Note: Doesn’t include the Funky Fonts that appear in the real print book
Oddsocks … The New Kitten
“The thing about Tree Dragons is that they are not living in the trees … but made of the trees.” Upstairs Cat
The first thing he could remember was a soft voice, a whisper being spoken very close to his ears. It was gentle and full of love and affection. It was a young girl’s voice and it said, “Your name is Oddsocks … and you’re my favourite thing in the whole world.”
Oddsocks wasn’t sure who the girl was, but she fed him and cuddled him and kept him warm. He couldn’t open his eyes yet, but he knew that whoever was looking after him was always there. When he cried they came and fed him lovely milk and when he fell asleep he knew he was being held in caring, strong arms, arms that wouldn’t let him go or let any harm come to him.
The days passed like a dream until one morning, when Oddsocks was waking up from a comfortable sleep, something changed. As usual he could hear familiar noises, although he didn’t know what they were yet; there was the tapping of feet on wooden floor boards, the chattering on a television left on and the occasional ‘Meow’ of a visiting cat at the window.
But today there was something more … Oddsocks’ heart jumped as, for the first time, he could see the colour red. It was blurry and it was a little scary, but slowly the red was joined by blue, and then yellow and then the brilliant white of daylight.
Oddsocks the kitten opened his tiny eyes for the first time and saw his world.
“What is this?” Oddsocks said to himself. He had to say it to himself, because there didn’t seem to be anyone else around this morning. He could hear the television talking to itself in another room and a coffee making machine was burping rudely in the corner of the kitchen, but Oddsocks was more concerned with the furry foot that was lying over his face. Quickly he realised it was part of himself, it was HIS paw.
“I’ve got four of them,” he exclaimed with joy and curiosity. He wasn’t sure what these paws were for. He tried chewing on the nearest one but it didn’t taste very good … so maybe not that. He tried moving them all together, but he was lying on his back, so all this did was make him feel tired. Then he tried stretching them out. That felt good, so he did it again.
“These things are great,” he said, “I wonder if they have any other uses?”
Oddsocks’ musing on what his paws could do was interrupted by a voice. It wasn’t the soft voice of the girl, but it was friendly, it was low and it purred out the words as it spoke, “Welcome to the big world, little Kitten,” it said.
“Hello,” replied Oddsocks.
But before the strange voice’s owner could answer there was the sound of feet walking on floorboards and an excited girls voice cried out, “He’s awake! Look Mum, Oddsocks has his eyes opened.”
“Got to go little Kitten,” said the strange voice, “see you soon.”
Oddsocks saw the flash of a thin black tail swish by and the owner of the strange voice was gone.
He was lifted up from his bed and held in the arms of the girl, and for the first time he could see her face. She had large, round blue eyes set in a shiny white face. Her hands were delicate and when she stroked his fur with her fingers he purred uncontrollably. Oddsocks was very happy.
“I want to hold him!”
This new voice was like fingernails down a chalkboard. It was the voice of a young boy; he was standing beside the girl and jumping up and down on his heels with his arms outstretched.
“No,” said the girl, “you’d be too rough with him. He’s not one of your toys you can break and then just throw away, he is a living thing.”
“I just wanna hold him is all,” moaned the little boy, his arms still held out towards the kitten.
Oddsocks could see the little boy had a dirty face and his hands looked sticky as if he’s had them in mud for most of the day. Oddsocks gave a little sniff with his tiny nose … Eeeew!!! he thought to himself, whatever this little boy has been rolling in, I don’t want it touching me.
“Now look!” spoke the girl in a stern voice, “he’s crying, he doesn’t like you, go away for a while.”
The little boy trudged off, moaning to himself, “Not fair, not fair, she gets a kitten and all I can do is dig up worms.”
With the boy gone, the girl began putting a comfortable bed together for her kitten. She lay Oddsocks down on some fluffy blankets with a toy mouse for company. Oddsocks bit the toy mouse several times … just to make sure it wasn’t a real mouse.
