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Tom gazed wonderingly around the room, taking his time as to not miss a detail. A rather high foot table in front of the redwood coloured three-seater sofa. It matched the walls of the room that resembled a log cabin in colour and certain aspects of the furniture. A grand fireplace cut into the centre of the wall furthest from the door, a single seat next to it and a television on an angle so it could be seen from the sofa and the seat.
The people were all around looking at Tom, the flickering glow of the fire made their smiles seem warmer and the atmosphere in the room was one of happiness and curiosity, as they couldn’t seem to take their eyes from the youngster.
Tom sat silently, wanting not to disturb or upset them; he was slightly intimidated by the warmth of everyone here. The place from where he’d come was never like this. There were no smiles and there was no warmth at that place, security was never considered and privacy was a non-factor.
Tom had watched many friendly faces come and go, many fierce looking ones too and when it came his time to leave Tom was glad.
Now he was in a room filled with love and an immense happiness that overwhelmed everyone, if they had tried the people could not stop their smiles. Tom decided he would take a look around the room in depth, no space was left unexamined, the room seemed huge to Tom, but maybe that was just because it was his first time in there.
He noticed he was smaller than everyone else there as the stares followed his trail across the room. A large space between the TV and a large clock could provide refuge if things ever got out of hand, he prayed it would never come to that.
“Are you hungry Tom?” The warmth of the soft female voice and the joy in her eyes made it difficult for him not to smile too, and he did smile. The woman was tall and seemed over-powering, but kind at the same time, it seemed she was in charge from the way the others waited with anticipation for her to say something. Tom liked it here; he hoped that this would become a permanent place for him to stay.
“Give him some food Mum.” This was the voice of a youngster, an excited little girl, her hair in pigtails and a matching blue jumper-and-pants suit on. Sitting on the sofa next to an older looking boy the grin on her face revealed only one front tooth; she was probably about seven years old and was losing her ‘baby teeth’.
A red bowl was given to Tom and he excitedly chewed and swallowed his food with all the pace he could muster in case the bowl was taken away from him quickly. He was grateful for the food, it was good and it had been a while since he had last eaten.
A man sitting in the single seat bent down and patted Tom on the head, his hands were large and looked hard but his touch was one of comfort. He immediately knew that he would be safe here and as long as these people were around there would be no harm done to him. Again, Tom prayed to the gods that this would be his final stop and he would not be moved again; as he had throughout most of his short life.
Tom finished his food and looked towards the tall woman who had been kind enough to give him the meal.
“Would you like a drink?” She questioned him and pre-anticipating an answer of “yes” she moved out of the room with the empty food bowl. Upon her returned she set down some milk for Tom to drink and taking his time now he took bit by bit until eventually he had finished and was now full. He tried to express his gratitude but couldn’t quite get the words right, a slightly shrill noise was made and the people In the room laughed. They weren’t laughing at Tom in a cruel way, it was more an acknowledgement that they knew what he meant.
The lady picked him up and placed him on the seat next to the two children, they looked down on him with pride and joy and softly stroked his hair and said words of praise to him. Tom learnt that he was “so cute” and “adorable” amongst many other terms of endearment. He loved the attention he was getting, Tom had never felt this loved and wanted before and he cherished every minute of it.
The man turned on the television and the family, as a whole, sat down to watch. Tom could never quite understand what was being said and the combination of the soft tone of a man’s voice on the TV, the warmth of the fire and the love that surrounded him allowed him to feel comfortable enough to curl up and eventually fall asleep on the sofa next to the children and the woman.
Tom awoke with the slight feeling of being disorientated. Something was different about the room now. The lights were off and he looked across to the single seat and the man was asleep, his head crooked, with his reading glasses just barely hanging onto the edge of his nose. The fire was not burning with the same intensity, it was smaller now but the sound of the flickering flames seemed to make everything seem warmer. The television was off now and the children gone but the tall woman was standing over Tom.
“Come on sleepy head, time to get you to bed too.” Tom allowed himself to be swept into the woman’s arms and she carried him carefully out of the room and past the stairs. Into the kitchen now, it was cold in here, not below temperature, but cold because they had left the warmth of the living room. The woman kneeled down and placed Tom into a basket, he was scared now. It was dark and cold and he sensed he would soon be alone, she pointed out to him where there was a litter tray and some food bowls and in reply Tom let out a soft meow.
“Don’t worry baby,” the woman began softly, “I’ll be back down to see you in the morning. Just try to get some sleep ok?” Another soft cry from Tom, he didn’t want to be alone just yet. Though he was glad he would be here in the morning.
The woman closed the door behind her and was gone. Tom, a cat, moved to the back of his basket and tried to hug the blanket’s softness and he gradually faded into a deep sleep in the comfort of knowing he had found a new home, where people loved him and would look after him. He no longer felt like an outsider and could look forward to waking up to the same adulation and care that he had received on the night gone by.
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