Pouncer and the House on Rosebriar Lane: pg 1

by Dawn Sewer

Pouncer and the House on Rosebriar Lane

In the little blue house at the end of Rosebriar Lane, lived an old woman, three kittens and a mother cat. There were plenty of windows to sit in, a big comfy couch to nap on and bowls of warm milk to drink. Pouncer, the oldest of the kittens was bored of sitting in the windows, napping on the couch and drinking warm milk. He wanted to go to the big city where he could prowl the streets, dig into garbage cans and catch all the mice he could find.

But his mother would not let him leave the house alone. “The city is a dangerous place for kittens,” she explained.
Despite his mother’s warning, Pouncer was determined to live in the city one day, and become a tough alley cat.

“Children!” his mother called out one sunny afternoon. Pouncer ran across the kitchen, jumped up and over the old chair and landed with a heavy thud on the floor in front of his mother.
His baby sister, Molly, came prancing up behind him. “Mother, did you see what Pouncer just did?”
“Molly darling,” Mother scolded in her sweet voice. “It’s not polite to tattle-tell.”
Pouncer stuck his tongue out at his sister.
“That’s enough, children. I have some news. Come now,” she said as she pulled her kittens close and sat them down in a row. “Madam is going on a trip.”
“Oh, a trip!’ cried Snowy, the middle kitten. “How exciting!”
Molly’s whiskers twitched with excitement. “Where are we going Mother?”
“Madam is going away for the weekend to visit her sister in the city.”
“Aren’t we going with her?” Pouncer asked.
“No, children. It will be our job to look after the house while she is away.”
“Oh, why can’t we go?” Snowy asked looking very sad. She too wanted to visit the city.
“The city is no place for little kittens,” Mother said. “The little house is where we belong.

Pouncer turned to stalk away. He did not want to be in the little blue house for another day. Pouncer was imagining himself prowling the busy, bright streets and didn’t notice Madam walking towards him.
The old woman stumbled over the kitten. “Pouncer, you silly kitten, you nearly tripped me.”
Pouncer darted inside Madam’s fallen bag, afraid he was in trouble. But Madam just reached down and softly scratched his head then lifted him from his hiding spot. “No playing in the bag Pouncer, you wouldn’t want to be carried off to the big city now would you?”
Pouncer watched as Madam turned and disappeared beyond the hall. He looked over to the open bag and suddenly an idea came to him. If he hid within Madam’s bag, then he could visit the big city and no one would ever know. Proud of himself for thinking up such a brilliant plan, Pouncer jumped into the bag and buried himself inside.

He must have sat in the stuffy little bag for nearly an hour. He was just about to give up hope when Madam picked up the bag. Like a wonderful carnival ride, Pouncer was carried out the front door and slipped into the waiting car. He poked his head out from between the flaps of the bag. Through the window he could see the tallest trees reaching up towards the bright blue sky. In the distance loomed the towering buildings of the city.
His heart pounded as the car started. As they pulled off down the street he looked back towards the little blue house and saw his sister’s sitting in the window. Barely able to contain his excitement, Pouncer settled down into the bag. Soon he would be in the big city, he thought as he yawned and drifted off into a dreamy sleep.
He woke with a start as he heard the car door open and felt the bag lift once again. He cautiously peered out from the bag as Madam took the steps up to her sister’s front door. Pouncer knew he was going to have to make his escape soon or he would find himself stuck inside another house.
When Madam dropped the bag to the floor to give her sister a hug, Pouncer jumped out, scurried down the steps and hid inside the bushes beside the fence. He was free at last, he thought as he strode out of the bushes and on to the city sidewalk.
No more watching birds from the window or chasing pretend mice across the kitchen floor. No more little sisters to nag at him or pounce on him while he was trying to nap. And no more Mother to tell him to eat his supper or play nicely with his sisters. Now he was a city cat! A big, bad alley cat! He arched his back and hissed at a napkin blowing in the street.

