It's become sort of a tradition each year for Mommy to write a short story for Halloween. In 2014 her story starred Truffles, last year it starred Angel Truffles and myself, this year it stars all fictional characters (both 2-legged and 4-legged) and we hope it brings a smile to your face.
Eight year old Fiona Hunt woke up at the crack of dawn barely able to contain her excitement...the day she'd been waiting weeks for had finally arrived!!! It was the Saturday before Halloween and the holiday party/adoption event organized by the shelter her Mom volunteered for, Angel Paws Cat Rescue, was being held that very afternoon at the local pet store.
"Hurry up Mom, we're gonna be late," she screamed, rushing downstairs already dressed in the witch costume she'd had hanging on her bedroom door ever since her mom had come home with news about the big party.
Jenna Hunt stood by the stove smiling to herself. It was so good to see her daughter happy about something again. It had been a rough year after their beloved black cat Onyx had passed away in May after a short battle with cancer. Onyx had been Fiona's best friend from the moment Jenna brought her home from the hospital, and that first experience with the death of a loved one had been devastating for the little girl. After initially announcing she never wanted another cat again because they would just leave her too, she had finally started to show interest in her friends' cats again and just the other day told Jenna she might like to go to the shelter with her some afternoon...just to look. Still, Jenna was hoping to wait until after the holidays were over to pick out a new furry family member.
Following a quick breakfast Jenna and Fiona arrived at the pet store to find families enjoying themselves, kids and pets in costume, tables full of treats for both the 2- and 4-legged variety, and the sounds of Monster Mash playing in the background. Fiona saw several of her friends and briefly acknowledged them but quickly made a beeline for the cat cages.
"Mew...mew..." A tiny little voice caught Fiona's attention from the very last cage near the wall. Following the sound she found a small black kitten with curiosity in his eyes looking back at her.
"His name is Ichabod." Fiona turned around to see Carol, another volunteer at the rescue and good friend of her mom's. "He was found on the side of the road Memorial Day weekend. His mom had been hit and killed by a car and he was still trying to nurse. It's taken him a long time to come out of his shell but he's doing much better. Do you want to hold him?"
Carol lifted Ichabod from the cage and handed him to Fiona. The little cat instantly nuzzled his face into her hair and fell asleep, the only sound in the room his gentle purr. "I lost my special kitty the same weekend you lost your mommy," Fiona whispered into his fur, and in that moment all the tears she'd held back for so long rained down on the little black cat.
"What you're going through is very normal, but I promise you it gets easier. Losing a beloved pet is one of the most heartbreaking things humans have to live through. The unconditional love they give us can't be found anywhere else, and when they leave us it feels like that empty spot will never be filled. But one day you'll think about Onyx not with an ache in your heart but with all the wonderful memories he left you with. It's okay to be happy again, sweetie. Onyx loved you so much, that's what he'd want for you."
After awhile Carol gently lifted Ichabod from Fiona's arms and put him back in the cage. "The adoption event is about to start. Why don't you go splash some cold water on your face and join your friends out front?"
Throughout the rest of the afternoon Fiona sang, ate and laughed with all the other kids, but always with one eye pointed in the direction of the cat cages. She watched as family after family filled out an application and chose the perfect kitty for their family. A smile was on everyone's face as they anticipated the years of happiness to come with their new pet.
By late in the day festivities had died down and Fiona went to the back where her mom was packing up the makeshift adoption center. All the cats were gone...all except Ichabod. He licked her fingers through the bars of the cage as she whispered, "Good luck, little guy. You're gonna make some family really happy."
Jenna came up behind her, kissed her on top of the head and slipped a $20 bill between her fingers. "What's this for???" Fiona asked.
"I thought you might like to shop around for some new cat toys. Every little witch needs her own black cat, don't you think?"
If you're a regular reader of cat blogs you may recognize the artwork that accompanies our little story today. The mom behind the Four-Legged Furballs blog is an amazing artist, and earlier this month she posted the two pieces of art that captured my heart and inspired this story. Many, many thanks to The Menagerie Mom for graciously allowing me to use her artwork today!