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The Motorway Cat


Here for the Journey
Sometimes when we are hurt we hide away and feel threatened and it can take time before we learn to trust again.

Cody lived near a motorway. He couldn’t remember how he got there but he had lived there for a long time. It was a dangerous place to live but it was home. A long time ago someone had left a large piece of corrugated metal on the patch of land beside the motorway which had bowed like a barn roof. The vegetation had grown up and covered it so that it had become part of the landscape. Cody had made a hole in the foliage and a path in and out of the hole, giving him a place to sleep that would keep him from the cold wind and rain.

The hole hadn’t always been Cody’s home. Right at the back of his mind there was a memory that came to him sometimes in dreams. When all wakefulness had left him Cody sometimes saw himself on a soft cushion. He was clean and brushed with a red collar around his neck. The collar had a little bell attached to it which scared the birds and mice away while he stalked.

The female human that lived with him had grey curly hair and walked painfully around the house. Each morning and evening she would fill a dish with Cody’s favourite food and after the evening meal she would tap her knee and Cody would snuggle up and purr.

Then one morning no-one came to feed him. The female human was there, he could sense it. Cody me-owed at the bedroom door but no reassuring sound came back to him – just silence.

In the afternoon some people came into the house, they rushed to the bedroom and Cody caught sight of his friend’s lifeless form in the bed. He wanted to snuggle up beside her but a big boot kicked him away. They took her away and locked up the house.

Cody went from house to house looking for food. Sometimes he got a few scraps and sometimes he was turned away. Sometimes people shouted at Cody, others kicked out at him and once someone even threw a bucket of water over him. Life had become miserable – there was nowhere to go.

At the edge of the estate was a motorway. Cody stood in the dark on the hard shoulder and looked across three lanes of traffic to the central reservation. Something was moving! It was a mouse or a vole or something like that and to Cody that meant food! He did not see the large bird hovering above waiting to pounce.

Cody crouched down and prepared to stalk his prey, then without another thought he ran headlong across the motorway towards the barrier. Cars swerved to avoid him as he ran and the sound of car horns and screeching tyres rang in his ears but still he ran.

Miraculously Cody reached the central reservation, just as the large bird dropped to the ground and took the vole in its great claws and rose up again away from the startled cat. From the centre of the motorway Cody saw for the first time the patch of land that would become his home. Not wishing to stay where he was, he braved the traffic again and got to the other side safely, though very frightened.

Once on the other side Cody had no desire to cross back over the motorway again, instead he stayed where he was and lived off the wildlife that was in abundance. Cody bothered no-one and no-one bothered Cody.

Archie loved his job. It wasn’t the sort of job he would have looked for but it was the one he got and the one that paid his meagre wages. Archie was alright. He lived on the Council Estate in a small bungalow and had just enough to make ends meet. He worked for the Council, picking rubbish from the edges of roads and motorways with a long grab stick and putting it in a bag. Archie was proud of his job as he said it made the environment better for everyone.

Today, however Archie was worried. He had been picking rubbish along a lonely part of the motorway where the nearest house quite a distance way away when he saw something moving in the undergrowth. At first he thought he had stumbled on a foxhole or a badger sett and he moved in closer to see if he could find any clues. As he got nearer Archie could see some corrugated metal through the leafless autumn branches and he stooped to get a better view.

Cody felt threatened! It was a long time since he had seen a human and this one with the shiny yellow jacket and large heavy boots was far too close to his home. Cody hissed and spat hoping that Archie would get the message that he wasn’t welcome here but Archie just laughed.

Over the next few days Archie visited Cody’s patch of land several times, bringing with him a dish and some cat food. Cody would not let Archie near him but began to look forward to the visits.

Cody began to realise that it was not just the food he was looking forward to, it was Archie himself. He liked the way Archie talked to him and called him "Pusser". He liked the way Archie chuckled when he hissed or spat or when he put his back up in a show of strength. After a week or two Cody stopped hissing and spitting and allowed Archie to touch him.

Then one day Archie brought a bag with him and bundled Cody into it and zipped it up. Cody lay in the darkness and wondered what had happened. He could feel the movement as Archie carried him back to his bungalow. Cody was afraid again.

Cody sat on a cushion. It was soft and comfortable. His fur was clean and brushed and he had a blue collar around his neck. The collar had a little bell that tinkled as he stalked his prey but he didn’t mind because he didn’t need to catch his food any more, Archie saw to that.

© Gemstone October 2008
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Here for the Journey
Thanks Jane. I've got half a sequal to that one but haven't finished it yet. Glad you enjoyed it - sorry to make you cry x


Spam Hunter
S: 17st12lb C: 12st4lb G: 10st10lb BMI: 27.3 Loss: 5st8lb(31.2%)
Ahhhh bless, glad Cody now has a good home


Here for the Journey
The story was inspired by my rush hour trip home from work along a busy ring road. Periodically I saw a cat on the bank on the side of the road. Although he looked well fed there was something about him that looked as though he was a stray or a feral cat. He (if it was a he) was dirty white with bits of black on him. My mind went into overdrive (boredom with the drive home I guess) and I started imagining what his life might have been. One day I saw "pickers" on the bank and "Archie" arrived. Archie's outlook and kindness, also the use of the name "Pusser" was based on my Dad - a lovely man whose cup was always at least half full, no matter what life threw at him x


Here for the Journey
Thanks Taz - comments always welcome x

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