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A Tale of Two Kitties
Author's note: Love this! If only more people read cat stories. xD
A young cat woke up with a start, his orange fur thick with sweat. He shivered as a frosty tingle ran down his spine. Where am I? What is this place? he thought, blinking his light green eyes to adjust to the bright light shining overhead. His head pounded with a beating pain and his heart leaped in his ribcage. He had no recollection of the past and no memories pointed to where he might have come from. He recognized things around him though. A human-made sofa, a wooden bowl, a plaster ceiling. But he couldn’t remember anything else.
The cat let out a frightened meow and staggered to his feet. With a bright flash of white in his eyes and a sharp piercing pain in his aching head, he collapsed back onto the table he had been resting on. His head pounded worse than it had a few moments ago, and he closed his eyes to calm it. As he lay down on the table, he heard a far-away shuffling growing.
“I think he’s awake,” a human voice whispered. The cat peeked through his eyelids to find a hand with fingers like juicy sausages reaching down to stroke him. “There, there,” the owner of the hand comforted him. “You should rest yourself. You’re not fully healed yet.” The chubby man grinned and stroked the cat’s head.
“I wanna pet the kitty,” a shrill, high-pitched voice squeaked. A smaller hand reached out and grabbed at the cat’s fur. Why am I hurt? Why are these humans touching me? He had millions of questions that he wanted answered, but had no way to find out the answers. The little girl with the high-pitched voice turned her doe-like brown eyes to her father. “Can we keep him, Papi?” she asked.
“He doesn’t seem too dangerous,” the man, Papi, consented. “We gave him his injections. So he’s free of worms and rabies. As long as he doesn’t do anything too mischievous, you can have him. Mami will take care of him for you.” The cat looked from man to child. Injections? Worms? Rabies? Are these the things that hurt me? he wondered.
“I will name him then,” another boy voice shouted out. The cat shook his head. Where are all of these humans coming from? “I want to call him Roastcat. He looks tasty.” The boy looked down at the cat and licked his lips. “Yumm.” The cat gulped. They’re going to eat me! He struggled to get up, but the hands restrained him.
“No, I shall not have Mr. Orange eaten, Natty,” the little girl shouted.
“Mr. Orange? That’s the dumbest name ever! You are so stupid ANN-A!” Natty yelled.
“Enough.” Mami’s voice flew through the small room like a gunshot. Both of the children went quiet, their heads turned down.
“I shall name him,” Mami snapped, and she looked down at the nameless, memory-lost cat. “We shall call him…,” she pondered, thumbing her chin and titling her head to the side as she squinted down at him. “We shall call him ‘Survivor’ because angels came and gave him to us. Whenever we say his name, we will be reminded of the blessing that God brought us.” Mami’s face lit up, and she crossed her hands over her heart.
The two children looked down at Survivor, their faces radiating. “Survivor,” they echoed. Survivor purred. He loved that name.
“Hola, Survivor,” Anna stroked Survivor’s fur. Her eyes gleamed with hope, passion, and love. Survivor felt his headache subside and his heart beat ease into loud, resonant thumps. Although he couldn’t remember anything, he had a feeling he was experiencing a new emotion.
The family welcomed Survivor into their humble group like a long lost brother. Survivor felt like this was the family he had never had. Anna always slept with him and watched movies with him. She chased after pieces of knitting string with him, and they had tea parties all the time, although water had been used as a substitute for the tea. Survivor loved Anna the best. Although the rest of the family did kind things for him too, they just didn’t do as many fun things as lovely Anna did.
When Anna went to school, Survivor stayed at home and protected Mami. In return, Mami gave him food and water and a nice, warm, comfy lap to sit on. Mami, a round, cheerful woman, stayed at home and cooked delicious meals for the siblings. She knitted blankets and baby clothes for other families to buy. She had also knitted Survivor a soft blanket to curl up on in the winter.
Although Natty often teased Anna and Survivor, he loved the two. Survivor noticed this when Natty snuck him treats and stroked his back when he thought no one was looking. He would even let Anna force him into playing tea party or dolls with her somtiems. This didn’t happen often though; Natty preferred sports to icky girl games.