“Let’s put you where the sun shines in, so you can enjoy your first day being able to see the world with your own eyes,” she said as she placed him in his new bed, on a wide window ledge that looked out over a small back yard filled with plants in pots.
“Wow!” thought Oddsocks. He’d never imagined there could be so many colours in the world: greens, reds, purples and other colours he’d have to make up names for later on.
“Hope you enjoy the flowers, Oddsocks,” the girl said to him, “It’s not much of a garden but when you’re older I’m sure you will venture off to see other, bigger gardens.”
Bigger?! thought Oddsocks, how could something be bigger than this? When he had first opened his eyes, he had thought the kitchen was gigantic, but the garden must be four even five times bigger than the kitchen … he wondered to himself if gardens existed that were ten times bigger … now that would be something to see.
“Oh look,” said the girl, “There’s Upstairs Cat.”
Oddsocks looked up from his bed. There, just inches away was another cat, a big one. The new cat was black and white, not at all like the ginger, white and brown patches that made up Oddsocks’ fur. The new cat also had a small bit of his ear missing, but this didn’t seem to bother him. He smiled at Oddsocks and then licked his paw to wash his own face.
“Good,” continued the girl, “He’ll keep you company while I do my chores. Enjoy the sun, Oddsocks the kitten.”
She left the kitchen and Oddsocks looked nervously up at the black and white cat.
“Hel …. Hel …. lo,” stuttered Oddsocks.
“Hello there, little kitten,” said Upstairs cat with his silky smooth voice.
“It was your voice I heard earlier.” Oddsocks realised that this big cat was the owner of the kind voice he’d heard just after he’d opened his eyes.
“Indeed,” replied the black and white cat, “I am Upstairs Cat … I live …. … upstairs, but you probably could have guessed that,” he threw Oddsocks another big friendly smile.
“What’s up-stairs?” asked Oddsocks, genuinely not knowing what the word meant.
“It’s like this kitchen and the other rooms … only higher up.”
“Would you like to come out and play? I can show you around the neighbourhood, if you think you’re ready?” asked Upstairs Cat.
“I’d love to,” replied Oddsocks excitedly.
Oddsocks shakily stood on his feet for the first time. He tried a step but fell over a bit. Luckily he was still on the blanket.
“Careful now, little kitten,” said Upstairs Cat.
Oddsocks tried to walk again. This time his paws moved correctly; he was still a bit wobbly but he was able to walk slowly forward.
“Very good,” spoke Upstairs Cat, “now just hop up here and jump out on the ledge.”
“Okay then,” replied Oddsocks. Be brave, he said to himself, “Just hop up on the ledge and outside we go.”
Oddsocks summoned up all his strength, pushed off from his back paws and slammed face-first into the glass of the window with a mighty
Upstairs Cat laughed uncontrollably and watched Oddsocks slide down the glass like a cartoon character would.
“I love when that one works on new Kittens,” laughed Upstairs Cat, “I am sorry, little kitten, I couldn’t resist it.”
“Ow!” said Oddsocks as he fell back onto his bum, “That was really mean,” Oddsocks rubbed his nose with his paw.
“Sorry,” said Upstairs Cat and he rolled over on his back and put out his two front paws so that they sat under the window, he pushed his claws out, gripped the window and pulled it open. The window made an EEEEEEEKKKKKKKK! sound.
“They really should oil that,” commented Upstairs Cat, “Come on then little Kitten, step out into the big, bad, wild outside world.”
“Oh!” said Oddsocks, stopping with one paw inside the window and one outside.
“What’s the matter?”
“Well, when you put it like that, I’m not sure I want to be in the big … bad … outside ….world.”
Upstairs Cat laughed out loud, which sounded like marbles being poured down a drainpipe, “Don’t worry little kitten, baby steps today, just the back yard.”
Oddsocks slowly and carefully, one tiny pink paw at a time, stepped outside. His ears flopped around and his fur was moving all on its own.
“What’s that??” he exclaimed.
“That’s called ‘the wind’,” replied Upstairs Cat, “It’s a thing we have outside, you get used to it. Sometimes it’s there, sometimes it’s not.”
