The sight of her stillness caused me to stop abruptly. I watched my mother sitting
there, next to the mirror, entranced by the prisms of reflected light, and with
curiosity, I seized the moment to sit next to her, looking down at our reflections
together. Those images of my mother and me, reflected by the separate pieces of
the broken hand-mirror, provided an indelible snapshot in time that I’ll always
remember. It was a never-to-be-forgotten portrait of the two of us.

My trance of that image was suddenly interrupted when Henry scooped me up by
the scruff of the neck. I hung there from his large hand, my front and hind legs
dangling and kicking in mid-air, and I cried out with a miserable howl, not
understanding what had just happened. Holding me with an outstretched arm,
Henry hastily opened the front door and pitched me out onto the front lawn as he
shouted, “You’re just another mouth to feed, and that’s the last mess you’re gonna
make in this house. Out you go! And don’t come back!” Then he slammed the door
shut.

Looking back at that moment, I realize that Henry just didn’t care about anyone or
anything. His thoughts were centered only upon himself and his desperate state of
affairs. He was enveloped by his own frustrations with no thoughts about anyone
or anything else and, in that moment, particularly me.

Everything happened so quickly that I was dazed and ached from the sudden
impact of hitting the ground. I was on the front lawn, upside down, staring up at the
branches of the large oak tree just outside the front door of the house.
Chickadees flitted from one limb of the tree to another as I watched, slightly
confused about my rapid expulsion to the outside. I was used to watching all kinds
of birds flying from branch to branch in that tree, but only from the inside of the
house, not the outside, and certainly not upside down.

The sky was a bright blue with whispers of clouds that caused the shadows of each
branch to change from moment to moment, not unlike the day’s sordid events. As I
lay there looking up, I began to understand the reality of what had just happened.
Although still slightly shaken, I up-righted and steadied myself, took my first few
steps, and looked around to see what kind of world I had been so rudely and
cruelly catapulted into.

I simply didn’t know what I was supposed to do or where I was supposed to go. I
was suddenly homeless, losing everything familiar to me. I wandered around the
front of the house trying to figure out what to do next. I had only been out of the
house once before and that was because I wanted to be outside. My father wasn’t
there this time, and the choice was not mine. I had no fear of the unknown as long
as my father had been with me. Besides, I was used to always having a litter box
and food in my dish whenever I got hungry. Now I didn’t have anything.

I walked around the perimeter of the house and discovered the small front lawn
was unkempt with scattered leaves from the old oak tree. The lawn hadn't been
mowed and was almost up to the height of my chest, making it difficult to find my
way through the grass. It hadn’t rained in over two weeks and the few flowers that
remained in a once manicured flowerbed that lined the front of the house drooped
from the lack of water. A narrow brick walkway curved outward from the front stairs
of the house, stopping at the edge of the driveway. I paused to get a sense of
direction and managed to wade through the high grass as I crossed the lawn,
continued on to the walkway, and then on to the end of the uneven gravel
driveway. I looked around, side to side, at this new, strange, and frightening world.
Deep down, I knew I had to accept the fact that I was now on my own. I was sure
that in Henry’s state of mind, he would never allow me back into the house.

We all face the eventuality of being on our own, but that reality can be more
difficult to accept if the choice is not yours. As I wandered aimlessly in the driveway
from one side to the other, I reluctantly built up enough confidence to make the
only decision I could make—to accept my inevitable circumstance. I had no other
choice.

I looked back toward the house, and a glint of sunlight happened to catch my eye.
Hues of blue and violet colors sparkled from the tiny stained glass kitten ornament
that hung in the window. I saw my mother sitting in the windowsill in the reflected
light looking out at me. Her head touched the cool glass, knowing there was
nothing she could do. She was alone now. I could only hope that someone would
take care of her, and I wondered if I would ever see her again.
JOURNEY HOME – A CAT’S TALE is a story based upon the
actual life of a cat found abandoned in a dumpster, left to die.
Born in a small town on the coast of Maine, an unpretentious cat
named ‘Patches’ encounters life changing experiences during his
first two years. Discarded by an uncaring owner and left
homeless without food or shelter, he wanders the streets to piece
his life back together. Along the way, he discovers new friends
like Chester, a relocated cat from New York City and Buster, a
neighborhood stray, who teaches him how to fend for himself.

Late one night during a violent blizzard, a series of events
abruptly changes his life once again after he saves Buster from a
fire and then returns to the garbage dumpster for a local diner to
seek shelter and food. As he jumps into the dumpster, his leg is
ensnared by the steel jaws of a leg-trap. He feels the sharp,
razor-like teeth cut into him, and the fear of dying or losing his
foot becomes reality. Like the doleful cry of an incessant wind,
memories of his past and unanswered questions about his father’
s abandonment engulf his thoughts.

Will he discover what has become of his siblings, find a new
home, and ever understand his father’s message and why he
abandoned him? Will he survive the cold darkness and discover
once again a path that leads to the understanding he seeks?  
Journey Home: A Cat's Tale
Russell H. Plante
Book Reviews
Excerpt
Reviews will be posted as they are received.
Fiction-Young Adult

Available in Print & e-book
February 2016

$9.95 / $3.99

ISBN-13: 978-1-940707-86-0
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