Congratulations to Great Lakes College Forster campus Year 7 student, Ellie-May Lang, who received an excellence award in the Great Lakes Advocate’s inaugural Tell Me A Story competition.
Over the coming weeks the GLA will publish a range of outstanding stories entered in the competition.
This is Ellie-May’s story.
My name is Wattle, and I live on the outskirts of town with my best friend Branch. We are just a drop of water in the sea of wildlife in this rural Australian village, and this is a dangerous place for stray cats like myself. My mother was a house cat named Tiffany whose irresponsible human let her have too many kittens. Nobody wanted us and I managed to escape to the bush.
Word has spread among the strays that the humans are trapping cats and sending them to the Doom-House – where no cat returns. Many of our friends had disappeared and I was enraged to discover a tent in a bush clearing where trapped cats were being held. I vowed to save all of those who are held prisoner, with the help of the few cats that remained.
“Come on Holly, we must help them! You, Branch and I... we have to rescue all our friends and save our community; I begged my friend. “But what can we do?” She points out. I sigh. Trust Holly to think in a negative fashion.
“I have white paws! I can’t help you, the humans will see me!” She wailed. I sniff in annoyance. Holly’s sleek black pelt would blend into the shadows. Her white paws could easily be disguised in mud, and my tabby fur would just look like the undergrowth. Branch’s tawny fur would look just like a tree and would be able to move anywhere without being revealed.
“Your loss,” Branch spits at her. “No, your loss, when you lose your life in an uphill battle, and what could a cat like you do, Branch?” She counters. Branch lifts his head and growls. I flick my tail, indicating for us to leave. There would be no point trying to talk to an unenthusiastic subject. We take off into the bushland to the tent of cages.
“I guess we are doing this by ourselves?” Branch asks me as we streak through the trees. “I guess we are,” I reply tartly. We come to a halt at a big, beige, tent. The meowing of cats comes from inside. It’s heartbreaking to see our friends trapped and distressed.
“I don’t want to die!”
“Will we ever get out of here?”
“Why are they doing this to us?”
I shake my head. The pain of hearing the cries of my friends overwhelms me for a moment.
“I don’t know what to do, Branch,” I complain.
“I have an idea!” he exclaims. I look at him, his eyes shine with excitement. “Do you remember Ash? The human who actually fights for us? She could help us!”
“Branch, you’re a genius!” I cry. We hurry to Ash’s house.
When we arrive, we can hear the arguing of Ash and her parents from inside. Branch jumps up onto the window to see what’s going on. I land beside him. Ash stands defensively by the doorway as her father and mother yell at her. Her face is plastered in pure rage.
“These cats are feral!” Her mother howls. “They are killing the wildlife, they have to be culled. It’s a government program, you can’t stop it, Ash.”
“I won’t stand by and watch these cats be killed! I won’t!” Ash stormed out of the house, slamming the door behind her and fled into the bushland behind her parent’s property.
Branch and I followed until finally Ash stopped and sat on a fallen log, sobbing.
“It’s alright” I butt her hand with my head. It makes her smile, even though she has no idea what I’m saying.
“Oh.. it’s not your fault. Humans are to blame; the government wants to cull 2 million of you over a period of five years! They’re shooting you with guns, others are being poisoned with spray that they lick off their fur and die in an agonizing way,” She meows in a language I can’t understand, but we sit there anyway and listen to her.
“It’s not like humans are perfect!” She stomps her foot on the ground, making Branch and I jump. “Humans are polluting the earth with plastic, cutting down trees for farms, and what about the Tasmanian Tigers! Get your game up dad! Stop culling cats!” She gets up. And walks away into the direction of the tent. I suspiciously follow her all the way to the entrance of where the cats are being held. She pushes inside but I dare not follow her. Suddenly, we hear a thump on the floor. Out runs one of my sisters; Zelda! Then another, and another. One by one, all of the captive cats are released, thanks to Ash. As the last cat comes running out, Ash returns, and runs off into the bush. We follow her again, and she comes to a halt at a grey mesh contraption.
“Cat trap,” She mutters. She picks it up and walks to the bank of a river, and then throws it in, splashing us with water.
“No cat should suffer from human mistakes.”