He had made it this far, he wasn't going to stop now! Macavity hated to do it, but he forced himself to stop and rest. "I will show them all who is the cat to be feared." He rested his head on his front paws only momentarily, his eyes darted all around, his senses in tune with everything. The wild cat had learned all too well that keeping your guard up was the only way to survive. "And once I finish with you Neko, I will take the Jellicle tribe as well. Without a leader, there will be no one to challenge me."
Munkustrap's ears twitched as he heard the approaching trio. Rumpleteazer was in the lead, while Mungojerrie was behind and Mistoffelees was in-between. They had to switch their positions since Mistoffelees kept getting lost. He was a remarkable cat, and still a great wonder, but somehow trying to keep up with the two professionals was disorientating. The magical cat wasn't sure if it was due to the fact of their endless chatter, or because he was unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the "back ways" they ran through, or if it was Rumpleteazer's distracting giggle, or the fact that the two masters of escape were just too good for their own good. In the end they decided to keep him in-between them both, which suited him fine. Once he learned something he didn't forget. Carefully, Munkustrap shifted to his feet. His tail had been freed from under Alonzo when the black and white tom had moved to accommodate the small form of Jemima. Both were still sleeping peacefully. Munkustrap stretched then looked out of the trunk to see what the three were up to. Rumpleteazer hurried over to him first but waited to say anything until Mungojerrie was beside her.
"We've got real bad news Munks" she said matter-of-factly.
Mistoffelees now stood beside Mungojerrie, "That's putting it mildly."
"Very very bad news." Mungojerrie amended.
Mistoffelees nodded in agreement.
Munkustrap couldn't resist a sigh of relief, he had wondered what had eventually happened between the two. He was pleased that they appeared to repair their friendship. "What could be so very very bad?" he asked skeptically. After everything that had happened there was just no way anything could top the list.
Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer took a deep breath, "Snags" they said.
Munkustrap's ears flattened to his head in a flash, and just as quick they were at their peak, his eyes could not hide the fear that they all felt. "Are you positive?"
He asked with no room for anything but a yes or no answer.
"Ta, Munks" Mungojerrie replied, "I saw them with my own eyes, They even tried to snag me!"
Munkustrap could feel his fur bristle, he clawed at the interior of the trunk, "Why would they be on their way here? And at this late at night?"
"Mungo said he heard that one of the Snags said that they were called out here." Mistoffelees offered.
Rumpleteazer sat closer to her mate, his reassuring presence was enough to help her calm the fright that was building inside her. Mungojerrie in-twined his tail with hers, "One of them said that there would be plenty of cats around."
Munkustrap thought hard, "What to do…"
He was about to propose a plan when Rumpleteazer scratched her ear nervously. "Um..Munks, that's not all…"
Mungojerrie snarled, "Macavity is on 'is way too."
"Snags AND Macavity?!" The silver tiger-stripe exclaimed.
The trio only nodded. Just then Jemima poked her head up to look over the side of the trunk and onto the three felines. "What's a Snag?" she asked in a whisper.
Munkustrap gathered her protectively close, "You don't need to worry about them." He reassured her. But she was too smart and inquisitive to be that easily coaxed.
"But what ….?" She started to asked again.
"You should be worried about us…" Neko said as he stepped out of the shadows.
Munkustrap pushed Jemima down to hide her, "Stay here." He whispered. The small kitten only nodded. Munkustrap was furious that Neko and the others had dared to come into Jellicle territory. He growled as he stepped down from the old car trunk.
Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer had spun around to face the approaching felines. Their low growls could not be mistaken.
Mistoffelees took a few steps back as Munkustrap stood in front of the menacing intruders. He stood just behind the tiger stripe, he only snarled showing his electric white teeth, his eyes narrowed and melted to deep amber.
Neko stood arrogantly before the Jellicles, he stared at Mistoffelees, "So there is one, where is the other black and white?"
Inside the car trunk Alonzo struggled to get to his feet. His shoulder was stiff and still very sore, he could see Jemima doing her best to strain herself to see what was going on with out being seen. He pushed himself up and let out a grunt as his shoulder protested. Mistoffelees heard him and quickly jumped into the trunk. "No! You can't fight him!" he exclaimed.
Jemima was getting worried, she had never seen these strange cats before, but she knew that they were a danger.
Munkustrap was bristling and growling, "Get out of here." He warned.
Neko shook his head, he grinned as Sainan took her place beside him, "I am here for the black and whites, then you."
Munkustrap was fighting his rage, "They will not fight you. I won't allow it."
Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer took a few steps closer, "You'll go through us first."
The large black Maine Coon grew even angrier, he stared at Mistoffelees causing the magical cat to flatten his ears against his head, his tail thrashing, he still bared his teeth.
