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A Kitten Named Pebble

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It was a cold fall day in Rochester, New York. The year was 1911. Not that Victoria cared. It was just another day with more of the usual day things happening. Humans seemed to think that they had changed so much with their new inventions, but in truth, the culture had changed, not the humans. There were still families playing outdoors. Most people still had friends. Humans still needed to eat food, drink water, feel loved, and have shelter. None of this had changed since Victoria was a human.
The only difference in her world was that now she was a vampire, and had her vampire family with her, instead of her human family. Not much changed with time. It was something that was really put into perspective after being alive (If being a vampire even counted as being alive) for upwards of 425 years.
Victoria wandered down the sidewalks with Laurent, her adoptive father, and James, her adopted brother. The three of them were a good balance for each other. James was hot headed and impulsive where Victoria and Laurent were calmer and more thought-out. Victoria was overly cautious in ways that interfered with her plans and dreams, which Laurent and James usually balanced by getting them into situations where Victoria could use her gifts without any harm to herself or any other individual. Laurent was good at talking. He could talk anyone into anything, and he could talk the three of them out of anything that James or Victoria inadvertently got them into. Having been turned at 44, he was the most mature and experienced of the three and balanced out James and Victoria by being calmer than either of them.
Victoria looked down at some of the decomposing leaves on the sidewalk. She couldn’t believe that the humans thought that these were pretty. They were bits of plant matter on the ground, and besides, they were already halfway to becoming dirt. Yes, they were bright colors, but lots of things were, and most of the other things wouldn’t be dirt in a month and a half.
She was wandering around the downtown area with Laurent and James. None of them really had a plan. Laurent liked to stay up to date on the human fashions and inventions of the day and James liked to have new places to imagine burning to the ground. Victoria just liked wandering around with her family. She could wander forever. Victoria used to love to just get lost in the woods every Sunday when she was a human girl. She was supposed to be in church, of course. That didn’t stop her from wanting to live her life outdoors, feeling most at peace in nature. Victoria had always loved the wood.
At some point, they all wandered off of the city streets and into one public park or another. Here, there were more trees, and the place smelled even more like leaf mold, earth that just got rained on, and generic plants. They walked along a nonspecific path that they paved as they trudge along on that cold, wet, rainy day. Not that Victoria mind. The weather doesn’t effect vampires the same way it effects humans. It had stopped raining about an hour ago, but the branches and leaves are still wet, and the sky was threatening to rain again.
Victoria’s never-ending train of thought stopped when she saw a small movement in the woods. Followed by a soft, almost wailing, sound. She tracked both down, ignoring James and Laurent as they called after her, asking her what I’m doing.
She followed the sounds, and she found a kitten. It was very small and couldn’t have been more than four months old. Its tail was trapped by a branch that fell during the rainstorm, so Victoria lifted the branch, expecting the kitten to slink back behind a tree and go back home, but instead it bolted out from where it was hiding and straight into Victoria’s jacket, where it huddled, shaking slightly, though whether out of the cold or fear Victoria didn’t know.
By this point, Laurent and James had caught up to Victoria.
“Vickie, what’re you doing?” James asked.
“Rescuing a baby cat.” Victoria replied, figuring that he’d either hate the kitten or instantly fall in love with it. She was pretty sure it was going to be the first.
“A what.” Yup, the disgust was never a good sign.
“A baby cat.” Victoria said, for the second time. She stood up, cradling the kitten against her chest. It was tiny and very warm. Victoria might have been tempted to eat it if it were a baby human, but it wasn’t, despite maybe being the same size as a human newborn, if its paws were stretched out in both directions.
“Look how cute it is!” Victoria said, picking it up from inside her coat.
“It looks cold.” Commented Laurent.
“It looks stupid.” Said James.
Victoria frowned, putting the cat back inside her coat and zipping it up. The poor thing was indeed shivering against her chest, though that might have been because Victoria was a vampire, and vampires aren’t warm, as a rule. Victoria took the kitten out of her coat, put her scarf against her chest as an insulating layer, and put the cat back.
“Victoria, put the cat back. We have to hunt, and unless you’re offering the cat up for dinner, I’d like to keep going.” James said.
“We can bring the cat with us.” Victoria retorted, wrapping her arms around her chest protectively.
“No, we won’t.” James grumped, trying to play the bossy-older-sibling card.
