Chapter 1

Beginning ~ I… am a stray cat~
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Crowds of people quickly passing by and cars of various sizes. The cloudy grey skies were warm and humid.

I held my breath and stared up at the grey skies above.

Amongst the bombardment of annoying sounds, there I was, within an alley, between some garbage bags tossed on the cold concrete.

 

I’ve never known my parents, or a home. I’ve been here for as long as I remember.

This is the seventh time I’ve seen these thick clouds, hanging so low.

 

As soon as I had grasped what was going on around me, and despite being so young, I had understood the fact that I was a stray. Apart from the bit of lunch that the plump, middle-aged female fishmonger shared with me a little past lunch time, my world is dull and unchanging.

 

“Looks like it’s going to rain”, says the woman as she rips off pieces of fish to pass over to me.

 

I cautiously, and slowly, poke my head out, before vigorously going at the fish placed on a thin white paper plate as I thought about the rain.

I was really, really, hungry.

 

Just as I was cautiously making my way through my meal, I thought back to how, of the seven times when it had been so cloudy, two had ended up raining viciously. In the darkness, when everything around had become as still as death, rain would pour down incessantly from the black skies.

 

Rain is a real pain. Not only was it cold, it would soak my bed, and I couldn’t do anything but embrace my wet body, and quietly endure every time.

 

“I’ll give you a bit more before I close shop.”

 

Right before the woman bent down for the empty plate, I shrunk right back into the garbage bag.

 

I’m cautious around humans. On the first cloudy day, when I didn’t understand a single thing, I was showered with insults from countless humans, and it even looked like they were going to hit me.

 

The woman makes a slightly lonely face, and left me.

 

After a little while, the sound of a woman loudly advertising “How about some fresh fish?” to passersby echoed over to me. Lots of humans and vehicles were coming and going across the roads. Most of the adult men were in suits, and the sound of their leather shoes hitting the pavement annoyed me.

 

The humans passing by, all wearing the same face, and the cold, metal vehicles zooming by at murderous speeds.

 

What a cruel world, I think to myself, motionlessly glancing at the grey world in front of me.

 

I know all about it. Even if I don’t remember, I’m pretty sure I was carried here on that metal vehicle, and thrown away here. That’s something that we understand even if no one tells us.

 

It was just that my awareness was born after that, but my instinct had begun sprouting the instant I had been birthed from my mother, who’s face I didn’t even know.

 

Which is why my instinct knows.

What that experienced carved into me, was the continued warning of “Don’t believe in others”, “Don’t expect anything from others”, “I only have myself.”

 

Even though I understand that as the truth, I can’t help but maintain this pessimistic feeling.

 

For example, if my life were to end, living like this, it wouldn’t affect me or matter whether it was here or somewhere else.

I eat and sleep in order to live, and then die somewhere, someday.

 

Right now I’m young and small, so I have no choice but to accept the food that the lady gives me, but once I get a bit bigger, I would probably be able to secure my own source of food. Thus, right now, in order to grow bigger, I have no choice but to stay here.

 

I endure, and endure, holding my breath. I eat just for the sake of staying alive.

 

Sometimes, there’ll be people who notice me hiding in the shadows, and we would make eye contact, but I would just stare at them with a fleeting glance, crouched, and unmoving.

 

They’re only looking at me due to their curiousity. They wouldn’t give me any food like that lady would, just drowning in their sense of superiority that they feel from the sight of a pitiful existence lower than themselves. What a rude bunch.

 

After a little while, the clouds up in the sky part, making way for a flood of crimson.

 

Hearing the loud and annoyed voices, I back down further, killing my presence as I do and hide within the rubbish bags.

Once it gets to this time, human children would start passing by.

 

Children, are a truly frightening bunch. There are many who would straight up attack me for fun.

They would grab and tug at something as small as me, and in their worst, they would even violently hit me with weapons. Even those who would say, “Stop it, the poor things.”, would only say it in passing, while their eyes glowed with pleasure.

 

Sigh, it’s ridiculous.

 

I sighed within. I wonder who it was that decided, as long as it wasn’t a fellow human, you could do whatever you want.

 

While it’s true that I’m not human, I have a right to live.

I’m not a toy. I’m here, trying my best to live.

 

“Man, I wonder if there’ll be a ton of homework over this summer break again.”

“I bet. After all, there was a lot last year as well.”

“The research assignment is such a pain, right?”

“Just do it as you go.”

 

As they burst out laughing, ‘Gahaha’, the little people, wearing their different coloured Randoseru’s, passed right by me.

After a little while longer, slightly bigger people, wearing the same uniform, walked by me.

 

Before I had realised, the grey clouds above had split apart, and I was looking up at the sky with hints of crimson woven in between. Seeing that, I understood that it was already night time.

 

The cars and shops have already turned on their lights.

