As part of our digital activities programme we introduced a Creative Writing group which has proved to be popular with our members. They would like to share this story with you.
TOMMY, THE AMBER CAT
Written by Neighbourhood Networks Creative Writing Group
Once upon a time there was a cat called Tommy. He lived on the Pink Rose Estate. Tommy was sad because he was different from other cats. His coat was scruffy. He had one green eye and one blue eye. And he only had three legs. All the other cats used to make fun of Tommy and call him names.
Tommy wished things were different. He wished he looked beautiful like the other cats. He wished he had four legs. But most of all, Tommy wished he could be a boy again.
When he was a boy Tommy lived with his aunt, who was a witch. A good witch, who used her magic powers to help people. He also lived with his sister who was called Amber, and his cousin, the witch’s son, called Lucas.
Lucas was different from the other children. He had what people called a disability. He sometimes got confused about stuff, and he was a bit slower than others at doing things. Tommy used to make fun of Lucas and call him names. That made Lucas so sad that one day he ran away.
When Tommy’s aunt found out what had happened, she was so angry she turned Tommy into a cat. Not just an ordinary cat. A scruffy cat. A cat with different coloured eyes – one green and one blue. A cat with only three legs.
Before she sent him from the house she gave him one thing. A red collar with a dull stone in the centre.
Tommy missed being a boy. He missed his family. Especially his sister, Amber. And now he realised he even missed Lucas. Lucas might be a bit slow sometimes but he was a good boy, with a kind heart, and he often helped Amber, who wasn’t very strong, to do her chores.
And then Tommy noticed something. Whenever he thought about Amber, the dull stone on his collar began to shine bright yellow. The colour of amber. It was as if the collar was reminding him of his sister and drawing him back to her. Was she in some kind of trouble?
Tommy decided to go home and make sure Amber was alright. He walked for days and days. He was tired and hungry. And then one day he met a crowd of boys who laughed at him and threw stones at him.
Tommy hid behind a tree, and then a heard a familiar voice say, ‘Oh you poor little cat. Those boys were mean to you. Come with me. I’ll look after you.’
It was Lucas. But of course, he didn’t recognise Tommy. The last time Lucas had seen Tommy, he was a boy. And now he was a cat.
Lucas took Tommy the cat into an old barn where he’d been staying. He shared his food with Tommy and was kind to him. It was the happiest Tommy had felt in ages. Except for one thing. Every time he thought about his sister, the amber stone in his collar shone bright.
Tommy knew they had to go home but how could he make Lucas understand. He meowed and he purred. But of course, Lucas didn’t speak cat. Tommy decided to run away.
Tommy ran as fast as he could. Lucas ran after him. Eventually they came to the cottage where Tommy’s aunt, the witch, lived with his sister Amber.
As soon as the witch saw Lucas, she ran to meet him and hugged him tight.
‘I’m so glad to see you, my son,’ she said, ‘but you’ve come at such a sad time. Your cousin Amber is very sick. I believe she’s pining for you and her brother because she misses you both so much.’
Lucas went into the room where Amber was lying on her bed. Tommy stayed outside. He didn’t want the witch to see him. She’d recognise him at once, with his different coloured eyes and his three legs. She was probably more angry at him than ever for making Amber sick. Who knows what else she might do to him?
Amber was happy to see Lucas, but she didn’t get better. She still missed Tommy too much.
Tommy watched everything from outside the window and wished he could take her place. If only he could be the sick one and Amber could be well. After all, it was all his fault. If he hadn’t been horrible to Lucas, none of this would have happened.
The stone on his collar started shining brighter than ever. Tommy knew what he had to do. He jumped through the open window and curled up on Amber’s pillow.
The witch recognised him at once.
‘Tommy,’ she said. ‘You’ve come home.’
‘Meow,’ said Tommy ‘Meow.’
‘You want to take your sister’s place?’ said the witch. ‘You want to be sick instead of her?’
‘Meow,’ said Tommy, relieved she spoke cat.
The witch took a little bottle from her pocket.
‘Drink this,’ she said.
Tommy drank. Immediately the cat became a boy again. Amber sat up straight away and hugged her brother. Then she hugged Lucas. And very soon everyone was hugging everyone else.
‘I’m sorry I was horrible to you, Lucas,’ said Tommy. ‘You’re the kindest person I know. And now I know what if feels like when people are nasty to you.’
‘That’s the lesson I hoped you’d learn,’ said Tommy’s aunt, the witch. ‘That’s why I put the stone in your collar. I knew that once you started having kind thoughts, the shining amber would draw you back to your sister, and Lucas would be able to come home again. The fact that you were willing to be sick instead of your sister shows me how much you’ve changed.’
Then everyone was hugging again.
And of course, they all lived happily ever after.