CHAPTER 4

A DIVINELY SMELLY SMELL

The balcony doors were open. For once. Sniffing cautiously, Stolly lowered his paw onto a tile. It felt warm.

"Holy cats!" cried Runty, running straight out.

Stolly followed. The wind ruffled his fur in a scary way. Skirting the flower pots alongside the wall, he came to a corner and poked his nose between the railings. Yikes! What a drop. His tummy lurched.

catsoup ch04 v01Runty, spotting a bird on a distant tree, swung his tail as if to pounce.

Stolly stepped back. Crash! He'd knocked down a vase.

Runty licked his lips as the bird flew away.

There was a whirring sound from above. Something large and heavy, being lowered towards them. Another cage!

Runty sniffed. What a divinely smelly smell. A juicy fish hung inside. He balanced on his hind legs to get a better look.

Stolly hid behind a pot plant.

The cage came to rest on the balcony floor. Runty's paws inched forwards. He peered upwards, following the rope. Great cats of fire! There was Old Aunt Po! Her bird's nest of hair swept back into a bun. She had lowered the cage on a pulley system from her balcony above.

"Hello, liddle puddy puddy," she wheezed. "Is your brother there too?"

The silver fish glittered in the sunlight. Crunchy eyes. Fleshy meat. Runty squeezed his tongue between the wire mesh to try and lick it.

"Keep away," cried Stolly.

"Fresh fishy, for liddle puddy puddies," crooned Old Aunt Po.

The moment Runty stepped into the cage, she jerked the rope.

Quickly, Runty jumped out.

The cage lifted, banged against the railings, and its trapdoor pinged shut.

Stolly ran for cover.

The sound alerted June. "Runty? Stolly? Where are you?"

The cage whirred upwards, faster and faster.

By the time June reached the balcony, it had vanished.

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