Jemima noted that there was something strange at the entrance of the yard and began to sneak around Mistoffelees to get out of the trunk.
Neko tried to side-step Munkustrap to try and get to Mistoffelees, but the tiger stripe didn't allow it. Suddenly a small red ball rolled out of nowhere followed by three playful kittens. Neko drove his claws into the ball stopping it. "What's this?"
Victoria, Etcetra and Electra were surprised at the four unknown felines. Skimbleshanks ran forward only seconds later, his gold bell catching the attention of Sainan and Kurai. The railway cat had been watching the kittens while Jellylorum and Jennyanydots were "expanding their horizons" with Rum Tum Tugger, Bombalurina and Demeter. Kuroi and Kurai moved in a flash, in a second they were hissing menacingly at the frightened kittens. Victoria and Electra darted behind Skimbleshanks, but Electra was too frightened to move. Mistoffelees noticed the danger right away and jumped from the trunk to get the small kitten. Just as he landed Jemima darted past him, "Jem!" he shouted at her. She ignored him and stood between Munkustrap and Neko. The silver tiger didn't want to lose the eye contact he had with Neko so he didn't look down at her, "What are you doing?" he asked her a little harshly.
Mistoffelees tried to get Electra closer to him as Mungojerrie came around to try and pick up Jemima. The kitten was too quick, she spun away and pointed at the entrance of the yard. "Are those Snags?"
Everyone turned to the entrance to see the approaching van. Sainan forced her way in front of Neko, "THIS is NOT worth getting caught!" she pleaded.
The black Maine Coon snarled at her but had to agree, with one more hateful stare at Munkustrap he thrashed his tail and they left the yard in a sprint.
With a sharp look, Munkustrap ordered Skimbleshanks to get the kittens into hiding. Victoria and Etcetra followed his with out any trouble, They ran to the right of the old tire and into the old green pipe that Mistoffelees loved to make entrances for. Electra was still to frightened to move to follow them. "GET BACK IN THE TRUNK!" Munkustrap shouted at Jemima. The kitten was confused why everyone was so scared and she was hurt that Munkustrap had yelled at her. Skimbleshanks pushed the kittens behind him, keeping them out of view. Mungojerrie gave Munkustrap a quick nod and grabbed Electra in his mouth. He and Rumpleteazer made a dash for their hideout. Munkustrap gripped Jemima in his mouth, gave a signal to Mistoffelees and both ran to cover. Skimbleshanks made more room for them as they crammed in, everyone was very quite. Mistoffelees looked over Munkustrap's shoulder, "What about Alonzo?" he whispered. They could see the van inside the yard now, Munkustrap was trying to think of the best way to warn Alonzo. He placed Jemima on the ground to respond, but before he could get a word out the kitten ran out of the hiding place, "I'll get him!" she shouted.
"JEMIMA! NO!" Munkustrap shouted after the eager kitten. He saw the two forms step out of the van.
"There sure don't seem to be a lot of cats around here." Terry observed.
"No! Look there Ter!" Deb pointed at the small kitten climbing into the trunk, "There's one."
Jemima toppled into the trunk with a thud then climbed onto Alonzo's head. She tugged at his ears, "Alonzo! You gotta get up!" She wasn't sure what the danger was exactly but she knew if it frightened Munkustrap then it must be very bad. "Get up!" she pleaded, "You have to move!"
Terry started to walk slowly towards the trunk, "Where are ya kitty?"
Deb was checking out the small hole that served as Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer's hideout. Both felines were blocking Electra from view, they remained as quite as possible.
"Everyone stay here!" Munkustrap ordered. Before he had a chance to change his mind he dashed from the pipe and leaped into the trunk just before the man got there. Jemima was still tugging on Alonzo's ears. He was trying to get up but his shoulder was stiff and still too sore to move.
"How are we going to help him!?" Jemima asked, her heart pounding.
Munkustrap moved closer to Alonzo, "Can you move at all?"
Alonzo tried once more to get up but only sank back to the floor, "It's no use, I could probably get out of here, but then I would be helpless on the ground." He gave an understanding look to Munkustrap, he could see the determination in tigers' eyes, "You know what you have to do Munks, that's why you're the leader."
Munkustrap could hear the man approaching, "Don't give up Alonzo." He touched his good shoulder with a paw lightly the snatched up Jemima and bolted from the trunk. Jemima was too surprised to move. Terry reached the trunk at that moment.
