Heavy foot steps thumped down the hallway. The vibrations thrummed through the floorboards making Cheddar feel as if he was jumping with every thud. It hadn’t been like this in training. There had always been some sort of cover, something to hide behind. This hallway though, was barren. There were paintings on the wall but nothing useful to blend in with.
Blend in, don’t be seen. Don’t get caught. The instructions were clear. He couldn’t get caught on his first mission. It’d be back to the alley for him. Oxford, his mentor had told him that he’d been chosen specifically for this job. He couldn’t understand why.
The sound of the foot steps got louder, they’d turn the corner any minute. Cheddar looked around again as if a plant pot or bookcase was going to magically appear. His ears flattened and he looked down at his feet.
Feet! His feet were the same colour as the floor. Blend in! He studied the floor boards and fixed their shape in his mind. With a quick flip all his fur flattened and he lay flat on his back, trying his best to look like a floor board.
The over sized human rounded the corner and promptly sneezed with a thunderous ATCHOO! He stopped and sniffed, then sneezed three times more. ATCHOO! ATCHOO! ATCHOO!
Phlegm spattered the hallway, stringy tendrils flew down all around.. Cheddar held his breath and clamped his mouth and eyes shut as some of the gloop stuck to his fur.
“Caaaats!” The man scowled. “Where’s the cats?” He turned on his heel and stomped back the way he came. In a flash, Cheddar was on his feet. He started his run towards the door at the far end. Timing was everything and he’d already wasted far too much. His feet slipped on the polished floor, as he tried to compensate his back legs seemed to overtake his front and he skidded towards the door in an orange ball of fluff.
From the other side of the door there was a terrible ruckus. Sounds of pans and tins clattering and china breaking echoed through the house. There were high pitched squeals that sounded like either angry cat and and a scared woman, or possibly an angry woman and a scared cat.
The door flew open. A screeching banshee of a woman had Oxford by the scruff of his neck and black fluff was flying everywhere. The orange fur ball flew at her with teeth and claws and a loud “Mraaaow!” The woman wailed and batted him away, dropping Oxford in favour of a frying pan. “WHERE’S THE CATS?” The man bellowed as he stomped in to the room.
The two cats tumbled in to the corner their eyes fixed on the large rainbow trout on the counter. “Ready ol’ chap?” Oxford tilted his head to the fish and the open window beyond. He sprung up, not giving Cheddar the chance to answer. Cheddar scrambled after him, the pair yowling and hissing to ward off the humans. This is the plan? Cheddar thought. This is it? He grabbed the tail of the fish while Oxford took the head and they tumbled out of the window.
The woman tore the back door open and flung the frying pan after the cats. “It’ll be the rat poison next time!” She screeched.