29 June – 5 July: “Children in the Cat Bed”

Children in the Cat Bed

The teacher called her class to attention, as the kindergarteners looked up in awe at her. “Good morning, children!” she called out to them.

“Good morning, Miss Williams” they called back.

“Today, children, we are going to talk about roommates. Those of you with brothers and sisters no doubt will have roommates at some point or another.” Some in the class nodded in agreement. “So tell me, who here has a roommate?”

“I do!” shouted one child, a little brown-haired girl.

“Alright, Mary. Who is your roommate?”

“My brother!”

“Your brother and you share a room?”

“Yep! And one other too!”

“O, and who is that?”

“Our cat!”

The teacher laughed for a minute. “So, Mary, you and your brother Jack share a room?”

“Yes, that’s right. We sleep with our cat,” Mary said in a matter-of-fact manner.

“And what is the cat’s name?” the teacher asked, sitting on the edge of her desk.

“Her name is Kitty,” replied Mary to the giggles of her classmates.

“What a good name for a cat,” the teacher said. “So, you, Jack, and Kitty all share a bed. I do hope it is a big bed,” Miss Williams said, quieting the class.

Mary shook her head, “No, it’s the cat’s bed.”

Miss Williams stopped for a minute, puzzled at what she had just heard. “You, you sleep in the cat’s bed?”

“Yes, we say it’s the cat’s bed because the cat was there first,” Mary explained.

“Ah, well that’s nice of you. But it is a regular sized person’s bed,” Miss Williams asked for clarification.

“No, it’s the cat’s bed. It is small, round, and a perfect fit for Kitty,” Mary declared.

Miss Williams became troubled by this, “So, you don’t have your own bed in the house?”

“Not a people-sized bed, we have a cat bed!” Mary shouted.

“There is no need to shout, Mary,” Miss Williams declared.

“Sorry, Miss Williams,” Mary said, her face drooping a bit.

“No matter. I just hope that you and Jack aren’t allergic to cats,” Miss Williams said, her confusion showing.

“O, we are, but we wash our hands and faces every morning when we wake up,” Mary said.

“I see,” Miss Williams replied, wanting to move the conversation on to something else, “Well, children that was fun. Now then, let’s get on with some of your math.”

The children let out a wail en masse as Miss Williams began to draw some numbers onto their chalkboard.

After school was finished for the day, Mary returned home to find her little brother Jack waiting with her parents and grandparents. They had a nice dinner together, at which Mary and Jack entertained the adults with their usual antics. However, when it was just past eight o’clock, with the children and cat fast asleep in their bed upstairs, a knock rang out on the door.

“Who could that be?” Mother asked, as the adults sat about the front room watching the news. The knock rang out again. “I’ll go and see,” she said, standing and going to the front door.

Mother opened the door, peering outside into the winter night. There in front of her stood a younger woman. “Hello, are you Mrs Ingelbot?”asked the young woman.

“Yes, I am. Who are you?” Mrs Ingelbot replied.

“I’m Miss Williams, from Mary’s school. May I come in a minute?”

“O, certainly, Miss Williams, do come inside! It is quite cold out there tonight,” Mrs Ingelbot exclaimed.

“Yes, it is rather,” Miss Williams said, shivering as she crossed the threshold.

Mrs Ingelbot led Miss Williams into the front room, “Allow me to introduce my husband, John Ingelbot, my father-in-law Marmaduke Ingelobt, and my mother-in-law Leopoldiniana Ingelbot.”

“A pleasure to meet you all,” Miss Williams said with a smile.

“How can we help you, Miss Williams,” John asked.

“Well, today we were talking about roommates in class, and Mary said that she and your son Jack sleep in a cat bed. I just wanted to make certain that she wasn’t just telling a story.”

“Heavens no! They’re roommates!” Marmaduke cried, laughing at the thought of the children’s living situation as just a story.

“So, they do sleep in a cat bed?” Miss Williams said.

“Yes, they prefer it,” Leopoldiniana replied, a grin on her face.

“I have to see for myself,” Miss Williams replied, still not accepting what she was hearing.

“Well, go right ahead, they’re just up the stairs,” Mrs Ingelbot said, pointing towards the stairway.

Miss Williams looked up into the dark blackness of the upper floor of that house. Some sort of fear crept into her mind, making her unwilling to go up those stairs to see just how her student slept. On the other hand, her curiosity made it unthinkable to do anything other than mount the steps, one at a time. The creaking caught her off guard, causing her to sweat. At the third step from the bottom a loud creak sounded from the wood under her heels.

“Careful now, you mustn’t wake the kiddies!” called Marmaduke.

Miss Williams took that advice to heart, and made her way up the steps. Upon reaching the top she crossed the carpeted floor, following the sound of little breaths, in and out, in and out, in and out on the far side of the room. As she walked further from the light of the ground floor that shone up the stairway, she felt a sharp pain in her head, as thwack! it smacked into a rafter that held the roof of the house up. Stopping for a minute, Miss Williams rubbed her forehead, bending down low to avoid any other rafters. Finally, she saw the cat bed, sitting on a cabinet under a window in the celling.

Miss Williams approached the bed, ever so careful not to wake the children, or the cat. She at long last made it to where she could properly see the bed and its occupants, only to do a double take. “Where are the children?!” she thought, fear stricken as she beheld before her a cat bed with three small kittens fast asleep within.

She ran silently back out of the upper floor, and back down the stairs. Looking into the front room, she beheld two lions standing where John, and Marmaduke had just been with a lioness on the sofa where Leopoldinina had once sat. Only Mrs Ingelbot appeared to her in human form. She laughed as Miss Williams fled from that house, vowing to never step foot on that street again.

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