DISCLAIMERS: Please see "Step 1" for specific disclaimers.

COMMENTS: Feedback is always welcomed. "DJWP" <poorldl@earthlink.net>








Xena manuvered herself slowly around the edge of a plate and backed away, extending her hands towards the cat.

"Nice kitty, kitty."

The feline’s stare rivaled any Xena could offer as it shifted its hind legs in excitement. A strange mewing sound reverberated from the cat’s chest, reminding Xena of Gabrielle’s stomach when she was hungry. The warrior would have laughed, if the situation hadn’t been so dire.

‘This is not funny!’ Xena thought to herself as she looked quickly for possible avenues of escape, "I’m about to become cat food!"

The cat’s whiskers trembled again as that grumbly sound warned the warrior of an impending leap.

Xena picked up a drying piece of sausage and threw it in the direction of the cat.

"Here, nice kitty, how ‘bout a nice piece of meat."

"Bad choice of words." Xena winced.

Grumbles only had eyes for Xena.

"Picky, aren’t you."

Grumbles lifted his backside high, his tail twitching straight up in the air in excited anticipation.

"Trust me, kitty - you won’t like me at all. I’m tough and chewy, and hard to swallow even on my good days."

Xena continued to back slowly away from the cat, toward the opposite end of the table, trying to put as much distance between herself and the stalking feline as possible.

It looked as though she would make it to the end of the table too, until her foot stepped into a big puddle of milk (a drop really, but Xena’s foot was so small, it might as well have been a puddle).

The warrior slipped on the liquid and fell backwards into a plate of scrambled eggs.

Grumbles took that to mean that breakfast was now served and leapt onto the table, sending a shower of goblets and dishes crashing to the ground.

Xena rolled off the plate just as two fat paws slapped down onto the eggs. But eggs were not what the cat wanted on the menu so it jumped back preparing to pounce down once again upon its fleeing food of choice.

Xena scrambled to her feet, wiping eggs from her face and glared at the cat.

"I’m gonna turn you into mittens for this!" The warrior vowed. And then decided that the threat would have to wait until she was a bit bigger. Right now, a hasty retreat was in order.

She turned and ran, skating across an empty plate, sliding with arms out for balance over its shiny surface and then jumped onto wood, stopping in flight to pick up a kitchen knife. The cat was stalking slowly after her, stepping with a natural grace over and around the sundry plates, goblets and dinnerware that littered the tabletop. It halted in mid-stride to follow the knife being wielded in the struggling arms of the tiny warrior with shiny, unblinking eyes.

"Now I’ve got ya!" Xena hissed.

With a feral smile of her own, she stepped back and then lunged forward poking the cat in the nose. It howled and retreated, hunched up its hindquarters and leapt forward, sending plates and food flying into the air.

Xena froze, dropped the knife, turned and ran for her life. Three strides and she was off the edge of the kitchen table, tucked tight into a tumbling somersault. It was a far drop to the floor, farther than the warrior anticipated and her landing was not as precise as she would have liked. She slipped on the shiny wooden floor as her feet touched the ground and landed on her rump.

Looking up, she had a mouse-eye-view of what it would be like to have a cat peering down in hungry delight from the top of a kitchen table. The cat licked its chops. Xena gulped. It was a long run to the safety of a hole in the wall way across the floor on the opposite side of the room.

"Hermes feet don’t fail me now!" The warrior mumbled, as she popped up and started running as fast as her little legs could carry her.

Grumbles watched her prey run for just a second before jumping elegantly down to the floor and scurrying on four furry legs after her, whiskers forward and tail sticking straight up in the air.

The cat caught up to the warrior and swatted. Xena leapt up, barely escaping the extended claws of its paw. She tumbled forward and continued to run.

The cat swatted the air again, this time catching Xena across the side of her arm. She yelped and twirled away, avoiding serious injury by rolling with the swipe. The welt puckered up and began to ooze.

Grumbles hopped up in the air happily, deciding it was time to play with its prey for awhile.

Xena looked over her shoulder and was greeted by the sight of the cat about to pounce down on her from above. She took a deep breath and dove for the hole.

The cat landed on bare floor.

Xena flew through the crack in the wall, sliding through long undisturbed piles of dust and dirt, and rolled to a stop safely inside.

Breathing heavily, the warrior just laid there for a moment thanking whatever gods were listening for the dark, silent safety of a hole in the wall.

Her security was shattered by first a pink nose and then a furry paw sticking and reaching its way through the hole. Xena had to roll away to avoid being tagged by razor sharp claws extending from a deceptively soft mitten that was searching in the wall for its tasty morsel, relentlessly unwilling to give up the pursuit.

"That’s it!" Xena exclaimed angrily, rolling out of the way of the to avoid another swipe and jumping to her feet, "I’ve had just about enough of you."

The warrior stayed just out of the reach of the searching claw, her stance changing from prey to predator. The paw made a few more taps in the dust, and then was extracted, to be replaced once more by the sniffing pink nose. This was just what the warrior was waiting for.

"Now I gotcha!" Xena yelled triumphantly, rolling her fingers into a fist and winding up for the punch.


The warrior slammed her fist into the wiggling nose with all of her might.

The cat howled and retreated away from the hole, sitting back on its haunches quite insulted at the indignity. A pink tongue licked the bruise, followed by a rub of the paw. The cat regarded the hole and the prey inside for a few moments before wisely deciding that the bacon and eggs would be a much easier game. It turned away from the wall, sauntered calmly across the floor and jumped back on the table to chomp on a bit of leftovers.

Xena peeked around the corner of the hole and watched the cat as it bounded back onto the kitchen table and began to eat the leftovers on a plate. She leaned back against the wall and slipped down to the floor sighing in partial relief and partial exhaustion. The warrior let her head fall back and she closed her eyes, but only for a moment. Her peace was soon disturbed by an annoying tickle of dust and an unstoppable series of violent sneezes that only served to further disturb the dirt that she found herself sitting down in within the wall.


A tiny warrior sneeze scattered some more dust. She tried to stand and flick away the cloud of dirt with impatient hands.


She thought about backing out of the safety of the hole in the wall, but paused to watch the cat. The housepet was lapping at the remains in a plate chewing happily. Xena could hear his deep purr from across the room. An idea passed through Xena’s mind to leave the hole and run for the door. The beginnings of another sneeze thwarted her plans.


The cat looked up from its plate and caught Xena’s gaze with its own.

The warrior pinched her nose with her hands and blocked the sneeze. She scooted back into the darkness of the hole. Obviously, she was going to be stuck in this dirty, dusty place until help arrived. She released her nose with a scowl.


This was so undignified.



Continued in Step 14


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