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And What They Found There (Lady Madeline Pt. 3)

"You found, poop?" Madeline said, disgusted, "Why are you so excited about poop?"

"Yeah! Yeah! Cat poop. Good stuff. You should get some on you, it's the best." Handsome didn't get up, he just kept rolling about.

"Handsome, I thought you were trying to find us a way home," Madeline said. She was getting hungry now. It had been at least an hour since school, which meant that dinner should be soon.

"Huh?" Handsome stopped rolling and lay there looking at Madeline, head tilted to one side.

"You don't want to go home?" Madeline was pleading now. The sun had set, it was getting dark, and today had already been very strange.

Handsome sat upright, ears pricked up, moving his head from left to right. "Did you hear that?"

"Listen, I'm sure you're a good dog. You seem very nice, but right now I just want to go home."

Handsome's ears flattened. He started to growl and showed his teeth. It was deep and angry and it scared Madeline a lot. She thought he was about to jump at her, to attack her for saying that they should go home when she heard a soft, "Meow," from behind her. She looked over her shoulder and saw a small cat. It had spikey ears and hair shaped like a pointed beard, but the strangest part was the pure, glowing, red eyes. The kitten didn't even have irises, just plain red.

"Oh, it's just a kitty," Madeline said, but Handsome didn't stop growling. Madeline took a step towards the new arrival. She was about to take another when a second cat jumped out of some nearby bushes to her left. A third and a fourth stepped out of the underbrush to her right. All of them with the same red eyes and the same pointed ears.

Madeline looked around. There were five, no six cats surrounding them now. Handsome went from a growl to a whimper and tried to hide behind Madeline. These cats didn't look friendly anymore and she took a step backward.

Suddenly, the cat in front of her hissed. His mouth was full of deep, sharp fangs. The other cats in the group copied his actions. They were all hissing, they were all showing their teeth, teeth that seemed much too big to fit into the mouth of these small cats. She took another step back, too scared to look away when suddenly the cat in front jumped at her.

She saw him coming, saw him jump right at her face, and put her arm up to block him. He bit down and ripped through her jacket and her shirt sleeve. His fangs dug into her arm and she felt the sharp pain of a fresh cut under her clothes. She used her other arm and hit him as hard as she possibly could, which sent the cat flying back into the bushes it came from.

"RUN!" She screamed as the other cats started moving towards them.

She and Handsome ran. They went around rocks and over logs, they tried going through bushes and down hills, but the cats kept up. These angry monsters surrounded Handsome and Madeline on three sides. They tried to run faster but the cats just kept pace with them, and more joined the chase as they ran. She even had the feeling that there were cats up in the trees, keeping up with them as they jumped from branch to branch.

Finally, they came to a ledge, at least twenty feet above a roaring river below. They turned around and found that they were surrounded. Dozens of these dark cats were staring at them, bearing their fangs, and stepping closer. They could either jump or the cats would come and would take them apart. "Can you swim?" Madeline asked her new friend.

"I don't know," Handsome whined.

"Well, I don't think we have a choice," she said. And with that, she grabbed Handsome's collar. She held it as hard as she could and she jumped off of the cliff. Both girl and dog fell off the ledge and into the dark waters below. When she was able to fight her way to the surface, she could still see the dark creatures' heads watching them. Their glowing red eyes in shadowed faces stared at them from the cliff they were standing on, fading as the last sunlight of the day slowly disappeared and as she and Handsome were pulled further and further downstream with the current.

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