Pawprint Trails

The little boy huddled tighter under the play gym, tears stinging his eyes. It was getting dark and this was the only familiar structure he’d seen.

A small furry face appeared in one of the holes at the side of the gym. Yellow eyes, white fur, and a pink velvet nose. A small cat.

The boy stared. He willed with all his heart for it to come into the gym with him, but he didn’t want to reach out and scare it.

After a moment, the cat said, ‘Are you lost?’

The boy nodded, wiping his nose on his sleeve.

The cats ears flicked back, then forward again. After a moment, it hopped through the hole to join him beneath the play gym.

Hesitantly, the boy reached out to stroke the cats white fur. A puff of glitter rose at his touch, only to dissipate.

He stared.

The cat twitched its tail. ‘I’m not supposed to do this,’ it said. ‘But … let’s try a little finding spell, shall we?’

The boy didn’t know what that meant, but nodded.

The cat yowled something and scratched in the dirt. After a moment, little glowing pawprints trailed away from the boy and out into the dark.

‘Come on!’ said the cat. ‘This way!’

The boy scrambled after it. It was stark against the night. Somehow he felt less afraid in its presence.

It wasn’t long before he heard his parents calling his name.

The cat slitted its eyes in a smile. ‘Ah, good. You’d better go join them. No, don’t worry — we’ll meet again. I can feel it.’

Microfiction written to a prompt by one of my lovely patreon patrons. The prompt: ‘A lonely child is helped by a familiar’

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