The day had finally come. The day that everything would change, hopefully for the better. Light filtered through my closed eyelids, a breeze washed over my body, and I realized that my sheets had been kicked to the foot of my bed, again. I opened my eyes, and a million thoughts flew through my head at once. Today was the day that the people would try to break into the Electrum, fight for their human rights. This was a plan that had been formed carefully, and now it was actually going to happen.
Stepping out of bed, my feet pressed against the cold cement floor, sending a chill through my body, despite the heat. Coyote Village, previously known as Texas had always been this way. The summers were hot and humid, while the winters were cold and bitter.
I sighed and looked around the room, my three sisters sleeping peacefully, their carrot orange hair glowing in the morning light. All four of us looked so much like our mother, orange hair and pale skin. I was the only one with our father’s eyes, icy and blue. I crept across the room to the door, slipping on a T-shirt and some gray leggings. I had promised Muffin that I would ride her this morning, before I had to watch all the children while their parents and older siblings went off to raid the Electrum.
I cautiously made my way over to the stables, making sure to keep an eye out for coyotes. Ever since the walls came up, the coyotes had started entering the town, searching for food. I definitely didn’t want to become a morning snack to a pack of wild dogs. I opened the wooden door, and walked into the stables that had once held horses. Now it hosted cats, very, very large cats. I walked over to Muffin’s stall, and swung it open. She sat there, patiently waiting. Her almond eyes stared at my expectantly, then seeming to decide that I would take too long, she started licking her paw. She was a very pretty cat, her feet and ears dipped in a peach color that ringed her tail. Her slitted eyes were two different colors, one blue and one brown. I’d never known what to call her, so I had named her after her breed: Ragamuffin.
“Time to go, Muffin, if we want to make it to the house.” I said, and Muffin perked up. She pranced out of her stall, not making so much as a sound.
After closing the door to the stables, I slid one leg over Muffin’s back, and she bolted in the direction of the abandoned neighborhood.
The house was old, and falling apart. The pale blue paint was peeling, and the once beautiful garden was overgrown with weeds. My cat paid no mind to the now crumbling porch, and headed straight to the hole where a green door had once sealed the house closed, now lying on the ground, split in half. I slid off, knowing that it would be impossible for Muffin to climb the steep stairs with me on her back. We made our way up the steps, into a bedroom with slanted ceilings, through a large closet, and into the attic. Half of the roof was missing, and Muffin immediately laid down on the patch of warm sunlight. I reached for a purple box where I had a secret stash of walnuts, and started munching on some. Sweat drenched my body, and I fanned myself.
There was the creak of a board, and I turned around just in time to see someone grab my bag of walnuts.
“Hey! That was mine!” I yelled at the shadow, and I reached out to grab the bag when the thief took a step out of the dark corner. It was Kia.
“You can share,” she said, “there are enough for three.”
“Muffin doesn’t like walnuts.” I said, and snatched the bag out of her hand.
“Well that’s too bad,” Kia replied, “I guess there will be more for me!”
I frowned, but then a thought popped into my head, “Hey, where’s Sam?”
Kia shook her head, but I could see her lips curling into a smile, “Your lovebird is going to the raid, remember?”
“We’re not lovebirds!” I crossed my arms, something I always do when I’m embarrassed. Kia knew me too well, I had had the biggest crush on him since forever. I imagined my face turning as red as my hair, and not because of the rising heat. Giving me a teasing look, she walked over to pet Muffin, but not once taking her eyes off me. I looked at her violet corkscrew curls that had faded since she last dyed it and her black roots had grown out. Her mother was a barber, and she always was coloring Kia’s hair different crazy colors.
“I don’t think you mean it,” she accused, and she was right.
“Fine. You got me,” My hands messed with a stray thread from my shirt, then my head snapped back up, “I need to go!”
I bolted into action, running out of the empty house toward the road. I only slowed down when Muffin was at my side, and I rode her all the way back to the stables. Leaving her in her stall, I closed the door and sprinted back home. The children were already at the door when I got back, there were at least fifteen of them, all different sizes and ages.
I put my hands on my knees, took a breath in then let it out, “Come on in,” I beckoned them into the safety of my home, where the coyotes rarely found a way in. I silently lectured myself for putting these kids in danger, they could’ve all been eaten by the coyotes.
“Okay, so you guys can do puzzles, read books, talk and hang out. I’m going to be reading on this chair,” I pointed to my favorite chair, “if you need anything.”
The children nodded and went to do something that I had suggested. I plopped down and grabbed my book off the end table, but before I could start reading a little girl with blonde hair started to talk to me.
“My older brother wanted to join the raid, but mom made us stay.”
Setting my book down, I asked what her name was, and she said her name was Jeannine and that she was six years old. We conversed about everything from the raid to my cat, Muffin. We talked and talked, until the sun had started to set. Until we received the news.