Linus - Samantha Malachowski


Samantha Malachowski
Chapter 1: The Garbage Kitten
Linus didn’t come from a shelter or a loving home like his brothers did. Instead, Linus spent the first six months of his life in an alley behind a small burger shack by a beach. Whenever one of the big two footed creatures (Linus called them “hoomins”) would try to touch him, he would hide under his dumpster until the hoomins walked away.
                Sometimes the hoomins weren’t so bad. The smaller ones would drop food in his dumpster. Linus would wait until the hoomins walked far away and he couldn’t smell them anymore before running out from under his dumpster and snatching the dropped morsel, quickly scurrying back underneath.
                A few months passed and the weather started getting colder. Less and less hoomins came around the burger shack and his dumpster. Linus had never experienced what the hoomins called “winter” and didn’t understand why the burger shack was covered with metal sheets or why hoomins weren’t running in the sand. After a few weeks, Linus started feeling cold and hungry and spent most of his days sleeping and dreaming of hoomin food as his stomach ferociously growled.
                One night, Linus dreamed of grilled chicken dancing in front of him. He could even smell the delicious spices and seasonings. Linus was abruptly pulled from his dream as his stomach gave a cruel snarl, waking him up and reminding him of how hungry he really was.
And then Linus saw it.
A piece of chicken only three feet away from him.
Linus’ whiskers twitched in anticipated ecstasy as the chicken enveloped his senses.
Linus smacked his lips, trying to taste the tantalizing aroma.
The spices seemed to dance joyfully across the meat.
He bet it tasted as good as it looked.
Linus, who was usually very careful when it came to fetching his food and would smell for hoomins, wiggled his hips and quickly sprinted towards the temptation.
Had Linus used his instincts, he would have noticed a hoomin holding a giant rod with a bag at the end only a few feet alongside the chicken.
“Gotcha,” said the hoomin wearing a shirt with the label ‘Animal Control.’
The next thing he knew, Linus was surrounded by darkness.
But it didn’t matter as he chomped on the first piece of hoomin food he had enjoyed in almost a month.
Chapter 2: A New Home
Within a few weeks, Linus went from being a loner to having three brothers, all watched over by ‘The Hoomin,’ his new ‘owner.’
At first, Linus didn’t like his brothers one bit. He had never lived with anyone but himself and was shocked by how something that looked like him could lay next to something that looked like The Hoomin.
                The oldest was Pewter, a dopey fellow who was all gray. Pewter spent most of his days sleeping next to The Hoomin and eating cat treats called Pownce. Linus thought Pewter was the biggest traitor of them all, considering how affectionate he was with The Hoomin.
                Next was Noodle. He was very clean and carried an attitude of arrogance, spending most of his time perched high above on counters or cabinets, supervising his brothers.
                Finally, there was Watson, the strongest of the four. He had large muscles and little brains, thinking more about his next meal than anything else.
                And then there was The Hoomin.
                The Hoomin was the only two-legged creature in the house and he would leave during the day and come back before the sun would set. For the most part, Linus avoided The Hoomin as he had never met one worth trusting, especially as it was a hoomin who took him from his dumpster. Every time The Hoomin would try to hold Linus in his lap, he would shriek and fly across the room—not without leaving a good scratch or two on his lap or arm, though.
                Every night, Linus would reluctantly eat from the gloopy can with his brothers and every night Linus would watch The Hoomin get his food from the giant box in the kitchen (The Hoomin called it the “friggerader”), not from a gloopy can.
                One night, Linus had enough of the gloopy can and decided it was time to rekindle his relationship with hoomin food.
                But he couldn’t do it alone.
Chapter 3: The Plan
                “So let me get this straight,” Noodle put his head on his front paws as he looked down at Linus from the top cabinet. “You’re going to open the friggerader and get us The Hoomin’s food? Sounds tricky,” Noodle purred coyly and tilted his head condescendingly. “And how do you plan on doing it? Growing thumbs and walking on two legs?”
                “That’s impossible,” Watson snorted. “You can’t just grow thumbs. Or start walking on two legs. You could try. But it would be really hard.”
                Noodle disregarded Watson’s remark and continued to stare at Linus. Pewter stretched out next to Linus and purred softly.
