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Finale! A Cat Named Pumpkin Goes for a Wander...
Pumpkin just wants to go home...
Time for the second and final part in Pumpkin’s little vacation.
In case you missed it, here’s a link to Part One:
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Pumpkin woke up the next morning in the tree drenched in warm sun. Lucas was already awake and bathing himself.
“Morning, Pumpkin,” he said.
“Wait, I fell asleep?” said Pumpkin.
“Sure did,” said Lucas.
“My humans!” said Pumpkin. “I need to get home.”
“Nonsense,” said Lucas. “You’re a cat, Pumpkin. That’s not home. That’s prison.”
“You don’t understand,” said Pumpkin.
“I do understand. I’ve lived in places like that. I was with a family for two years once. I thought I was one of them. Then they bought a dog and I was nothing to them. You can’t trust humans, Pumpkin.”
“My humans are different. They will be worried about me. I need to get home. I need to get home right now.”
“Suit yourself, Pumpkin,” said Lucas. “One day you’ll see.”
Pumpkin climbed down out of the tree and looked around frantically.
“Lost?” asked Lucas.
“How do I get home?” asked Pumpkin.
“How should I know?” said Lucas.
Pumpkin had to get going. He left Lucas and went in the direction that felt the most familiar and jumped the fence. He marched on, eager for home, jumping fence after fence. The further he went, however, the more unsure he became. Everything looked so new. Everything looked so different.
He jumped another fence and was suddenly at a big road. He remembered crossing a big road with Lucas. It was quiet then; now it was like a constant parade of loud and stinky cars.
He paused at the edge of the road as the cars went flying by. He thought of Nicola and Brian at home waiting for him. He then held his breath and went for it. He bolted across the road to the other side, hearing cars honking all around him as he rushed between them.
Pumpkin only just made it across in one piece, but he didn’t stop to celebrate. He just wanted to get home. And so he continued on his journey.
The day dragged on and on and slowly got darker and darker. Pumpkin changed direction and then changed direction again. He thought he must be close. He must be.
Day became night and Pumpkin began to get cold and hungry. He didn’t recognise anything anymore.
Pumpkin walked down an empty alley and found a discarded chicken bone. He gnawed on the bone and then he tucked himself in underneath some cardboard. He couldn’t sleep. Instead, he stayed awake all night thinking of Nicola and Brian.
It went on like that moon after moon. Pumpkin never stayed in the same place for two nights. He always stayed on the move. He always stayed searching. He had to. Because he knew they would be searching for him too. Just as he wouldn’t give up, neither would they.
As the days went by, Pumpkin felt himself getting weaker and weaker. He couldn’t find much food and he was having to sleep out in the cold.
The days were long and awful. There was too much happening for him to keep track of. He was constantly getting shooed away and chased from spot to spot. He would have to pick out scraps from bins and drink from leaking bubblers. Birds swooped at him and dogs barked at him everywhere he went.
One night, he was the hungriest he had ever been in his entire life. He walked down a dark alley, searching for something to eat. Anything. And then he spotted it. A mouse.
Pumpkin crept up and then pounced. He managed to get a paw on the mouse’s tail and pin it down to keep him still.
“No, wait, please!” said the mouse. “Please, don’t eat me!”
Pumpkin looked at the little mouse underneath his paw. His tummy rumbled for food. The mouse was squirming. Pumpkin then lifted his paw.
“Go on,” said Pumpkin. “Go home.”
“Thank you,” said the mouse. “Thank you so much.”
The mouse ran away and Pumpkin’s stomach growled.
Pumpkin was exhausted from days of foodless wandering. He found a spot in the alley next to a bin and nestled up to sleep.
It was a wickedly cold evening and the stars we out and shining. That night he dreamed of being back home with Nicola and Brian. He was lying on the couch with them as they watched a movie. He was warm and cosy and his belly was full. He was smiling and purring.
Lying there in the alley, fast asleep, Pumpkin felt a small paw on his face. He opened his eyes to find a mischief of a dozen-or-so mice standing before him. Still in his dream, he was briefly terrified, wondering where he was.
At the front of the group of mice there was lady mouse with a golden crown.
“My name is Princess Strongheart,” she said. “Earlier tonight you spared my son.”
Pumpkin was too tired to move or speak.
“I have come to grant you a wish,” said the Princess.
Pumpkin could barely open his mouth he was so exhausted.
The words barely coming out, he said, “I want to go home.”
The Princess smiled. “And so you shall.”
Tired and drained, Pumpkin closed his eyes and went back to sleep.
Sure enough, the next morning when he awoke, he was home, sitting just outside at the doorstep. Overjoyed, he meowed as loud as his weakened voice could manage.
The door to the house opened and there stood Nicola and Brian side by side. Their faces lit up when they saw him. They picked him up right away and hugged him close. They took him inside to get him some food, but Pumpkin didn’t want to eat straight away. He wanted to be held and patted. And so the three of them sat together on the couch and held each other tight. The family was back together.
Pumpkin was home again.
Thanks for reading!
New Princess Hanna story next week!