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Here's the Catch
Savita watched as her only kitten, Oz, snuggled underneath her fur, only being born hours ago he was fresh and new, his fur soft as wool. He looked much like his father with fluffy reddish brown fur but had what looked like a white mane around his neck and chest, then yellow eyes resembling his mother who had white fluffy fur. Suddenly she heard pawsteps outside the crevice under the house that she made home.
“Jinx? What are you doing here?” Savita asked.
“I’m here to retrieve my son, you won’t be able to care for him like I would, you know he is a…” Jinx started but was interrupted.
“Don’t say it, he’s my kitten and I will be caring for him,” Sivita said sternly.
“You know you can’t care for him, he’s gonna have powers that you won’t be able to teach him how to control, he’s a...,” Jinx tried reasoning with her but was once again interrupted.
“No! Don’t. I will take care of him... Without you,” Savita stated.
Jinx looked into her eyes to find anything at all hinting that maybe she would change her mind but all he found was a cat who was ready to fight for her kitten.
“I hope you know what you're doing,” Jinx said with a sigh and turned away from Savita, leaving her and the kitten, alone once more.
It wasn’t easy the older Oz got but his mother was determined to raise him on her own and teach him how to be a good cat herself. Oz was now old enough at nine months and grown almost to his full size to explore outside their home as long as he was with his mother.
“Mom! Wake up, wake up, wake up!” Oz chanted as he shook her awake.
“Oz!” she yelled but quickly corrected herself, “You need to be careful son, your stronger than you think and you could hurt me.”
“Sorry mom,” he got off of her and looked at his paws.
“It’s okay, now let’s go get something to eat,” she told him.
“Yay!” Oz shouted with glee.
As they exited the house Oz began to wonder, why am I so strong and why does his mother always seems to correct herself when she yells at him?
“Mom?” Oz began and waited for her to say something than he asked his question,
“Why am I so strong? Also, why do you stop yourself from yelling at me?”
Savita stopped and stared at her son, he looked up at her, his eyes filled with curiosity but she couldn’t tell him, not yet.
“You’ll know when your older but for now just know that no matter what, your special,” she reassured him and kept walking.
Oz sighed, he knew she was hiding something but all he could do was wait until she was ready, but what could she be hiding?
Months passed and Oz had grown into a full grown cat as he was now one which meant, his mother had some explaining to do. He stretched out his forepaws and let out a big yawn, he still was with his mother because she always told him, it was better to stick together but today he was going to get all the answers. He walked over to his mom and nudged her awake, remembering not to be too rough about it. As she woke she stretched and smiled at her son but it quickly faded when she saw the serious look on his face.
“You really want to know, don’t you?” she asked him and he nodded, “Well, let’s start with what you are then I’ll explain your brains, brawn, and speed.
She began telling him everything and his eyes opened wide at what he heard but he wanted to know everything.
“So… I’m a Catch more specifically a Tri-Catch which means I have an evil side that comes out when I’m angry and I’m incredibly smart, strong, and fast?” Oz questioned.
“Yes. Listen, your father is the same kind of Catch as you which means he to is all of those things and has an evil side because he’s a Catch, here let me tell you a story…” she said and began to tell the story of how the Catch came to be.
“The Catch is a special breed of cat known for its beauty and grace, they’re four kinds: Force Catch, Smart Catch, Flash Catch, and the rarest of all, a Tri-Catch. The Force Catch is stronger than any other cat making these cats dangerous if not taught how to control it. Then, there’s the Smart Catch, they are the brains of the operation as they are extremely smart so be careful of these cats when they're in a rage. Flash Catch, fastest cats on the planet and can once again be dangerous if not taught right. Finally, we have your breed of Catch, a Tri-Catch, strongest, smartest, and fastest cat that has ever existed and well, by far the most dangerous. It is said that these cats were created when a Witch turned four cats into fighting machines so she could be protected from people who wanted to kill her and the genes still run through those family tree of cats, which your father’s ancestors are from the fourth family tree, the Tri-Catch, you and your father are the last Catches remaining but your the rarest so…”
Oz was so shocked that he couldn’t listen any further so instead he just looked at his mother, when she realized he wasn’t paying attention she tried to console him.
