The night was strangely quiet. Usually by now, the doctor would wake up in a fit, screaming and wallowing for my presence. Instead, the occasional sound of a horse and the creaking of a wagon was all that could be heard. I was so used to waking up at this unholy hour that I couldn't bring myself to fall back asleep. I tossed and turned in restless agony, unable to get my body to stay still. After finally having enough, I decided to get out of bed and get some fresh air to hopefully cure my habit induced insomnia. I slowly lifted myself into a sitting position, and slipped out of bed. My feet hit the cold ground with a soft thud. I then tiptoed out of my room, and down the stairs, careful to avoid each creaky floorboard.
After I had finished descending the stairs, I glanced around the dark interior of the kitchen. In the darkness, normal, everyday objects looked a bit more abnormal. The chair in the dining room looked oddly like a short humanoid figure, and the dishes in the sink looked strangely like arms, reaching out to grasp me by the neck. But as I inspected each object closer, everything returned to normal. Slowly and carefully, I stepped over to the door, vigorously awaiting the cool night breeze.
As I reached out for the doorknob, a soft mew caught my attention. It was coming from just outside the door. I froze in place. Visions of monsters and entities floated through my mind as I stared at the door. I shook my head to clear those thoughts. The cry was too small to be anything too dangerous, right? After a few deep breaths to quiet the rapid beating of my heart, I slid open the door and gazed into the darkness. I looked to my left, then to my right, but I didn't see anything. I was just about to close the door when I felt something brush against my legs. I jumped back in shock, and cast my gaze downward. There sat a golden yellow cat with small, white paws. It was staring at me with big black eyes that had a touch of blue. My heartbeat lessened, and a small smile tugged at my lips. I kneeled down, and slowly brought my hand up. It sniffed my fingertips, and pushed its head against my hand. My smile grew wider as I softly scratched behind its ears. Soft purrs of content radiated from the golden feline as I ever so gently ran my hands over its soft fur. As I began to relax, the cat suddenly whipped its head from my hand, and shot into the house behind me. I twisted my body to try and grab the cat, but lost my balance and fell onto my face. Getting up, I grabbed my lantern and raced into the house as quietly as I could. I whipped my head left and right, looking for any sign that the feline might be nearby. I was about to give up when I saw a golden tail dart into the one place in this house I feared. The basement. The doctor would have my head if
I was caught down there alone, but he would also be furious if he found a cat lurking down there. Quickly making my choice, I silently gulped and started making my way down the basement steps.
The cold air from the basement softly kissed my skin as I tiptoed down the steps. The lantern provided just enough light as to not trip, but not much else. I could hear shuffling from the feline below, but couldn't see what it was getting into. As I reached the cold, hard ground, the cat launched itself across the room. In a brilliant moment of quick thinking, I lunged at the cat, and caught it in my arms. But in doing so, I knocked over 2 empty glass jars, sending them crashing to the floor with a shrill crash. I held onto the cat and stayed perfectly still, my ears intently listening for any sign of the doctor. Unfortunately for me, I heard his quick footfalls descend upon the houses staircase. Fueled by panic, I noticed a wooden chest pushed against the corner of the room. Rushing over, I rapidly opened the chest and sat the cat inside. Shutting it tight, I took a seat on top of the chest, trying my best not to look suspicious.
Dr. Warthrop practically sprinted down the stairs. He had his revolver in one hand, and a lantern in the other. He caught sight of me sitting on his chest, and visibly relaxed. “What the devil are you doing down here,” he shouted. “I thought I heard something down here sir,” I responded, hoping he would see past my lie. “Really Will Henry,” the doctor began sarcastically, “it's not like the whole town of New Jerusalem heard you down here!” I opened my mouth to apologize when my furry companion mewed from within the trunk. The doctors eyes darted to the trunk, then to mine. “Excuse me,” I said, putting my hand over to my mouth. The doctors eyes narrowed. “Will Henry, I'm not stupid. I know that wasn't you. Now get up and show me what you're hiding.” I slowly got off the trunk in defeat. Wrapping my hands around the lid, I lifted it open as the doctor gazed inside. The kittens eyes almost seemed to glow in the eerie light of the lantern. The doctor gently set his revolver and lantern down as he picked up the kitten, and held it in a firm, but soft grip. "Will Henry, care to tell me why you were hiding a cat in one of the most dangerous rooms in this household?" My gaze drifted down to the floor in shame as I mumbled out an apology. "Did I ask for an apology Will Henry? No, I asked for an explanation!" I flinched a bit, but kept my composure as I began to recount the events.
The doctor listened intently as I described how I just needed some air, and how the little rascal decided to dart inside. As soon as I finished my summary of tonight’s events, the doctor began to nod his head, and handed the cat over to me. “You cannot trust strays William Henry, this is exactly the kind of behavior that gets us into trouble. Now, take that pesky flea bag outside, and get back to bed.” I silently nodded my head, and turned around to head back toward the stairs. The purring from the cat in my arms caught my attention. I looked down and made eye contact with the little fur ball entangled in my arms. It mewed in what I can only identify as happiness, and almost seemed to smile. Making a decision almost instantaneously, I turned back around to face the doctor. “Actually sir, maybe we could keep it as a house cat?” The doctor stared at me for a moment before a scowl crossed his features. “Absolutely not! If you can’t even do the simple task of placing it back outside, then I’ll do it myself!” The doctor reached over, and grabbed the cat. Not wanting the little guy to get hurt, I loosened my grip and let the doctor pull it away. As the doctor cradled the cat in his arms, it started to purr even louder than before, and rub its head against the doctors chest. Pellinore looked absolutely dumbfounded as he gazed at the tiny creature in his arms. A small smile began to cross the doctors face before he quickly replaced it with his usual stern expression. “Well, I do suppose she could help with our little mouse problem. Very well, we’ll keep her around, but she needs a name.” The doctor gazed at me expectantly as I racked my brain for a name. “It’s a girl, and she’s yellow, so how about Daisy?” Warthrop gave me a small smile. “Daisy it is, she’ll be a fine hunter!” I smiled and nodded, the thought of a new addition to this lonely, old house brought joy to my young heart! Suddenly, a powerful yawn overtook me, not going unnoticed by the doctor. “Will Henry, it’s late. I think it’s time we three head off to bed.” I gave a sleepy nod of agreement before turning back around to head up the stairs.