The yard outside was filled with pots that had all sorts of flowers growing in them, and there were children’s toy spread about, some were action figures with their heads pulled off.
“What happened to them?” inquired Oddsocks.
“Oh those poor things, they were toys bought for the little boy. He likes to pull the heads off things.”
“Hope he doesn’t want to do that to me!”
Oddsocks could hear a BUZZZZZZZZING noise coming from a jar that sat on the outside of the window. There was a small creature trapped in the jam jar. Holes had been punched in the lid to let him breathe. The tiny creature was yellow and black with a white tuft of hair topping his head. He was desperately banging his head on the lid BUMP BUMP BUZZZZZZ BUMP BUZZ BUMP BUZZ BUMP BUMP
“Poor thing!” said Oddsocks, “Did the boy put him in there?”
“He did indeed, he’s very cruel like that,” replied Upstairs Cat.
“Can’t we let him out?”
“Yes I think we should, he’s been in there long enough.”
Upstairs Cat didn’t go to the jar straight away. First he stretched up against the concrete wall. “I’ll just sharpen the old knives first,” he said and winked at Oddsocks as he Scrapped his claws against the wall.
“Now little fella, let’s see if we can get you out,” Upstairs Cat extended one razor sharp claw and put the tip into an air hole on the jam jar lid. He cut the lid open as if it were made of paper, peeled back a section and the bee flew out and upward.
“Well, don’t say thanks or anything!” yelled Upstairs Cat at the sky. A little black dot began to come downward. The black dot became yellow and black with a white tuft of hair.
“Sorry, thank you very much,” buzzed the bee, “I was really getting a headache in there.”
Then he buzzed off.
“Bees,” commented Upstairs Cat, “Always too busy!”
“This is great! I mean apart from the jar and headless toys, I think I’m going to like the outside world,” said Oddsocks.
“That’s only the start of it, wait until you see …” whatever Upstairs Cat was going to say next was interrupted by another voice.
“Hello, little Kitten, I’m going squeeze you!”
The little boy was walking toward them with his arms held out, with his left hand he slapped at the window and it shut tight with a SLAM!
“What do I do?” cried Oddsocks.
“Run!!!!! Follow me,” called out Upstairs Cat and he leapt from the ledge onto the ground.
Oddsocks was shaking, he didn’t know what would happen if he jumped to the ground, it seemed so far away. It took only one look toward the empty jam jar to make his mind up. He closed his eyes and jumped.
“Cats always land on their feet,” Upstairs Cat would later tell him; he wished he’d told him that before he jumped off the window ledge!
By the time Oddsocks had opened his eyes he was on the ground and the boy was leaning over him. Luckily Upstairs Cat used his back paws to kick up some dirt into the boy’s already dirty face.
“AHHHHH!!!!” cried the boy.
“Follow me,” called Upstairs Cat and began to run down the yard. Oddsocks didn’t need to be told twice and ran after him.
The little boy came thundering down the yard after them, his shoes making a
CLOP CLOP CLOP CLOP on the ground as he yelled out, “I’ll get you!!!”
“This way,” called out Upstairs Cat as he rounded a corner with ease. Oddsocks half-slid, half-ran around the corner. The boy, with his arms bent down toward the ground, waiting to scoop Oddsocks up, was right behind him now.
“He’s going to catch me!” yelped Oddsocks.
“Just one more corner,” Upstairs Cat called back, “and hope he keeps his eyes on you.”
“What?” Oddsocks looked over his shoulder as he ran; sure enough the boy’s beady little eyes were fixed on him.
They rounded the next corner, Upstairs Cat with ease, Oddsocks mostly sliding on his bum. The boy also stumbled to get around the sharp corner but all the while he kept running as fast as he could and kept his eyes on Oddsocks.
Oddsocks watched Upstairs Cat slip through the gate and followed him between the iron bars.