                “I think it’s a great idea,” mewed Pewter. “I bet The Hoomin’s food is amazing.” His stomach began to growl at the thought. “It always smells scrumptious.”
                “It’s the best thing ever,” Linus told Pewter matter-of-factly. “It tastes like nothing else and you’ll never want that gloopy can meat ever again!”
                Watson lowered his ears in disappointment. “But I like that gloopy can,” he cooed. “Especially the gravy,” He licked his chops in excitement as his thoughts took over his attention. “I want some gravy now.”
                Linus vigorously shook his head. “That isn’t real gravy! The Hoomin has all the real gravy and real food, we have to get some!”
                “And you still haven’t answered my question, genius,” hissed Noodle as he flicked his whiskers in annoyance. “How is this going to happen?”
                “That’s why I need your help,” Linus answered. “I can’t do it all by myself. I need all of your help to get the friggerader open.”
                “I’m in,” Pewter meowed. “I can’t wait to taste The Hoomin’s food.”
                “Me neither,” said Watson excitingly. “I hope there’s real gravy in there! I’m in.”
                Linus and his two brothers looked up at Noodle, waiting for an answer.
                “Fine!” Noodle hissed. “Count me in. But I don’t think it will work.” Noodle pulled himself off the edge of the cabinet and sat in silence as he heard his brothers celebrate and begin to scheme.
Chapter 4: The Plan Thickens (Like Real Gravy)
“Are you sure this will even work?” Noodle hissed out of the side of his mouth, his whiskers twitching.
“As long as you keep look-out, we’ll be fine,” assured Linus. After days of planning and watching The Hoomin open the friggerader, it was finally time for Linus to claim what was rightfully his. Linus purred silently to himself, admiring just how brilliant he had become and how The Hoomin should be his pet, and not the other way around.
“This will never work,” Noodle interjected Linus’ thoughts and pounced onto the floor from his look-out post on top of the cabinet. “If The Hoomin wakes up and sees you, he’ll never let us have Pownce again.”
“I love Pownce,” Pewter purred, mostly to himself. Pewter licked his lips and twitched his tail as he thought about the Pownce flavors ‘Savory Salmon’ and ‘Delightful Dairy.’ “Do you think there’s Pownce in the friggerader?”
“The friggerader only has The Hoomin’s food,” Watson said. “The Hoomin doesn’t eat Pownce.” Watson curled his tail around his feet and pondered. “Or does he? I don’t know. He should try it, it’s purrrrfectly delicious.” Quickly, Watson joined Pewter in a daydream of all the Pownce in the world just theirs for the taking.
Noodle swiped his protracted claws against Pewter’s and Watson’s noses, pulling them out of their field of Pownce and back into The Hoomin’s kitchen.
“You idiots!” Noodle’s ears laid flat against his head. “Why do I have to be stuck with a bunch of fools?! I’m calling this off,” Noodle whipped his tail at Linus. “There is no way this will work with these nimrods.”
Chapter 5: The Mani-Feast-o
“I’m no idiot,” Watson’s tail began to poof. “All you have to do is be the look out! Anyone could do that!”
Noodle and Watson hissed at each other as Noodle geared up for another swipe of his paw. Pewter, not wanting to get between the fight, started off towards the living room, mumbling to himself “I bet The Hoomin dropped some Pownce in here somewhere...”
“STOP!” hissed Linus. He growled and snarled at Noodle until he retracted his claws and let Watson out from the corner of the kitchen. Pewter trotted back into the kitchen after hearing the fight end. Linus looked at his three brothers and puffed out his chest.
“Don’t you guys see?” Linus slowly walked around them, his tail remaining fixated on each one as he passed. “This isn’t about who is smarter or what we can’t do. Every night The Hoomin dictates what time we can eat dinner and every night he feeds us from a meesely can filled with ‘pâté’ meat and gloopy gravy.” Pewter burped with dread and Noodle and Watson wrinkled their noses at the thought of the canned food.
“Well,” continued Linus, “not tonight.” Linus stopped walking and stood facing all three of his brothers.
“It’s time we take charge. We are treated as the inferior species of the household. The Hoomin thinks he is smarter than us and doesn’t give us the delicious treats we deserve! Well, brothers, The Hoomin can’t tell me what to eat and when to eat ever again! Succulent raw chicken, salty tuna, juicy red steak, and buttery potatoes are all there for who… The Hoomin alone?! I’m getting in the friggerader if it is the last thing I do.