Survivor lived in a small apartment building with two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a living/dining room. Natty and Anna shared one room; they both slept in beds made by Papi. Papi had decorated Anna’s side with princess wallpaper and a princess bed set. Anna also had dolls and three teddy bears strewn across her floor. Papi had decorated Natty’s side with racecar wallpaper and a bed shaped like a racecar. Anna would sometimes creep onto his side of the room with Survivor and play racecar, pretending she was racing against Speedy Steve and Evil Zoomer; she pretended to be a spy agent trying to foil their evil plots in the race. She looked up to Speed Racer, the only racer she actually knew.
Survivor had only lived with the family for two months, and he had nearly forgotten about the existence of his past life. He used to sit by the small, shrouded window puzzling over the scars on his back. Now he didn’t even stop to glance outside. The only remnants of his past came to him when he was curled up fast asleep in bed.
Tonight, he was having one of those dreams.
A burly black cat with one piercing yellow eye and a long scar over an empty eye socket stood in front of him. Black thunderheads opened up and rain began to pour onto the two cats. “I said I’d seek revenge, Benvolio,” the black cat hissed and with a loud, piercing shriek, he leaped onto Survivor.
Survivor woke up shaking, his orange fur thick with sweat. He shivered, sheathing and unsheathing his claws. He crept out of Anna and Natty’s room and perched himself on the window sill. Bright lights and dark shadows meshed together in a swirling portrait. Survivor rested by the window, allowing the cold wind whistling through the gap in the windowsill to cool off his wet fur.
It was not long before he began to hear the voices. “Benvolio, Benvolio,” a strong voice called out into the street. Survivor stared out the window and leaped away. His heart thumped with the sound of a stampede thundering over the ground. Is this all real? What’s happening? Why is my past coming back to me like this? Survivor thought. He leaped back onto Anna’s bed and spent the entire night staring at the narrow gap between the wall and door. He didn’t want his past. The frightening memories from his scars and nightmares prevented him from really experiencing his new, carefree life with the loveliest family in the world that only wanted the best for him. The past followed him and frightened him. He wished that he could get rid of the memories for good, so he found ways to repress them.
One month had passed since the strange event late at night, and Survivor had forgotten it. He had become absorbed in the winter season. Christmas approached, and the season sent positive vibes throughout the household. The family walked around singing Christmas carols and doing sweet things for one another. Natty even stopped his prattling to play racecars with his sister after he finished his homework.
The children left home every day bundled in cotton clothes. Mami always worried about them getting sick. She would stroke Survivor’s soft fur and run her fingers over his scars, whispering, “Survivor, I hope they remembered to put on the long underwear. I don’t want them to get sick.” Then she would give him a kiss. This year neither of the children got sick. After Papi and Natty put up the sparkling, glowing Christmas tree, Anna put up the angel and Mami helped her decorate it. Survivor watched, pouncing on the golden, glimmering globes, playing games with the strange round objects.
Christmas day arrived with chilling warmth that sent apprehensive shivers down Survivor’s back. Anna woke up first, blinking up at the dark ceiling of the dingy room. “’S Christmas!” she squealed. She hopped up and knocked Survivor off of the bed. Irritated, Survivor hissed at her, and his fur bristled. Anna giggled. “Sorry, Survivor!” She grabbed the slinky cat in her arms and carried him into the kitchen, his long figure swaying from side to side as she walked.
The family enjoyed a delicious feast of pancakes, bacon, waffles, sausages, and eggs. Survivor ate like a bear, and after the family finished, they retired to sit around the Christmas tree. Survivor sat by the coal fire, purring, with a belly full of delicious treats. Christmas felt like a warm elixir, filling his throbbing heart and belly with love and absolute content. Somewhere in the back of his head, he recalled his past life. He remembered past Christmas holidays in which he starved and froze. This Christmas felt the opposite of that, and so Survivor put the memory to rest, forcing it back into the deep, dark insides of his heart.
Anna lay on the floor, fingering the ribbon on a present wrapped in the comics section of the newspaper. She rested her chin in the palm of her hands. “Why can’t we wake Papi up?” she complained for the third time. Papi worked as a custodian in a fancy, luxurious hotel. Christmas night, Papi had to work overtime until eleven o’clock because the hotel had taken in more customers and Papi needed to look after them. Survivor admired Papi for his position and his hard work.
