Chapter Five - The Rescue
Stevie’s heart was pounding hard again. The footsteps stopped. The lid of the trunk was lifted and he was blinded by a bright light shining into his eyes. Stevie screamed, “Nooo!”. The light dipped. “It’s okay, son,” a strange, shadowy figure assured him. “Don’t be frightened, I’m a policeman.”
Stevie blinked and his vision recovered from the blinding light. First, he made out the uniform of the policeman standing over him. The police had come to rescue him from Jerry and Daphne! Perhaps they’d also come to rescue Tom Tom the cat? Stevie stood up and looked around the room, which was once again crammed with wonky furniture and his dad’s tools. He was back in the shed!
“I’ve found him,” the policeman turned and called out, “he’s in here.” Stevie’s mum and dad ran through the shed doorway and over to embrace him in their arms. Stevie’s mum was crying, his dad ruffled his hair, Stevie cried, too.
But later that night, Stevie was the happiest he had felt in a long time, perhaps since his last birthday. His mum had given him three helpings of ice-cream, his dad had set up the portable TV in his bedroom, and he hadn’t heard his parents argue all night. And he hadn’t been punched for going inside his dad’s shed!
The policeman had talked to him about the dangers of hiding inside trunks. After the talk, Stevie had been tempted to tell the policeman about the gangsters, but he decided against it. After all, Jerry and Daphne must have been a dream.
A knock at the door interrupted Stevie’s thoughts. His parents entered the room.
Are you feeling better, love?” his mum asked. Stevie nodded and hoped she would offer him a fourth helping of ice-cream.
“We’ve got a surprise for you, son,” his dad announced. “Look what I found lurking in the shed.” His dad walked to the side of the bed and lowered a cat with a white coat, black socks, a smudgy face and green eyes. “Miaow”
“Tom-Tom!” Stevie called out in joyful recognition. The cat purred and rubbed its whiskers against Stevie’s outstretched hand.
“Well, love, looks like you’ve picked the right name for him,” Stevie’s mum commented.
“Of course, we can’t keep him for good till we’ve checked if anyone’s reported him lost,” his dad warned. “He looks like a fine, healthy cat, so he probably comes from a good home. But if no-one claims him, I guess we can keep him.”
Stevie smiled and stroked Tom-Tom’s head. The cat purred some more and settled on the bed up against Stevie.
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Stevie shook his head, his parents kissed him goodnight and left the bedroom, turning off the light. Tom-Tom’s eyes gleamed in the dark and Stevie could hear and feel him purring beside him. Stevie smiled. As he saw it, this was one time where curiosity had saved the cat, in more ways than one. Tom-Tom purred in agreement.
© 1992 Robert Fairhead
A middle-aged dad and dog owner, Robert Fairhead is an editor and writer at Tall And True, and blogs at RobertFairhead.com.
His favourite pastimes include reading and writing, walking his dog, and watching Aussie Rules Football with his son. He is also a part-time dog trainer and runs classes at his local dog training club and through ResponsibleDogTraining.com.au.
Robert has worked as an electrician, a computer programmer, and a sales and marketing consultant, and he is the principal copywriter at Rocher Communications.
His book reviews and writing on dogs have appeared in newspapers and online. And recently he published a collection of short stories, Both Sides of the Story.
Robert has also enjoyed a one-night stand as a stand-up comic.
The Cat in the Trunk was written for a short story competition in England. It had to be 2000-3000 words and on the theme Curiosity Saved the Cat. I was (and remain) fascinated with the thought of space-time travel, whether it be “real” or in dreams. In part the story was an exploration of my own curiosity, and on a child’s perspective of the adult world and how simple it is to change outcomes.