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Jamie worked her way to the bottom and dropped gingerly to the floor. The cat was nowhere in sight. She crept along the wall to the edge of the sofa, then set her feet to run for her life. Then she looked up.
Mittens was poised on the edge of the sofa, ready to pounce. His eyes gleamed with anticipation, his mouth set with determination as he judged his jump and set his back feet. Jamie's eyes glazed with horror; she could never outrun the cat.
Jamie could not think. She reacted with the instinct God gave her at birth. She screamed long and loud, a much louder scream than you would think such a small creature could make. She was still screaming as the cat landed with both paws on her back, knocking her breath away. She closed her eyes and waited to be eaten.
"Mittens! Bad cat! Leave that gerbil alone!" Jamie heard Lucy's father's voice as a rolled-up newspaper swatted the cat's rump. The cat matched the volume in Jamie's scream with one of his own; quite forgetting his prize, he leaped behind the sofa and ran for the cat door. "And good riddance, too!" thought Jamie with relief.
Lucy's father picked up Jamie and held her trembling body in his hands. "There, there," he said soothingly, "you're alright now. What in the world are you doing out here?" It was a silly question, of course, but Jamie was in no mood to complain. She was just happy to have Mittens off her back, and a pleasant lunch to look forward to. After all, what else could a gerbil want?