Mami refused to let Anna wake her father. “He needs to rest. It’s Christmas. The least we can do is give him a rest, so stop your complaining. The presents won’t run away,” Mami sighed, beginning to knit a new blanket. Anna looked at the presents and grabbed the one closest to her, holding it close to her chest like it would start running from her at any second. Survivor saw the irritated glimmer in Anna’s eye and looked around for something to amuse her. He saw the dolls lying on the floor and pounced on the nearest one’s hair, pawing at it and gnawing at the poor doll’s head. Anna giggled, grabbed the doll away, and began playing dolls. Survivor watched her, satisfied that his plan had worked. He saw Mami glance at him as if she knew what he had been doing, and he turned away. Humans didn’t need to know that animals had intelligence too. They would just abuse this knowledge.
Papi came out of his room a few minutes later, yawning. He had beard stubble and his moustache looked grayer than before. He wore striped blue and white pajamas and a sleeping cap. As soon as he entered the room, Anna lunged at him. “Oh Papi,” she cried out, looking like she would break out in tears, “We’ve been waiting for you forever!” She threw herself at him for a hug and, with a dazed look on his face, he patted her on the back. “Let’s open the presents,” he shouted.
Thirty minutes later, present wrappers littered the floor, and each family member had a cluster of goods surrounding them. Papi had a new watch, a thick, leather book, and a bottle of some strange scented liquid. Mami got expensive knitting yarn—it looked the same as all of the others to Survivor—and a new pot for the stove. Natty had gotten a new racecar model and soccer ball. And Anna had gotten a make-up kit and three new Barbie dolls with a deluxe Barbie convertible. Only one present still sat underneath the tree. A small, scarlet box.
Rosy-cheeked Anna reached down to get the box. She held it close to her ear, and it jingled. “Suuuu-suuurie-surieva-surievaivore!” Anna read the tag with great difficulty. “I guess I’ll open it for him!” Anna ripped off the wrapping paper and opened the box. “A name tag!” Anna gasped. She held up the red collar to show everyone. Papi, Mami, and Natty put on their most surprised faces. Anna took the collar and put it around the orange-furred cat.
“It’s so very, very bonita!” she screamed in delight, clasping her hands together. “It even says Survivor Santo!” Anna cried out after spelling the words in her head. “You really are a part of our family!” She looked at him with twinkling, wet eyes.
“Are you crying Anita?” Mami asked with raised eyebrows. Anna sniffed away her tears and shook her head. Survivor did the same. He had a family.
A few weeks later he began to hear the voices. “Benvolio! Benvolio!” Whispers in the wind slipped underneath the window. Survivor ran off to find a family member when he heard them. He had thought they were gone.
One day, he sat home alone. His family had gone to church that morning. He was sitting by the window when he began to hear the voices again. This time, maybe because he had eaten a healthy breakfast or because his curiosity got the best of him, Survivor approached the window.
“Are you sure that this is the street where he fell?” a bossy female voice called out to her partner.
“Yes, and I’m telling you that they took him into this very apartment!” a booming voice replied.
“Let’s try the window,” the female called out. Survivor heard a scraping, and large dark shadows appeared through the smudged window. “Any cat in there?” the female asked tapping on the window.
Swallowing, Survivor spoke up. “I-I’m a cat. I-I think I’m here,” he whispered to the figures. He took a deep breath. He must have sounded stupid.
The voices let out shouts of triumph, and Survivor sat there flicking his tail back and forth. What was this? Solicitation? Human solicitors came to the house all the time, but he had never seen animal ones.
“Benne!” a voice shouted. “I’ve been looking all over for you, Buddy!”
“Benne?” Survivor tilted his head. A cog ticked away in the back of his brain, and the name sounded so familiar that Survivor almost thought it was his. That couldn’t be… he thought.
“Benvolio! Get your butt out here! Stop playing with us. We’ve been searching for you forever,” a female voice snapped. Survivor sat down. His head felt dizzy, and he began seeing three of everything. What’s going on? he thought. He began to feel memories coming back to him. A human throwing him out into the street. A curious, young rat greeting his younger self.