“Every night, we are fed by The Hoomin… well, tonight, WE FEED OURSELVES!”
Noodle, Watson, and Pewter caterwauled in excitement and ran to their stations.
Chapter 6: The Ruse
                When the sun would set and The Hoomin came home, he always had a cup of tea and watched television for a few hours before opening a gloopy can for Linus and his brothers. Linus watched how The Hoomin would add sugar and milk to his tea and let it sit for a few minutes before starting to drink it.
                If Linus could get The Hoomin away from his tea for just a second, he could start the master plan.
                “I can handle that,” Noodle had said earlier, laying his ears slightly back and glancing at Watson. “Leave the distraction to me.”
                Now, as Linus tightly held one sleeping pill between his teeth, he was wondering what was taking Noodle so long. Linus had found a lost sleeping pill under The Hoomins bed one night and knew it would come in handy someday.
The Hoomin had just set up his tea and sat down on the couch, waiting for his tea to cool down. Any second, he would start drinking it and there would be no way to begin the plan.
Come on, Noodle, thought Linus, twitching his ears to listen for Noodle’s ‘sign.’
The Hoomin slowly brought the tea to his lips and took a few sips. The tea was perfect for The Hoomin.
It’s too late, thought Linus as he lowered his ears in defeat. It’s over.
Chapter 7: The Dose
Just as Linus was ready to give up, he finally heard it.
A loud shriek and hissing broke through the air as Noodle tumbled out of the bedroom and into the hallway, caught in a fight with Watson. Watson wailed as Noodle sunk his teeth into his tail and swiped at Noodle’s face with his claws.
“What the hell is wrong with you guys?!” The Hoomin slammed his teacup on the coffee table and ran into the hallway, leaving Linus the perfect opportunity to fulfill the hardest part of the plan.
Quickly, Linus jumped on top of the coffee table and dropped the pill into the tea.
Linus watched as the pill sank to the bottom of the cup, hidden by the milk and unnoticeable.
Just as Linus jumped down from the table, The Hoomin walked back into the living room, shaking his head and mumbling to himself.
“What has gotten into you guys?” The Hoomin asked to Linus. “You guys have been acting so strange lately.”
Linus looked up at him, tilting his head to the side.
The Hoomin reached down to pet Linus’ head, but he avoided his hand and walked away a few feet, not taking his eyes off The Hoomin.
Sighing, The Hoomin sat on the couch and took a sip of his tea.
The plan was finally in motion.
Chapter 8: While You Were Sleeping
                Soon, The Hoomin started yawning. This was Pewter’s queue.
                Pewter jumped into The Hoomin’s lap and started purring and rubbing his tail against him. Lovingly, he settled into his lap and purred loudly. Within a few minutes, The Hoomin was ready for phase two of the plan.
                “Time for a nap,” yawned The Hoomin. As The Hoomin stood up, holding Pewter to his chest, Linus couldn’t help but meow in excitement.
                “Do you want to come too?” cooed The Hoomin to Linus. Immediately, Linus ran under the couch and out of sight, not wanting to jeopardize the plan.
                Shrugging, The Hoomin took Pewter into the bedroom. Noodle, who was watching from on top of the dresser, jumped down and watched as The Hoomin placed Pewter on the foot of the bed and he climbed under the covers. Once The Hoomin put on his sleeping mask, Noodle knew it would only be a matter of time before he would be asleep.
                Within minutes, The Hoomin was lightly snoring and Pewter was asleep.
                Noodle gave Pewter a quick swipe with his claw, waking him up and reminding him of the evening’s festivities. Both Pewter and Noodle ran out of the room to begin the next step.
                “Alright,” Noodle hissed as he leapt on top of the cabinets to his lookout post where he had a clear view of the bedroom. “He’s asleep. Hurry up!”
                Watson leaned against the counter next to the friggerader and braced himself. “Ready when you are, Linus.”
                Without a moment to spare, Linus wiggled his bottom once, twice, three times, and then ran across the kitchen floor. Using Watson’s strong back as support, Linus jumped into the air and on top of the counter next to the friggerader.
