Melinda walked quite a distance before stopping to rest. The weather had turned much warmer and she needed a drink. She spotted a large boulder to her right, removed the light jacket she was wearing and sat down. When she laid the jacket on a nearby bush, she noticed the whistle had fallen from the pocket onto the ground. She picked it up and debated blowing it to locate Angie but then realized everyone in hearing range would come thinking she had found something, so instead, she shoved it back into the jacket pocket.
A couple minutes later, Melinda thought she heard a cat or kitten meowing to her left. She listened and a moment later heard it again. It was faint but she could still hear it. Excitement washed over her thinking she had found Angie’s cat or possibly one of the neighbors' pet. She snagged the jacket from the bush and headed in the direction of the sound.
As Melinda wended her way around bushes and through the ground brush, she believed the sound was getting louder and moved with a new sense of energy to locate the cat. Several times she called out, “Here kitty. C’mon kitty;” and even began making kissing sounds in hopes to attract the cat to her. She wasn't that lucky as the animal didn't appear.
At one point, Melinda realized the sounds were beginning to fade and knew she had gone too far. It puzzled her that she could have heard the sound getting louder without so much as seeing an animal. She turned to backtrack but stopped when the sound of a kitten crying reached her ears. Looking around and under bushes, she didn’t see a thing and when the cries came again, she deduced they were emanating from a place behind some tall bushes. She moved toward it.
She was unable to see the cat but its cries were definitely coming from close by. Melinda had all she could do to push some of the branches up so she could see behind the bush. The only thing she saw were some fairly large boulders with what looked to be an opening at the base.
Melinda got down on her hands and knees and listened. The cries came again and she knew she had found one of the animals. She reached into the jacket pocket and pulled out the flashlight and shone it into the opening. There was no sign of the kitten except for its cries and Melinda noticed that the space was large enough for her to venture into. She pulled her jacket on and with the flashlight in her left hand, she moved deeper into the tunnel.
In a few places, the space narrowed but thanks to her being thin, Melinda was able to squeeze through and continue on. The going was slow but the increased volume of the kitten’s cries made her continue on. With her sole intent on saving the kitten, she never once stopped to think about how she would get back out of the tunnel.
She rounded a slight bend and was surprised to see some type of lighting ahead. She couldn’t tell if it was sunlight or from a lamp but was happy to be getting out of the darkness. She moved with a renewed quickness and reached the end of the narrow tunnel and gasped at the sight before her.
Melinda pulled herself into the large opening and discovered it was a cave, big enough for her to stand up. She brushed off her clothes and shook the dirt, leaves and twigs from her hair. As she stood gazing in total confusion and puzzlement, Melinda didn’t hear the noise coming from behind her.
Without warning, she felt a very strong gloved hand clamp over her mouth and felt a stabbing pain in her neck. Moments later, she felt herself getting weaker and weaker and then she blacked out.
May 1, 2014