Enter the Cat Ch. 02byMygypsy©
Here as I said is a second chapter of Enter The Cat showing Micah's side of the story.
I slip my keys into my back pocket before I remember Steven will need them to drive my vehicle from here. We are at a small isolated motel situated just off the main highway to the East coast; the night air is cool and clear with the stars shining brightly. A dark shadow moves beside a pale van and I head towards it recognising Alex as I go.
"I wonder what Alex did to shit the stray off," Steven says beside me.
"Probably was his normal smart mouthed self," I say with a grin. I watch as Alex moves to knock on the door of the cabin in front of the van before heading our way.
"I see you got the news," Alex says excitedly as he approaches. He is grinning widely and keeps glancing back towards the cabin with unconcealed excitement.
The cabin door opens and Dwayne looks out cautiously. Spotting us he visibly relaxes and glances back over his shoulder.
"They're here Sam," Dwayne announces before coming out, shutting the door softly and making his way towards where Steven and I stand facing Alex.
Dwayne is wearing a wide grin but I notice there is worry in his eyes when he halts just in front of Alex.
"What is the situation with the stray? Is he aggressive?" I ask with a glance towards Alex who has a bruise forming on one side of his mouth.
"It's a female! And she is young and pretty and talked to us!" Alex bursts out excitedly.
"What?" Steven demands shocked.
"Tell me about her," I say to Dwayne knowing Alex will just babble with excited chatter. The sound of the cabin door opening draws my attention and I watch as Sam looks out before moving out of sight and shutting the door.
"Alex says the team found a live female stray," I say cutting straight to the point as I look at Dwayne.
"Yes. Some strays had her locked in an old cage and were clearly trying to force her into their pack. She has been abused and injured. Mitchell has tried to treat the worst of her injuries but she needs Doc to see to her. She has interacted with us a few times and responds real well to Mitchell and Sam but the moment she feels threatened she withdraws into herself. Push her and she becomes aggressive," Dwayne says evenly.
"She's not crazy? Hasn't shown signs she wants to kill herself," I ask with growing hope. I've talked to warriors from other clans who have found live female strays only to find they are already driven insane by the treatment from stray toms --- or they're suicidal.
"What did you do to her," Steven asks and I look at Alex. He is flushing deeply but lifts his chin as he meets Steven's gaze.
"I was only trying to tell her about being a werecat," Alex says defensively.
"You didn't back off when Rosy became scared. She was clearly frightened but you didn't back off," Dwayne tells him patiently.
"Rosy?" Steven asks curiously.
"Sam and Mitchell managed to win her over with the offer of food and drink," Dwayne says. "She's clearly suffering from starvation and was quick to respond to a bit of kindness."
"Food usually reaches stray toms," Steven laughs. "No reason it shouldn't work with a she-kitt."
"Well she's been fed, allowed to have a shower and Mitchell even managed to get a good look at her infected shoulder wound," Dwayne tells me.
"I'm going to go in and have a look at our new little friend," I decide as I fish my keys from my pocket and hand them to Steven. "One new face at a time might be an idea. We have to be careful not to overwhelm her."
"I'll wait around out here and if she is up to it, I'll say hi before heading off," Steven says in agreement.
Dwayne follows me to the cabin and when I go to open the door he places his hand on my shoulder causing me to glance his way.
"Jazzy could be in for some heartache. Rosy has bonded with Mitchell already," Dwayne tells me softly and I grimace. Our sister Jasmine thinks the sun rises and sets with Mitchell.
"If Rosy is as sick as you think, we had better get her back home so Doc can fix her up," I say and open the door.
Inside Sam is standing by the far bed studying his brother and the dark lump beneath the covers. As we move into the room Sam looks our way and grins as I hear Dwayne the door shut behind us.
"You didn't say the stray was female," I say quietly.
"I was more interested in getting either you or Steven here and Alex away from her," Sam says as he walks over to us.
"Oh?" I question softly.
"He's young and tactless," Sam says telling me nothing new. "Her name, or the name she associates with, is Rosy. Give her a little kindness and space and she is fairly reasonable."
I glance at Dwayne and he nods his agreement with Sam's statement.
"I'd appreciate it if you could change over with Alex. Rosy doesn't seem to like him and at the moment we're just trying to keep her calm and get her back where we can get her medical treatment," Sam says evenly.
