Lost and Found

February 2001
High School English, Senior

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I anxiously sat at the patio window, looking out into the vast world before me. My tail swished from side to side as my heart beat fast in anticipation of whatís to come. I could hardly keep my excitement in and finally; I had to just let it out. I began to whine and howl and meow loudly, hoping that someone would hear me.

Soon, my owner grabbed the latch on the door and gently began to pull it open. I stood up and started to pace back and fourth, looking up at her with joy shinning in my eyes. Before she had time to open the door completely, I squeezed through the small slit and dashed out into my world.

The sun shown brightly in the sky, allowing my eyes to see the world in all itsí splendor. The air was cool and the breeze ruffled my fur. There were so many sights and sounds and smells that my senses were overloading. The complete excitement that I felt was more that I can even hope to explain.

I slowly walked out into the yard; the feel of the grass between the pads of my toes was unforgettable. Each blade of grass seemed to tickle my feet causing shivers to run up and down my back. The smell of pine filled the air. The sounds of birds chirping and squirrels chattering in the trees could be heard all around me.

I walked over to a small apple tree that was in a corner of the yard and plopped down onto the ground. I just lay there, eating grass and calmly watching all that was going on around me. Soon, my eyelids became heavy and before I knew it, I had drifted off into a deep sleep. I must have been out for quite some time because when I awoke, the sun could barely be seen.

I stood, stretching my legs and my back as I did so. When I was fully awake, I walked over to the fence and with a small burst of energy I jumped to the top, landing on a thin wooden beam. I crouched down and began to lick my front paws, cleaning my face with them.

I knew that I should go inside soon because it was getting late and I was hungry but then something on the other side of the fence caught my eye. Next to an old, run down shed was a small brown field mouse. I was so excited. I completely forgot about my hunger; I was focused only on one thing--the mouse.

I quietly jumped down from the fence and crept toward the fury prey. I was stealthy and sly, making sure that the mouse never saw me. The small animal just sat next to the side of the building, eating small blades of grass.

As I crept closer, the mouse suddenly looked up and stopped what he was doing. Heíd seen me. I stopped advancing toward him but it was too late. The mouse suddenly ran around the side of the shed and thatís when I lost control. I dashed after him, following him around the building. He scurried into the shed through an open door and I followed him. Once I was inside, the mouse had gone into the far corner of the room and under a box. I ran up to it and stuck my paws under the box, trying to reach the mouse but after a while I realized that I would have no chance of getting him.

So, I decided to just explore the shed. There were boxes piled all over the room, glass jars and tin cans lying on the floor in heaps. There was an old, broken lawn mower in the middle of the room and an old bathtub and sink next to it. The whole place looked like a home for junk. There was a window directly across from the door and so I decided to climb up on a box and look out.

It had started to get cold in the shed and outside I saw flakes of fluffy snow falling from the sky. I knew that I should get back home but when I jumped down from the window and went toward the door, a strong, icy wind suddenly blew across the side of the building and the door slammed shut. I didnít know what to do and fear began to build within me. I pushed on the door with all my might but no matter how hard I tried, the door would not budge. I was trapped.

I heard my owner call for me and I started to howl back but it was no use; she couldnít hear me. I jumped back on the box and looked out the window. The snow was now coming down quite hard and seeing anything but white flakes was virtually impossible. I tried to howl again and call to my owner but the shed muffled my voice. She kept calling but the snow would drown out her words every time.

After a few minutes, all became silent and I knew that she would not be back until morning. So, I walked over to a box lying on its side and lay down in it. It became my home for the night--a night that was cold and uncomfortable. It was the worst night that Iíd ever had.

I awoke the next morning when the sun shown in through the window and onto my face. I could see the ground outside was covered in snow and the glare from the sun made it hard to see. By now, I was very hungry, having not had anything to eat since the day before. I knew I would have to find my own food and a way to escape the shed. I walked around the whole place, looking for a way out. As I did so, I saw the very mouse that I had tried to catch before--but this time, I was not going to let him get away.

The mouse was sitting on a tin can, washing himself. I ever so slowly crept toward him and before he knew it, I pounced, catching him in my paws. After I had him for breakfast, I continued my search for a way to escape. In a small corner of the room, there was a dirt area that I hoped would lead to the outside. I walked up to it and began to dig. After hours of digging, I was exhausted and my claws had started to wear down. I had to rest before continuing. As I lay on the ground, I again heard my ownerís voice and my hopes rose but when I called to her, she still couldnít hear me. It was beginning to seem hopeless but I couldnít give up. If I did then I would surly die.

I dug for days and days, which seemed like a lifetime, focusing all of my strength and energy into escaping. Finally, I was able to free myself from the prison. I was so relieved to see the outdoors again. It was nighttime and there was a cold wind that chilled me to the bone. I was very weak, having had hardly anything to eat--a few mice here and there while I was trapped.

I had lost a lot of weight and I fear that if I had been trapped any longer then I would have died. I hurried to the patio door and sat there meowing as loud as I could. I looked inside and saw my owner sitting on the couch and when she saw me, she rushed to the door, opening it as I bounded in.

I was so happy to see her and I jumped into her arms, purring louder than I had ever before. I had missed her so much and she held me in her arms, tears filling her eyes, not wanting to let me go. After a joyful reunion, I was given something to eat which I was so grateful for. As I ate, I heard my owner say that I had been gone for ten days and that I would have died had I not come back when I did.

Since that experience, I have come to value the comfort and warmth of my home and I never want to leave my family again. They are the best owners that I have ever had and I know that without them, I would not be here.