Cold. That’s all you could think of to describe this place.
No…cold and dark. Cold and dark and scary would be much more accurate.
You were nothing more than a simple stray; thrown out onto the streets after your owners couldn’t afford to keep you anymore. You’d never been a street cat before, and this new life was proving difficult to adjust to. You just wanted a warm place to sleep at night, some food - anything would do - and an owner who would love and cherish you like you were their child.
“…Meow…” you mewled miserably as you felt a raindrop fall and land in your unkempt fur. This was just perfect. No food, no owner, no shelter, and to top it all off, you were going to be soaked. You wouldn’t be surprised if you just laid down to sleep and never woke up when morning came.
You heard footsteps approaching, and instantly became cautious; every human you had tried to approach these past few days had either ignored you or had chased you. Right now you wanted neither to happen; you just wanted to find a nice person who would take pity on you and take you into their care…or maybe just pet you a little. You hadn’t been petted in a while…
Your fur puffed out as a large boot stepped into your line of sight, and you nervously glanced upwards, to see who had chosen to take notice of you.
The man was very tall, that much was for sure. He towered above your damp pathetic form, almost looming as he gazed down at you. He wore a long tan coat which looked incredibly warm, and a pale pink scarf that was wrapped tightly around the young man’s neck. It looked very fun to play with, to say the least.
“Well, well, well; what do we have here? A kitty?”
As the man’s thick Russian accent met your ears, you stepped forwards, meowing hopefully. Maybe he would take you in. You brushed up against the man’s leg, letting out a soft mewl to show that you were, indeed, friendly.
The man chuckled and knelt down, holding his hand out for you to sniff. You took a quick smell; he smelt of pine, snow and…an odd odour that made your nose wrinkle slightly. It wasn’t that unpleasant; just rather strong. Accepting that the man wasn’t going to hurt you, you nudged his hand with your nose, letting out another squeak of a meow.
“So friendly,” he stated to himself, gazing down at you with eyes of violet, “but why are you out here, I wonder?”
You sat yourself down, meeting his gaze slowly. Your initial reaction was to cower away; after all, your instincts had certainly been put to good use since you were thrown onto the street, and the man awoke some kind of ‘fight-or-flight’ instinct from deep within you.
But, he didn’t seem nasty at all. He had taken the time to pet you, which instantly placed him in your good books, as well as the fact that he hadn’t tried to hit you or chase you. He seemed…pretty nice, actually.
“Maybe…did you maybe get kicked out of your home?”
You mewled in response, choosing to stand and rub against his leg again, hoping that he would get the picture sooner or later. A few seconds later, you felt a pair of warm hands lift you up until you were eye-level with the man.
“Hmm…so thin…and your fur’s a mess too…maybe you would like to come and live with me, da?”
The words sounded like music to your ears. He was offering you a second chance. Another life. Without another thought, you wriggled out of his grasp; scampering up his arm to sit on his shoulder proudly. You couldn’t help it; you began to purr vigorously as you nuzzled the side of his face. He laughed, petting your head gently.
“Okay then! Let’s get going!”
The ride to your new owner’s home seemed like it took forever. You were constantly changing cars, which in truth made you nervous; the first time the Russian man had slid into the back seat of a car you had clung to him shaking; it reminded you of all the times when your previous owners would take you to that horrible place that smelt of illness and death. You couldn’t remember what it was called, but the images of all those sick, dying animals could never be erased from your mind.
But the man’s soothing voice and large hands stroking your messy fur calmed you greatly, and you eventually allowed your tired limbs to relax; curling up in his lap before falling asleep.
You awoke when you heard the sound of…well, you didn’t really know what. It was noisy and had a sort of metallic clanging that made your ears hurt. Your eyes widened as you saw where the sound was coming from; it looked like a gigantic metal bird. Your senses began to reel, and you found yourself clinging to the man once again.
“You’re scared of going in the plane? Don’t worry little one; here,” he murmured, pulling his scarf away from his neck ever so slightly, “hide in here. It’ll keep you safe and warm.”
You didn’t need telling twice. With lightning speed you leapt from his arms and into the little space he had created; curling your body up between his neck and the soft material of his scarf. You felt the vibrations in his throat as he laughed at you, and you let out a soft meow in response; choosing to nuzzle against his now bare neck.
“Hey, that tickles, котенок!” he laughed, scratching your head gently. You leaned into the touch, purring. This man was so kind…
You didn’t even notice as the man boarded the plane, until you felt him slip into his seat. Your ears perked up, intrigued by all of the new sounds you were hearing. You sat up, stretching out your tired body and yawning, before slipping out of his scarf, choosing to sit in his lap once again and stare out of the window.
