Highway Cats

Highway Cats by Janet Taylor Lisle Read Free Book Online

Book: Highway Cats by Janet Taylor Lisle Read Free Book Online
Authors: Janet Taylor Lisle
crouched together, wiping the grit from their eyes and watching for food.
    â€œI thought you said the little dopes were bagged,” Jolly Roger complained during a lull in the traffic. They’d just come from spying on the happy celebration in the woods.
    â€œThey were! You saw it too,” Murray hissed in reply.
    â€œSo, what are they doing back? It’s embarrassing. They must have somehow got away from AnCon.”
    â€œDumb twids like them? They couldn’t get out of a mud puddle if they fell in.”
    â€œThey must’ve had help again.”
    â€œThey’re frauds,” Murray growled. “Anyone with half a brain could see it. Something fishy’s going on, mark my words. I wouldn’t trust them.”
    â€œThey definitely don’t act like any real kittens I’ve ever seen,” Jolly Roger agreed. “Did you watch them trying to run?”
    â€œThey can’t pounce either. Can’t mew right. Can’t talk, that’s for sure. Haw, there’s not one thing special about them. They can’t do anything!”
    â€œBut…somehow they stopped that bulldozer in its tracks.” A note of awe had entered Jolly Roger’s voice.
    â€œThat wasn’t them!” Murray exploded. “Don’t you start thinking like a moron. What’s come over this woods? We used to know the score around here and be able to deal with it. Now we’re being brainwashed by a bunch of nursery school drop-offs? It’s sad, sad, but you know what? It won’t matter in the end.”
    â€œIt won’t?”
    â€œNo.” Murray leaned over and whispered in Jolly Roger’s ear. “I know a secret!”
    â€œWhat?”
    â€œThis forest is dead wood.”
    â€œYou mean…”
    â€œThat’s right—we’re scorched earth, headed for asphalt.”
    â€œAsphalt! How do you know?”
    Murray nodded wisely. “I’ve seen machines like that one in the field before. They mean one thing: a road is going through.”
    â€œBut the bulldozer broke down!”
    â€œSo? It’ll get fixed. That dozer will be up and running by tomorrow, you watch. Nothing in the world can stop a road from going through once it’s started. Not mountains or rivers, not prairies or deserts, not a jungle full of wild animals and certainly not a bunch of dopey kiddens.”
    Jolly Roger wilted a bit after hearing this, as if he might have put some hope in the kits himself.
    â€œHow about heading up the road for breakfast?” he said, to change the subject. “The moon’s going down. It’ll be morning soon. We’ll get the first pick of jelly doughnuts.”
    Murray nodded. “Good idea! My favorite’s raspberry. What’s yours?”
    â€œPeach yogurt,” Jolly Roger replied. “It just went on the menu at Hamburger Heaven. Supposed to thicken your hair.”
    â€œYogurt!” Murray shivered all over. “I’d rather eat glue!”
    The two cats slouched off into the shadows.
    Â 
    I F ONLY TIME WOULD STAND STILL .
    If only a full moon casting silvery light on a peaceful meadow in a forgotten woods could shine on forever, protecting it and its inhabitants from change.
    If only night would never end and the sun would never rise on a highway racing with cars, over a shopping center opening its doors for another frantic day of business, on a bulldozer waiting for repair so that work could continue on an important access road.
    This was the wish—the prayer, really—that Shredder found running through his head as he lay beside the sleeping kits in the lost graveyard on the hill.
    He and Khalia had brought the kits there to rest after the evening’s celebration. Now, as the moon sank down one side of the wood and rosy paws of sun began to creep up the other, Shredder watched over them, making sure no falling leaf or wandering beetle would disturb them. Miraculous they might be, but

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