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 Charlie visits Agnes,   the old lady who   cares for stray cats   on the wastelands.

Now!” she said “can you see anything wrong with that cat?” She

glanced towards a matronly, gentle tabby, sitting by a small pile of food, who looked up at her with large enquiring eyes.”

“No.” Charlie replied.

“Well. You’re quite right. She is the gentlest, kindest cat you could imagine and she really needs a roof over her head at her age.”

“Then why haven’t you found her a home?” asked Charlie, softly.

“Watch! ” said Agnes, now looking beyond the feeding cats to a small copse, full of decaying thistles. From around the side of them, a small cat appeared, stepping carefully. She had very pretty markings, a tortoiseshell with a white face, and Charlie was about to remark how sweet she looked, when she sat back on her haunches and started to hiss.

Her whole face contorted with such a comical expression of rage, that Charlie nearly laughed out loud. She came hurrying towards the cats, sitting down and hissing every so often.

The little cat made its way towards the gentle tabby. Every few yards, now, it sat on its haunches and hissed. Agnes laughed and threw a piece of fish towards it. The cat grimaced at her then inched towards the food and ate it hungrily. The tabby watched and then began to eat, herself.

“Is it her daughter?” asked Charlie.

“I don’t think so.” said Agnes. “Perhaps it lived in the same

Place. Whatever happened, she feels bound to protect it.That’s why the big cat won’t find herself a home.” Agnes paused, “The little cat is always around somewhere, but the tabby now needs a home. What do I do? Separate them? No one will want the little cat.”

Scrawny and with a face which would be appealing if it wasn’t usually contorted like a gargoyle, the little cat didn’t look like an ideal companion, but Charlie said,

“Surely if she had a home, she wouldn’t behave like that?”

Agnes thought for a moment,

“You’re probably right.” she agreed, “But not everyone would see that.”

They sat in silence for a while, enjoying the last rays of sunshine. Agnes finally made a move to go. One or two of the cats looked at her sadly.

“I wish I had homes for you all.” she said.

 The Wild   places

 The   allotments

  Beatrice’s   Way


Where The Fox Goes © J.R.Birch 2004