Ruth watched the tan of the tree trunks as they went flying past. Then the white of a sign caught her eye, “FREE KITTENS,” it read. “Dad!” she shouted, squirming in her seat like a five-year-old promised a newfangled toy.
“What, hon’?” He asked.
“Kittens!” She pointed at the sign as they went zooming past.
He didn’t say anything but glanced at her briefly with an accommodating smile. They turned around in a nearby driveway and then pulled into the drive where the sign was located. Ruth was out of the car before the engine was turned off, her excitement bubbling over, but she waited for her father to get to the front door so he could ring the doorbell. A middle-aged man with high cheekbones, sandy blonde hair, and brown eyes answered the door. “Here fer the kittens?” he asked them.
Ruth nodded eagerly.
“Follow me.” He led them out to a shed where there was a box stuffed with old towels and two meowing kittens. “There’s two more ‘round here somewheres.” He looked around, pushing some boxes here and there until he found an orange tabby. “Here’s one.” He brought it back and deposited it in the box.
The two already in the box were wrestling with each other. One was another fully orange tabby and the other was orange with white spots on his tail, paws, and chest. Ruth knelt by the box to pick up the adventurous tabby that had been returned to the group.
“How old are they?” Her father asked.
“About eight weeks,” the gentleman replied. “I’m Jason Smith by the way.”
“Nice to meet you, Jason.” Her father firmly shook hands with him.
Ruth gently scratched the kitten she was holding on the top of its head. It meowed softly and placed a paw lightly on her shoulder. It turned little green eyes to look up at her and meowed again. It shivered a little, as if frightened. Ruth held it closer and continued to pet the ball of fluff, hoping the attention would soothe it.
Ruth looked up as she heard a loud, helpless, drawling meow. “I think I hear the missing kitten.”
“Yeah, he’s always getting’ inta trouble.” Jason scratched his head for a moment and they all went quiet.
The meow was heard again, equally as loud, but somehow more demanding. It was a clear cry for help, but not a meager pleading one, it sounded more as if he was saying, “Why haven’t you gotten me out yet?”
Jason went toward some shelves in the back of the shed where the sound seemed to be coming from. He moved some boxes, tools, and miscellaneous junk around until he found a little orange and white head along with a white paw sticking out from a corner. He moved a box aside to reveal a ginger and white kitten with its head and leg protruding from a box of throw-out rags.
From "Horse Haven:2" - Unexpected Allies and Recurring Warts by Grace Marshall