Submitted into Contest #143 in response to: Write a story involving a friendship between two different species. ... view prompt


Fiction Friendship Inspirational

The three kittens were almost ten weeks old when their mother went out hunting one night and never returned. They were all weaned and their humans had been feeding them milk and chicken hash for about a month when they were orphaned.

The first morning without their mother who had continued to sleep with them in the warm box their humans had provided, the kitten named Adam awoke early. He missed his mother’s warm body. He was the biggest and strongest and quite curious. He easily climbed out of the box where his two siblings still slept and padded away to see if their humans had put out the morning saucers of food yet. He found a feast laid out for them. He drank up a little sweet milk and enjoyed the warm chicken hash, leaving some for his siblings. His hunger satisfied, curiosity took hold, and he started exploring.

Soon the mewing of his siblings, named by their humans as Theodora and Sally, drew him back to the box. He jumped in and nudged them toward the top. Theodora tumbled out, but Sally still mewed plaintively and struggled. She was the smallest kitten of the litter.

Suddenly, from above a large wet nose appeared. Sally went silent. The owner of the large wet nose was Sparkle, the huge, furry, golden dog who also lived on the property. She had been drawn to Sally’s cries and wanted to help. Adam watched as Sparkle gently licked Sally to comfort her and then pushed Sally using her huge wet nose to the top of the box, and Sally too tumbled out. Sparkle lay down beside the box and soon Adam, Theodora, and Sally were crawling all over her. Sparkle lay quite still letting them play and explore her mammoth self.

Adam saw the twitch of Sparkle’s tail first. He dived for it, and the game of “catch my tail” commenced. Theodora and Sally were content to watch as Adam gleefully played the game with Sparkle whose delight was evident by the steady twitching of her tail always just escaping Adam’s paws.

The sun beamed into the screened-in porch where Sparkle and the kittens lay warming themselves. Sparkle’s tail stopped twitching as she lapsed into a nap. Soon the kittens were furrowing into Sparkle’s warm, fuzzy belly except for Adam who pushed his way under her chin. Eyes closed, with a doggy sigh, Sparkle drew her paws up in such a way that the kittens were folded into her warm embrace.

That is how their humans found them when they came to check on the food dishes, refill the kittens’ dish and bring Sparkle a treat as well. They had fed Sparkle her breakfast earlier, which is why she was on the screened-in porch and accessible to come to Sally’s rescue.

“Oh, Mother, look at Sparkle and the kittens,” Daughter said.

Mother looked and smiled. Neither Sparkle nor the kittens stirred, blissfully napping on.

That night when the mother cat had not returned, their humans

brought Sparkle back onto the screened-in porch to keep the kittens company. After consuming the evening meal of salmon stew brought by their humans, the kittens snuggled against Sparkle who licked them clean, and they all fell asleep together.

Time passed, the kittens grew quickly under Sparkle’s watchful eye and constant loving attention. One day a woman visited their humans and left with young Theodora. Not long after, Sally also was taken to a new home. From then on, Adam and Sparkle were inseparable. They spent long hours in the large garden and amongst the trees surrounding the house. In the evenings, their humans brought them onto the screened-in porch where they continued to sleep together, curled up peacefully, keeping each other warm in the desert night.

There was a swimming pool on the property where their humans would cool off on hot days, and Sparkle loved to cool off in the pool as well. Their humans didn’t mind at all. Her favorite thing to do on hot days was to stand on the wide top step leading into the pool. Her feet, legs, and belly were immersed in the cool water. The first time Adam saw Sparkle stand on the step in the pool, he watched stiff with anxiety. The next day, she went in again and the next day too. Adam watched. Finally, one day his curiosity eventually overcame his anxiety. On that fateful day, Sparkle assumed her position on the top step of the pool. Adam stood at the edge of the pool. As usual, Sparkle’s furry back was above the water. She turned her head and shined her big brown eyes toward him as if to say, “Try it, you might like it. You’ll be safe with me.”

        Gingerly, Adam stepped onto Sparkle’s back and settled down as if to ride her, like he had done since he was a wee kitten. He dangled a paw in the water and jerked it back. Sparkle whined her approval of his bravery and swished her tail slowly in the water. Adam put another paw into the water and again, jerked it back, but not quite so quickly.

Daughter had been watching this unusual scene play out between Sparkle and Adam. She sensed something unusual and special was unfolding before her very eyes. Their dog, Sparkle, was encouraging their cat, Adam, to appreciate the feel of cool water on a hot day.

Sparkle decided she was cool enough, and carefully climbed back onto the pool deck. Adam jumped off her back and nonchalantly settled down to give himself a good cleaning. Sparkle gave herself a good shake and laid out in the sun to dry.

        This ritual became a daily occurrence. Then, one very hot day, Sparkle turned her head and licked Adam’s paw resting on her shoulder before stepping onto the next lower step. The water was a little higher on her body, but Adam was unperturbed. He even let his paws dangle off Sparkle’s body into the water. Sparkle took that as a sign to go ahead and she slowly, but surely, started to dog paddle away from the steps. Her big paws churned the water ahead. Adam was perfectly balanced on her back and let his paws move in rhythm with her body and legs. They were swimming like pals.

        Daughter had been observing all this water action for days, and she had been documenting each step with sketches in her journal, because she wanted to remember this always.

       The day after their momentous first swim, Daughter decided to take her camera out to the pool and see what she could capture. When Sparkle and Adam came out of the water, did their shake and cleaning routine, something happened that amazed Daughter, who lived to have grandchildren of her own.

Sparkle was sitting by the pool. Adam finished his cleaning, walked up to Sparkle, reared up on his hind legs and threw his paws around Sparkle’s neck. She nuzzled him and they gave each other wet nose kisses, pure happiness vibrating off of them. Click went the camera and that sweet moment was frozen in time forever.

The photo was treasured by Daughter long after Sparkle and Adam had lived out their lives, enjoying many years together with each other and their humans. Throughout the years when Daughter told the story of Adam and Sparkle to her children and grandchildren, she would smile at the end, show the photo, and say, “Love knows no boundaries. Adam and Sparkle showed us that.”

April 29, 2022 20:28

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