“No! You’ve been lying to me, all the talk about being special, I’m going to find my father so I can learn how to control my anger, correctly!” Oz screamed at his mother then turned and ran away, he didn’t stop even when she called him back, just kept running until he was well away from home.
He wandered the streets his belly still flaring with anger, his own mother hid this from him and the fact that he had a father and he would find him, somehow.
The further he traveled, the tougher it got, suburban terrain turned to rural, he was truely far from home and had grown even more at the age of two but he had to keep going, he would never return home to lies and his mother acting like he was just special when he was different. Just when he was deep in thought, he heard rapid pawsteps that sounded like thunder and loud barking, he knew what came next. He bolted in the other direction but the sound was everywhere, he was trapped. The dogs circled him, there were three of them but they were huge, he fluffed out his fur ready to defend himself when another sound rose above the growls. It was a cat.
“You dogs are barking up the wrong tree,” the strange cat hissed.
The dogs simply growled and whirled around to face the cat who looked a lot like Oz but instead was covered in fluffy reddish brown fur without a white mane and had blue eyes. That’s when it hit Oz.
Without thinking he leaped on the nearest dog, a large german shepherd, and sunk his claws into his back while biting the back of his neck. The dog howled in pain and began trying to buck Oz off but Oz held on while the strange cat attacked the other german shepherd hissing furiously and before the dog could turn tail and flee he landed a scratch on his nose then gave the last dog a challenging look before he too fled. Oz finally hopped off and spit out clumps of bloody fur watching as the dog ran like the devil himself was on his tail.
“Nice fighting stranger. What’s your name?” the strange cat asked.
“Oz,” Oz replied.
“That’s funny, I had a son named Oz but that was about a year ago, how old are you?”
the strange cat questioned further.
“Two,” Oz replied once more.
The strange cat stared deep into Oz’s eyes as if he was looking into his soul, Oz knew now that this was his father and the cat seemed to read his mind.
“It’s great to see you again son, I am indeed your father, my name is Jinx. By the looks of it you must know about our family history already,” Jinx told Oz.
“Yes, I know about us being Catches, were Tri-Catches making us smarter, faster, and stronger than any other cat and you're my father?” Oz said with an added question. Oz was confused, he looked like Oz and seemed to act how a Catch would act but it felt too easy and once again, Jinx seemed to read his thoughts.
“I know you may be doubting the fact that I’m your father but how about this. I show you proof that I’m your father and you decide to believe me or not, up to you,” Jinx said to Oz then began to walk away.
“Okay. I’ll do it and one question. Why do you know what I’m thinking and answer my thoughts before I can even wonder them out loud?” Oz questioned.
“What? I was to busy reading your thoughts,” Jinx laughed then sped away, “Catch me if you can!”
“Oh, it’s on!” Oz exclaimed and sped after Jinx.
They raced across an open field, the grass felt so nice under Oz’s paws, he kept pace with Jinx or his father or whatever he may be. At this point in time, Oz was just happy to be with someone who was a little like him, whether he was his father or not.
They finally stopped on a hill, looking down at the world below them Oz saw the city he left behind, he would never go back, not now that he possibly had his father and even before he found Jinx he said he wasn’t going back to live with a liar for the rest of his life, he was free to be his own cat.
“Now I know you came here with an intended purpose so go on, spit it out,” Jinx said.
“Wait, how did you…” Oz started but was interrupted.
“Oz. Listen, there is so much more to our species than you know, we can do amazing things but if not taught properly, we can be evil and cruel,” Jinx warned, “Were Catch Cats! We can run faster, fight better, and even think better than most cats, plus we can read minds. The point is, I’ve been waiting for the day you’d come and find me so I can teach you all I know. So. Are you ready?”
Oz stood up and nodded.
“Born ready,” Oz stated.