Upstairs Cat had stopped running and was sitting facing the oncoming Oddsocks with a huge smile on his face. Oddsocks slid into Upstairs Cat and was cushioned by his thick fur. He turned his head just in time to see and hear the
The little boy’s two arms were through the gate but the rest of him was painfully flattened against the bars on the other side.
“Numbskull!” said Upstairs Cat, “Come on little kitten, I guess you’re going to see the neighbourhood earlier than expected.”
“Will he be alright?” asked Oddsocks.
“Oh yeah. When I was a kitten I would do that to him once a day … twice if I was bored.”
The cat and the kitten climbed up a broken wall that separated the houses from the countryside beyond.
“No one really comes out here, not the humans anyway, just us cats and other animals,” explained Upstairs Cat as he helped Oddsocks climb down the other side of the wall. “When they built the town they accidently walled off this whole glade.”
“What’s a glade?” asked Oddsocks.
“Oh,” Upstairs Cat thought about this, “it’s a valley that’s really glad it’s a valley.”
“Well, that makes sense,” remarked Oddsocks, who suspected that Upstairs Cat didn’t really know what a glade was either.
They climbed to the top of a small earth hill. Oddsocks was feeling very tired from all this adventure and running away from the bold boy. He really wanted his nice, warm, comfortable bed.
“Here you are,” announced Upstairs Cat, “home away from home, the Magic Animals’ Glade.”
“WOOOOOOOWWWWWWW!!!!!!!” said Oddsocks as he looked up and out over the landscape.
There was every colour of plant, bush and tree imaginable: Red, Blue, Orange, Purple, Urple, Murple, Magic Murple and Green to name but a few.
There were big animals, small animals, of all shapes and colours, there were bees, just as small as the one Upstairs Cat had freed from the jar, and there were bees the size of cars who landed on giant flowers with a loud PLOP and began sucking the nectar from the flowers like a giant trying to drink a thick milkshake through a straw.
There were humming-birds, humming-badgers, humming-bats and humming humpleberry bushes.
There were butterflies, flutterbys, flutter-butter-horse-flies and utterly-butterly-Dragon flies (who were actually the size of dragons).
There were rabbits with ears as long as their bodies, hares with legs that made them five feet tall and deer with antlers like mini forests, in which hundreds of miniature animals lived.
“What are those?” asked Oddsocks in amazement, as he watched a group of green trees slowly walk across the valley floor.
“Tree dragons,” replied Upstairs Cat.
“Dragons!” exclaimed Oddsocks, “Aren’t they dangerous?”
“Oh no, they’re very nice creatures. The thing about Tree Dragons is that they are not living in the trees … but made of the trees. You see, Tree Dragons can breathe fire, but they don’t ‘cause they would set themselves alight, so they became friendly dragons.”
“Cool!” said Oddsocks.
“Are you hungry?” asked Upstairs Cat.
“I am. All this adventuring and running around has made me very hungry indeed … and a bit sleepy,” replied Oddsocks.
“Well, before we get you back safe to bed, let’s pay a visit to the Anything You Want to Eat Vine.”
Oddsocks followed Upstairs Cat down into the glade proper. They said ‘Hello’ to the Rainbow Caterpillars that were sunning themselves on the plants by the side of the path. The Rainbow Caterpillars, each one a different colour from the other said “Hello” back by sending out a mini rainbow as they passed them by.
Suddenly there was a huge CRUNCH in the undergrowth and the bushes parted as a monstrous Giant Snail appeared …very slowly …. out of the wild plants.
Oddsocks was afraid for a moment but then Upstairs Cat tipped his front paw to his head and said, “Good morning Mayor Sheldon.”
“Gooooooooddddd Mooooorrrnnnnnniiiiiiinnnnggggg,” said the Snail very slowly.
“How are you this morning?” Upstairs Cat asked him.
“Laaaatttttteeeee foooorrrrr aaaaa meeeeettttiiinnnnggggg agggaaaaiiiinnnn. Haaavvvvveee tooo rrrruuuusssshhhh ooofffffff.”
“Goodbye then,” said Upstairs Cat, tipping his forehead with his paw again in salute to the Mayor.
