Last night had been a very long night. Peep hunched under the bush until she didn't hear any noise from the house, and then slowly crept out, looking to either side as she moved towards the back of the house. No sign of the dog, thank the Celestial Cat. She moved from one bush to another, trying to be as silent as she could. She rushed under another bush - and ran headlong into another black cat.
"Excuse me, can I help you?" asked the other cat. "My name is Tippy, and my sister is Beauty, but she's not here right now. Did Bobbi bring you hear to live too? Are you going to be one of the inside cats or the outside cats? There are a bunch of cats that live here that never come outside at all, but we really don't know them. We only see them from the windows sometimes. What's your name?"
"Uh, Peep." Peep was so flabbergasted by all these questions and information that she barely managed to squeak out her name.
"Are you a chicken? You look like a cat, but cat's don't say 'peep'. Little chicks say 'peep'. I know that because when I was a tiny kitten I lived on a farm and there were chicks that said peep all the time. You really do look like a cat - are you sure you're not a cat?" Boy, could this other cat talk .
"No. I'm Peep. I mean, my name is Peep." The other cat was almost as big as she was, but was obviously still a half-grown kitten. "It's very nice to meet you, Tippy. I'm not here to live, at least I don't think so. I stowed away in my Mommy's car and came down here. She's living here for the summer, and her name is Mary Rose."
"Oh! I know her. She's a really nice lady. She loves all of us animals. She pets me and scratches me, and she loves Beauty too, and Bucky especially - he's the dog. She likes the horses too, but she spends more time with us. She likes to sit outside on the porch while she burns the papers in her mouth. I don't understand why people do that. Do you?"
"Tippy - I'm tired and hungry Can we talk in the morning? Right now I just need to find a safe place to sleep, and maybe a bite to eat." Peep was exhausted, and she looked it.
Tippy apologized profusely, and led Peep to her own food dish, where there was a generous helping of dry food. Peep ate a bit, and then Tippy led her to the covered porch, and offered her a chair to sleep in. She settled down and was asleep instantly.
The next thing Peep knew, it was morning, and she heard the Mommy's voice. Peep jumped off the chair, and scurried underneath, thankful that the chair sides were low enough that Mommy wouldn't see her, even if she did come out on the porch. Mommy came out on the porch, sat down and lit up a cigarette. She reached down and scratched Bucky's head, bidding him a good morning. She sat for a few minutes, drinking a cup of coffee and chatting with the animals. Finally, she bid them good-bye and headed off for work.
Peep crept out, thanked Tippy for not calling attention to her, and headed out to explore the yard. When she thought about what she was doing, she couldn't quite believe it. At home, she barely ventured out of the house, but here she was in Mary Land, exploring a strange place. She found a house on the other side of a playground that seemed to be empty, and Peep climbed the stairs and went inside. It was empty except for a large grey pillow on the floor, and Peep decided it would be a safer place to sleep at night - no way would the Mommy find her here. She settled down on the pillow for a nap - she'd explore more later.
Photo courtesy of Micheal BL - http://www.flickr.com/photos/16979355@N08/1947569396/