The autumn air was crisp, but not cold. Sunlight poured down through a less cloudy sky than usual. The leaves on the trees had long ago changed from emerald green to a cacophony of warm hues. The smell of pies and spies filled the air, overpowering the city’s normal scents.
Cardia was hurrying back home to where the others were waiting. Being able to move about so freely and by herself was still new to Cardia, but it was an adjustment that she found herself enjoying. Cardia loved her friends, and Abraham most of all, but being able to go out and do things on her own was just so liberating.
“Miss, miss,” cried out a small voice as a little girl rushed to Cardia and grabbed her gloved hand. “Can you help me?” The child was wearing a blue dress. Her hair had been in ribbons but they were now in disarray. Her knees and the seat of her dress were both covered in dirt while the tips of her shoes had scuff marks.
“What’s wrong?” Cardia asked the child.
“It’s my cat. He’s stuck in a tree and I can’t get him down. You’re taller than me and when I saw you walking by I thought that you could help me,” the child’s voice trailed off.
“Alright, let me see what I can do,” Cardia said with a smile and a nod. It was a little thing but just being able to help someone else, like she had been helped, made Cardia feel a joy that filled her from her toes to her head.
The child led her back two houses, to where there was a dismal looking tree growing before a house with red shutters. Up on a branch was a tabby cat, who looked very unconcerned about his mistress’ distress at his current elevation. He was just licking his paws. Cardia examined the tree. Arsène had taught her how to climb, especially with trees. He’d told her to never underestimate the value of doing a simple skill quickly and well.
She took a moment to look for the strongest branches before she started scaling the tree. Soon she was at eye level with the troublesome cat. He looked at her and then jumped toward her face. Cardia gave a shriek as she moved her head to the side. The fear she felt was not for herself, but for the cat if he were to touch her skin. Cardia let go of a branch with her right hand, twisted around at the waist and somehow managed to grab the cat before he could fall to the ground.
Cardia let out a sigh of relief as she brought the cat against her stomach, his purring loud. She climbed back down to the waiting little girl and held out the cat. The cat leapt from Cardia’s hands and onto the little girl’s shoulder before nuzzling her, somehow managing to purr even louder.
“Thank you, miss.”