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  • (a chapter from my new book about The Further Adventures of Thisbe - An Extraordinary Cat) In the eBook version, Thisbe's thoughts are italicized. I cannot do that in this space.

    The summer was warm and sunny but I never got to play outside. I missed the cool grass, the sweet flowers and the freedom I had outside at Belinda’s house. Sitting next to a large floor plant in the living room, I tried to look out the balcony door but all I could see was the gray balcony floor and a chair.

    I feel trapped in this apartment. I can’t even look out the window for fear that old woman will see me. I miss Belinda’s house. I loved sitting out under the trees, listening to the birds. I miss my friends down by the stream. I love Ana so much and enjoy being with her but I had so much freedom at Belinda’s house. If I could only get out and explore this area.

    One day I got my chance.

    Ana was at the door, early one morning, getting a big package from some man dressed in brown. I quickly noticed my opportunity to sneak outside. Before Ana shut the door, I squeezed passed the man undetected.

    Ana didn’t see me. I HAVE to get outside. I miss the grass and the outdoors.

    I ran down the hallway stairs. I heard our apartment door close. The man in brown descended the stairs then noticed me sitting by the door. I pleaded with my big green eyes. “Meow…Please let me out.”
    He looked at me and said, “Oh, little kitty, do you want to go out? Okay! Come on out.” He opened the door. I ran out the door and dashed toward the nearest patch of grass.

    There is only one tree out here and a small bit of grass.I looked around. It’s just cars and hard black ground. Maybe there is more out back. Ooo… I better hide so Ana doesn’t see me. She’ll bring me back inside if she finds me outside. I just NEED to get out for a little while. I’ll figure out how to get back in. Right now I need to be outside.

    I heard the big door open. I looked over my shoulder and saw Ana walking to her car. My heart leaped Ana never noticed I escaped. She must have thought I was sleeping under the bed or something.
    Ana got in her car and drove off. I was now outside, unable to get back into the apartment. My stomach made a small rumbling sound.
    I didn’t even get to eat any breakfast. It looks like I am outside for the day. Well, I think I’ll explore the area but I’ll stay away from the cars. I wonder what’s behind the building.

    I wandered around to the back of the building. Not much back here. There are a few more trees and some bushes…Eeew… there is so much trash. This yard is filled with papers, bottles and old food. Yuck! Then I spied an unusual animal. What is that? Why it’s a squirrel! I’ve never seen a black squirrel. The squirrels at Belinda’s house were grey. I bounded over to the little creature to introduce myself.

    “Hi, little squirrel, my name is Thisbe. How are you? Do you live here? Do you have a name?”

    The squirrel was rooting through the garbage. He looked up. “YIKES! A CAT!” He started to scramble away when I called out to him.

    “WAIT! STOP! I won’t hurt you. I promise. I just want to talk to you. Please don’t leave.”

    The little black squirrel stopped in his tracks. “WHAT? Yeah, right, you want to TALK? Well, this is a first. You must be new here. I’ve never seen you before. You better watch out for the old lady that lives in the building over there. I’ve heard she tries to catch all the cats in the area. I don’t know what she does with them when she catches them, all I know is I never see them again!”

    I shuddered to think what happened to the other cats. “Thanks for the warning. I’ll be sure to watch out for her. What’s your name? Do you live around here?”

    The little squirrel laughed, “Name? What is that? No, I don’t live around here. I just come over to see what food I can find. The people that live here throw out lots of tasty morsels. I live in the trees way over there. Come on over and visit. I don’t think the other squirrels will believe I found a cat that won’t kill us. Come on follow me.”

    With that, he quickly scampered away leaving me to catch up.
    I ran over paper trash, sticks and discarded old bottles. I never saw this kind of stuff at Belinda’s. Everything was so clean. I wonder if there is a stream or a pond around here.

    Soon I arrived at the trees where many black squirrels were playing. They all stopped to look at the cat that just invaded their space. I realized that I was an un-welcomed intruder. I immediately smiled and said,” Hello, everyone, I just wanted to see where you all lived. I met a member of your family earlier. I won‘t hurt anyone, I promise.”
    The squirrel I met ran into the middle of the group and announced, “Hey, I met this cat by the building over there. She’s cool. She didn’t attack me or anything. She just wants to talk.”

    The squirrels all chattered and chirped. A stumped-tail black squirrel spoke out.

    “Talk! Yeah Right! I had a cat “talk” my tail off once!”

    I tried to assure them. “No, really, I’ve had all sorts of animal friends…even birds…so I really won’t hurt you. I live in that building way over there. I sneaked out the door to escape for the day. I’ve been cooped up inside for so long. I miss coming out in the sunshine.”

    “Okay, cat, you can hang out here as long as you don’t hurt anyone. If you do…we have ways of taking care of you.” warned one of the larger squirrels.

    I assured them, “I promise.”

