Part One: Victor
Christmas Eve. A light sprinkling of snow made the world slightly soggier and more miserable. I shuddered, gripping my fleece jacket and pulling it into myself in a futile attempt to stay warm. Why did I go to work when I told everyone else they could take the week off? I didn’t want to admit it to myself, but it was probably because I was lonely. No one was waiting to spend Christmas with me this year. There would be no gift under the measly little tree I dragged home from the grocery store. I was stuck with myself this year.
I picked up the pace of my walk, determined to get home before the temperature dropped even more. Maybe things wouldn’t be all bad. My fridge was stocked with all my favorite Christmas snacks, and there was always goofy Christmas romance movies to comfort me. Who needed things like love and family anyways! Or at least I tried to convince myself…
As I walked, a small cardboard box on the side of an otherwise immaculate sidewalk caught my eye. Did Amazon accidentally leave someone’s gift here? I crouched down to inspect it, but noticed the top wasn’t taped, as if someone had already torn it apart. I pulled apart the flaps and my heart sank.
A little black and white kitten lay still in the box. It couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old. I shook my head, wondering what kind of disgusting monster had abandoned a kitten in the subzero weather. It wasn’t even Christmas yet – did some awful parents decide the kitten was too much work for their children before Christmas even arrived? The poor thing didn’t even have a blanket or water. Someone had left it here, knowing perfectly well it would die.
The kitten looked rather dead but I decided to tap its tiny paw to double check. My heart jumped when I saw its tail twitch. I wasn’t imagining that, right? I rubbed the cat’s side gently, and saw it open its eyes. It was alive! Barely, though. The kitten squirmed weakly.
I jumped up. What was I supposed to do with a half-frozen kitten? I could bring it home with me, but certainly it’d need more care than I could offer, right? I pulled my phone out and typed in “emergency vets near me.” Google offered me several, but I looked at the hours of each – Closed. Closed. Closed. Opens Monday at 9 AM. I frowned. There was no way I could abandon this kitten now. I tapped through the listings, losing hope, until I saw one – “Loveland Emergency Vet Group. Open until midnight.” My heart warmed ever so slightly - maybe I could save this kitten yet!
I winced as I slipped off my jacket and gently tucked it around the kitten, hoping it’d provide the kitten at least a little bit of heat. My willpower would keep me warm! I gently carried the box in one hand, my navigation app open on my phone in the other hand. I set off on my journey.