“Than get some rest, you can sleep with me tonight then tomorrow, I’ll began to teach you all I know,” Jinx promised.
“Where do you sleep?” Oz asked but Jinx simply laughed and layed down without saying a word, “Outside?”
Jinx didn’t respond sending his point across that yes, he was going to have to sleep, outside, in the dark, with someone he just met. What could go wrong? Oz simply sighed and accepted his fate then padded the grass down with his paws then curled up allowing sleep to take him over.
The sun hadn’t even risen before Oz was wide awake, he waited like a kitten watching for the sun and pleading it to rise.
“Come on… Rise… Please,” Oz pleaded the sun.
“Some cats are trying to sleep,” Jinx stated his presence to Oz.
“Mom usually doesn’t care,” Oz mumbled.
“I’m not mom, I’m an outdoor cat that needs his sleep,” Jinx stated once more.
Oz simply sighed and curled back up while he waited for the sun to rise.
Hours passed and the sun had finally reached the sky, Oz had been awake the whole time his eyes glued to the sky.
“Okay! Time to get up,” Oz stated as he stood and stretched.
“Nope,” Jinx simply said, keeping his eyes closed.
“But the sun’s up so… That means…” Oz started.
“It means, you’re awake and the sun is up ever so slightly so you should curl back up and sleep till the sky is bright blue like a normal cat. Cats these days act like kittens,” Jinx interrupted.
Oz mocked him as he slowly curled back up and forced his eyes closed but he was still set on the early cat catches the mouse idea.
Finally, he heard Jinx stir and shot straight up well ready to go for the day and Jinx simply rolled his eyes in a joking manner then began his descent down the hill.
“Where are you going?” Oz shouted after him.
“To get breakfast!” Jinx shouted back.
Oz ran after him and Jinz looked over at him with a smile then nudged him.
“First one to catch a mouse wins?” Jinx challenged.
“Let’s do it. 1… 2… 3… Go!” Oz exclaimed and raced away.
Oz came back with a mice thinking he won because Jinx was nowhere in sight then he saw him smiling with three mice in his mouth making Oz drop his.
“But… How did you get three mice in the time it took me to get one?” Oz asked.
“I have my ways and you’ll soon be taught all of them, come on, let’s eat!” Jinx said.
Jinx an Oz each ate two mice, leaving no scraps behind and after they were finished Oz lifted his head, licking his muzzle in satisfaction. Jinx stood up to leave and gestured for Oz to follow, Oz did as instructed and followed Jinx ready to start the day out with his father, if he was his father anyway.
“Now, let’s start with your anger management. When a Catch, especially ones like us, gets angry we can be destructive and cruel but there are ways to control it and even ways to learn how to use it to our advantage,” Jinx told Oz.
They spent the whole day learning how to control his emotions and Oz payed attention to every bit of it, he was eager to learn how to use his powers for good. Oz grew to love Jinx and accepted him as his father more and more. As the week came to an end on the seventh day of what Oz called, emotion control class, Oz felt more ready to use his powers for good than he ever had before.
“Oz, you are a terrible listener, you know that,” Jinx told Oz.
“No I’m not!” Oz said and stood up.
“Oh, yes you are. You’re in your own little world over there,” Jinx taunted.
Jinx waited for Oz’s reaction hoping to see him control his emotions but he was ready to stop Oz if it comes down to it. Finally, Jinx saw what he was looking for a few moments later, Oz instead of lashing out as he was definitely about to by the looks of his tail swishing took a few deep breaths and did something that Jinx took as a sign that he was ready.
“I’m sorry, I will listen better for now on,” Oz said calmly and sat down once more.
“Oh Oz, you really think that I think that? Clearly your a good listener because you just used one of my techniques to control your anger and even exceeded that, you just not only stopped yourself from lashing out but apologized calmly and sat back down despite the anger surging through your body and it’s only the seventh day. Good job son,” Jinx told Oz.
Oz could've never been happier, his father just told his good job and this was only the seventh day of learning how to control his emotions!
