The small bright creature skipped along the path, glad that it's feather hadn't been squished.
Adventure beckoned. The late afternoon sun was still warm and you'd never know what might lie around the next corner.
A movement off to the side caused the cat to stop, one forepaw in midair. It turned its head to the left, eyes focused, whiskers tuned to the slightest change in the atmosphere.
"There you are! I'd hoped I'd see you again."
The cat stared.
The small bright creature rounded an outcropping of rock to stand facing the cat.
"You should hear all the adventures I've had."
The cat did not move, but all the tension flowed out of its muscles. It continued to stare as the small bright creature fixed it with the mildest of reproving glances.
"If you'd come with me, you'd have had great adventures too. But, you must have had some of your own, no?"
The cat lowered the paw to the ground. Fluidly, it sat back on its haunches, bringing its tail neatly around to the side and placed its forepaws together, precisely, in front.
The small bright creature moved closer, almost as though it believed the cat had a hearing problem.
"Well?" it said, smiling, "are you going to tell me? I'd love to hear everything."
The cat looked away for a moment and then acquired a consuming interest in its left flank, just behind the shoulder. It brought its head down and back, its tongue sweeping across its coat, smoothing already perfectly smooth fur.
"Ah no," said the small bright creature, laughing. "You won't get away that easily."
The cat continued grooming.
The small bright creature moved closer, watching the rhythmic movement, hearing the slight rasp of the cat's tongue across its fur.
"You missed a bit there," it observed.
The cat stopped grooming itself and looked at the other.
"Well, now that we have that out of the way, are you going to tell me?"
The cat blinked its eyes slowly. Of itself, its tail began to move. The small bright creature sat, certain to hear a tale of great adventure.
A low growling sounded. The small bright creature leaned forward. It was coming from the cat!
"Are you making that purring noise cats make? I know something of cats and I've heard you do that when you're happy."
"I am not purring," said the cat. It spoke each word sharply, distinctly, to be certain the small bright creature understood.
It may not have been enough.
"You're not purring? Why ever not?"
The growl deepened and the cat's tail lashed back and forth. For someone who professed to know cats, the small bright creature did not seem to be paying attention.
"It's possible," continued the cat, "some might take it amiss to be informed they must do something, simply because another thinks they should."
The cat paused for effect.
"Would you not agree?"
"Oh indeed," said the small bright creature. "I can't abide people like that. I only ever want to help, to be of service."
"By the way, is there something the matter with your tail?"
The growling deepened.
The cat closed its eyes and its body, tail included, relaxed into complete stillness. A minute passed. When it reopened its eyes, it focused on the creature in front of it.
"Service..." it mused. "Perhaps there is a service I may perform for you. Your home is...?"
The small bright creature swelled with happiness.
"I knew we would get on well together! My home?"
It pointed off into the distance.
"It's over that way. We can reach it in no... eeek!"
The cat lunged forward and its teeth closed on the other's neck. The small bright creature found itself swinging by the flap of skin at the back of its neck, held firmly between the cat's teeth.
"Really, you shouldn't bother. I can easily walk."
"Still", it continued, looking around, "you can see so much more from up here."
The cat padded along the path the small bright creature had indicated. Before long it came to a fork.
"We go left."
The cat dropped the small bright creature on the ground.
"You go left," it said, "I go wherever it is you do not. Consider this my service to you. And the service you can render me..."
"Yes?" said the small bright creature as it brushed the dust from itself.
"To remain where I am not. That would be most helpful to me."
"It would also be," the cat continued, "most healthy for you."
The small bright creature was taken aback at this suggestion. It stopped brushing and opened its mouth to speak.
"Shhhhh", whispered the cat, one paw raised with a single claw extended.
The small bright creature closed its mouth.
The cat moved off along the right fork in the path, its tail upraised, the tip languidly flicking back and forth, back and forth.
The small bright creature went into its home, reflecting on all the adventures it had had. Such a wonderful day. It could hardly wait for tomorrow!
I hope you have enjoyed the small bright creature's day as much as I have. Thank you for reading along with me.