Zoe lived with her grandparents on a small farm in rural Arkansas. It had been home as far back as she could remember, her mama having died when she was just a baby. Grandma told her that her daddy lived in a big city and had a fancy job, but she had never seen him and wouldn't know him if he walked up to the door.
Zoe's grandma was a large, soft woman with a kind heart and smiling eyes. She loved Zoe dearly and and they had wonderful times working together in the kitchen and the yard. Zoe's grandpa was another matter, he was a big man who towered over her, and seemed to always be unhappy about something. When he came in the house grumbling and cussing, Grandma tried to keep her out of his way. Zoe was afraid of him and would slip off to her room to play quietly with her dolls. He never bothered her there and she felt safe.
One warm Spring afternoon Zoe was helping her grandma plant vegetables in the garden next to the big barn. She stopped what she was doing and listened carefully. There it was again... a tiny little voice crying in the tall weeds up against the barn. She scampered over to investigate and, much to her delight, discovered a scrawny white kitten blinking up at her in the sun. Zoe was surprised when she bent to scoop up the kitten and it didn't try to scratch her or run away. It was like it had been waiting for her all along.
Cradling the kitten gently in the fold of her jacket, Zoe hurried to show the tiny treasure to her grandma. Her grandma smiled at the little bundle of life, stroking it gently with two fingers and saying "Well, well, what do we have here?"
"Please, can I keep it?" begged Zoe, excitement dancing in her eyes. "It could stay in my room."
"Oh Lordy child, your grandpa would throw a fit if he found a cat in the house, he's pretty convinced that critters were meant to live outdoors, and if they don't earn their keep one way or another he can't see much use for them."
"It could catch mice in the house, Grandma", suggested Zoe hopefully.
At that Grandma chuckled, since the kitten was hardly bigger than a mouse itself. "I think you'd better put it back where you found it, sweetheart, it's time for us to get back to the house and start supper now."
At that Zoe's heart sank. She wanted this kitten so badly for a friend and a playmate. When her grandma turned around to gather up the garden tools, Zoe slid the kitten into her pocket and walked quickly back to the house, slipping in the door ahead of her grandma and heading straight up to her room.
When her grandma called her for supper an hour or so later, Zoe shut the door behind her and hurried down the stairs. Unfortunately, it was an old house and the doors didn't latch all that well.
As soon as supper was over Grandpa moved to his favorite chair in the sitting room, lit his pipe, and picked up the newspaper to read. Zoe was helping her grandma wash up dishes in the kitchen when suddenly she heard her grandpa's voice thunder "What in tarnation?!!" She ran into the room just in time to see him reach down and grasp the tiny white kitten by the nape of its neck with his great big fingers.
Horrified, and feeling certain that her grandpa was about to end the poor kitten's life, Zoe cried out, "Please Grandpa, don't hurt my kitty!" Tears rolling down her cheeks, she pleaded, "It's the only friend I have!"
Her grandpa looked over at her with more tenderness in his eyes than she'd ever seen before. Lifting the kitten up for a better look, then lowering it slowly to his lap, he turned to Zoe and said "Looks like you've found yourself a little girl here, what are you going to name her?"
This post is linked up at Two Shoes Tuesday,
where this week's prompt is "hidden"
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