Someone is going to pay, and they are going to pay dearly, Mitzee fumed silently. Actually, no! He wasn’t going to be silent. He opened his mouth and yowled, continuously.
He paced in his cell, the four walls seemed to close in upon him and he, who was never claustrophobic, even in the tightest of spaces, began to feel like he couldn’t breathe. Minimum security, my ass! He thought.
How long had he been incarcerated this time? He couldn’t tell. In a fit of boredom and pique, he knocked a container to the tiled floor, where it smashed with a satisfying clatter of broken pieces. They lay scattered over the floor and he examined the glassy shards dispassionately. The pieces were shattered before him, much like his dreams of freedom, fame and followers, their edges sharp and lethal.
When security entered the cell after being absent all day, the male guard bemoaned the fate of Nana’s ‘antique crystal vase’, but the second security guard muttered under her breath that she had never liked the gaudy piece in the first place. She gladly swept up the remnants and disposed of them - You’re welcome!
The littlest one, a scrapper of the most uncommon variety, had returned with the security guards from her day trip. She left for these excursions at precisely the same time each morning and returned before it was time to eat each afternoon. She was the only light in Mitzee’s dark days of imprisonment. Her bright, one eyed gaze sought him out the moment she returned, and Mitzee had learned the pleasure of human contact in her long caresses.
He had heard the other guards call her Cathy, but Mitzee called her Cat, because she was more cat than he was. She slipped her guard most afternoons and spent hours in reconnaissance in the small exercise yard. Sometimes she would shimmy to the top of the tallest tree and stare longingly out at the freedom beyond the prison walls. Other times she would lay on her back staring at the sky in quiet contemplation. When the mood took her at odd times, she would zoom about the exercise yard on a three wheeled contraption that allowed her the freedom of speed her two-legged body could not enjoy otherwise. Mitzee observed these small freedoms through the impenetrable glass of the window, where he would sit and stare longingly at the outside world. At night Cat would bundle up, warm and cozy beneath the fuzzy blanket, and Mitzee would sidle in and tuck up himself into her warmth, curling into the spaces between her arm and body.
The morning that chaos came to the house, was the first time Mitzee had been able to slip away undetected from his prison confines. The door had been left open as a huge green fir tree was dragged up the porch and into the front room. Mitzee seized upon the opportunity and slipped through the open door when no one was looking. At last, he was in the outdoors again. The wind in his face and the sunshine on his back made him smile with delight, and added a spring to his old bones.
Like lightning, he fled across the yard and scrambled up the boundary fence. He was no young kitten, and had never, even in his youth, been as agile as Snow. She was a prodigy, gifted at scaling walls and slipping into houses undetected. He missed her, he thought sadly as he perched on top of the fence, pausing for a moment to catch his breath.
“Mitzee!” A desperate cry had him turning his head, and he saw his little Cat running across the yard, her single eye wide with fright.
“So long, little Cat,” Mitzee called over his shoulder as he balanced his way across the top of the fence, a circus performer on the high wire, before he leapt to the ground on the other side. Without both working eyes, he misjudged the distance and landed inelegantly in a tumble of limbs, but he shook himself off and, with studied nonchalance, he padded away from his prison, one thought on his mind. Well, Ok, maybe two. The first was that he was good, he really was, just like Houdini, only better, and second… revenge. He’d make them all pay. But he needed to find them first.
It was strange to walk these unfamiliar streets, especially as this was the first time he’d done so since he lost his eye. The outward scars had healed, but inwardly there were gaping holes in his soul. On the streets, both eyes were necessary and with only half his sight, he was aware of the disadvantage his blind side caused him. His ears twitched with every sound and he turned his head constantly to survey the lay of the land. He was not going to get jumped this time. If he could find the dog who maimed him, he’d rip his throat out, curse the mangy mongrel!
Mitzee was not sure exactly what he was looking for, something familiar, a return to his old haunts, a chance at the prison wardens who kept him behind bars for so long.
A scuffle to his left had him crouching in a shadow, still and focused, senses alert.
“What have we here? A townie?”
“Nah Bruce, look at his fur. He’s a housie.”
Housie, a derogatory term referring to the spoiled rich kids who lived to eat and be pampered. Mitzee didn’t appreciate the comment and he hissed and growled loudly at the pair of mangy ally cats that sidled into view.
“What are you doing out here all by yourself, Puss?” The darker gray one mocked.
Mitzee arched his back and drew himself to his full height as he growled again a long wail of sound. It was his specialty, some likening it to ghosts trapped in a drainpipe. It certainly set the two back on their haunches as they re-evaluated the situation. Mitzee didn’t allow them to regroup, he launched himself at them, claws flashing and single eye blazing. There was a tangle of limbs and a piercing scream, before tufts of fur and clumps of dirt went flying.
The two bullies hollered as they scampered away, and Mitzee ran in the opposite direction. Stopping behind a tree, he paused, collecting himself. His single eye fixed on his surroundings, unblinking, as he scanned for the next threat. They would be back. He’d only shocked them, but they were not incapacitated. He, on the other hand, was badly shaken, his heart was pounding, and he limped a little as he felt the pull on his bad leg. The taste of blood was in his mouth, and he couldn’t tell if it was his own or not.
Without waiting around to see if the thugs would return for a second attack, Mitzee turned tail and scampered back the way he had come and took a running leap at the fence. He would have made the jump, if his leg wasn’t so sore, he told himself as he scrambled inelegantly for purchase on the wooden planks before he hoisted his body up to sit on the top of a post. There, in the setting sun he set about cleaning the evidence of his aborted mission away, by smoothing out his coat and washing his face as best he could. No need to look like a street rat.
“Mitzee! You’re back!” The cry was one of delight and, although he did not deign to turn his head to acknowledge the cry, his heart leapt with a surprising flutter, like a bird freed from a cat’s paw. From the corner of his good eye he saw the little scrapper come running towards him, arms wide and mouth opening in a gap-tooth baring grin. Mitzee jumped to the ground and scampered past her into the house, where he slid to an amazed halt. He gasped in shock. There, right there, in the corner of the front room, was a playground. It was so tantalising and mesmerising. A tree, nearly as high as the roof, hung with glittering balls, yards of string, and small jingling bells sat there, just waiting to be attacked.
Mitzee sighed with sheer delight as the unloved kitten within his soul reared its head with delighted curiosity. You know what? he thought. Revenge can wait. This tree needed all his attention, and he strutted forward to investigate. It didn’t stand a chance!