“That’s not me. You’ve got the wrong cat. I don’t know either of you, and I don’t live on the streets. I am Survivor Santo. Leave me alone.” His whiskers shook as he said this. Am I really Survivor? Survivor shook his head and got ready to leap off of the windowsill. He should have known that street animals played evil tricks. He crouched into a lunge, ready to jump, but something stopped him. He decided to face these foes and his past.
Survivor flipped open the window lock and a rat barreled in at him. As Survivor stared at the leaping rat, the face morphed into that of the angry black cat with the yellow eyes. Whirling images began to form in Survivor’s mind.
Survivor watched as a cat that looked strangely like him woke up with a start, his orange fur thick with sweat. The cat shivered and sheathed his claws. Then he squinted his eyes, sitting up and adjusting to the loud sounds of the streets of New York, people chattering and horns honking and vendors shouting. This seems so familiar. The cat had been sleeping in the shadows of a large, faded apartment building. Blinking his light green eyes, he stepped out into the hustle and bustle of the streets of New York. The smell of fish wafted over the crowd and flickered under his nose. As if hypnotized, the cat followed the savory smell to its source, a metal trashcan. With a quick glance at the fiery sun hanging over him, he crouched his hind legs, wiggled his rear-end, and lunged into the trashcan. I remember this. That cat is me! This is my memory. From before the people, Survivor realized with disbelief. He gazed over at the orange cat, his past self. I must be reliving my memory.
“Hey! This is my trashcan,” a loud, deep voice bellowed out from inside the metal bin. The other Survivor looked down to find the owner of the voice and began to purr with delight.
“Maggot!” he grinned and licked the rat’s head. Maggot, a gray, dirty rat with flies surrounding his swishing pink tail cuffed the cat on his furry head.
“Benne! I thought you mighta been some human or something,” the rat roared with the voice of a grown man. That’s my name! I’m Benvolio. Not Survivor, future Benvolio realized. He watched as the rest of the scene played out before him. “These are hard times we’re livin’ in. A rat’s gotta hold onto his catch,” he explained.
Future Benvolio watched as Maggot picked up a rotten fish carcass and began to nibble at it. Maggot and I have been friends since we had met as infants, future Benvolio remembered. Maggot had taught him the ways of the street. In return, he gave Maggot an everlasting friendship and protection from all predators. Future Benvolio recalled how he used to protect all of the street animals. I would risk my life to save Maggot, future Benvolio realized. After getting kicked out of a human home as a kitten, Benvolio had found love in the poor animals of the street, even the elderly and crippled. All of the animals respected him—except one.
Past Benvolio laughed at Maggot. “I got another hot dog yesterday! All you have to is purr and wind between the vendor’s legs. He’s so easy to trick! I wanted to share it with you but couldn’t find you. I gave it to Mr. Pagon instead,” Benvolio told a half-buried-in-trash Maggot. Mr. Pagon, a crippled, elderly dog who often needed assistance with the most minor things, lived behind the trashcans in a narrow alley, and Benvolio helped him to get little bits of food.
Future Benvolio stared out at the memory. He decided he would just observe the events of the day. He remembered who he was. He just needed to know why this day of all days was so important.
Maggot let out a loud, stinky belch, licked his fingers, and then looked at past Benvolio. “If you already ate, you don’t need my fish any more, Sir Fatty,” he said patting Benvolio on the stomach. Then the rat lunged out of the trashcan.
“Aren’t rats supposed to eat cheese and crackers?” Benvolio called out, leaping from the trashcan after the rat.
Maggot tilted his head at Benvolio and let out a low laugh. “I eats what I can find,” he told the cat. “Anyways, hear any news from Pearl or Tigress? Anything on Coalfire?” Maggot asked, clapping at a fly that had landed on his nose.
Future Benvolio sighed at the thought of Pearl and Tigress, both female cats who belonged to the same owner. Pearl, a peach-furred cat with dreamy blue eyes and a soft, whimsical voice, and Tigress, a snappy black cat with brown eyes, lived in a luxurious condo on the other side of town. They lived the life a street cat could only dream about.