They waited for a very long time for the giant snail to move off the path. If that was a rush, thought Oddsocks, he must hardly move when he is taking his time.
“He has to bring his own home with him everywhere he goes,” Upstairs Cat pointed out.
Upstairs Cat hummed along with the humming humpleberry bushes, partly to kill the time while they watched the Mayor of the Magic Glade inch his way across the path.
“Isn’t that a bit of a bother? Bringing your whole house with you everywhere you go?” asked Oddsocks. He was feeling very hungry now, and was wondering how late the Mayor would be for his meeting, an hour, two hours, a day … a month?!
“Not really,” answered Upstairs Cat, “the advantage is he can go inside and have a nap anytime he wants to.”
“Wish I had one now,” said Oddsocks.
Eventually the Mayor moved out of the way enough that the cat and the kitten could continue on the path.
“And here we are,” announced Upstairs Cat as they reached what, to Oddsocks, looked like any other bush in the valley, just a thick clump of green leafs.
“What does it do?” asked Oddsocks.
“It’s an Anything You Want to Eat Vine,” explained Upstairs Cat, “they’re all over the valley.”
He whispered the next part, “stops the animals from eating each other you see. Why should the hawk hunt the mouse or the fox chase the rabbit when they can just go to the Anything You Want to Eat Vine.”
“I see,” said Oddsocks.
“Well, go on then, ask it for something,” Upstairs Cat encouraged him forward with a push.
Nervously, Oddsocks sat in front of the wall of green leafs. He turned to Upstairs Cat and asked,
“This isn’t another one of your jokes, is it!?” he said sternly.
“Oh silly kitten, let me show you,” replied Upstairs Cat with a grin. He walked forward and said in a clear loud voice,
“TUNA SANDWICH, please and thank you very much.”
A noise came from the vine like too much water being sucked through a thin pipe SLURPPPPPPPP
And out from under one of the leafs of the vine came a big tasty looking tuna sandwich. It was on wholegrain bread and the crust had carefully been cut off.
“That’s brilliant,” shouted Oddsocks. He jumped up and down on the spot in excitement, forgetting how tired he was.
“Give it a try then,” said Upstairs Cat through a mouthful of delicious sandwich, “nice clear voice.”
Oddsocks cleared his throat and spoke, “Tuna sandwich … oh please and thank you … oh and and and a lollipop.”
Oddsocks ate the entire sandwich and licked his lollipop. He hadn’t asked for strawberry flavour but as it happens, it turned out to be his favourite.
Finally, Oddsocks gave a tired yawn, he could hardly keep his eyes open. With a full stomach and an over-excited brain, it wasn’t long before he fell fast asleep, right there on the path in front of the Anything You Want to Eat Vine.
“Poor little thing,” said Ronnie the Raven, who had been watching his friend Upstairs Cat and the new Kitten since they came into the Magic Glade, “we’d better get him home. I’ll carry him to the wall and you can bring him the rest of the way.”
With Oddsocks safely on his back, Ronnie the Raven flapped his black wings and it wasn’t long before he was landing with a light touch on the top of the wall.
“Good,” said Upstairs Cat as he jumped up beside his friend, “the window is still unlocked, I’ll open it with my claws. I don’t think the little girl has missed him yet. There would be uproar if he went missing on his first day out.”
“He’s going to be a curious cat,” said Ronnie the Raven.
“Was I any different?” replied Upstairs Cat with a grin of his white teeth.
Upstairs Cat carried Oddsocks on his back and very skilfully leapt onto the window ledge and through the open window. He carefully dropped the little kitten into his bed.
“Sleep well, little kitten,” he said and he slipped out and up the drainpipe to the upstairs, where his own bed was.
“Oh my,” said the little girl with a start as she closed the window tight, “Good job he’s asleep or he could have gotten out and into all sorts of trouble.”
She petted Oddsocks on his head and he gave a dreamy Purrrrrrrrr. He was dreaming of Tree Dragons and Giant Snails and Tuna Sandwiches with the crusts cut off.
Until next time …..