It occurred to you in that moment that you were very high up. You glanced down at the people below you, and you honestly felt like a giant. It was nice, to look down on humans for a change…
You purred happily as you felt the man’s hand on your head; stroking you gently. You pressed your cold wet nose into his hand, your eyes closing in happiness.
“You’re such a friendly cat,” he mused, “how anyone could throw you out is beyond me…”
You paid no attention to his mumblings; instead you turned around and curled up in his lap, yawning once again.
“…I haven’t even thought of a name for you.”
That made your ears perk up. Your previous family had given you a name, but so much had happened to you in the last few weeks, you had forgotten it. With a simple meow in response, you began to play with his scarf; pawing at one of the ends that dangled down his front.
“Hmm…what do you want to be named, kitty?”
He wanted you to pick a name? But, how could you possibly tell him what you wanted to be called? It wasn’t exactly up to you…
“…How about… Alina? Alina is a pretty name.”
You blinked, twisting the name around in your head. Alina. Alina… true, it was a nice name, but for some reason, it just didn’t…fit. You meowed, placing your paws on the man’s chest, signalling for him to try again.
“No? Then…how about Vera?”
You resumed your pawing at his scarf, losing interest with his ramblings quickly.
“…How about _____?”
You perked up, mewling happily at the man; clawing your way up his chest to reach his shoulder, wrapping your tail around his neck as you sat there, purring madly. He laughed, before petting your head gently.
“You like _____? Fair enough; then that’ll be your name from now on!”
You let out a little squeak of a meow, before sliding off of his shoulder to settle, once again, in his lap. You curled up, and allowed your eyes to flutter closed; letting the Russian man’s sweet voice lull you into a calming sleep…
The first thing you registered as you stirred was that the temperature had taken a dramatic drop. You let out a yawn and stretched; that stretch slowly turning into a shiver as the cold air hit your fur.
“Ah, you’re awake?” the man murmured, stroking you, “don’t worry; we’re in Russia now. It’s cold, but we’ll be in the warm soon. My home isn’t far from the airport.”
You cocked your head to the side and meowed; choosing to climb and hide inside his scarf again. With a small laugh the man got to his feet, stretching out his limbs, before making his way out of the plane.
Your eyes widened as you saw white blanketing everything. Snow. There was snow everywhere.
“Hey, _____!” the man called as you darted from his scarf; running over to the first patch of snow you could get to. The frozen ground made your paws tingle, but you didn’t care. Your pupils seemed to grow wider as you took in the snow before you. And then you jumped.
The first thing that went through your mind was that you had made a very big mistake. Unlike back where you came from, this snow had piled up into an excessively large heap. You hadn’t expected there to be so much, so when you disappeared completely beneath the white, you were a little more than startled. When you had played in the snow before, it had only reached up to your belly at most. It hadn’t tried to smother you when you jumped into it.
“_____!” you heard your name being called, and you scraped at the snow, meowing pitifully as the frozen water gave way, causing most of it to fall on you. You couldn’t get out.
A shadow fell across the little hole you had made, and you glanced up, to see your new owner staring down at you. You pawed at the snow, meowing at him. With a chuckle, he lifted you from the hole; pulling you into his arms to cradle you against his chest securely. You shook from the cold; the snow in your fur had started to melt a little, and now ice cold water was running down your back.
“The snow here is very deep, _____. You’ll have to be careful,” he said, and you purred a little in response, just happy to be close to his warmth.
He began to walk away from the plane, towards a small path that lead off into the surrounding forest. Curiosity was flowing through your veins, and you began to struggle, wanting to look around.
The man pulled you closer to his chest, refusing to let you go.
“No, _____. I can’t let you go. These forests are filled with dangerous things. Wolves and bears and other things that might want to hurt you…” he warned, and you meowed, stopping your struggling almost instantly. You weren’t sure what those creatures he had mentioned were, but you didn’t like the sound of them…
“You’re so clever; it’s like you actually understand what I’m saying…” he mused, and you mewed cutely, hoisting yourself up so that you could lick the man’s chin. He chuckled, and petted you gently, picking up his pace when he noticed snow beginning to fall again.
“Nearly there, _____…Ah! Here we are!” he stated, pointing ahead of him, towards a large house. You cocked your head to the side, and took a sniff of the air; despite all of the foreign smells of the world around you, there was one aroma that you could never mistake.
Your pupils dilated, and you jumped out of the man’s arms, leaping through the snow to get to the door. You clambered up the few steps, and sat down as you reached the door, waiting for the man to catch up. When he finally reached the steps, you meowed impatiently, scratching at the wooden surface.
“Hmm? What’s wrong, _____- …ah…you can smell the food?” he said, inhaling deeply. With a smirk, he opened the door, pushing it open for you.
“Welcome home, _____,” he smiled at you, and you let out a quick purr, before waltzing into the house. Waltzing into a new life...