And if I wait a little longer, the lady from before would probably bring me my last meal of the day.

 

In my crouched form, I poked my head out a little, and waited for her.

 

I’m still young, but I’m no idiot.

There were some human children still passing by, but they wouldn’t go out of their way to attack me.

 

“I got a can from the grocery store next door. Here, eat up.”

 

The lady from lunchtime came, and placed down an opened can in front of me. Smelling something that seemed even more delicious than what I had for lunch, I cautiously approached it and took a bite.

 

One bite was all it took to shock me. It’s so good.

 

My rule was to eat when I could. It was best to stuff all of this into my stomach right now.

 

While the lady was squatting down, looking over in my direction, I uncontrollably stuffed it all in my mouth without taking a second breath. A lot of food was flung about, but it was like I didn’t care. It’s fine if I just clean it up after. No problem.

 

It was then, that a man who was walking by behind the woman, suddenly stopped and looked over at this direction.

 

Taking a quick glance to see who it was, there stood a man with glasses, wearing a laughable suit that didn’t seem to completely fit, like he wasn’t used to it.

 

The white shirt within the suit was wrinkled, and was casually coming out from his pants. He wasn’t wearing a necktie and the top button of his shirt was undone. He was holding a brown envelope, wearing a pair of wide leather shoes.

 

I stop eating, and immediately glared at the man as a warning.

 

However, between the man and I, was that lady. Thinking that, as long as that lady was here, no one would be able to hurt me, I resumed my meal.

 

“Hello.”

 

The man called out to the lady.

The lady turned around as if she was a little surprised, but immediately loosened up into a smile.

 

“My, Itou-san. Did you go to the publisher today?”

“Yes, my script, you know.”

 

The man named Itou, answered as such, and smiled brightly.

 

For a human male, he had a slightly higher pitched voice. I buried my face in the can, in order to get the food at the bottom into my stomach.

 

“What a cute black cat.”

 

The man says, and I felt the lady turn her gaze back to me.

 

“I agree, but it doesn’t seem like anyone’s coming to pick it up.”

“….A stray, is it…?”

 

The man asks with a long sigh.

 

I licked up the remainder of the food at the bottom of the can.

 

“It’s been here since about two weeks ago. There were five in the beginning, all left here one by one, you know? But, all of them, other than this black cat seemed to find an owner… I’m sure, that the mother ended up giving birth, but the person raising the mother couldn’t afford to raise them so tossed them away. It’s what I think, but… what a horrible thing to do.”

“Speaking of which, the uncle from the grocery store said that he started to raise a cat.”

“Yes, Yamada-san lives in a house so that’s why he can raise them by himself. My place is also like that so I wanted to raise a cat as well, but I have a dog so…”

 

As I listen to the humans speak, I came to understand that my brothers were abandoned just as I was. However, it seems that they had some way or another, found a warm and safe home.

 

Hearing about the happiness that the siblings who I have never met, the ones born from the same mother, found, I thought that it was both strange, yet relieving as I cleanly licked up the inside of the can.

 

It seems that even someone as indifferent as me, had these feelings remaining.

 

Ahh, it really is great that I wasn’t the one that was picked up, I thought.

 

I lift my head up from the can, and I licked off the scraps of food on my face using my paws and tongue. The lady lightly patted my head. I didn’t like being touched, but I guess it’s fine as thanks for the food, and so I didn’t resist.

 

“Little kitty, was it good?”

 

Since the lady asked in such a calm voice, I honestly answered her, ‘It was delicious’.

 

I’m sure she probably heard a rather indifferent, “Meow”.

It’s a shame, but I’m not particularly charming.

 

“It seems to be passed the milk stage huh.”

“Yes, that seems to be the case. I heard from Yamada-san’s wife, that she tried to feed it milk. You see, when they’re still drinking milk, they’re quite difficult right?”

“Ahh, because you have to feed them using the baby bottles specifically for cats after all.”

“My, Itou-san, have you raised a cat before?”

“Before I got married, there was a time when my little sister picked up a cat, and in the end I had to take care of it during the long university break.”

“Is that so?”

 

The lady had her eyes wide open as if she was surprised, and then said “Here we go”, as she stood up.

 

I hid back amongst the rubbish bags, and bend down as I watched the two humans. The lady said some parting words to the man named Itou and left, while the man bowed slightly, seeing the lady off.

 

Unexpectedly, the man turned to look at me.

 

As a caution, I killed off my presence, and scowled fixedly at the man.

The man’s kind looking eyes hiding behind his glasses seemed to narrow sadly.

 

“See ya.”

 

See you, or whatever, human.

 

I reply bluntly, as I head further into the rubbish bags and curled up into a ball.

 

I hate humans in the first place.

I’m sorry but I have no intention of becoming a toy all for the sake of fulfilling your senses of superiority, I think as I closed my eyes.

 


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