Coalfire, on the other hand, Benvolio recalled, terrorized the residents of the streets, hurting them and stealing their things. Benvolio shivered. Benvolio had a rivalry with Coalfire because ambitious Coalfire always tried to take over the streets. Benvolio had only gotten into a fight with him once. Benvolio had gotten the three deep, long scars that he had spent countless sleepless nights worrying about from that battle. A weakened Coalfire had run off at the end of the fight, vowing revenge, and had not been seen since. Benvolio realized that he had been having nightmares about Coalfire seeking revenge.
Future Benvolio shivered at the memory of him and Coalfire clawing at each other’s necks.
“I was actually hoping to check on Pearl… and Tigress. You know, they might know the whereabouts of Coalfire,” past Benvolio explained, trying to look nonchalant. He began to lick at his felt paw. Then he rubbed behind his ear.
Maggot chuckled. “You mean… check on Pearl. We both know that you’ve always liked her. She likes you too, Benne Boy. Ask her out.” Maggot tossed the clean fish skeleton aside and brushed off his fur.
Both future and past Benvolio went into trances. Pearl and me sharing sardines together in her apartment… We’d groom each other’s fur. I’d tell her how great she looked, they thought in unison. Then past Benvolio shook his head. “We don’t mix. She’s an alley cat living in luxury. I’m nothing, not even good enough to be loved by a human,” he said, lowering his head. Future Benvolio watched without comment.
“Dude, if you like her, and she likes you, it doesn’t matter where you come from,” Maggot told Benvolio, shaking his head, a frown plastered onto his tiny face. “Well, anyways, let’s go check on the girls,” Maggot said and he climbed onto Benvolio’s back.
“Onwards to the Luxury Plaza,” Maggot yelled, pointing a claw forward. Benvolio took off racing in the shadows of the streets. Only one human noticed the rat clinging to Benvolio’s back, and he thought he was seeing things due to lack of sleep.
They reached the white building with golden lion statues and crept into the back area. Benvolio meowed three times, and they waited. Maggot and both future and past Benvolios stared up at the window nearest to the ground. A white, long-haired cat and a black short-haired cat appeared at the window. One looked down, eyes twinkling with delight, while the other glared down, respectively.
“Benvolio,” the pale cat whispered. She sounded like a beautiful, orchestral song. Purring, she placed a warm paw against the window screen. Her soft, blue eyes stared down into Benvolio’s green eyes. Future Benvolio felt like she could see into his heart. I love her, he comprehended. But he pushed the thought aside to focus on the scene unfolding before him.
“I just came to check on you,” Benvolio called out, leaping onto the trashcan. He would do anything for her.
Tigress growled, snapping the two cats out of their trances. “You guys need to stop doing that lovey-dovey thing. It’s gross. Besides, I think Benvolio has something better to do; just a few minutes ago I saw Coalfire trotting down the street. He was looking for you, Olio. Go get yourself out there and kick his butt again like last time.”
“Coalfire?” Benvolio started. “What’s he doing back?” He began to register what that meant. Coalfire must want revenge. And then future Benvolio remembered everything that would happen. The fight.
“You must go and defeat him again,” Pearl whispered like a young maiden. Benvolio stiffened.
“I will my lady, and I shall bring back his head on a stick.” He puffed out his chest, bowed his head, and like a knight went off to go vanquish his kingdom of evil.
Maggot got read to leap onto Benvolio’s back, but the orange cat had already disappeared around the corner.
Benvolio didn’t have to wait long to find Coalfire. He found the demon scaring a pretty, white mouse into a corner. She was holding a severed piece of bread in her pink paws and shaking like a leaf. “Now,” the black cat growled, “give me the bread or I’ll eat you.” He bared his teeth. The mouse whimpered and dropped the bread.
“Coalfire,” Benvolio snarled. He unsheathed his claws, and the hair on his back bristled.
“Ahhhh,” Coalfire chuckled, walking around the hissing cat. “I haven’t seen you in days. I’m so glad you’re well. Do you remember the day you took my eye out with your filthy paw? Look!” he sneered, and he stepped in front of Benvolio to reveal an empty eye socket. Benvolio recoiled. He hadn’t meant to hurt Coalfire like that. In the fight, he couldn’t discern the eye from the leg.
