Chapter One
Vesper and Maisie

Downpour descended heavily from the sky and splashed itself onto the cold, drenched streets of New Jersey. It was unusual for rains to shower this torrential in the state especially when spring had just freshly arrived; so much as it transformed the grounds into a vast canal of muddy wet soup.

The moon had already replaced the optimistic sun and darkness reigned over the surroundings. The streetlights' glows were made hazy by the relentless rain. Everything was misty. Nobody leisured outside, no one dared to with the ominous weather befalling. The rain was serious, very, very serious. Gravely even.

There was a scuttle in the streets, a faint shadow dashing against the rain. It was two shadows, actually, appeared as one when looked from a distance.

"Faster Giselle," yelled Edgar, increasing his speed.

"This is the fastest I can go," countered Giselle. "Are you sure we didn't leave anyone behind? They're all there in that bag?" She asked, inserting a few pants.

"I'm positive, I can't let anything happen to them, I wouldn't know what I'd do if one of our kids got caught," said Edgar, his tone riddled with fear.

Giselle shushed her feline husband. "Don't worry Edgar. We will never let that happen to our sweet, little angels." She assured, but if she could only come up with a more honest answer, she wasn't sure if that would be possible either. She peered through the bag that Edgar hung from his back. She saw her kittens curling themselves against each other, their eyes squeezed tightly. Few drops of rain landed on their faces, some on their pinkish nose, and some on their tiny ears.

There were nine of them in the bag, maybe ten. The tenth one given birth to still hasn't been given a proper name yet. She and Edgar only planned to have nine children, so they haven't really decided on what to call the new addition. The others were Oliver, Lucy, Charlie, Boots, Ginger, Blue, Toby, Jasper, and Sophie.

"This way," said Edgar, turning to the left. For a cat, he liked the rain. He would lift his head up high, feeling the sprinkles of the raindrops on his face, sometimes even sticking his tongue out to taste it. This was the trait that granted him a wife. For this situation, however, he was going to make an exception.
"Where are we going?" asked Giselle.

"Anywhere where we can keep our children safe," replied Edgar.

"I don't think there is an anywhere."

"Over here, I saw them go over here!" A voice shouted behind them, distantly, but they knew, very surely, that they were close by. The voice was deep and boorish. Splashes were heard, not the kind of ones made by little, furry feet, it was the other kind, made by enormous, bulky feet that wore leather boots.

"Hurry, they're catching up to us," said Giselle. They jumped over a fence.

They continued to run until there was no more way to run to. Lightning illuminated the surroundings. Towered over them was a massive fence that seemed to have no means of getting past it.

"No, no, no, no, no, no," muttered Giselle desperately, shaking her head. "What, what do we do now? They're nearing us," She said. Edgar said nothing, his head half raised to the sky. "Edgar," She called. He didn't answer. He grabbed the bag's handle with his mouth and removed it from his back.

"What are you doing?" She asked.

"Here, take the kids and go find somewhere to hide." He handed her the bag.

Giselle was flabbergasted. "Where are you going?"

Edgar looked at her but kept his words to himself. He turned around. "I want you to keep the kids safe while I distract them." He said without glancing back at her. "And tell them that papa loves them very much."

"What, what are you going to do Edgar?" Her voice trembled.

They heard something clattering in front of them, like sacks being kicked and thrown over, its contents being scattered across the floor.

"Go, don't worry about me," persuaded Edgar.

"No, I can't leave you. Didn't we promise that we'll take care of our kids together?"
"Just go," He said with a forced tone.

"But,"

"I hear them, they're right here!"

A gasp fled from Giselle's mouth. "I said go, now!" roared Edgar. Her eyes became watery. With a heavy heart, she took her children and disappeared under a dumpster. The kittens whimpered in displease. Giselle shushed them hurriedly but comfortingly, as if they had everything to be glad about. Her eyes swung back to her husband. His torso was lowered to the ground, almost touching it. He had a solemn expression on his face.

"Well, looks like the kitty ran out of places to run to, eh?" said the gruff voice from earlier. "Gave us quite a chase too, I certainly hope your taste is worth the hunt." Giselle heard footsteps.

Edgar growled menacingly, his pupils grew thin in ferocity. He hissed at the advancer. "Ooh, feisty little mouser, huh? Why don't you just get inside this bag and we don't have to hurt you, yeah?" proposed the voice. Edgar looked down, and then returned his gaze upwards. He stepped a foot back. "Here kitty, kitty, come on, there's nothing to be afraid about. We're just going to cook you, maybe broil you, or roast you, eat you, and then sell your fur along with your friend. Now where is your friend anyway?"

