Wind played with the dust and dried leaves and took them for a short spiraling journey. It was afternoon and I was back at home on the verandah, on an easy chair. This summer vacation was mostly spent indoors as the unpredictable rain played outside. At times, the sun would beat down mercilessly and dry up whatever was left behind of the rain. Today, it was dry and sunny outside. I felt lazy.
I was not always the only lazy one on the verandah. A cat who had befriended my mother recently was often there. She would be under the same recliner I was on. She had three hyper active kittens that never left the vicinity of their momma. The only other place they would go was to our back yard where they would share what my mother used to give them, at least twice a day. While I was watching the wind and dust, the kittens jumped in, chasing the dry leaves. There were only two of them. One was missing.
Cats, they say, are not really fond of their human friends but love the pampering. I have often noticed that it took some effort to dislodge the momma cat that was so comfortably splayed on the easy chair. A cat is a lazy creature. And it was missing from the scene. I looked around. There were only two kittens.
I had a vague recollection of my mother telling me about the rogue cat who used to visit the back yard, mostly at night. He was the rejected lover of momma cat and displayed no affection to her kittens. The jealous lover was also guilty of stealing food from the kitchen and attacking momma cat's kittens. I suspected this villain's involvement in the disappearance of the kitten and their mom.
The wind had died down and the kittens had returned to their afternoon siesta. I moved indoors and it seemed like the rain was making a return any moment. There were noisy crows announcing the change in the weather and were flying home. I thought I heard the momma cat's cry in the distance.
Morning came, wet and gloomy. Sun was still behind grey clouds. The whole world seemed to yawn as the faintly lit sky sat brooding above. The kittens were back on the chair and so was their momma. It had wounds on its face and a deep cut on its hind leg. It took turns licking its wounds and its kittens. One small fellow was still missing. I assumed that momma got in to a fight with the villain. Did her kitten pay the price for being there when it happened?
Few details emerged as the days went past. The villain was seen one day limping around with scars on his face but seemed to have disappeared from the scene. Momma cat was back on the chair with her two kittens. Her wounds were slowly healing.
And that is when I noticed the new visitor near the verandah. He was younger and bigger than the villain who had disappeared. His face was already battle-scarred and beady little eyes watched momma cat and her kittens intently. Momma didn't seem to be perturbed. She got off the chair and placed herself between the kittens and the visitor. She looked back at him and growled with that steely resolve only a mother can manage.