“And now I shall finally get my revenge.” He unsheathed his claws and attacked Benvolio.
The two cats fought, scratching and biting one another. Maggot had arrived and was cheering Benvolio on. So was the little mouse. She was clapping her paws and squealing.
Both cats pulled at each other’s fur and tore at each other’s muscle. Benvolio stayed strong, however, as Coalfire began to weaken. “I’ll beat you like I did before,” Benvolio muttered, his mouth full of Coalfire’s dark coat.
And he was about to lay the finishing blow, when the black cat began to chuckle. “Benvolio, Benvolio, Benvolio, you never learn, do you?” Coalfire chuckled. He shrieked, and two tough, muscular cats trotted out from behind the corner. In his shock, Benvolio let go of Coalfire. The black cat slipped away into the shadows. “Get ‘em, boys,” he yelled, before disappearing around the corner.
“Don’t worry, boss. We’ll get ‘em good.” The cats leaped out at the weakened Benvolio. He tried to throw them off, but they were too powerful. He lost consciousness after only a few minutes. Maggot and the mouse tried to help him, but the cats threatened to cut out their innards, so they ran off. Benvolio was left, hardly breathing, out in the alley way. Storm clouds swelled, and the rain began to pour, washing off any traces of blood Benvolio had on him. He was going to die.
But I’m still alive, Benvolio thought and his eyes shot open. He panted as he stared out at the familiar apartment room. Maggot and Tigress stared down over him.
“Are you okay, Olio?” Tigress asked, concern edging its way into her voice.
“Guys, guys! I remember you!” A warm, sweet tear dripped from his eye. His friends stood in front of him. Maggot, looking dirtier and more wonderful than ever, stared over at Benvolio with gleaming eyes, his tale flicking back and forth. Tigress tried to keep a frown but failed, and she jumped over onto her friend. Benvolio pressed his cheeks against theirs and inhaled their scents. He felt like he had been gone forever.
“I’m so glad you remember! We were quite worried… I mean, you know, Pearl was, that is,” Tigress coughed looking down at her paws. Benvolio purred.
“Yeah, Benne, I thought you was gone for good.” Maggot wiped a tear from his eye with a brownish-pink paw. He grinned up at Benvolio.
“I’m so happy I remember you. It’s just- It’s just that I seem to have lost my memory, and you guys came here to get me. You’re the best.” Benvolio’s voice seeped with pride. He treasured his old new friends. He felt like he hadn’t seen them in years. “So I seem to remember Coalfire. What’s he been up to?” Benvolio whispered. He began to fear the news that they would give him.
Tigress turned to look at Maggot. And for a second, the entire world went silent. “Should we- I don’t know if this is a good idea. I mean-you know- He might hurt himself!” Tigress mumbled to Maggot, flicking her eyes back and forth between him and Benvolio.
“Tell me what?” Benvolio growled in his lower throat, his entire body shaking.
“Well,” Maggot began, staring down at an ant crawling on the window sill. “Coalfire and his gang have taken over the neighborhood. They are forcing everyone to give them their food. If the animals refuse, one of his cats tortures them and takes the food by force.” Maggot gulped and looked up to see Benvolio’s reaction. Benvolio had begun sheathing and unsheathing his claws with each word, his eyes red with anger and revenge. “Anyways, Coalfire has also been courting the Missis. And she sent Tigress out to help me look for you.” Maggot took a few steps back, afraid that Benvolio would pounce on him out of rage.
“So, Benvolio, you and I are going to go out there and kick his feline butt!” Tigress yelled with determination, causing Benvolio to glance over at her. She rubbed her paw into the dust that had gathered on the sill. “I won’t let him get away with any of this. He thinks he can do whatever he wants with his dumb, loser friends, but we’ll prove him wrong. Let’s go,” she hissed, jumping to the ground. She turned to lock eyes with Benvolio. He seemed hesitant, and she tilted her head. “What’s wrong?” she asked; she began to get worried. What if Benvolio didn’t want to leave his home? He didn’t have to work to find food or worry about anything.
Benvolio had been debating the same thing. What about Anna? And Natty? And Papi and Mami? Benvolio glanced back into the worn-down apartment building. The family wouldn’t be returning for a few hours. Benvolio eyed the small doll house and the knitting basket and the books that Papi read to Anna at bed time. He made his decision. “Let’s go,” he said, and without looking back, he leaped out of the window.