"No problem. So we have finally come across a live female stray," I muse, the idea is starting to sink in and glance towards where Mitchell is on the bed. He rolls towards the form on the far side of him and cuddles up against it as he makes soothing sounds.
"Trouble over there?" Sam asks quietly.
"She jumped again," Mitchell murmurs softly.
"She restless?" I ask curiously.
"I think she's woken up," Mitchell says as he sits up and moves the blankets uncovering pale hair.
I inhale softly taking in her personal scent; it is heavy with fear and infection.
"She hurt badly," I ask and notice the slight tremble that tells me she is aware of my presence.
"She has an infected bite on her shoulder that seems to be very deep and she's pretty unstable with her changes," Sam clarifies. "Alternates between aggressive and submissive."
"Not good," I admit quietly.
"Rosy you ready to meet someone new?" Mitchell asks and fusses with the fair hair of the stray beside him.
Sam or Dwayne turns the light on and the slight form in front of Mitchell flinches and attempts to burrow into the bedding.
"I hear you smacked my brother in the mouth and I can't say I blame you. There's been a time or two I've wanted to do worse," I say trying for the friendly approach as I move closer.
There is movement from the stray and Mitchell offers reassurance and comfort. She moves and Mitchell is quick to help her partially sit up and holds her upper arm to support and steady her.
She moves slightly and I see a pale face as she looks my way. I catch a momentary glimpse of delicate features with huge violet eyes framed in long dark lashes before she hides against Mitchell's chest fearfully.
My inner cat roars and strains against my control as I catch my breath, momentarily stunned. Tawny! I breathe deeply hoping to calm the raging cat within me but he fights, wanting freedom so he can greet the one he wants to claim.
"Rosy?" The name feels foreign in my mouth even as my cat recognises it. I chance a step closer and she glances at me once again. I see the recognition in her eyes and the fact she is clearly in possession of her wits even though she is obviously terrified.
"See how easy it is to meet someone new Rosy," Mitchell soothes softly offering support and encouragement to her.
"I'm not someone new, am I Rosy? We've met before haven't we, when you used a different name," I say whisper soft not wanting to scare her but still she flinches and recoils towards Mitchell.
"And you were a cat back then too weren't you?" My cat momentarily takes charge wanting to force her to acknowledge us.
"How did you manage it? I can smell you now but I couldn't smell you then, not even when I ..." my cat forces the words from my throat.
"You know her?" Sam asks in surprise.
"She was living next door to Pete Willoughby," I say as I manage to persuade my cat to back down a little bit.
"Pete had to have known what she was," Dwayne exclaims.
"Oh Pete had a few questions when I was there - like how come she just happened to drop the theory that the cattle kills were done by exotic cats, the photos she let him ... You were keeping strays away from your home territory! You already knew what they..." Understanding hits me with a savage body blow and my voice disappears for a second. "You had already learnt what they do to you if they catch you. Damn!"
I can only watch as she turns to Mitchell for comfort and support, pushing against his chest in a manner very similar to that of a threatened kitt.
"What the hell are you going on about," Mitchell demands angrily.
"How many times have strays caught you Rosy? How many times have you suffered through what they do to you?" I can't stop myself voicing the terrible question as my cat howls his pain. "Rosy?"
"I don't want to talk about it. I just want to forget," Rosy whimpers against Mitchell's chest as she clings to him desperately.
I can't control my cat as he growls his anger that this she-kitt has been subjected to stray tomcats trying to force her to become like them. The pungent odour of urine and faeces stops my cat as he realises with horror how badly he is scaring her.
"Stop it Micah! Rosy doesn't know that you are not angry with her," Mitchell growls as he cradles her protectively. He looks down at her and I realise she is limp in his arms.
I grit my teeth as he eases her down onto the bed. Both Sam and I step forward to help but Sam brushes past me with a disgusted look. I hesitate a moment before going into the small ensuite and finding a face cloth to wet with cool water. Mitchell takes it when I offer it to him and ignores me as he runs it gently over her face.
"I didn't mean to scare her," I say contritely.
"She is probably the dappled werecat that several of the clans have been chasing for a while," Dwayne announces quietly.
"She claims to have a dark coat that shows rosettes under it," Sam supplies.
