toss the kitten to safety and the wolf will leap, do nothing and he’ll get them both.
Behind her, she could hear Jasper and Bear wading in the water as far as they would dare, but she knew that they couldn’t cross the quick current of the stream.
Josie knew she had to try to toss the kitten to Jasper and Bear. She made a quick sideways glance to get a better idea of where they were before tossing the kitten. As she glanced back at the wolf she saw that he was in mid-leap. He had waited, and timed his leap with the first instance that she took her eyes away.
Josie clenched firmly onto the kitten, dug her claws into the moss on the stone and waited for the blow. Then, just before the wolf hit her, she leapt up and away from the wolf. Without any impact with Josie, the wolf overshot the final rock. Josie came down, landing squarely on the wolf’s head which was now out in the stream, then projected herself back out over the water and toward Jasper and Bear. Josie flicked the kitten to Jasper, who caught him in midair. Josie splashed into the stream just beyond Bear’s grasp. Maggie was quick, leaping over Bear and locking paws with Josie. Bear grabbed Maggie’s back paws and, with all his might, pulled them both to the muddy bank of the stream.
Meanwhile, the force of Josie landing on the wolf had sent him sprawling into the stream. The current quickly washed him downstream, a safe distant from the cats. He was just a wet and disoriented shadow by the time he was able to regain his footing in the current and pull himself from the water and to the opposite side of the stream. Beaten, he retreated into the woods.
Josie lifted her head from the muddy bank. Her fur was slicked against her soaked body but she was relieved to be safely on the correct side of the water. “Thank you,” she said. Jasper and Bear helped her up to the underbrush where the kittens were huddled in a mass of warmth and fur. Josie twitched to flick off most of the water, then curled up with the kittens.
“So you’re the kittens that I’ve been hearing,” Josie said to them with a smile. “I don’t know how you ended up in that basket in the stream, or why I was hearing your cries before today, but don’t you worry. We’ll make sure you are cared for from here on out.”
Jasper, Bear and Maggie each took a kitten and walked alongside Josie as they began their trek back to the palace grounds. The clouds were beginning to part and the sun warmed their soaked bodies.
“There has to be a reason,” Josie said to the others as they walked along the stream’s bank.
Jasper set the tuxedo kitten down. “Sometimes it’s not for us to know why, but to take the joy that is given us and make the most of it.” He gave the biggest of the kittens a lick across his head, then picked him up again.
“You’re right,” Josie replied. She looked at her family carrying these three kittens and felt a fullness knowing she was taking on a responsibility she never thought she was ready for. “I think our family just got a little bigger.”
[Dad wants to dedicate this story to Magoo, Smudge, Bella, Dolce & Baci, and Gandalf & Grayson, for keeping the stories going and inspiring him to continue to write stories for the cats. And special thanks to the Cat Blogosphere for letting everyone know this story was here. Also, no, we're not getting three kittens like in the story, although Mom loves kittens. Dad says another story is already in the works! Thanks for reading.]