For hours he wandered through the city streets. Taking in all the sounds and smells that were more wonderful than any old warm bowl of milk. He’d even found a real mouse to chase, though it got away. As the sun began to set and shadows fell over every street, Pouncer began to tremble.
He turned down one street and then another. All of the buildings looked the same. As it grew darker, Pouncer felt more and more afraid. He suddenly wanted his Mother, but he didn’t know which way to go to find her. He darted across the street as fast moving cars whooshed by.
“Oh, I shouldn’t have run away,” Pouncer cried as he scurried down an alley only to find another dead end. He missed his Mother. His missed Madam. He even missed his little sisters. He was alone and frightened. Suddenly he realized he was lost. Alone in the dark and shadowy alley, he began to cry.
“Well, well, what have we here?”
Pouncer looked up to see a big, fat black and white cat with a wicked little grin standing above him. He crouched down real low and scurried into the shadows until he found himself cornered in a box.
The big alley cat pranced back and forth in front of the old cardboard box as Pouncer huddled deep within. “Please don’t hurt me, Mr. Alley Cat,” he whimpered.

The alley cat laughed out loud. “Hurt you? Why on earth would you think such a thing?”
“Because,” Pouncer sniffled. “Alley cats are big and tough and mean.”
The alley cat sat and licked as his paw while he considered this. “You’re right I guess. Alley cats are big and tough and mean. But not to little lost kittens,” he said with a friendly grin. “Come on out. I won’t hurt you.”
Slowly Pouncer inched out of the cardboard box.
“What’s your name kid?”
“I’m Trash Can Dan. They call me that cause I’m the best dumpster digger in the joint.” Trash Can Dan smiled. “Where’s your family kid?”
“They’re at home. I’ve run away.”
“Run away? Now why on earth would you do such a thing?”
“Because I wanted to be an alley cat, but now I just want to go home. I miss my Mother and my sisters too,” he said and began to cry.
“No don’t go blubbering again. Buck up son, old Trash Can Dan will help you find your way home.”
“You will? Oh thank you Mr. Trash Can.” Pouncer smiled up at the smelly old cat.

“Alright, alright,” Trash Can Dan laughed. “Where do you live kid?”
“In the little blue house at the end of Rosebriar Lane.”
“Oh, rightly, I know that house. ” Trash Can Dan trotted off down the street with Pouncer hot on his heels.
He was amazed that such a big, brave alley cat had heard of his little home. “How do you know?”
“Why, that little blue house is the envy of every cat on the street. We hear stories about the little old woman who lives there. When she comes to town she always leaves food out for the strays. What I wouldn’t give to live in that little blue house,” Trash Can Dan said dreamily.
“Why would you want to be stuck in that little blue house when you have the big city to explore?”
“Why wouldn’t you? You got a nice warm place to sleep, warm milk whenever you want it and a family who loves you. Sounds pretty nice to me.”
“Yeah,” Pouncer agreed, thinking, ‘It is pretty nice.’

They walked for nearly a mile as they made their way out of the big city and back onto the country lane. Pouncer could see the little blue house in the glow of the moon overhead. He tore up the lane. When he made it to the door he mewed until his mother let him in.
He purred loudly, happy to be home. “Oh Mother, I missed you so much.”
“Pouncer, you’ve been a very naughty kitten. I’ve been so worried,” she scolded. Then a smile rose, “but I’m so happy to have you home.”
Pouncer looked beyond the door to see Trash Can Dan watching from the lane. “Mother, this is Trash Can Dan, he helped me find my way home.”
“Thank you so much, Mr. Trash Can Dan. Won’t you please come in?”
That night Trash Can Dan joined the three kittens and their mother for a warm saucer of milk. As Pouncer listened to the alley cat’s stories of a cold and lonely city life, he knew that he was right where he belonged: in the little blue house at the end of Rosebriar Lane.

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