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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Nathan Alan Willoughby - the Jouney Home - Fiction


"Did you bring a carrier?" The volunteer asked the young woman after she completed her adoption screening form and written her check out to the Westwood Rescue for Good Cats.

After Edie explained she planned to only look at the cats today, the volunteers found some extra cardboard to reinforce the carriers they provided. With a cat the size of Nathan Alan Willoughby, they could only hold their breath it would make it to the girl's apartment without the cat dropping through the bottom.

The volunteers waived at the young woman as she walked out the door. While most times they'd be more diligent with adoption screenings, they were eager to be rid of the large cat. He ate a lot and most people passed by a twenty pound cat, despite his pleasant disposition.

The bus driver gave the young woman a funny look when she boarded and paid her fare. She tried to keep the box with little air holes out of his sight and quickly made her way to the back, in case there was some sort of policy against transporting newly adopted cats. She collapsed onto a seat by herself, happy to be relieved of twenty pounds of cat.

Unfortunately, the bus was unusually quiet on this dreary Saturday afternoon. As the bus pulled away from the stop and into traffic, Nathan Alan Willoughby began to make his presence known.

"Maow?"

The young woman coughed as loud as she could. The lady in front of her turned to stare. "Maow?" The man across from her looked at the box. "I'm allergic to cats, you know," he said with disdain. Nathan Alan Willoughby heard the strange noises and felt the peculiar rumblings of the floor underneath him. He'd never been on a vibrating floor before. "Maow?" Why didn't the young woman answer him? Was she gone? He peeked out one of the holes. She looked back at him. She put a finger into one of the holes and stroked the side of his ear. Ah, there she was. She sure had a nice smile.

As long as the woman kept her finger next to the cat, he was quiet. Finally, her bus stop came into view and she pulled the cord to stop. She rose and left the bus. Nathan Alan Willoughby smelled fresh air. He had missed that fragrance. It was a long time since he'd experienced it. He saw the young woman's hand on the handle and poked a paw out to touch it. A sudden rending sound alarmed them both. The young woman grabbed the box from underneath before the bottom dropped out. "I've got you," she said. Nathan Alan Willoughby felt the warmth of the arms underneath him, even with the cardboard layers between them. He began to purr.

They entered a building and the young woman puffed as she climbed several flights of stairs. She had to stop often. He continued to purr. This made the young woman giggle. Somehow, he didn't seem so heavy with that much contentedness pouring out.

Soon, he was inside a room. She opened up the flaps of the cardboard carrier. Nathan Alan Willoughby looked at the young woman. "You can get out now." He jumped out. It was a much larger space than the Red Room of the rescue. It was too soon to explore. Instead, he stared at the young woman. "I'm Edie, by the way. Look around you, Nathan Alan Willoughby. You are home."

The purring wouldn't stop for a very long time. Maybe even years.

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