    I love being near all these trees. I saw a few birds fluttering in the trees and thought of my dear friend. Ah, Chipper, I miss you. Can you watch me from where you are? I FLEW, Chipper. Did you see it? I was in a big flying machine! Can you believe that? I miss you, Chipper. I wonder what’s over here…I turned around and came face to face with the largest bird I had ever seen. Wow! What kind of bird is this?

    The large black feathered creature looked at me and made a strange sound, “Gobble, gobble who are you? What are you doing here?”

    I was rather intimidated by such a large bird but found my courage to say, “Hello, my name is Thisbe. I’m sorry but I have never met a bird as ...a…like you. What kind of bird are you?”

    The large bird made a noise that sounded like a laugh and said, “Gobble! Why I am a turkey, you silly little cat. Obviously you are not from around here or you would have known what kind of bird I am. We live here. Where are you from?”

    Politely, I replied, “I’ve just moved here. I live in that big building over there. I wanted to see where the squirrels lived. I miss being outside so I escaped from my apartment today to explore out here. I am called Thisbe.”

    “Well, Thisbe, you seem to be a decent cat. Welcome but be careful out here. This area is not friendly to animals. Those big machines on the road out there will kill you instantly. It was nice to meet you.” The turkey then turned and joined his family as they walked toward another area of trees.

    Wow! That has to be the biggest bird I’ve ever seen! He’s a turkey. That bird is even bigger than Mrs. Owl and Lady Hawk. There’s not much to explore here. How disappointing! I was hoping there would be more trees, grass and animals. The road is right there and there are way too many cars. Too bad! I think I’ll go back to the apartment building. I’ll hide in the bushes next to the door. When I see Ana come home, I’ll follow her inside. I guess I should have never come outside. Now I’m hungry and there’s no good food out here.
    I began the short trek back toward the apartment. About half way a small, young human boy came running through the field screaming, “HEY KITTY! COME HERE!”

    Before I could run in the other direction, he ran over, grabbed me by my tail and held me upside down. The pain was intense. He yelled “HEY KITTY! Where ya goin’? I gotcha now!” Carrying me by my tail, he took off running.

    I struggled to get away from him but I was in a tremendous amount of pain. “MEOW! OWWW, LET GO OF ME! YOU ARE HURTING ME! I tried to bite him but he held me too far away from his body.
    He turned and ran toward the building I lived in. “The old lady that lives here doesn’t like kitty cats but I don’t care. I want you kitty. I’m going to keep you with my toys and other kitties.”
    He then opened a small shed and tossed me in an old cardboard box. “There you go kitty! You stay there in that box. I’ll come back and play with you later.”

    He slammed the door shut. I heard him sing as he ran off, “I have another kitty cat. I have another kitty cat. Na na na na na na”
    I was in shock. My tail and back hurt so much! I looked around the tiny building I was imprisoned. How am I going to get out of here? I can’t stay in here! Ana will miss me! How will I eat? Panic gripped me.

    “MEOW! HELP! LET ME OUT OF HERE! MEOW!!”

    Maybe that little human is coming back. He said he would come back and play with me. When he opens the door I’ll run. I sat very still and listened for his voice. I kept thinking…he’ll be back soon…he has to come back.

    I heard a sound. It’s the little human. He’s back. “MEOW! LET ME OUT OF HERE! MEOW! MEEEOOOWW!”

    The door opened and the boy stuck his head into the shed. “Hey kitty cat be quiet! You are making too much noise. That old lady will hear you. Bad kitty!” He tried to grab me but I ducked down into the box.

    “Bad KITTY! Come HERE. You come to me when I want you! Don’t you hide from me?” He reached into the box and grabbed me by my neck. I tried to bite him but he held me tightly and far away from his body. He pulled me out of the box. I tried to scratch him but he grabbed my tail and held me upside down again. Instantly pain shot up my tail and back. OH! DON’T do that, it hurts so much!

    “MEOW… MEOW! OWWWWW! Let GO of me! It HURTS!”

    The boy yelled “You are a BAD kitty. Bad kitties are punished. In the garbage bag you go. You won’t bite me in there. Now stay in your box and be quiet!” He threw the bag containing me back into the box. “Now you stay in there bad kitty. BE QUIET!” He slammed the door shut. I heard him run away.

    I was suffocating in the bag. Oh, I have to get out of this thing. It’s…so…hot…I can… hardly…breath. I clawed through the bag until I made a hole big enough to crawl out. The bag was soft and easy to claw through. I could breathe again. There, that’s a little better. I took a deep breath. There were tiny flecks of sunlight peeking in through the holes in the wall. How am I going to get out of here? That horrible little human had better not come back here. I’ll really bite him…hard! He must be like the terrible little humans Fidelia had to deal with in her old house. Let me see if I can crawl out of this box.
    I poked my head over of the top of the cardboard box and looked around. Where am I? It looks like one of the small buildings near the cars. There is so much stuff in here. I’ve got to climb out of this cardboard box and push open that door. I tipped the box over and tumbled onto an old wheel. I tried to stand but my paw got stuck in the wheel.