Neither Tigress nor Maggot said anything as the three animals raced down the street, looking for Coalfire. Benvolio smelled Coalfire’s scent of dead animals and rotten garbage before he saw him. When he turned the corner he came face to face with Coalfire. Coalfire did not seem surprised to see Benvolio. He glanced him over. “Ahhhh, it’s Benvolio, the kitty pet!” he chortled with amusement. Two muddy cats sat down on each side of him, menacing grins lighting up their horrid faces.
“Coalfire, I may have been weak enough for you to beat me once, but I can’t let you do that again! You hurt me and more importantly my friends. You will pay for what you have done,” Benvolio hissed through gritted teeth.
Tigress meowed in agreement, and Coalfire glanced over at her. “Interesting, you get a girl to fight for you,” Coalfire chuckled, his eyes darkening. “A girl and a rat. You stand NO chance!” Coalfire spat. Tigress shrieked, baring her teeth. Coalfire lunged at Benvolio’s neck, and the fight began. Maggot crawled onto one of Coalfire’s cats and bit his ear. Tigress attacked the other black cat, digging her claws in his back. Benvolio thrashed about, trying to wiggle free from Coalfire’s grip. He felt like he was being torn into tiny pieces.
“I’ll kill you,” he whispered as he clawed at Coalfire’s stomach. Coalfire shrieked and jumped back.
“Just like you did last time,” Coalfire laughed, his voice etched with pain as Benvolio sunk his teeth in his neck.
The animals that lived in the streets began to surround the fighting animals. They watched as the two house cats and the petite rat lost to the tough, strong street cats.
Benvolio looked around at his dying friends. “I’m sorry,” he whispered as rat and female cat dropped to the floor. Coalfire raised his paw to take the final blow.
“Don’t just stand there. Go get them!” Mr. Pagon, the old, gray hound, growled, hobbling into the middle of the fight. The animals let out a cheer and charged out after him. Benvolio laughed as all of the street animals he had helped before took on the blood thirsty Coalfire and his mates. It didn’t take long before the two minions ran off and defeat. Coalfire stayed though.
“I won’t let you get the bloody last of me,” he spat blood. He leaped out and tried to throw Benvolio into the busy street. Benvolio dodged, and Coalfire barrel-rolled into the avenue. He got swept away by traffic and was never seen again.
Benvolio wobbled into a standing position and grinned. “I gave you a chance. You didn’t take it!” he meowed, thinking of Coalfire. Then, he curled up and fell asleep.
Benvolio woke up back in the apartment. Was that all a dream? he thought, confused. “Survivor! You are so brave,” a young girl said, stroking his fur.
Mami’s face appeared in his vision. “We saw all of it. You saved the street from those evil cats,” she explained. Benvolio wobbled into a standing position. “We have decided to let you go out whenever you want. We didn’t know how much you loved those street animals. They have been waiting outside for you to wake up actually,” she said, scratching her head. Annita, dear, sweat Annita, opened the door, and Benvolio padded outside. His friends sat there, waiting for him with wide, apprehensive eyes.
Pearl stood at the front, her white fur contrasting with the dark alley.
“Pearl, how’d you get out here?” he whispered, nuzzling her and purring. It felt so good to be exchanging scents with her after so long.
“I hated that place. I hated being stuck inside. After Tigress left, I became so worried for you that I broke out of the stupid hotel. I followed your scent and found you here. Together Tigress and I will protect the streets with you.” Pearl brushed her head against Benvolio’; she bristled with pride and her eyes gleamed with light.
“Three cheers for Benne!” Maggot shouted from the middle of the animals, his fur glistening with blood.
“ Benvolio!” the animals shouted together. Benvolio could see Tigress joining in the chorus, and his heart lit up with relief. Everyone loves me, me. I am no longer nobody. I have a name. And I am proud of it. My name is Benvolio Survivor Santo, and I have the greatest family ever, Benvolio thought, purring as loud as a machine, his heart drumming with love. A peace washed over him as he watch human and animal alike celebrate his being alive.