He could smell it, somewhere. Skritch’s nose twitched, his senses sifting through urine, garbage, and fresh spray paint. It was with the garbage. A splintered pallet leaned against the dumpster and then Skritch’s tiny clawed feet were gripping cracks and edges and he was up and over and running along the metal ridge that bordered the promised land. A leap and he was in and amongst the garbage, his jaws closing on his prize, a day old, half eaten pastrami on rye. There was no sweeter feeling than this, no greater elation than-
The alarm buzzed and Skritch woke from his vision of rough streets and cured meat to pellets and glass walls. It was time for the morning shift, and with any luck, today would be the day he changed everything. He stood, pressing his forepaws and nose against the glass to signal that he was ready. The lid opened and fingers closed around his midsection, more silver now than the sandy taupe of his youth. He was lifted up and out into what had now become his world. Instead of dodging foolproof traps, he scampered across countless threads on the loom, spinning gauzy, ethereal fabrics that made little girls believe in the impossible, rather than exterminators. He began his task, a length of shimmering filament tied to his tail. A dash across, then a dark tower falling as the loom reset, and Skritch sprinted once more.
Back and forth, mindlessly, like everyone else tied to this prison called “charity.”
“Oh Skritch, you’re doing so well!” It was Morgan, the smaller tyrant. He counted himself lucky, it was Giselle alone who could bewitch him.
He squeaked in outrage, flinging the thread from his tail and curling up into a ball. He would prefer feline disembowelment to a life making tulle.
“Oh no!” Morgan cried. “I’ll go get Giselle!”
“NO!” Skritch wailed, incisors bared as he rose up to his full six inches. That witch would be the end of him.
He heard a pleasant, musical voice and Skritch checked for exits in a panic.
Only a leap off the counter could save him now, he would live free or die trying.
Paws scrabbled as he leapt and flew, sailing into his future.
He was caught, midair, and cupped gently, a whispered song as he was set down.
“-sing our happy work-ing song!”
Skritch skipped across the loom, happily spinning tulle.