“Thanks dad, I really appreciate the help you’ve given me, I wouldn’t of been able to do that if it wasn’t for you,” Oz admitted.
Jinx smiled so wide Oz thought he was going to break his jaw. Jinx just heard his son call him dad, this probably meant the world to Jinx, he always wanted a son but he couldn’t raise Oz but he was definitely making up for lost time.
Months passed and their bond grew stronger but when Oz woke that morning he saw Jinx staring up at the sky, his eyes were sad but seemed so happy at the same time.
“Dad? You okay?” Oz asked.
“Never better son,” Jinx replied.
“That’s funny because you're not looking so good,” Oz told his father.
“Son, have I ever told you how me and your mom met?” Jinx asked.
Oz didn’t want to hear about his mom, she had lied for so many years but he wanted to make his dad happy so he shook his head no.
“It was a clear bright day such as this, we met here in this very field, she was always so beautiful and sweet. She and I met when we were catching mice in a barn, she and I bumped heads and when we looked up, something felt like a spark had ignited in our souls telling us that we were meant to be but that was years ago, soon after she got pregnant with you she told me to leave, after she found out what I was. She felt betrayed and heartbroken, I only wish I’d told her sooner,” Jinx said with a sigh.
Oz looked at his father for several moments, he seemed so sad, his eyes were filled with regret and heartbreak. All Oz could do was be there for him because he knew no words could ever heal a broken heart.
“Well, time flies doesn’t it? We should get started with the day,” Jinx told Oz
“What are we learning today?” Oz asked.
“Nothing. You’ve learned all you need to know so today were just gonna focus on the joy in life, besides what more can an eight year old cat teach such a fast learner such as yourself, heck, you're already four now right?” Jinx questioned and Oz nodded.
“How time flies,” Jinx said, “Come on and I’ll show you how a master catches mice.”
They spent the morning catching mice and talking, they were really starting to bond even more than before, they were best pals now and nothing would change that.
That night, Oz slept curled up next to his father, Jinx, and stared at the stars, maybe this time, Oz had finally found what he’d been looking for.
Oz and Jinx had arrived at the barn to do their usual mice hunting. Only minutes had passed before Oz had smelled smoke and turned around realizing the barn had caught fire but Jinx was nowhere to be found.
“Dad! Where are you?” Oz screamed out for his father but there was no response.
Oz didn’t know what to do, the door to the barn was open just enough for a cat to slip through but he couldn’t leave his father. Suddenly he spotted his father but just as he was about to head for him he heard the mewling of two kits and a worried mothers cry to find them. He had a choice to make, save his father or save the family of cats risking his chance at a happy life with his father.
“I’ll come back for you dad!” Oz told his father and bolted in the direction of the kits.
He saw them but the roof was caving in, he quickly raced to the kits picking one up and followed the sound of the mother. Reaching her at last he dropped the kitten at her feet and gestured for her to get out then returned to the location of the other kitten. Suddenly the roof creaked and he ran for the last kit scooping him up just as the roof began to fall then raced for safety. He dropped the kit at the mothers feet now that they were safely outside but his father was still in there. Just as Oz was about to race back in, the barn collapsed and he watched as the debri went up in flames. He raced to the fallen barn and found his dad under a wooden plank, he lifted it and dragged his dad out into the field.
“Dad?” Oz looked at Jinx but he didn’t move.
He was gone.
Oz stood over his body hours after the other family of cats left, he just saved three lives so why did he feel so guilty, it’s what his dad would’ve wanted. Right? He finally turned and walked away heading to the spot he now called home, he refused to return to his mother so he settled down in the grass and looked at the stars.
As Oz fell asleep a little after laying down to look at the stars and he dreamed of racing through the field and he spotted his father. This wasn’t a dream, he died of smoke inhalation and now he was reunited with his dad.
“Son, I’m so proud of you but what are you doing here so young?” Jinx asked.
“That doesn’t matter, I’m here and we are reunited again so… First one to catch a mouse
wins?” Oz asked.
“First one to catch a mouse wins,” Jinx agreed and they raced across the field reunited
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