"Ember" The Leader (from 'The Abbottsford Cats')

Ember was a natural leader from the day he was born. If he'd been a child, he would've been in the corner often! Everything amazed him - the curtains, kitchen table, bees (ouch!), ants, very high bookshelves and best of all - dresser drawers that were filled with shredding material.His life took an unfortunate turn when his human found out she was going to have a baby. She didn't understand how warm and loving Ember would've been with the new child. All she saw was a cat. If he was shredding pajamas now, who knew what he'd do to a baby. She never tried to learn and he never was given the chance to prove that he would've been no trouble at all.

She took the white kitten speckled with black to the local animal control. She said goodbye and once in her car, forgot him as thoughts of her new arrival filled her head.
She had left him at a horrible place. He was put in a bare wire cage with a small litter container, kibble and water. His rambunctious nature mixed those substances together quickly. He wondered what happened to his warm place in the sun on his special chair as he now sat in his own pee. It was a very difficult time. Hands would change his food and water once a day. He tried to rub them, but, they came and went too fast.

One day those hands picked him up and he was placed in a cardboard box. It wasn't a gentle transport. He was set in a very stuffy truck with other cats meowing loudly. Nothing was going right, although he was hoping that he was headed back home.
The truck stopped and he watched through the few holes in the box as he was put into another metal cage. The hand was rough; practically throwing him in.

When he woke the next day, he walked to the front of the cage and cried out. What he saw had to be a nightmare. One of his kind lay upright on a table with a metal contraption sitting on top of her head. Her eyes weren't focused, but glazed and in pain. Her entire body was fitted like a glove in a plastic blue container. She couldn't move.
Ember stared at the kitty for a long time. She couldn't turn her head, but he heard her cry. She was unable to think clearly, but she shared one thought, "Help."

The next day she was gone. Nothing remained. The hand was reaching for him this time. He bit that hand hard. "Ow, you -" He didn't wait to hear the rest. This was a small laboratory and there was a boy smoking at the open doorway. Jumping out of the cage, he ran through the open door as fast as he could, away from the smells of horror. He ran and ran; finally wiggling into a storm drain. Although he had grown quite a bit, his terror gave him the energy to get through. Loud men with nets chased him. He walked through the sewers as carefully as he could towards a tiny glint of light.

He thought of the little cat in the lab and wished she was with him, so he could rub her beautiful orange fur and let her know everything would be alright. He continued to walk toward the glint. The rats were bigger than he was in the sewers. He gave them a wide berth. Finally, he made it to the light. As he snuck closer, a man with a net announced his presence. They found him!

Although he was exhausted, scared and hungry, he turned back and lay down mid-way. He'd rather die than go back to where he came from. As his eyes closed, he heard a voice, "Stay still, little one." It was a gentle voice; one of his own kind. He opened his tired blue eyes and saw another light. It surrounded him with warmth. He saw the kitty that had been in the lab. She was running with others through the light - whole and free. The voice continued, "You have survived what few survive on Earth; you will come with me."

When Ember woke, a little tortoiseshell cat was bathing him in kisses. He lay in flowers under the sun. She spoke once before he fell asleep again. "Ember, you have seen the worst of mankind; now you will see the best. You thought only of another when you were cold and tired. You will be a great leader."

The gentle housecat who escaped a fate worse than death, became the leader of the Abbottsford Cats. He guides them through trouble and trials with his strong and knowing ways.

"Ember's Night" @2011 Kim Yvonne Cady