Abigail scooped up the kitten and placed it on her lap. She stroked its soft fur with her chubby hands, and listened to it purr. She wondered if the kitten loved sitting on her lap the way she loved sitting on her mother’s lap at bed time, curled up, head resting on mother’s chest, listening to the mixed sounds of her heart beat and her voice as she told a bed time story.

She wanted to be able to keep this little ball of grey fluff, with its pink tongue and sing-song meow. She could keep it in her bedroom, it could sleep in a box by her bed. She would promise to help mother with the dishes and feeding the chicken, she would even mind her little brat of a brother, if only she could keep this kitten.

Abigail hadn’t been allowed to keep the puppies when their fat lazy spaniel had popped them out, one by one, last summer. They were not very pretty puppies, but anything ‘baby’ is cute when you are 5 years old. Abigail liked to dress them up in her old baby bonnets and tie ribbons on their ears. But her father had taken them away one day in a box in the back of his truck, calling them ‘ugly mutts’ and not good enough to keep.  Mother told her they had been taken to a new home with a large garden and lots of butterflies to chase. Abigail hoped rather than believed this to be true.

The kitten was pretty though…and it would be useful! It could catch the mice and rats that ate the chicken feed in the back yard! Surely her father and mother would let her keep it if she told them this?

She bent forwards and buried her face in the kitten’s fur. She said a silent prayer…and then made a wish, just for luck.