"No wonder she was so skittish when I met her at Pete's! Strays are always scared of cats they don't know. She must have been terrified the entire time," I say tightly as I remember her fear. I move closer and watch as her eyes flicker and she starts to show signs of coming around. I ignore Mitchell's angry glare and stay where I am. I know that doing so will allow her to smell me and hopefully get used to my personal scent.
The light blonde hair that falls across her face moves every time she breathes and I reach out using one finger to brush it off her face. She flinches slightly and grimaces before turning her face into the pillow. I realise she is conscious once again and glance at Sam who grins. I begin tracing circles on the soft skin above her elbow, she whimpers and shivers fearfully but I keep my touch light and non-threatening.
"Rosy, Rosy look at me. Look at me Rosy," I say on a teasing note and I am rewarded when she chances a quick peek my way.
"Come on Rosy. You're real clever at hiding to survive by yourself. How did he find you?" I ask softly so as not to startle her when she has stopped trembling.
"Can't you leave her alone?" Mitchell demands aggressively.
"How about you and I step outside?" I ask tightly, loosing patience. I know a stray will progress a lot slower if protected by another cat. Just thinking about it sends my inner cat into a fury and he discharges his musk glands with a growl at the audacity of another tom trying to get in between us and the she-kitt he wants. Mitchell immediately coughs but still glares at me defiantly while Sam covers his nose and mouth with one hand and has the wisdom to take several steps back.
"Struth," Dwayne mutters as he coughs and moves towards the ensuite.
"What?" I challenge Mitchell who wisely lowers his gaze submitting to my dominance. "I thought not." I am silent for a minute as I wonder why I hadn't smelt her cat at Pete's.
"How did he find you Rosy," I ask careful to keep my tone soft and gentle as I squat so I am on her level if she chooses to look at me.
"He smelt me. He must have tracked me; he smelt me." The way she sobs against Mitchell tells us much more and I stand upright and watch him stroke her soothingly for a few moments before moving away.
"Help her get cleaned up if she'll let you. We need to get moving," I order quietly and move to the door. I watch as Mitchell carries her to the bathroom, talking quietly to her for several minutes before coming out and closing the door.
"Mitchell." His name comes out in a low savage snarl and my inner cat begins pacing eagerly. "Outside. Now."
I watch Mitchell walk out of the room with an uneasy glance my way. I follow him and when he stops I motion towards the darkness behind the cabin. I can hear both Sam and Dwayne following me and I am not surprised when Steven and Alex also appear behind them.
"I'm sorry I didn't mean to ..." Mitchell turns to face me but my inner cat takes over and I am on him in an instant. I have the front of his shirt and jacket in my hands as I lift his feet from the ground and slam him back against a tree trunk with a satisfying thump.
His eyes are wide with fright but he doesn't flinch as I snarl into his face. I am aware of hands gripping my upper arms and Sam trying to get between us. It is all I can do not to give in to the urge to kill this cat that keeps coming between this she-kitt and us.
"Micah calm down! Micah get a grip on yourself," Steven manages to breaking through the rage gripping me and I slowly release my white knuckled grip on Mitchell, allowing him to stand on his own feet once again.
"What the hell has gotten into you? You've got better control than this," Dwayne snaps as he pushes me backwards forcing me to move away from Mitchell.
"Micah," Steven queries and I look his way.
"It's Tawny Caruthers in there," I say tightly.
"Shit man! Damn it to hell and back," Steven swears.
"At least one of us had better get back and be there when she comes out of the bathroom," Sam points out.
Mitchell goes to move but I turn my head and glare at him. My cat is still furious with him. Sam moves to stand between us, as does Steven. They are old enough to recognise the fact it is my inner cat controlling my aggression towards the younger tom.
"I'll go and keep an eye out for Rosy," Dwayne says.
"She's capable of walking?" Steven asks hopefully.
"Yes. But her body is fighting a severe infection in a bite wound and she's getting weaker," Mitchell says as he sends a cautious look my way. I feel a reluctant twist of respect for the tom. He knows I am bigger, stronger and more dominant than him, yet he is willing to defy me in an attempt to make Rosy feel safe.
I tune out as Steven briefly fills Sam, Mitchell and Alex in on how we met Tawny who they know as Rosy. It is a name she will be allowed to continue to use. A lot of strays who survive tend to change at least their first name, stating they are now a different individual to who they were before turning.
