The two kittens, Mat and Fluffy had run until they were exhausted. Their horse friends pawed and whinnied and their voices became hoarse as they neighed in desperation. The biggest horse,Prince frantically pawed at the wall and made a hole large enough for the little animals to escape the flames that leaped in the air. Fluffy begged him to make a bigger hole or let them stay. They had run out into the frosty air as humans came to rescue the big animals that were terrified of the monster that enveloped them.
Mat came to an abrupt halt. “Where are we?” He looked around with eyes as big as saucers. “The biggest horse said to run as far away as possible. He didn’t think the humans would be able to rescue everyone.”
“One minute I was sound asleep on Prince’s back and the next there were red flames leaping on the far wall.” Fluffy meowed. “My fur is a mess and I am hungry. Where can we find something to eat?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know where we are.” Mat looked around again. “The flames didn’t follow us. We need to go back but I don’t know where back is.”
Fluffy looked around trying to get her bearings but shook her head. In all of the time they had lived on the farm they’d never been this far away from home where ever that was. The moon was just peaking through the trees as Fluffy wondered what to do. “Maybe if we climb the trees we will see something familiar. The humans always gave us warm milk when they milked our cow sisters. We will have to put our hunting skills to use and catch our own food.”
Mat looked over his shoulder, “We have company. One of the big eared animals that hop instead of running, like we do. The forest is full of strange animals and I don’t know which ones are more dangerous. If we aren’t careful they might eat us.”
Mat and Fluffy watched from near a tree ready to scamper up if necessary. The big eared animal hopped towards them. “You are new here. Where are you from?”
“We ran when large red flames terrified all the animals in the stable. One of our horse friends told us to run as fast as we could. Now we don’t know where home is. There was a white house with a veranda and a stable and other buildings. We got food on the veranda twice a day. The humans always rattled the food dish at meal time..” Fluffy said. “I am hungry and scared. Where is home?”
“There was a large garden all summer wasn’t there?” Miss Bunny asked as she looked at the scraggly kittens.
“Yes, we played there chasing butterflies in the sunshine,” Mat answered. “Do you know where it is?”
“Yes, but there isn’t much in the garden to eat now,” Miss Bunny said. “Have a rest and then I will take you there. There is water in a bird bath if you don’t mind drinking around feathers.”
“Oh, thank you,” Mat and Fluffy said as they followed their new friend.
“I will take you to my home under the oak tree. You need to rest. There isn’t a fire here so you will be safe, my friends.”
The sun was peaking through the small opening under the oak tree when the kittens yawned and stretched. They were both hungry and thirsty ” I will try out my hunting skills and see if I can find us some breakfast. Miss Bunny offered us some strange green stuff but it didn’t taste good,” Mat said as he looked at his sister.
“Let me help hunt,” Fluffy said. “I am a good hunter, too.”
“Let’s stay together and not go far. Miss Bunny will be back shortly.”
The kittens snooped around the pile of crunchy leaves and soon each had captured a small mouse. They were sitting in Miss Bunnies doorway washing their faces when she returned. “Are you ready to go? I will show you the way home. I sent out word among my friends and it is safe to go that way.”
The kittens padded after Miss Bunny through the dense forest. Mat kept looking this way and that when he heard strange sounds. They went single file with Miss Bunny in the lead and Mat taking up the rear. He was careful not to fall to far behind. Everything looked strange.
They had been traveling for hours when Fluffy paused. “Look there is the meadow. I will never get all the knots and burs out of my fur. I have never been such a mess. I am famished.”
“Me too but we have to keep following Miss Bunny. She will take us home,” Mat said as he trotted along the path.
Miss Bunny stopped and looked over her shoulder. “Look up ahead. We are just about there. Let’s avoid the burnt building. It smells terrible.”
A few minutes later they saw the charred remains of the stable and on the hilltop the white house stood unharmed. Fluffy and Mat started to run when they saw the house. They stopped a few feet away. “Thank you Miss Bunny. Do you want to come with us?”
“No, I have to stay out of sight. The big dogs chase me. One of my brothers got caught last summer and the dogs riddled him into pieces. I still have nightmares. I can still hear his screams for help.This is as far as I can go. Good luck, my friends,” Miss Bunny said.
“The dogs are our friends. I will have to talk to them,” Mat said as he said goodbye to Miss Bunny.
“Go, before they turn the lights off.” Miss Bunny said as she hugged each kitten.
“I can open the screen door, ” Fluffy said. “It is one of my special talents. Goodbye dear friend. I hope to see you again.”
The sun was low in the sky when Mat and Fluffy jogged across the yard and up the veranda steps where Fluffy hooked her paw under the screen door and opened it.They jumped up on the inside door just as they’d seen the dogs do many times. Mat and Fluffy meowed loudly as they scratched frantically.
In a few minutes the door was opened and a tall human stood there.”My dears where did you come from? We thought we’d lost you forever.” They were both picked up and cuddled. Mat and Fluffy purred and snuggled into the warm arms. “Oh, you must be hungry.”
Mat and Fluffy meowed a yes and squirmed out of the arms and stretched up against the human’s legs meowing.
This story was first published in the Story Quilt, an online Canadian magazine. You can follow me on the following.