Inwardly Dylan felt relieved to see Tombo sit down. For one thing he didn’t seem quite so big. The kitten relaxed, thinking, mistakenly of course that Tombo wished to be friends. “Mr Dylan” sneered the older cat, “I don’t like your name, I don’t like it at all”. Dylan became startled, for the sound of Tombo’s tone was ominous. He retreated slightly, realising that even sitting down the big cat wasn’t relaxed and certainly wasn’t friendly. He made a quick decision; he’d just about had enough of the bully, he would say goodnight and then retreat…… yes….I’m afraid that retreat was the only solution. Unfortunately it wasn’t until that moment that the awful truth hit Dylan. Tombo was blocking his way back to the shed. The monster cat watched, confident and smug as the kitten backed away; he knew Dylan was scared. He rose on all four feet towering above Mr Dylan, hissing and snarling into his face.
Then suddenly a most peculiar change came about in Tombo. The aggressiveness towards the black kitten faded away. The big cat appeared to be watching something… something… over Dylan’s shoulder.
What in fact Tombo has seen put all thoughts of taunting the little kitten out of his mind. He squatted low, spreading his huge body across the garden path. Dylan witnessing this astonishing change in Tombo, immediately threw caution o the wind, and leapt into the nearest hedge-bottom. He lay for a second, all breath kicked from him; then very… very… slowly he lifted his head and peered out.
A small dog was standing out on the road. Dylan visibly shook with fear; a small dog it may have been, but it was still a dog. If only Tombo would run to safety, thought the kitten, forgetting the fact that seconds earlier he in turn had been Tombo’s victim.
But the older and wiser cat had no intention of running, he knew exactly what he was doing. The watchful Mr Dylan was about to have his first lesson in armed combat. The dog, a brown and white terrier, approached slowly… a gargling growl bubbling deep in his throat. Tombo didn’t move, he stayed close to the ground his savage eyes watching every motion of the dog. The terrier edged forward, he hated cats, especially this one. Two feet from Tombo he stopped, the mouth drawn back snarling, the sharp white teeth bared in anger. He snapped viciously in Tombo’s face, the big cat spitting back in defiance. Awful minutes dragged by as the two enemies assaulted each other with their gestures of hate.
The dog unfortunately, was the first to lose patience, he blasted in for the kill. Tombo rose up to face him as he charged in like a tank; with one majestic swipe of his huge paw he caught the terrier full face with his fearsome claws. Dylan watched with horror as blood spurted, staining the white frosted path. His eyes grew round with amazement as the dog took off yelping down the road as though a thousand and one cats were on his tail.
Tombo stretched, relaxing his muscles, one bumptious kitten and one mangy dog was enough for one night; he felt tired, now he would go home. As he came up to the young cat still hiding in the hedge he stopped. “Tonight, I hope you have learn’t something Mr Dylan”.
With that Tombo was gone.
Next Month Part 6: I Think I’ll Take A Walk.
This monthly series of short stories is published with the kind permission of the author, Mrs Sylvia Hood. They were written in 1975.