Mitchell moves restlessly and I glance his way with narrowed eyes.
"Do you want Mitchell to come with me and Alex," Steven asks.
"No, I need to get a grip on my cat. Besides Rosy feels safer with him beside her," I admit grimly. I notice that Sam has left and I head back towards the front of the building only glancing behind me as I hear Mitchell begin to follow.
"Alex and I will wait back out of sight so we don't startle her ... Rosy," Steven says stumbling slightly over the name.
I see Sam in the back of the van as I walk into the parking lot and it takes a few seconds before realising Rosy is seated in the van huddled under a blanket. I notice she is watching us closely and it is not until I approach the van I see the fear grow in her eyes.
"You're in the front," I tell Sam and it comes out sharper than I had intended. Rosy cowers away from the movement as Sam gets out and Mitchell and I climb, with Mitchell sitting beside her.
"Try not to murder my brother. He's the only one I've got," Sam says dryly before slamming the door and climbing into the front of the vehicle.
Rosy is cowered in the corner but once the van starts to move, her weakness becomes more apparent. Soon she is leaning against Mitchell using him as support.
"She's burning up," Mitchell remarks.
I lean towards Rosy and put a hand on her forehead while she stares fearfully. I am lifting my hand away when she turns her head away only to force back a groan as she clutches at her injured shoulder.
"Rosy I want you to take some Panadol I'm going to give you. It's not going to do much but it might help you be a little more comfortable until we can get you something that will help," I order firmly.
I am pleasantly surprised when she takes the tablets without complaint but one good look at her pain and fever clouded eyes tell me how much she needs even the slightest relief. Wanting only to make her more comfortable I lift one of her feet onto my lap and begin to massage gently.
She makes no objections as she settles back against Mitchell trustingly. I slowly work the tightness out of the muscles in her foot and reach for the second one. Her eyes flutter open for a second but they are glassy and unfocused leaving me in no doubt she has little awareness of being touched or who is touching her.
Over the next two hours whenever she stirs or whimpers, Mitchell murmurs softly to her, touching her, and she drifts back into unconsciousness. Finally he lays her across the seat and puts her head in his lap with a cautious glance my way.
"Can't you go any faster Dwayne," I demand.
"I'm risking a speeding ticket as it is," my brother reassures me.
With only a few kilometres left before reaching home she begins to stir as the Panadol starts to wear off. She sniffs audibly and mutters about clan cats. Just as we turn onto our drive way she wakes and attempts to sit up but is clearly too weak.
"Where are we? What's happening," Rosy asks in little more than a whisper.
"We'll be stopping in a few minutes and then you can lie down in a bed that's not moving," Mitchell soothes softly as he brushes her sweat-dampened hair back off her face.
She falls silent and when Dwayne parks near the house, I jerk the rear door open and turn to ease her into my arms before anyone else can do any different.
"I can manage," Mitchell protests as a slight sound leaves her.
"Where is the female stray," Wade asks as he walks out to the vehicle. I turn to face him and he wastes no time as he takes in the situation in one glance.
"Take her inside," Wade orders. "She is too ill to go in the containment shed at the moment."
I head into the main house and pass Marissa and Jazzy just inside the doorway. I see Doc standing to the side as I head towards the bedrooms.
"Can I help look after her? What does she look like? Is she pretty? Oh hi Mitchell! Who found her," Jazzy asks question after question excitedly before stopping for a few seconds. "Is that her smell all over you Mitchell? Why do you smell like her?"
I hear the hurt in Jazzy's voice and hope she is not in line for a world of hurt from his attachment to my Rosy.
"Rosy trusts Mitchell to a degree," Dwayne tells Jazzy gently. "She is weak and injured and Mitchell was kind to her. He isn't overly dominant so she's not scared of him,"
"How badly hurt is she, do you know?" Doc asks as I place her on my bed in the room I shared with Dwayne as a child.
"She has a lot of scratches on her back, a few bite marks. One bite on the back of her shoulder is badly infected and I think there is something in one of the puncture wounds. Someone has stitched up a gash on her head over one ear fairly recently," Mitchell says as he moves to the bedside and pauses for breath. "They'd been forcing her to let them ..."