While Ronnie busied himself getting to grips with the home entertainment system, I popped some bread-rolls in the oven to heat and began dicing vegetables for a salad.
The knife slipped easily through carrots and peppers, making a heavy "thunk" against the chopping board with each stroke.
I froze, mid-slice, listening. Nothing. I began chopping again.
It was muffled, but this time I knew I'd heard something. I laid the knife down carefully and followed the plaintive cries out of the kitchen and down the hall.
The fact that the back door was open (when I knew I'd closed and locked it) was almost lost on me as I was drawn to a squirming bundle of plastic on the doorstep.
"Ronnie!" I shouted as I rushed toward it.
He arrived, breathless, just in time to see me reach down, pick up the bag and tear the plastic. Inside, a tiny, bedraggled black kitten gasped for air, thrashing out with tiny claws. I instinctively held it to my chest, stroking the damp fur, my eyes searching the wooded area beyond the property for signs of the cruel individual who may have left a defenseless kitten to suffocate in a bag.
"There's a note." Ronnie picked up the bag I'd discarded on the floor in my haste to save the little one and was reading the crumpled piece of paper attached to it with on a piece of string. He handed it to me, perplexed.
IF SHE LIVES, SHE'S YOURS, JOCELYN.
"Wait, how did they know my name?" I exclaimed.
At that moment, the tiny bundle against my chest sneezed, or hissed, I couldn't tell which. I held her up to look at her and found myself transfixed by a pair of blood red eyes.