Munkustrap skidded into the pipe. He dropped Jemima shouting at her, "STAY HERE! Do as you're told!" He was too caught in his panic for all of their safety that he didn't notice the tears forming in the young kittens' eyes. Skimbleshanks gathered her close and moved her to the back with the others. Munkustrap turned just in time to see Alonzo being lifted out of the trunk. He was being held in the man's arms and his legs were restrained.
"Alonzo!" Mistoffelees shouted.
"Hey Deb, there's one in here alright. It looks like it's injured." He called to his partner.
Deb moved away from Rumpleteazer and Mungojerrie's hideout to see what he had found, "Is it sick? Or can we help it?"
Terry stood his catchpole up against the car bumper and examined Alonzo's shoulder as best he could while still trying to keep a grip on his legs.
Deb came closer "He must not have much fight in him if you can just pick him up."
She reached her gloved hand up to touch his head. Alonzo was quick, he latched on to her hand a growl emitted from his throat. Deb pulled her hand free and Terry increased his grip on his legs.
Munkustrap couldn't wait another second as he bolted forward, he was ready to attack, suddenly the man's catchpole slid from its place and slammed to the ground missing Munkustrap by a few inches. Munkustrap could only watch as Alonzo was carried back to the van. He could see his friend wince as his shoulder was touched.
"It looks like your typical cat fight wound." Terry noted.
Alonzo was still growling in his grasp. "Looks like he has some fight in him" She walked to the cage beside the dog that was barking. "Well…one dog and a cat isn't bad."
Jemima watched along with everyone else as Alonzo was placed in the cage. "So that's why they are called Snags…" she said to herself. She didn't even try to wipe away the tears that were running down her cheeks.
Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer looked at each other at the mention of catching a cat. "Who?" Rumpleteazer turned to Electra, "You stay 'ere. Ok?" The frightened kitten could only nod. Both stepped out of their hideout in time to see Alonzo being locked up. "It's Alonzo!" Rumpleteazer cried out.
Deb turned quickly to see where the loud mew had come from, "Oh look, mine came out."
Mungojerrie hissed as the woman stepped closer, Rumpleteazer did the same. Munkustrap approached from the other side, surrounding the woman.
"Hey! They're teaming up against me!" she laughed lightly.
Terry picked up his pole and swung it lightly at Munkustrap. "We don't need anymore."
Deb shrugged her shoulders, "I guess you're right." She lightly kicked at Mungojerrie, "Get off you. Go away." She was surprised at the intensity of Rumpleteazer's hisses. "You guys are just asking to be caught." She kicked again at the two felines trying to drive them away.
Terry was still poking at Munkustrap, who was avoiding the pole easily, until the man turned his attention to Rumpleteazer. She saw him as he brought the pole around, waiting till the last second she tumbled away. Unfortunately she landed right in the path of Deb's boot. The boot caught her on the side and forced the air from her lungs, in the same instant she was sent sprawling to her side gasping for breath. Mungojerrie was in a rage as he ran to her side.
Electra had gotten back some of her courage and had stepped out of the hideout to see what was going on. Munkustrap saw her emerge, "Mungo! Get Electra!"
Mungojerrie hated to leave his mates' side but since he was the closest to Electra he knew that he must move her to safety. Munkustrap was advancing from the other side now , "I'll try and stop them." He told the multi-colored tabby.
Mungojerrie ran back to the hide out and pushed Electra back inside. "You stay 'ere! No fooling!" Electra could see he was deadly serious, and agreed.
Munkustrap was dodging the catchpole again as Deb was picking up Rumpleteazer. "You poor thing, I didn't mean to kick you."
Terry frowned, "Is she ok?"
"Yes, and she even has a collar, look at the molded gold plate. You can't even see how it's connected to the collar." She took a small note pad out of her pocket and jotted down the information from her collar. "Victoria Grove? What's a high class cat doing out here?"
Terry swung again at the enraged tiger stripe, keeping him away. "I don't know, but well call as soon as we get back."
Rumpleteazer was still gasping for breath as she was placed in a cage directly below Alonzo. "Two cats and a dog." Terry commented, "Not bad."
Deb agreed, "Let's go. If that guy calls about cats again, we'll just set traps."
Both climbed into their vehicle and drove away.
Munkustrap was staring at the retreating van. Mungojerrie was just running back out of the hide out, "Teaz?….Teazer, where are ya?" he looked around for any trace.
Munkustrap didn't know what to say to his friend. He could see the rage building.
Mungojerrie was fighting all his emotions, "I just got 'er back. I'm not going to lose 'er again."
Mistoffelees slowly joined the two toms, he sat right next to Mungojerrie hoping he could do anything to help. "What are we going to do now?" he whispered to Munkustrap.
The silver tiger sat silently watching the lights of the van disappear around the corner. "I don't know Misto. I just don't know."
To be continued…