A dejected Gills skulked down an alley way littered with rubbish. He kicked an empty can sending it sailing through the air. The can landed near a cat scavenging in a rubbish bin. The hairs on the back stood up. It jumped with fright. Spun around to land on all four paws ready to attack the enemy. Who dared to approach silently to steal the food he had found. There was no enemy. Only an offending can which had attacked. It lay discarded among the rest of the junk surrounding him.
The only other movement in the alley was a young boy searching. Looking for somewhere safe, and dry, to spend the night. His nose twitched at the stench from the rotten food discarded at the back of the restaurants. Rats scurried from one disgusting pile of rubbish, to another, in search of food. A place to hide from stray cats. To be well hidden before the strays prowled through the alley in search of fresh. Warm rodents. To eat. Something which didn't smell awful while they consumed their evening meal.
Suddenly. The night was plunged into darkness. All the available lights went out at the same time. The approaching storm had fused out the electrical system. Dark storm clouds rolled over the sky covering what light shone from the stars. And the moon. Gills couldn't see where to step to make his way to shelter before the rain reached him.
His tired. Beaten body began to shiver. To shake from fright. Gills didn't like being alone in complete darkness. His fears of darkness multiplied out of proportion. Voices. Faces came toward him out of the night. The same voices. And faces. He'd been haunted by them over the past few years of his life. Voices from angry faces who yelled. Screamed. This happened every night he'd been locked in the dark cupboard beneath the stairs.
Each member of the family his mother had left him with didn't want him. They despised having him thrust into their care. He'd been feed the scraps from the table. Scraps the dog turned its nose up at each time were placed in the bowl. The over fed fluff ball received more appetising food than Gills.
Tonight. Gills had been severely beaten for a crime one of the others had committed. He'd been locked in the cupboard. Gills planned for the next time he'd be locked in the hell hole. He has planted tools beneath the boxes to help him escape.
“You have to escape,” a voice appealed to him from the darkness last time. The same voice had led him to find, and hide, what he'd need.
No one approached the door to wonder what he did in the the cupboard. The racket made by the rest of the family covered the splintering of the timber. He worked with a wrecking bar to open the hole in the wall.
Now. He had his freedom. He'd moved from one small place of darkness to a much larger one. He was about to be caught in a storm.
Tins rattled. Paper blew with the wind forcing its way down the alley way. Other little noises magnified out of proportion in Gills imagination. He closed his eyes. Covered his ears with his hands to block out the fiends who were about to attack him. To tear him limb, from limb. There'd be no pieces of his body left to show where he'd died. The stray cats will have cleaned up all the evidence come morning.
“You can open your eyes, Gills,” came the same angelic voice. The one who had advised him to leave the abusive environment in which he had lived.
“You are surrounded by light. And friends. They will lead you to safety.”
Gills opened his eyes. Slowly. He slowly stood surrounded by many pairs of eyes shining in his direction. A piercing scream rent the night. Gills let his years of fear escape from his body. He stumbled over the rubbish in his haste to leave the alley. Scrambled over cans. Over all things which lay in his path. The cats circled. They went with Gills to lead him to where they had been instructed to take him. A food reward had been offered for their help.
Gills dashed head long across the darkened street. A speeding car skidded around the corner. The mudguard clipped Gills sending him flying through the air to land on the footpath.
A glowing white light appeared where he lay unconscious when the cats reached his side. Out of the light stepped an apparition of an angel who knelt beside Gills. She held her hands out in front of her above the supine body to source his injuries. What damage had been caused by the accident.
“I need two of you to step forward,” the angel smiled at the cats, “to continue with this mission. Gills has further to travel. He'll need two companions to travel with him. To show him the way.”
A few of the cats stepped forward in the hope they would be given extra nourishments once the mission had been completed. Greed shone from their eyes.
The angel looked past them to the rest of the cats to find some she'd be able to trust. A couple who'd be selfless. She pointed to her two choices.
“You two step forward, please.” She waited for the cats to prowl forward to stand near Gills.
“My two brave friends. I want you to close your eyes.” The chosen ones closed their eyes. “For a period of three hours you will feel different but don't be afraid. You will return to your former form.” She waved her hands in the direction of the two cats.
Even the approaching storm stilled while the angel did her work of changing the cats to human form. She mended the worst of the injuries to Gills.
“You may open your eyes.” She handed a slip of paper to one of the changed cats. “This is where you are to deliver Gills. You will be rewarded when he has been safely delivered.”
“Thank you. Your majesty.”
“We''l follow your directions to the latter.”
“Once I leave Gills will wake. You will help him to rise. With care. You will guide him to his new home.”
“Yes. Your majesty.”
The angel slowly faded into the night. Gills moaned. He shook his head to clear away the fog. He stared at the two people who helped him stand.
“Who are you?”
“We are here to help you.”
“To take you to a place to shelter from the storm.”
Gills was led away to safety/ Small fish rained down from the sky for the remaining cats to feast on.
Half an hour later. The three boys stood on the porch of a mansion in the wealthier part of the town. One pushed the button to ring the bell. Moments later, the door was opened. Suspicious eyes of the butler stared at the three dirty individuals standing near the doorway.
“We were asked to deliver this boy to this address.” The note was handed over to the butler. He read the note. Shock. Surprise crossed the face of the butler.
“Have we come to the wrong house?” The three stared at the butler.
“No. I'll tell the master...”
“Coster. Who is at the door?”
“You have visitors. Sir.”
“Well. Bring them in.”
Coster showed the three people into the lounge room. The butler motioned Gills to step forward. He handed over the note he had been given
Tears of joy rolled down the cheeks of the master. He stared at Gills. “So you are Gills. Where's your mother?”
“I don't know, Sir. She left me with some people, Sir.”
“You had better call me, grandpa, not, Sir. You are my grand son, so it seems. I didn't know I had one. Welcome to your new home. We'll take good care of you. Won't we? Coster.”
The master looked at a smiling, Coster. “Take my grandson to be bathed. Find him something to wear. Give his friends some food.”
Coster led the three of them away to do like the master had ordered. He smiled. He spied the master rush to the phone to tell his friends he had found a grandson.
Gills came to thank the boys who had delivered Gills to the care of his grandfather. All he found were two satisfied cats beside the warm stove. Sleeping.