Thump, thump, thump. You wake up, stumbling out of bed. Thump, thump. You shake your head, tumbling back into bed. The pattering of small feet draws nearer, and a blur of orange launches itself at your face.
“Ugghh,” you groan. “I’m sleeping.” You peel the cat off of you. This cat, named Pumpkin, had decided it was a great time to destroy the house.
Sliding out of bed, you travel to the coat closet, pull your sneakers on, and grab the bright red leash and collar.
You stand feet planted, facing the thing ruining your morning. The only objects able to help, the leash and collar, were clutched in either hand. The cat takes off, feet scurrying across marble tile. You chase after it, trap- ping it in the corner behind the dying brown potted plant. Lunging at it, you somehow manage to get the cat on the leash.
“Hey, Mom!” you call. “I’m taking Pumpkin on a walk!” No reply. “Oh well.”
You decide that this is going quite well. The only noise is the thumping of sneakers and the meows of the cat dragging you around the block. And then it saw a squirrel.
The cat tugged on its end of the leash, and you feel your grip slacken. “Oh no, oh no!” you exclaim.
The cat took off after the squirrel, the leash trailing behind like a long, red tail.
You decide this walk is not going well at all. You run after the cat, so fast that you can’t even hear your sneakers hitting the ground any more. Wait a second, you think, glancing down.
You’re hovering about an inch off the ground, slowly floating higher.
“Oh my god, oh my god,” you scream, flailing in the air. You manage to grasp the leash in your hand as you float up, less worried because the cat acts like an anchor.
You reach for a tree branch, golden leaves falling off from your efforts to hold on. You realize that your hold on the leash is pulling the confused cat into the air too.
Wrapping your legs around the tree, you reach for the cat. Too far away, you think. You decide to just drop the leash, but your unstable position causes you to lose your balance.
“Uh oh.” Falling, the left sneaker gets stuck on the tree branch and slips off. As you land, pain shoots through your left shoulder, and you wrench your right sneaker off and start the trek home.
“Remind me never to wear these shoes again,” you tell Pumpkin.
“Claire, where were you?” your mom asks, standing at the front door with a foreboding expression.
“On a walk. Nothing exciting.” You feel a small smile tugging at the corners of your mouth.