Macy had another sleepless night but got a few hours of rest in the morning. She had something to eat and watched the weather forecast. Just as Mrs Kettle had said there was a storm coming. Outside, it was drizzling and the wind was gusty. Not a great day to go out but Macy had shopping to do.
An idea that had come to her last night was her mission of the day. She had also finished off the last of her library books so as well as returning those and getting some new ones, she was going to look through the town’s archive.
Firstly though, she had to go to the job centre of her benefit appointment. Setting out, she hurried through the drizzle and arrived a little late. Everything went fine, well fine if you were unfit to work and mentally unstable.
Leaving, it them took forty minutes to get the library as it was on the other side of town. The rain had picked up and it dripped off her umbrella which give her little protection. She arrived damp and cold but a few minutes by the heater warmed her.
Returning her books, Macy walked around and selected some more to read. Then she went to the archive room and looked for newspapers and other reports from the 1950’s that had deaths of babies and her street name together.
Macy was amazed by how long this took her and shocked when she came across only one newspaper report about the abandoned baby. It was little more then two paragraphs and read that a twelve year old girl had found a premature baby girl in a bin. The baby had died, the unknown mother was being seeked for medical attention.
That was it; no follow up, no other newspapers reporting on it, nothing else relating to the baby.
Macy sat back in the chair and sighed. The table before her was scatted with copies of 1950’s papers and she could feel the heat of the old computer off to the side which had aided her search.
The library was quiet and Macy could hear the shuffling of feet and books, pages turning and voices whispering. Rain was coming down outside and it was growing dark.
‘Excuse me? I’m sorry, we are closing now,’ a voice came from behind her.
Macy twisted in the chair and saw the woman who had checked her books out before in the doorway.
‘Oh. Okay. Sorry, what time is it?’ Macy asked as she got up.
‘Almost four O’clock,’ the woman answered, ‘and don’t worry about this. I’ll put it away. Did you find what you were looking for?’
‘Sort of,’ Macy replied, ‘thanks.’
Collecting her things, Macy left and walked down the road to the high street. There, she did some food shopping then headed home.
The house was cold. Macy shivered and went straight for the gas fire. Holding the worn button down, she listed to the click clicks until the thing came on and blue, orange flames let up the white protection grid.
She unpacked the shopping, made a cup of tea and heated a tin of soup. Macy watched TV, getting warm and dry.
A meowing drew her attention and Macy looked at the net curtain covered window. She went over and lift the netting up. Balancing on the the thin sill was a cat.
‘Precious?’ Macy questioned as she recognised the tortoise shell cat.
Macy went to the door and called the cat in. Precious walked inside like she owned the place and settled in front of the fire like she was home.
‘Did you get locked out?’ Macy asked the cat, ‘you can stay with me. I don’t mind. I’ve not got any cat food though…Maybe, there’s a tin of fish in the cupboard…’
Macy went into the kitchen with a purpose she hadn’t felt in awhile. She took out a bowl and a dish, filled the first with water then from the back of the cupboard a small tin of fish.
Precious was wrapping around her legs and meowing before Macy knew it.
Laughing, Macy watched the cat eating.
‘I can see why Mrs Kettle likes cats. Maybe, she’s right about me not being alone after all….Oh, I left my library books in here. I got this one about ghost stories,’ Macy said as she picked up the book to show Precious.
‘Not my normal reading but with the story Mrs Kettle told me, I thought I might have a change. I don’t think I got any with a cat in….’ Macy trailed as she looked though the seven other books.
‘I like fantasy and romance best. This one is a series I’m reading about men who are really dragons and they meet their soul mates and have to try an explain things to them.’
Macy glanced at the cat, ‘this is so weird. I don’t normally talk so much.’
Precious didn’t look at Macy but started washing herself.
‘I’m going to have a bath then go to bed to read. I’m guessing you won’t join me in the tub,’ Macy added.
Macy ran her bath, feeling unusually tried. Leaving the door open, like always, Macy got into the warm water and started washing.
A padding of paws made her peer at the doorway and she saw Precious walk in and jump up onto the closed lid of the toilet.
Macy covered her chest with her arms and looked at the cat. Bright amber eyes gazed into her own as the cat’s ears and tail twitched.
‘It’s rude to stare!’ Macy snapped then burst into laughter.
She dropped her arms and started washing her hair. After she relaxed in the cooling water and started hoping she could sleep tonight.
Getting out and wrapped in a towel, she went into her bedroom and Precious followed her.
‘I don’t mind cats. Never had one though nor any other pet. I don’t think the goldfish at the children’s home counts does it?’ Macy said.
Putting on a night dress, Macy got into bed and put the ghost stories book in her lap.
Precious, after checking the room out, jumped on the bed and decided to start off sleeping on the pillow next to Macy.
‘I guess, we can relate to each other….my mother abandoned me too,’ Macy breathed, ‘it wasn’t really her fault. She was sick and couldn’t take care of me. My dad came for me but it took years for them to trace him. Mum had lied on the paperwork; claimed he was dead. She didn’t want to have anything to do with him and wanted to keep me from him.’
Macy breathed deeply, feeling tears wetting her cheeks. She reached out and stroked the cat. Precious stretched and snuggled against her.
‘He had a family, of course, wife and two kids but they welcomed me in. I was an angry fifteen year old but they helped me through. It was hard living with them….much like it must be hard to live with other cats. My step-sisters always got my nervous, they bullied me and stole my things.’
Macy sniffed and looked at the ceiling. She wiped her nose and face, dragged a hand through her blue hair then put her face into Precious side.
The cat didn’t seem to mind and as if knowing Macy needed comforting, Precious began licking Macy and pawing at her hair.
‘That’s how I came to be here,’ Macy picked up after a few minutes, ‘my step-mum’s sister was ill and needed looking after. I had always liked auntie Sue and wanted to help. I trained as a support nurse, became her full time carer. Moved in here and slept on the sofa.’
Macy yawed and pulled the duvet up over both her and the cat.
Continuing, Macy listened to the sounds of her own voice as she talked on, ‘Sue died three years ago, left me everything. I had some money, dad helped a lot and I did find a job in an old peoples’ home. I had to sort out the house straight away though as the pain was too much. It still is some days now.’
‘That’s how I lost my job, ended up on benefits; I’m not sound of mind any more. I’m unstable, unfit to be around people. I don’t think ‘normally’ anymore. No control of my emotions or thoughts or feeling. I want to kill myself and other people around me. It would feel easier if I wasn’t here…Just like my mum wanted me to be when she give me up.’
Macy put her head back on the pillow. Waves of tiredness were washing over her. Macy let them take her but before she fell sleep, she turned to the cat and said, ‘thanks for listening, Precious.’
To Be Continued…