Friday, 18 September 2015

X-ray vision - continued

Hi everyone,

You will remember last week we began the story of Tibbles, the cheeky cat in my good friend Betty Caldwell's short story. Today, we continue.

Hope you're enjoying:

X-ray Vision
by E.E. Caldwell 

It was an elaborate box of chocolate, obviously expensive, and Paul left them on Karen's bedside table where she'd see them first thing next moring - a peace offering for his late home-coming.

What he didn't take into account was Tibbles' love of cellophane. 

With curiousity getting the better of him, the boy soon discovered the tinkling, crinkling wrapper. It was tremendous fun scrunching the paper as he chased it along the polished floors. Noisy, too, though Karen didn't wake. Neither did Paul.

But there was the box, upended, contents strewn over the table, down on to the floor and the culprit innocently asleep at the foot of the bed.

"I'll kill him! Let me at him! I'll rip him into shreds!"

But Tibbles merely regarded Paul with a dignified stare as Karen popped a chocolate into Paul's outraged, open mouth.

That dreadful word! Tibbles heard it and was afraid! He knew all was not well. Karen was distracted. Conversation was earnest; there was no fun any more. Even Paul was not threatening violence against one particular feline who decided not to draw attention to himself until things settled down.

"Cattery!" No! Surely they wouldn't! 

Well, yes, Paul would, he knew. But Karen realised how much he hated the place. He'd have to keep all his senses alert to find out what was going on.

The following evening they were more solemn than ever. 

"Can't do it, I'm afraid. The Boss says there's no way he can spare me at the moment. Sorry, sweetheart, looks as though you'll be going on your own."

Karen nodded. "I'll get an early flight in the morning. Only hope Grannie holds on until I get there. The one good thing is that Tibbles won't have to be boarded. You'll be here to take good care of him no matter how long I'm away."

It was  hard to say which one missed her more. Certainly, Paul seemed lost as he arrived home each night with a package of fast food for his lonely dinner. 

Pretending to be psychic, Tibbles knew exactly when to expect him and positioned himself inside the front door, ready to extend a moderate greeting the instant it was opened.

Gradually, he became a little more conciliatory and Paul too was mellowing as mutual loneliness threw them together.

Soon, Tibbles was snuggling down on Paul's lap as they dozed through the evening's television and by week's end their toleration had deepened into true companionship.

Then one day, the traveller returned. As she stooped to caress her little darling, he exerted his independence by strolling indifferently to the window. From there, he could monitor the arrival of his new friend.

Karen needn't think she could purchase his unconditional affection with the gift of a rubber mouse. One that squeaked, at that! 

When Paul came home, Tibbles' extravagant welcome was somewhat swamped by the euphoria of the moment but he did manage to rub his head lovingly between the amorous pair.

Still, Karen had left them to fend for themselves. It would be two or three days before he'd see fit to forgive her.

Then again, he'd not been cooped up in the cattery. Maybe it wouldn't take quite so long this time.

I hope you enjoyed Betty's story. If you did, let me know and I'll seek her permission to post some others.

Until next week, those of us in the southern hemisphere are welcoming spring! Enjoy the anticipation of coming summer.

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