“Children.” Laurent drawled. “Please. We could all murder each other, but then there would be no one left to feed the cat. Yes, James, the cat. We are going to take the cat with us.”
Many complaints from James later, and they had found dinner, eaten it, and were sitting by a creek in the small patch of woods behind their house.
The creek was burbling away happily, and the last rays of sunlight were filtering through the trees. It had stopped raining while the vampires were eating, and now it was warmer and less cloudy out.
Victoria lay down in the grass on the water’s edge and stared up at the cotton candy sky.
“Laurent, how do you take care of a cat? Do they need the same things as humans do?”
Laurent walked over to where Victoria was lying on the ground.
“Well, cats and humans are very different. Kittens need more support than cats because they’re younger, and therefore closer to a human child, developmentally.”
“But what do they need?” Victoria asked. “Kittens, I mean, not humans.”
“Water. Food. A place to shit.” James said, leaning back against a tree and checking his nails as if they’d changed since he became a vampire.
“Language, James. You must be politic.” Laurent told him.
“Eau. Nourriture. Un endroit pour chier. That better?” James asked.
“James…” Laurent scolded.
“It needs water, right?” James asked.
“Yes…” Laurent replied hesitantly.
“Then here.” James said, picking up the kitten that was now fast asleep on Victoria’s chest. It woke up with a soft whimper. He walked into the water, holding the cat, and let go of it. Victoria watched in slow motion as the cat dropped into the too-deep water below. Before Victoria realized it, she was in the creek, fishing the kitten out of the water.
As soon as Victoria was sure that the kitten was fine, and hadn’t inhaled any of the water, she rounded on James.
“Why did you do that!?” Victoria demanded of him, petting the cat very gently and holding it against her chest.
“Because it’s a stupid cat and deserves to die.” James snarked. Victoria showed him all of her sharp vampire teeth and growled at him. Then she sat back down, leaning against a rock, and kissing the kitten on its tiny pink nose.
“Okay, okay, I’m sorry.” James said, backing off, hands raised.
“How about we just get the cat some food.” Laurent said, with a sigh.
“Sounds great!” James replied, overenthusiastically trying for a truce.
“Okay.” Victoria said, still cuddling the kitten protectively. “Sounds good to me.”
“Hey, uh, Victoria?” James seemed a little sheepish, so Victoria set the kitten down and gave him her attention instead.
“Yes, James?”
“Sorry about the thing with the creek.” James said, kicking a rock between his feet.
“That’s okay, James, just don’t do it again.” Victoria replied with a sigh, going back to playing with the cat.
“Victoria?”
“Yes, James?”
“What are you going to name the cat?” Victoria considered this for a moment.
“I don’t know.” She admitted, after a moment. “It looks like a stone.”
“Then name it Stoner.” James offered,
“James, no!” Victoria said. “We are absolutely NOT naming this poor cat Stoner.”
“Aww, come on!” James protested. “It would be a great name!”
“No.” Laurent said, from across the clearing, which put an end to the discussion.
“Okay, fine.” James said, sullenly.
“How about Pebble, since it looks like a rock, and it’s tiny and adorable?” Victoria mused aloud.
“That sounds good.” James agreed. “Though I still think Stoner would be better.”
A few days later, James, Laurent, and Victoria were walking around the park where they had found the cat, Pebble trotting along after them, and a small girl walked up to them. She was maybe six or seven years old, with blonde pigtails and steel blue eyes.
“Thank you for finding my kitty!” She exclaimed, bending down to pick up Pebble, who squirmed in her arms. “I’ve been looking for him everywhere! It had almost been two weeks, and I was starting to think that I’d lost him for good!”
“What’s your name, child?” Laurent asked.
“My name’s Rosalie, sir. What’s yours?”
“My name is Laurent, and these are Victoria and James.” Laurent replied, gesturing to the other two vampires.
“Please take good care of the cat. We really liked having him.” Victoria said.
“Okay, I will. Goodbye!” The little girl waved, before skipping off, holding Pebble to her chest.
“Hey, Laurent.”
“Yes, James?”
“Could we get a cat of our own?” Laurent paused, raising an eyebrow at James’ question.
“You mean you actually liked the cat, James?” Laurent asked.
“Yeah. So?” James replied, defensively.
“We can get a cat if you want.” Laurent replied with a smirk.