The first installment of Molly & Marmalade’s Christmas Caper for this week’s Fiction Friday!
Waking from Second Afternoon Nap to loud sounds of greeting from Girl at the front door, Marmalade’s ears twitched. She wasn’t going to move unless it was absolutely necessary. Soon, though, the soft Calico cat’s nap was truly disturbed when someone plopped a large canvas bag near the tree under which Marmalade was trying to rest. The cat had already had a trying day; Marmalade’s entire morning routine had been disrupted a few weeks ago when the Great Tree had re-entered her life. Family pays the evergreen much-to-much attention for Marmalade’s liking – they sit around it, they give it special treats, they insist on talking about how pretty it is – but she knows it is only her watchful eye which keeps the diabolical Tree in check. Sometimes, Tree will try to capture Marmalade in its tentacle-like branches, so she must swat at it. On other occasions, she could swear she saw the shifty living-room fairy appear twinkling between the branches.
Marmalade swatted lazily at the lower boughs of Tree for good measure.
Back arched, paws stretched before her in a post-nap-pose, Marmalade froze. Her green eyes wide, her back hair twitched. The canvas bag had moved, she was sure of it. Marmalade waited two eternities before proceeding toward the bag, ears perked. She walked one whole circle around the bag, sniffing all the way; she was just processing the smell when a black paw bopped her on the head. Marmalade sprang into Tree – it’s spines pricking her back – and leaped across the room. Intruder! She meowed loudly, only to realize that Girl and her Friend had already left the house. Marmalade was alone.
Slinking under the couch, Marmalade peered out, the fabric of the couch’s skirt sitting like a hat on her black and white head. She watched silently, heart beating like a hummingbird, as the creature tumbled out of the bag. Molly! Marmalade gasped and immediately extricated herself from the couch, trotting to the similarly marked cat now licking her fur back in place. Molly was a little out of breath from her struggle to get out of the bag and was now reclining with her rotund belly toward Marmalade.
“That bag has gotten smaller,” Molly panted in greeting to Marmalade, who gave Molly a swift but friendly swat to her head for the fright. Molly purred while surveying Tree, “I’m here on official business, Marms. We’re on high alert.” Molly is the founder and president of Guard Cats for Homeland Security and Family Stability. Molly, feeling that Dogs generally get most of the credit for protecting families, wanted to establish an organization for like-minded cats to demonstrate their bravery and wherewithal in times of extreme danger. Marmalade is an enthusiastic member of Backyard Watch, Division 1.
The severity of the situation was immediately apparent to Marmalade, as Molly skipped her usual visit to the food dish, to relay the troubling news, “I’ve overheard plans for a series of break-ins. My Family was discussing the issue just last night: every year, a man breaks into homes with the intention of robbing the house of all its food. Apparently, he comes on the same night every year. He moves quickly with a team of bewitched woodland creatures – I’m a little foggy on the details, but I’ll bet my whiskers it’s those squirrels – so he can hit numerous houses in one night.” Molly licked her paw and sat on her haunches, tail wrapped around her round bottom, as she finished dramatically, “the Family is completely incapable of stopping him. It’s up to us.”
Continue Molly & Marmalade’s Christmas Caper next Friday!