Meow! There it was again, that noise.
It had been a day since the cries began, and by now it was beginning to become irritating. Meow! Meoooww!
“Where is that damn cat?” I heard my mom say. she had heard the meows too and was not impressed.
“You know the neighbours have started complaining,” she said to my dad, “You’re going to have to find him eventually.”
“Mhm,” my dad grunted in response.
We knew the source of the noise, my cat Free (Yes, I know, strange name for a cat”) but we didn’t know exactly where he was. He’d left the confines of our home to roam and explore the great outdoors. Marking the entire neighbourhood as his territory, his kingdom. Until the dogs came.
Now Free was no coward, he could and had defended himself from the multiple attacks of coyotes looking for a quick meal. But for some reason these dogs were different. They arrived normally just walking and panting, with the occasional bark, but as soon as their eyes fixed on Free they got loud. Although they were not particularly large they sent my cat sprawling in the opposite direction. Claws scraped pavement as a blur of long black fur sped across the street like a bullet, not pausing to take in where he was actually headed.
We had no idea where Free had gone; we knew there was an incident with some dogs, and we knew he went running but we didn’t know where he ended up. I was concerned. Being 9 at the time and having had Free for almost my entire life, I was hysterical at the thought of losing my best friend. It wasn’t until my brother pointed it out, a round black shape up in the sky, swaying back and forth in the October breeze. Finally, we saw where this infernal noise had been coming from. In all the excitement, Free had ended up stuck at the top of a particularly tall, dead, tree across from my house.
Coincidentally, today was the day we decided to celebrate my 9th birthday, in 3 hours all of my friends would arrive for the party. With the cat still in the tree, we had to act fast. Soon a 3-step rescue plan was devised:
Step 1: Climb the tree
Step 2: Retrieve the cat (While avoiding disfigurement)
Step 3: Return to the ground.
My dad was reluctantly elected as Frees rescuer; he went willingly after realizing he was the only one capable, but unfortunately, he was also the only one with a severe fear of heights.
When my dad began his ascent to save the furry damsel in distress, I realized how tall the tree really was, looming ominously above, entrapping my cat in its bare, lanky branches like a holding cell. I was glad I wasn’t the one climbing that tree.
By this time all of the birthday guests had arrived, the cake was ready and the presents were waiting, but there were more pressing matters at hand. We all squished together at the window watching in anticipation. An expedition far greater than Everest was in progress right outside, and we had front row seats. My dad isn’t a particularly athletic person, he’s a fan of sports but he doesn’t really play them. So as you can imagine, it was pretty intense to watch him climbing up that tree. Wind blowing and flakes of bark tumbling down; it was a tense 20 minutes. Once my dad reached the top the climb was only halfway over, and the challenging part had just begun.
I was nervous; my dad could fall at any point along with Free, but the more present danger was the cat. Free was a flurry of claws and teeth, tearing and scratching at everything in a 2-foot radius. Free may have only been 15 pounds, but his claws struck with the viciousness of a 1,500 lb. black bear.
It was a perilous journey back down, but finally, my dad reached the bottom, a soldier returning from the battlefield, wounded and exhausted. The cat bounded out of his arms and sprinted up the lawn into the basement, returning to his hideout without any kind of thanks. My dad returned shortly after, going straight to the bathroom and bandaging himself up.
After that day, I’m constantly vigilant with all my animals, I don’t let my cats out of the house, and I learned that if you really care about something you have to be careful with it and never take it fur granted, since it might be taken from you when you least expect it.
And a word to all dog owners, please keep your dogs on a leash. Or you’ll be the one climbing the tree next time.
What I think I did well – I think my writing portrays a distinct and consistent voice throughout the whole story.
What I could’ve done better – I think I could’ve included more dialogue in the story. Either talking between me and my friends or maybe between my brother and I. I only included one conversation and the story might have benefited from more dialogue.