    “Ouch! I’m stuck! Oh no!” The more I tried to pull my paw out the more the small metal poles twisted around it. “Oh why did I leave the apartment? If I ever get out of here I’ll never do that again. MEOW! Someone please let me out!” Right now I don’t care if it is that crabby old lady. I have to get out of here.

    “MEOW HELP! PLEASE! LET ME OUT OF HERE! MEEEOOOWWW!!!!”

    I listened for the little human. There was no sound outside. A fading sun peeked through the holes on the side of the shed illuminating the cluttered and cramped quarters. I was still trying to pull my wounded paw out of the rusty wheel.

    If…I…could…get…my…paw…out… “MEOW OUCH!” The rusted metal scraped my leg again. Ow! I’ll never get out of here. Maybe if I pull this other box to me I can get up…and… “OH!” The box tipped over and the remains of small animal spilled out. It was about the size of a cat.

    Oh! What is this? Eeew…it’s been dead a long time. Did it die in here? I have to get out of here. It’s getting dark outside. The sun isn’t shinning through the wall anymore. It’ll be dark soon and Ana won’t know where I am. I’ll never get home. Oh Ana, I’m so sorry. I will never run out of the apartment again. I cried out loud.

    “MEOW!!!! ANA…HELP! MEOW!!”

    I cried and cried until my throat hurt. The light illuminating the inside of the little shed was now coming from the street lamps surrounding the parking lot. I heard cars driving in and parking. I heard the owners closing their doors and talking to each other. I tried to call out but my throat hurt so much.

    “Meow…meow…help” My tiny voice tried to call out.

    I struggled to release my paw but only knocked over another old box filled with balls. I tried to make my way towards the door but my way was blocked by another large metal box of old, rusty tools. Some of the tools I recognized from Belinda’s tool shed.

    This must be a tool shed. All these sharp and rusty tools just lying about... what a mess! Belinda always kept her tools clean. This place is a mess. What is in here, it smells so bad. I peered into the box and couldn’t believe what I saw! It was the partial remains of another cat!

    I panicked. OH NO! That’s definitely a cat! Will Ana look for me? Will she even know I’m gone? She never saw me leave. Will she think the old lady came and took me away? Will she ever find me in this place? Will I die in here like these other poor creatures?

    My heart sank. IF I ever get out of here and back to Ana, I will never, ever leave the apartment again! This place is not like Belinda’s yard. There are too many cars, strange birds and horrible little humans. All I want is my warm apartment, food, water and Ana’s lap to curl up on.

    "MEOW! Oh! Where are you, Ana? I’m hungry. My paw hurts so much. I’m scared. MEOW!”

    I cried as loud as I could. “MEOW MEEEOWW LET ME OUT!”

    I don’t care if that crabby old lady finds me. I just want to get out of this horrible place. I don’t want to die here! “MEOW!” Wait! Was that Ana calling me? I listened again, it was Ana but she was calling very softly.

    “Thisbe…Thisbe…where are you? How did you get out? Thisbe? Are you out here? I know you hate cars. You’re probably scared stiff curled up somewhere. Thisbe? Oh baby, where are you?”

    I meowed as loud as my sore, hoarse throat would allow hoping that Ana would hear me. Suddenly the door flew open and a bright light blinded my eyes. I heard Ana’s voice.

    “THISBE! I found you! Come here baby.” She reached in to pull me out. “Oh, baby, are you all right? You seem to be stuck in this old bike wheel. Careful…Let me get your paw free. We have to be careful there are all these horrible rusty, old tools. What a mess! There. Oh no, you’re bleeding. Let’s get upstairs and fix this right now. Eeew, what is that smell? ” Ana saw the remains of the other cat.

    “Oh, that poor kitty! It must have got stuck in here too. Oh Thisbe, you just HAD to escape the apartment. Come on, let’s sneak you back in before you-know-who sees you! I bet you are hungry too. I am so glad I found you. How did you ever get out?”

    Ana held me close to her, ran into the building and up the stairs to our apartment. She brought me to the kitchen sink to wash off my paw.

    “Looks like you scratched your leg. It’s not deep, just a scratch. I’ve got some hydrogen peroxide. We have to clean this thing or you’ll get sick.”

    Ana cleaned the wound. It hurt but she put some medicine on it and wrapped something around it. It felt so much better. I purred,
    “Thanks Ana.” My tummy rumbled. I love you Ana. Can I get down and eat now? I’m so hungry. I wriggled in Ana’s grip.

    “Oh, I bet you are starving. Here, go eat.” I immediately ran to my food bowl and hungrily devoured my food.

    After dinner I joined Ana on the sofa. I joyfully jumped up and curled around in her lap. I purred. I am so happy to be safe at home. I will never run away again. I have seen enough of the world out there. I want to stay in here where it is safe and warm and I'm with Ana.
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