What was that?

slice-of-life_individual.jpgI struggle up from beneath thick layers of sleep.

What? Huh?

I hear a series of thumps and a murmur of voices.

What? Is that coming from outside? Is someone here? What’s going on?

Blearily, I look at the clock. 12:37 am. Living at the top of a hill, we don’t have stray visitors and most assuredly not at this time of night. Who could it be?

“Someone’s here, Kurt,” I say, turning toward him as he sits upright, clearly also wakened by the noise.

Knock! Knock! Knock!

“I think someone’s at the front door,” he says, groggily.

 No one uses the front door in Maine…Has there been some sort of accident?

Kurt (aka “The Brave and Impetuous One”) throws back the covers and gets out of bed, heading downstairs. I (aka “The Cowardly Prudent One”) move over to the window and peer out into the dark, trying to see what might be going on. Is that a car in the driveway just past the corner of the house? Are those lights or moonlight? I strain to listen, but hear nothing. 

Long minutes pass.

Who’s out there?

Where did Kurt go?

What is going on?

Suddenly, a hushed voice murmurs, “I think I see movement.” Then I hear the rustle of people moving, and see the sweep of a flashlight’s beam over the yard. 

I call down through the open window, “My husband’s on his way out.”

“Oh! Hello?” a woman says. “I’m sorry it’s so late, but I think I have your cat.”

“What!?!” I exclaim. 

“I found it on my porch when I came home tonight. I recognized her picture from your “Missing” post on the town Facebook page. She’s grey with a tan dot on her head, right?”

“Oh, my gosh! Yes! Is she okay?”

“She seems fine. We…”

“I’ll be right down!” I cry, cutting off her response.

I race down the stairs and into the family room as Kurt is pulling the door closed, coming back into the house.

“What are you doing?” I say, trying to get outside. “Someone found Squirrel!”

“What? No way!” he says, “I called out, and no one answered!”

“They’re right at the side of the house,” I say, pushing him out the door.

We rush through the garden and around the corner of the house. There, in the lights of a car we can see the shadowy silhouettes of a woman and a young man.

“I’m so sorry it’s late,” the woman repeats. “My son and I found her on our porch.” She continues, “I would have kept her for the night, but I’m so allergic to cats. I messaged you, but it’s late and you didn’t answer, so I googled your name and your house came up on google maps, so we thought we’d give it a try. She’s just in the back of the car.”

While she speaks, her son opens up the car and lifts out a laundry basket covered with a towel. He sets it gently on the ground. As he pulls back the towel, a dark shape bounds out. Kurt grabs, catches her and lifts her up into into his arms.

“Squirrel!” we both cry.

She scrambles up onto Kurt’s chest and immediately begins licking his hands.

We bubble over with effusive thanks, interspersed with intermittent admonishments and endearments to Squirrel (“We’re so happy to see you! Where have you been, you stupid cat!? We’ve been so worried! We thought you were dead!”).

After another minute, they leave, and we head back inside to croon at and feed our very affectionate, and much thinner, cat. Finally, we stumble back up to bed. Not long afterward, Squirrel joins us and the three of us snuggle together through the rest of the night.

After 9 days missing, she’s home at last.

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18 thoughts on “What was that?

  1. Your beginning sounded so ominous with little potential for a happy ending! Then, you turned it around to a wonderful middle of the night reunion!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dogtrax says:

    Oh, happy day to find your cat (and what a cool name). You captured the night delivery perfectly!
    Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      It was a happy day/night! Squirrel totally lives up to her name–She’s gray, climbs people as if they were trees, and carries her tail along her back (we think she had a back/pelvic injury as a stray before we got her). She’s also a bit nutty!

      Like

  3. I’m so glad you found your cat! I had just read Clare’s post about craft moves, and I loved your craft moves in this piece. Yes, you were the prudent one!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great story with a happy ending, a personal favorite (happy endings)! I am afraid, I am the prudent, and by that I mean cowardly one when it comes to noises in the night. Yeah, Kurt!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Patty McLaughlin says:

    Yay, Squirrel! Molly, there’s your children’s book…The Adventures of Squirrel About Town!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, thank goodness she’s home. Best middle-of-the-night wake-up ever!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ann Maynard says:

    So glad Squirrel is home!!! Such a neat story!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Christine says:

    I hope you have been able to make up the lost sleep since your kitty came back home. Your piece is filled with such suspense and craft moves. Loved the pacing of the story!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Amanda Potts says:

    What a great story. I love how quickly the scary mood turns to joy. And what a wonderful person to have tracked you down like that! Here’s hoping that squirrel stays home now!

    Liked by 1 person

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