                “I can’t wait to see what is inside,” purred Pewter to himself. He flicked his tail in excitement as Linus approached the friggerader.
                “It’s all up to Linus now,” Watson remarked, flicking his whiskers.
                Fully concentrated and determined, Linus walked up to the friggerader handle. It was only an inch from his face. He had seen The Hoomin open it dozens of times and all he had to do was pull the door handle. If Linus could push the friggerader door with all his strength, the box would reveal its secrets.
                Placing his two front paws against the door, Linus pushed as hard as he could.
                The door was heavier than he thought.
                “What is taking so long?” barked Noodle. “I’m starving!”
                Seeing no other option but to use his head, Linus literally placed his head against the handle and pushed with all four of his paws.
                Just as he thought he couldn’t push anymore, the friggerader door opened and Linus tumbled off the counter and onto the floor.
                Looking into the friggerater, Linus caterwauled in excitement.
Chapter 9: Gravy Train
                Grilled chicken breasts.
                Beef tenderloin.
                Baked pork chops.
                It was everything Linus could ask for.
                “Is that…” sniffed Watson as he put his nose against a small container with brown liquid. “… real gravy?”
                “I told you guys,” Linus started grabbing food with his mouth and throwing it on the floor. “Dig in!”
                Noodle immediately grabbed some chicken and jumped right back on the counter to eat high above his brothers. Pewter tried some pork chops and Watson lapped up the gravy. Linus started at some left over steak and worked his way through the entire selection.
                “Gravy is amazing,” purred Watson as he licked his lips. “I could eat this all day.”
                “This is so good,” Pewter said between bites. “Thanks for getting it, Linus!”
                “Yeah,” hissed Noodle. “Not a bad job.”
                Linus couldn’t hear any of his brothers, though. With all the food spread out on the floor, Linus was determined to eat as much as he could because he knew it wouldn’t last. In his past experience, Linus would have to eat everything he could because he never knew when his next meal was.
                After a couple of minutes, Pewter felt very full and yawned to himself. “I’m going to go sleep with The Hoomin now.” Pewter trotted into the bedroom and laid on top of The Hoomin’s chest and immediately purred himself to sleep.
                “My tummy’s not growling anymore,” reflected Watson. Thinking of all the different types of gravy, Watson perched himself on the windowsill and watched the birds, wondering how they would taste with gravy.
                Noodle chuckled to himself as he watched Linus from on top of the cabinet. Linus wasn’t paying any attention to his brothers anymore and was eating as much as his tiny tummy could handle.
                Which wasn’t much.
Chapter 10: Mission Accomplished
                “Man, what a great nap,” yawned The Hoomin. Stretching his arms, The Hoomin lifted Pewter off his chest and rested his sleeping friend alongside him. He swung his legs over the side of the bed and scratched his chest. Looking at the clock, he realized his small furry friends must have been starving.
                “Alright, dinner time.” The Hoomin walked out of the bedroom and down the hallway. He saw Noodle perched in his usual spot on top of the cabinet and immediately jumped down and ran out of the kitchen.
                How strange, The Hoomin thought. Usually they wouldn’t let me forget dinnertime.
                When he walked into the kitchen, The Hoomin gasped.
                “What happened?!”
                There were bits of food and empty containers all over the kitchen floor. Some pieces of chicken remained on the countertops and a trail of gravy sloshed all over the floor.
                He closed the refrigerator door shaking his head. “I guess I left it open and they fed themselves.” As he bent down to pick up the mess, he saw Linus crouched in the corner of the kitchen, his ears slightly down and his whiskers lowered.
                “Did you eat all of this?” The Hoomin smiled slightly. “I didn’t know you were so hungry!” The Hoomin dropped to his knees a few feet away from Linus. “I bet you aren’t hungry anymore, that was a lot of food,” The Hoomin whistled and looked around him.
                As The Hoomin glanced behind him, he felt a nudge at his hand. Linus had laid himself next to The Hoomin and purred very softly.
                Not wanting to scare Linus, The Hoomin slowly put his hand out as Linus bumped his head against him.
                “I bet you’ve got a tummy ache,” chuckled The Hoomin to himself.
                The Hoomin softly petted his new friend to sleep, as Linus’ purr grew louder.


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