Edgar jutted his claws out from his paw. "Better tell us now or you'll be sorry—" Edgar yowled and lunged forward, his teeth displayed and ready to bite.

Thunder bellowed from above. Giselle flattened her ears to the side and hugged the bag containing her children. When it ended, the voice yelled happily, "Hey, Jack, I got our dinner! We're going to have cat stew tonight!" He chortled.

Lightning struck as it coincided with thunder. Giselle saw the shadow of her husband hanging in midair, gripped by something by the neck.

She recoiled in grief. Tears flowed down from her eyes. She heard footsteps slowly fade away until only the rain's clattering could be heard. She moved forward to see if they were gone. Lightning once again struck and illuminated a large boot in front of her. A hand suddenly grabbed her legs and pulled her outside.

"So this is where you've been hiding, huh?" A large, hooded man said.

Giselle hissed and growled at the man, flapping her paws to scratch him but wasn't enough, for the man's arm was long and plump. His other hand went under the dumpster and produced the bag holding her children. She growled even more loudly and menacing as she strengthened her struggling. The man peeked inside the bag.

"Oh, so you guys are mommy and daddy, how adorable," mocked the man. "Don't worry. They're still young so they won't even remember that they were alive in the first place." He said and stuffed Giselle inside the bag along with her children. The man hung the handle of the bag by his shoulder.

It was pitch-black inside, and it became much more difficult to breathe now that the opening decreased. The bag rocked roughly. The kittens started to cry, but there was no way to calm them down.

"Mike, come on," yelled another man with less husky voice. Sounds of a motor being started were perceived by her ears. Giselle started breathing deeply. She needed to save her children, at least one will do, and then maybe, just maybe, her husband's sacrifice wouldn't go to waste. She stared at the small opening above. It was too narrow for her children to pass through. But then it crossed her mind that there was a slight possibility that her tenth kitten could be able to. He was the smallest among his other siblings.

She grabbed it gently with her paws and lifted him up. She couldn't see his face clearly but agony was flashing on his face. His eyes were shut tightly. Giselle kissed him on the forehead and whispered,
"Please be safe."

The bag shook more jaggedly than before. She must hurry.

She raised the kitten and forcefully stuffed him through the opening until he had finally been squeezed out.

The kitten landed on the soggy ground just before the motorcycle took off, releasing black smoke that quickly vanished with the rain. His bottom felt sore. His tiny body shivered as the rain instantly doused him. He looked left and right confusedly, but saw nothing but darkness. He searched for the one that licked him in the face, the one that cleaned him of fleas and gave him warm milk to drink, but there was no one.

He was all alone.

But, despite of the darkness of the night, he saw a faint light flicker from a distance, so he went there, groggily, tripping many times. The light was fixated above a roof, and a large door loomed over him. He pressed himself on a corner, trying to keep warm, but he had no knowledge how to. It was always done for him.

He called for his mother with a squeaky voice. He did the same for his father, for his brothers and sisters but similar to before, his call remained unreturned.

And then, just when he had flushed away all hope, the door beside him opened. He saw a shadow of a person surrounded by yellow light, but it was quite small to be frightened about. Strode outside was a little girl, dressed in pink pajamas.

"Why hello there," said the girl when her eyes settled on him. "Were you the one crying?" She asked.
The kitten did not answer, but the girl mistook his shaking head as a no. "What's wrong? Don't be afraid, I won't bite." She stepped toward him. She leaned down and surrounded him with her hands. The kitten pushed himself against the wall even more. The girl's hands stopped momentarily, but began to move in a slower manner.

When he looked into her eyes, he saw genuine concern, and finally allowed himself to be picked up by the tiny hands.

"Are you cold?" asked the girl. "How did you get all wet?"

The girl's embrace warmed him, and so he nestled himself on her. "What's your name? I'm Maisie, Maisie Underwood, but you can call me whatever you like," The kitten looked at her, bewildered and wondering what that was. "What's wrong? Don't you have a name?"

Maisie waited for a simple meow but the kitten did not produce any. So she came to a conclusion that she was going to have to name it. No animal can live without a name.

"Okay, then I'll call you Mr. Boogie Ooglywoogly Junior, right after my first pet."