Spring was excited as they drove to their new home by the river. She sat alongside her human daddy peering out of the windshield for the first glimpse of the house. And there it was sitting proudly by the water. She loved the space, especially the bright patio. It gave her the chance to bathe in the sun and check out the world beyond the many glass windows. It was so different than the apartment she lived in before.
One day a black and white cat came to visit. He waited outside the screen door.
“Hello there,” purred the new cat. “My name is CC. What’s yours?”
“Spring,” she said in return. “CC. That’s a strange name.”
“It’s short for Calico Cat. My parents love nicknames. Your name is strange. Spring. Were you born in April?”
“No. When I was a kitten I would spring in the air to a tremendous height.”
“Oh, I would like to see that. Come out and play,” Calico said to his new friend.
“I can’t,” answered Spring, “I am an indoor cat. My parents are worried about coyotes, eagles, and tom cats.”
“I have roamed this area for years and I have not been attacked by wild animals. I have been scared by a few humans, though. I also don’t know of any cats called Tom. I know a Lucy, but she’s a dog. I’ll introduce you one day.”
“That’s nice of you. But there’s no way for me to sneak out.”
“Too bad. There’s lots of fun to be had out here.” And with that CC took off.
Spring thought about the world beyond the house and wondered what it was like. She knew her human parents would not let her venture outside. Spring understood their concerns but was still disappointed.
One day another new visitor came calling. He, too, sat outside the patio door.
“Hi. I’m Chester,” said the chipmunk busy stuffing peanuts into his mouth.
Spring introduced herself. She watched transfixed as Chester’s cheeks swelled as if he had two small eggs in each side of his mouth. “How do you do that?”
“Put all that food in your mouth without swallowing.”
“I never thought about it. I just do it. CC tells me that you can spontaneously jump high. How do you do that?”
“I don’t know I never thought about that either. I just can.”
“Come out and play,” said Chester as he stuffed yet another peanut into his continually bulging cheeks.
“I can’t. My parents will not allow it.”
“I have lived here longer than anyone and I know all the secret places including how to get in and out of your house.” Chester rearranged the food in his mouth and then turned away. “I will be back. Right now I have to take my supper home. See you soon.” And with that he turned away.
Spring thought about venturing outside. The river looked inviting. And there were lots of birds flying around. Spring was fascinated by birds.
A couple of days later both CC and Chester came to visit once again. They had seen Spring’s parents drive away.
“Can you come out to play today?” asked CC through the screen door. “We want to take you to the enchanted forest.”
“That sounds wonderful. Maybe, if I can figure out how to get out of the house.”
Chester, who had stopped eating momentarily, asked: “Are you able to get down to the basement?”
“Yes”, Spring replied.
Chester then told his new feline friend the secret of how to get out of the house. “But you can’t tell anyone else. Promise?”
And Spring nodded her head in agreement.
The escape was easier than she had thought. Once outside she met up with her two new friends, but she did not stop to gossip. CC and Chester watched her as she chased birds around the maple tree in the front garden; how she scampered up the tree and back down again excitedly. She raced up and down the lawn as if she was in a race. Her two new friends looked at each other with bewilderment. Have we befriended a crazy kitty, they both thought.
“Let’s go meet Lucy,” said CC. “I told her we would introduce you two.”
Spring stopped chasing invisible butterflies and joined her friends. The three of them wandered down the road. The two cats had to walk slowly so Chester could keep up.
From the bushes in the back garden they watched Lucy sit defiantly while her human owner pulled on the leash to get Lucy to walk. But she was having none of it. She was not moving. With a sigh of frustration the human owner gave up and unhooked Lucy’s leash and went indoors. Once the coast was clear the three animal friends emerged from their hiding place and scampered towards Lucy.
“Hi Lucy. This is Spring.”
“Please to meet you,” said Lucy as she turned to her new neighbour.
“Likewise,” replied Spring.
“We are going down to the enchanted forest, Lucy” interjected CC. “Do you want to join us?”
“But I did not think you wanted to go for a walk,” questioned Spring.
“Oh, that’s Lucy just giving her human dad a hard time.” explained Chester.
“Follow me,” and with that CC headed towards the woods at the bottom of the street.
Lucy followed behind, then Spring, with Chester bringing up the rear.
Spring asked the chipmunk:”Why do they call it the enchanted forest?”
“Humans leave toys and tokens at the foot of tree trunks. That’s so the fairies can play with their gifts,” answered Chester.
“There are fairies in the forest?” asked Spring bewildered.
“Not that we have seen. But then again humans have never heard us animals talk, but, of course, we can,” stated CC with a mischievous smile. “Let’s go down to the river,” he instructed his friends, and with that he took off towards the water.
Spring followed her friends through the woods constantly looking for fairies. But she could see none.
At the river Lucy ran excitedly up and down the bank barking at the ducks and geese. CC looked on amused. “Come on. Let’s find something to do,” he said. The four friends all went in different directions looking for something that would amuse them. “Here we go,” said CC as he raised his paw to point at a short plank of wood trapped by the water’s edge. “I’ve found a boat. Weee,” he purred as his jumped aboard with gusto. The momentum of his landing pushed the wood away from the bank and the current carried the cat and his “boat” downstream. “This is fun,” he shouted to his friends who were running along the bank as their friend drifted down stream. But then the current sped up and CC was getting further ahead. The friends had trouble keeping up.
“Why doesn’t he jump off?” asked Spring.
“He can’t swim,” said Lucy.
The three friends looked on worried as CC prowled anxiously on the deck of his “boat”.
Up ahead was a high stone wall. Over the top of the wall a branch reached out towards the water. Its tip bent down towards the river but was at least a metre above the surface.
“CC,” squeaked Chester, “there is a branch ahead. Can you reach it?”
But CC shook his head. He was scared.
Spring had an idea. She raced ahead and got in front of her adventurous friend to just beneath the branch and then, just as she had done as a kitten, somehow launched herself into the air. With her claws she clung to the over-hanging branch and pulled herself up. Carefully she walked towards the end of the branch. The closer she got to the tip the more the branch bent down towards the water. By the time CC drifted to the branch it was almost touching the water. Quickly, he scampered to safety.
Lucy and Chester cheered with relief.
“As good as your name,” said CC with bravado, as if there had been no danger at all. Then he added an appreciative purr and nuzzled spring as he made his way along the branch.
The two cats made their way to the wall, and then carefully, with their paws gently sliding down the brick surface, jumped back on solid ground.
“I have to get home before my parents arrive,” said Spring. “They will worry if they don’t find me.”
With that all four friends took off in a hurry.
Spring found the secret entrance to the basement and said goodbye to her new friends. She entered the house and took her place in her soft bed. Shortly after Mum and Dad returned home.
“They you are my Spring,” said Mum. “We bought you a new toy,” added Dad. He waved a stuffed ball in front of Spring. “Sorry we can’t let you out. But we hope this will amuse you.” Spring jumped up on her Dad’s lap but she was disinterested in the simple token. She had experienced adventure. If only they knew, she thought to herself.