Ten feet long, car-tire tough, Boo the Burmese python could squeeze little kittens into bags of bones. Flicking his forked tongue, he lowered his pancake head, ready to attack.

Birds cawed above.

Runty pricked his ears. Noisy feathers, he thought.

catsoup ch11 v02Boo coiled his body, was about to lunge, when ...what was that?

The yip yip of wild dogs.

Runty ran up a tree.

Stolly bolted. Hissing, Boo snaked after him. Stolly ran, wilder, faster than ever before. Dust clogged his paws. For a few scary seconds, the snake gained ground.

Stolly ran until he couldn't run anymore. He came to a deep cleft, and leap - down, down - landing on the branches of a tree. Too far for Boo to reach.

Boo gave an angry hiss and slinked back through the undergrowth, to sulk in his hole by the riverbank.

Stolly waited until dusk. The terrifying chase and the loss of Mama Mao hung heavy in his gut. When darkness crowded the leaves, mosquitoes whined, he set out.

He walked and walked. Sniffed the paths. Listened for clues.

"Have you seen my brother?" he asked a passing swallow.

"Does he have an ugly tail, like you?" chirped the bird.

"Have you seen my brother?" Stolly called to the fireflies.

They just zipped around like baby stars.

Stolly yowled.

"What a racket," clicked Sara the owl.

"Oh please, do you know where my brother is?" mewed Stolly.

Sara liked to help lost animals. She'd helped many in her time.

"Twit twoo, I do. Follow me," she whooped.

Never had the kittens felt so happy to see each other again.

Runty licked Stolly's face, his neck, his sore paws. "Were you scared?"

Stolly laid his head on Runty's tummy. "Not really."

"Good night brothers," screeched Sara, flapping off towards a watery moon.



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