By Oscar Tan
Gabe was an ordinary 11 year old Aussie boy. Kind, funny and caring were all qualities that he possessed, yet there was nothing that made him stick out from everybody else. The only thing that he could think of that made him slightly more extraordinary was that he used to be the only boy with a foster calico cat, but sadly, she died when he was 7. Her name was Millie.
But today was different. He was the one who created the fundraiser to send his class to Africa, and he was the one who raised 50% of the money and he was the one who arranged everything. And now the fruits of his labour would come to harvest.
Gabe was excited. He was in Tanzania with his classmates, and on a night safari with his best friend Tom, off to see his favourite animal: Lions! Gabe and his classmates were on a crowded safari bus, riding to the site with the lions, when disaster struck. His foot slipped and he fell out of the bus! Gabe hit the floor, and crawled after the bus in vain. Suddenly, Gabe heard a deep growling behind him. He turned around, saw his own reflection in the eyes of a golden lion. He closed his eyes, prepared for the inevitable and… nothing happened. He opened his eyes and sure enough, he saw the lion stalking away and even better, the bus coming back for him. Gabe sprinted to the bus, threw himself on and clipped himself in. “You all good?” Tom asked. “Yeah,” Gabe replied. “Never been better.”
3 years later…
Gabe was now 14, living a good life and mostly unfazed by that very traumatic experience in Tanzania. He had a few weird incidents with cats now and then, and was quite terrified of them. One time, a creepy hairless cat started chasing him and Gabe swore that it kept on screeching, “Come back here Gabe!”
Anyways, he was back to being that one kid that nobody notices, going to and from school every day. But every time that he walked just about anywhere, he felt like someone – or something – was watching him. He would be constantly turning around and yet, he couldn’t see anything or anyone.
One day, Gabe came home from school and saw a grey tabby cat sleeping on his front door step. Weird, Gabe thought. He didn’t want to alert or disturb the sleeping feline, so he got his spare key and climbed the side gate around to the back of his house. Gabe opened the rear entrance, and went inside. He walked over to the front door; checked if the cat was still there – which it was – and went to his room, put his bag down and went into bathroom to have a shower. He was just about to step into the steaming hot water when he heard a low, almost inaudible sort of purring. Gabe quickly wrapped a towel around his waist and walked into the living room, preparing to fight an intruder.
“Who’s there!” he shouted.
He screeched like a bird when he saw what was there. Sitting on the coffee table, grooming its fur was the tabby cat from outside which had somehow broke its way inside.
“Hello Gabe,” it said. “I’ve been looking forward to meeting you again.”
The next thing he knew, the wooden floor was rushing towards Gabe as he tried and failed to stay upright. The last thing he heard was a name. Millie.
When Gabe awoke, he looked around. He was lying on the couch, with a pillow under his head and his mum next to him.
“Did you have a good rest, sweetie?” she asked. “What do you mean?” Gabe replied. “I found you sleeping on this couch with the shower on,” she said. “What do you mean?”
All of a sudden, the memories came back to Gabe. He remembered the sleeping-talking cat and breaking into his own house and trying to have a shower. He remembered fainting and that one name: Millie. Gabe decided that it would be in his best interests to not tell his mum the truth, so he told her he was just tired and said he wanted to go for a walk. He pulled his shoes on and stepped out the front door.
“By the way,” His mum called from the kitchen. “Have you seen a grey tabby cat anywhere? it may have soiled your shoes.” At that moment, Gabe felt a huge squish in my step and knew bad things had happened.
Car crashes are annoying. Getting involved in a car crash is even more annoying. And getting your pet’s supposed reincarnation killed in a car crash right before you get to talk to them about what the heck is going on, is purely and extremely infuriating. So you can imagine how Gabe was feeling right now, being nearly dead after watching his mysterious tabby follower getting flung 20 metres away from him by a car into an inconvenient nearby lake. Gabe ran over, and saw a cat coming out of the lake.
“Idiots.” the cat muttered to itself. But the strange thing was, this cat wasn’t a grey tabby. It was a short-haired Siamese cat which was now running away! Gabe bolted after it and grabbed it. It screeched and struggled but then looked at Gabe in his eyes and… it stopped. Gabe loosened his grip and the cat spoke.
“Oh it’s you again.” Gabe was so scared that he threw the Siamese-tabby back into the lake… and a familiar calico came out. “Millie?” Gabe said.
Suddenly, Millie’s fur started to change. It became black, then blue and then her body grew twice the size and turned into a giant lion. “You were the lion as well!” Gabe realizing what was happening. “Goodbye” Millie said in a distorted voice. “Wait, what do you mean?” “That was my last life Gabe.” Millie said.
Millie’s body started to change more rapidly now, changing in fur, size and colour. Gabe rushed forward, knowing that this was his last chance to be with his beloved pet. He hugged her and whispered in her ear
“Goodbye Millie.” and then… she was gone.