by Mary E. Lowd
“Hey!” the jowly jailor barked at Petra and Blaine, interrupting their latest conversation about scramball.
Petra was tempted to hiss an answer at the dog, but even with bars between them, it didn’t seem like a safe move. Instead, she decided to whither the dog with class. “May I help you?” Her voice practically curdled with almost-purrs.
The cop looked properly and pleasingly unsettled by Petra’s unpredictability. “Here,” the dog harrumphed, pulling into view a wheeled trolley stacked high with disorderly piles of paper, files, and notebooks. “This is for you.” The dog unlocked the cell, shoved the trolley in, and then locked the cell right back up. “Some dog dropped it off for you.”
“Some dog?” Petra’s ears flattened at the uselessness of the description. “A terrier? A black lab? A greyhound?” she prompted.
The jailor just snorted like the questions of a cat were beneath acknowledgement. But Petra found a hand-written note on the top of the papers:
I asked those secretary cats for their financial files, and they handed them over no problem. So here they are. I’d have brought them in myself, but we have our paws full dealing with the press response to your arrest out here.
With hugs from the kittens —
Petra started to seethe at the idea that those smarmy Siamese secretaries would simply hand all their files to Trudith after giving her such a runaround, but Blaine called her attention to the pages under Trudith’s note.
Almost afraid to touch the precious pages, Petra lifted the three brightly-colored crayon drawings, one from each kitten, with shaking paws.
The top picture featured the whole family — Petra, the kittens, Papa Lucky, Uncle Alistair, Aunt Kipper, and even a black blob labelled ‘Trwdeeth’ — under an expansive rainbow that filled up half the page. It was cheerful, exuberant, and signed ‘Allison.’
Pete had drawn a disturbingly good likeness of Petra behind bars, emblazoned with the words, “Come home soon.”
And Robin had drawn himself in Petra’s arms, two orange figures blurring into each other, with cartoon teardrops all around them. His said, “Dont be to sad. We miss you.”
Petra sighed, all the anger knocked out of her. She missed her kittens too much to have room for caring about snubbing secretaries. Besides, those secretaries were nothing compared to corrupt cops who arrested tired mother cats for no reason.
Petra had the files now; she could get to work tracing the missing money, and find out where it had gone. She had something productive she could do with this time in jail, something that might help save the world — and her kittens — from the raptors. That was all that mattered.
Continue on to Chapter 21…