This week, you opted for the kitten chasing Rosie down the path! So meet that feisty kitten!
Next week, I won’t be able to write a chapter (holiday time – yippee!) but the story will resume on 28th July. I do apologise.
To Leo’s alarm, the kitten stood up and hissed at him, arching its back even further.
‘OK, OK,’ he said, gently. ‘No need to get worked up!’
Unfortunately, at that moment, Rosie let out a string of high-pitched yaps. Before Leo could move a muscle, the kitten sprang out of his bag and, with a yowl of fury, hurled itself at Rosie. She was no fighter. She gave the jet-black ball of venom one petrified glance and then scurried off down the path, as fast as her tiny legs could carry her.
‘Rosie, wait!’ cried Leo. The kitten had far more bulk than the Chihuahua and he could imagine it clawing her to pieces. But the little dog had already vanished into the undergrowth and the kitten had gone too. Panic stricken, Leo raced down the path, glancing left and right, right and left – desperate for a glimpse of fawn fur. ‘Rosie!’ he cried. ‘Rosie! Where are you?’
‘Here!’ replied a puzzled voice, suddenly. ‘I’m over here. Who’s that?’
Leo stopped. ‘Uh?’ he thought. ‘What?’ He called again. ‘Rosie?’
‘Over here!’ shouted the voice. ‘By the girl with the broken arm.’
Leo turned round.
Standing beside his favourite mossy green statue, stood a girl of about his own age. She had long fair hair and was slightly built, like him.
‘Do I know you?’ she asked, sounding nervous. ‘How do you know my name?’
Leo started walking towards her, stepping carefully between the gravestones. She looked so familiar – could it be? Could it possibly be…?
‘Don’t come any closer!’ the girl said, sharply. ‘How do you know my name?’
Leo stopped abruptly. The last thing he wanted to do was frighten her. ‘It’s OK,’ he said. ‘I don’t know your name. I was calling my dog. Her name is Rosie too. She’s run off – a kitten was chasing her.’
It sounded ridiculous – a dog being chased by a kitten! ‘She’s tiny,’ he explained. ‘She’s a Chihuahua.’
The girl visibly relaxed. ‘Oh that’s all right then!’ she said. ‘It was just so creepy. I mean, someone knowing your name – in a graveyard!’
Leo laughed sympathetically. ‘Yeh, right – it would be,’ he said. ‘But you don’t need to worry about this graveyard. It’s very friendly.’
He had walked a bit closer. He was beginning to be sure…
‘Anyway,’ the girl said. ‘It’s probably my kitten chasing your dog. Was it black?’
‘Yes – not that I got much of a look at it before it shot off after Rosie! It was blazing mad!’
‘That’ll be Midnight,’ said the girl. ‘We’ve only had him a few weeks and he keeps running off. We had him from the cat sanctuary – but he’s so wild! Have you any idea which way they went?’
Leo shrugged. ‘Not a clue!’ he said. ‘They ran off into the bushes just before I saw you. That’s why I was calling.’
The girl sighed. ‘I’ve got to find him,’ she said. ‘Mum says he’s probably half-feral and it’s hopeless trying to make him be a house cat. She says he obviously wants to go back to the wild. But he’s so cute and clever – and most of the time, he’s fine – but then he just shoots off!’
‘Well, I’ve got to find Rosie too,’ he said. He’d have to bury all his questions for now. ‘Come on – let’s try this way!’
They set off, weaving their way between the tombstones and the trees, calling and calling.
After a while, they split up, trying to cover more ground. The cemetery had never seemed so large to Leo. But suddenly, in the distance, he heard a faint yap.
‘Come over here, I heard something!’ he called. The girl came hurrying towards him. Together they listened. Yes – there it was! A pathetic little yap.
‘This way,’ said the girl and pulled at Leo’s arm. They ran, listening intently, back towards the tombs in the arches.
Suddenly, the girl let out a gasp. ‘There they are!’ she cried, pointing up.
The cemetery had once been a quarry; Leo had read about it on the information board by the gate. The arched tombs where Leo had his den, had been dug out of the soft sandstone rock. Behind them, a sandy cliff still rose, up to the level of the houses on the street above. Now, cowering on a tiny ledge, way above their heads, stood Rosie and, just a few feet below her, was Midnight, huddled against the rock, his back fiercely arched.
‘How on earth did they get up there?’ gasped the girl.
Leo scanned the cliff. ‘I think there are narrow ledges,’ he said. ‘Look!’
The girl nodded. ‘I see what you mean. So they ran along – and now they’ve lost their nerve?’
Leo grunted. ‘I’m not sure Midnight has. But he can’t get to Rosie – and she’s obviously terrified.’
‘We’ll have to get them down,’ said the girl. ‘But how?’