The current prompt is a story about a character who finds an object that had been lost. This week’s story comes from Chiara De Giorgi. Chiara dreams, reads, edits texts, translates, and occasionally writes in two languages. She also has a lot of fun.
Lady Marian and the kids
It had seemed a good idea, to bring the cat along.
They planned on travelling through France with their motor home during the Summer break for their family holiday: it would take them three weeks to go as far as Paris and come back.
Their usual cat-sitter wasn’t available, and the replacement they had found had asked double the budgeted amount. So there were only two choices, really: shorten their holiday, or take the cat to Paris.
She had sighed, loaded the motor home with food for two adults, four children, and a cat, and they had left.
Their first stop was Chamonix, at the foot of Mont Blanc. There was a huge parking lot at the edge of a forest. It was quiet, it smelled good, it was cheap. They stopped for the night, and as she sat stroking the cat and reading a book, the kids chased one another right outside the motor home, running in and out of the forest.
Her youngest suddenly opened the door.
“Mom! Can we play with Lady Marian outside? Please?”
“I’m afraid it’s not a good idea”, she replied. “Our Lady here is used to staying in, she might get frightened outside.”
“Just a few minutes! I want to show her the woods!”
Kid number Three jumped in, sweat and dirt clinging to his cheeks and hands.
“Yeah, can you imagine how she’ll love the tree trunks? Sooo many huge scratchers!”
The kids laughed and clapped their hands. They made her laugh, too.
“Please, mom, we’ll be careful.”
“We’ll protect her!” cried the youngest, puffing his little chest.
She sighed and turned her head: the cat was actually showing a bit of curiosity for the world outside the door. Lady Marian had been with them for five years: she probably trusted her humans enough to allow them to take her for a stroll outside.
“Okay”, she said at last. “But!” she added, raising her voice over her kids’ enthusiastic hurras. “Bring your brother and sister. I want them to be with you at all times.”
Kids number Three and Four found number One and Two, who were exploring a big woodpile, and Lady Marian was finally brought into the big big world outside the motor home.
Her eyes were huge, and her tiny nose twitched like crazy: wood, pine, snow, wind, grass… so many new smells!
The kids brought her to the woodpile, and Lady Marian was happy to touch the logs’ bark with her pads. Laughing excitedly, the kids played with her, jumping up and down the logs.
Until at one point they lost sight of the cat.
They searched all around the parking lot, they entered the forest with a torchlight, they called, pleaded, offered treats… the cat was nowhere to be found.
They stayed one day longer in Chamonix, but Lady Marian didn’t come back.
Everyone was crying, by the time Mom and Dad decided to leave the cat behind and go to Paris anyway.
“She’s a proud feline, you don’t have to worry”, she said, trying to reassure the kids, but it didn’t work. She felt so terribly guilty.
Twenty days later, they were back in the parking lot at Chamonix, on their way home.
As soon as Dad parked the motor home, the kids ran to the woodpile.
“They’re going to be disappointed all over again”, said Dad.
“What would you do, forbid them to go out?”
Dad shook his head.
“Maybe we shouldn’t have stopped here.”
“I think we should go with them”, she said suddenly. “I feel guilty, I should have kept Lady Marian inside.”
“And they would have been angry at you, you know that. They would have tried to convince you to let her out every single day of our trip!”
She sighed again.
“You’re right. And yet…”
“Mom! Dad! Come!”
Kid number One was calling them with all her voice.
“Oh my God, what happened?” she cried, worried sick in an instant. When her girl called, it was always for a good reason.
“It’s Lady Marian! We found her, but we can’t reach her.”
“What?” Mom and Dad asked together, jumping up from their seats. “Where?”
“She’s hidden somewhere under the woodpile! Do you think she’s stayed there for all this time, waiting for us?”
“I really don’t know”, she answered, getting the torchlight.
“She’ll be so hungry!”
She hold the light for Dad, while he tried to reach the cat. The kids were holding their breath. She could hear Lady Marian’s feeble meows coming from under the tree trunks.
“She’s here! I can see her!” Dad finally said.
They all stared down a crack between two thick logs, and Lady Marian’s yellow eyes blinked back.
Dad called her, stretching a hand through the crack: “Lady, it’s us, come on!”
After a while, Lady Marian gathered enough courage and stretched her forepaws forward.
“I can touch her,” Dad whispered. “Just a couple of inches… There! I got her!”
Dad sat, withdrawing his hand from the logs. He was holding their beloved cat. Lady Marian was purring and rubbing her head against Dad’s hand, while everybody else was cheering, crying and laughing at the same time.
“It was a good holiday”, said kid number Two the following night, as she tucked him in. “Do you know what I liked best, mom?”
“What? The Tour Eiffel? The boat ride along the River Seine? The fireworks at Versailles?”
“That our Lady waited for us and made us find her again. That was the most beautiful thing that happened. And the woodpile was really cool, wasn’t it?”
The Spot Writers:
Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/
Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/
Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com
Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/