Every day on my way home from the office I will drop by a small supermarket just 5 minutes away from my rent to buy ground chicken or beef for the kittens.
The road in front of the supermarket is not big, just enough for two cars passing each other at the same time, and around one and a half meter of sandy sidewalk at both sides.
One particular thing about that road is that although it is small, vehicles that passed over that road was never slow. Public transport, cars, and especially (and of course!) the nasty motorcycles swooshed speedily. I have heard thousands of stories of hit and run over there, and yet, no police, no law enforcement; but I guess by my past post anyone can figure out what country we lived in.
I am trying to stroll by quietly along the sandy area, when I heard mews of a kitten from my right, and turn to a house nearby in reflex. I saw a yellow kitten sitting on a plant pot, shivering under the wet and windy night.
As I leaned over at the house’s fence to see if the kitten has a mother nearby, I heard another mew a few steps ahead.
“Oh gee, some litters had learn to walk and play too far”, I said to myself as I stand up, heading to the second mew.
Unfortunately my eyes has never been too good, especially at dark nights like this. The streets has no lamps so I have to count on the almost scarce lighting from the houses.
A few seconds later some car zoomed pass me and from the flash of it headlamp I spotted a silhouette of a teeny tiny kitten, right at the rim of the road, mewing in fear.
I started to run toward the silhouette, and after a few steps, hear yet another mew. There’s another teeny tiny kitten between me and the silhouette, right at the edge of a full gutter.
All right: one girl, two hands, three kittens; and zooming vehicles at unpredictable interval.
Feels like a sudden death rugby.
So here is the plan, I don’t have anything with me, but I wear an over-sized raincoat, with two, deep, side pocket that are big enough for the two kitten. I shall walk toward the silhouette, sweep the one by the gutter along the way, and came back for the first kitten afterwards and carry it with my hand.
I took a deep breath and start walking. One two three steps and quickly sweep the kitten by the gutter.
Then I hear a car horn and zooming machine. The light had touched the edge of my eyes so I’d better be hurry.
The kitten I was holding is struggling to break free, and it hinder me from keeping in focus as I run toward the other, but I still run. On the slippery road and with poor vision I still run, focusing on my ear and the voice of the growing frantic mew before me.
I was only two steps away from the fearful kitten when the car finally
zoomed pass me and squash the kitten.
Suddenly it went quiet. After the car squeaked at the corner and vanish in its speed the world is quiet. The road is quiet, the wind died down, the rain started to shower, the kitten in my arms turned silent. I can’t even hear my breath, nor the pounding beats of my own heart.
Right there, at the place where the silhouette of a hopeful cat once stand, a dark lump now replace it, with dark, round shadow on the street surrounding it.
I don’t know how long I stand there, petrified, but a train of laughter from some men behind me tug me back to real time.
“What’s up girl? Don’t know what to do? Guess you know, come here to us”
I turned around and stare at them straight in the eye. I must look scary because they lose all their smile and leave me at once.
When I looked down, the kitten I have been holding on curled up inside my palm, staring at me with his round eyes.
“Let’s pick up the other one” I whispered. I push him into my pocket and he didn’t resist.
And we walk back to the house, where I saw the first kitten. She was sitting there, under the gate pole, staring at me as if she was looking at a devil.
I reached out to her and she jumped back, so I squatted and wait.
It took her a long time before she moved forward to sniff on my finger, and let me touch her head.
I don’t wait too long, I grab her on the back of her head and lift her swiftly and my sudden move scare her. On my chest she hissed and yowl and bite, but I don’t care. I pushed her Into my other pocket, and wait until she is calmer before I start walking back.
The Syndicate is unusually quiet when they saw me walked in silently, without ground meat in my hand. They only watch when they saw me pulled out the smaller kitten, the one by the gutter, and start drying him up. He was only as big as my palm of hand, probably even less than one month old.
The little girl from the house refused to leave my jacket, and since it’s almost midnight I don’t want to make too much noises, so I leave her there. What I mean by noise is not her, it’s me. She puncture quite a number of holes on my hand.
Within two days the two kittens are getting better, though the smaller one, the one I come to call Tykes (don’t ask, it’s just bubbled up in my mind) got URI (Upper Respiratory Infection), and scabies all over his body (literally everywhere!) while the girl (came to be known as “Sue” because she wears white shoes on all four) are going well.
On the third day after our meeting Sue is getting even better, starting to play with other kittens, though whenever she hear loud meow or noises, she will still jump onto my jacket and is angry when I tried to take it away (it’s full with mud when the car zoomed pass me and splattered rain water, I need to wash it as soon as possible because it’s white).
Tykes is sliding down. He only cry when I left him too long, and when he begged to be put back onto my bed, so he can curl up on my sleeping pillow all day and all night (if not otherwise picked up by me to be fed).
He gave up two days later despite my efforts to bring him back to his health.
It’s ten days after the incident today, but it is still fresh in my mind, sometimes wake me up with nightmare at night. I believe that part of me are still feeling guilty for not being able to save Tyke’s litter mate, though other part remains realistic that street kittens has slim chance of life especially on bad weather and bad living condition, and that Tykes was indeed too young, too tiny.
I am still ever grateful that Sue survives, though, despite a bad infection on her back toes. She is a chubby yellow tabby who loves to climb and run.
This is our lives: one day, three different stories.