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Chapter One

T=t cAct ttt ctostt wiih a hollow clang.


i was followeo Ly ihe neiallic zi of ihe locl
slioing inio lace.
Hoe: :esseo his sofi nuzzle io ihe La:s. The
sholeee: hao jusi lleo ihei: Lowl wiih a neal of
elleis ano lineo ihe cage wiih a f:esh s:inlle of
asen shavings ano a hanoful of sh:eooeo ae:, now
ihe sace was clean ano alnosi cozy. Hoe: lisieneo
as his L:oihe:, Pu, Lu::oweo haily inio ihe c:is,
new wooo cu:ls. Pinlie, ihei: sisie:, founo no such
confo:i as she claweo ai ihe shiny neial clas ihai
helo ihe cage lio in lace.
Pinlie claweo wheneve: she coulo. Pinlie was lile ihai.
Closing iine, Kee nuiie:eo, hunning off-ley as
he weni aLoui his cho:es. Hoe: waicheo sleeily as
Leyono ihe Lig winoow, B:oollyn hao Legun io faoe
inio iwilighi ano shaoows.
The oihe: nice who sha:eo ihei: cage we:e al:eaoy
ileo inio a whiie-ano-L:own hea in ihe co:ne:.
Young, ano new io ihe sho, ihey ii:eo easily. n
seconos Hoe: coulo hea: ihe genile snufes ano
sighs of ihei: colleciive slunLe:.
Kees g:avelly voice :unLleo f:on ihe Lacl of ihe
sho. Bi:os . . . checl. Felines . . . checl. Feiiles ano
anhiLians . . . checl, checl.
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This was Kees eno-of-ihe-oay liianychecls
ano :eninoe:s ano g:unLleo conlainis aLoui ill-
snelling feeo ano oi:iy cage Loiions. Hoe: lnew
ihe :ouiine Ly hea:i, Lui he iool liiile joy in ihe
fanilia:iiy of ii. He haieo ihe oa:lling hou:s.
Thei: noihe: hao oisaea:eo ai ousl.
Iow Kee :eiu:neo io ihe nouse cage. He gave ihe
clas a iug io see ihai ii was secu:e.
Fooenis . . . checl.
Lucly fo: Kee, he ulleo his chuLLy ihunL away
jusi Lefo:e Pinlie coulo sinl he: ieeih inio ii.
Ano ihai was ihe lasi of ii. Hoe: lnew all ihai
:enaineo was fo: Kee io iu:n ihe sign f:on ctt:
io ctcstt. This woulo info:n ihe ai:ons on ihe
oihe: sioe of ihe Lig winoow ihai ihe:e woulo Le no
no:e aooiions iooay, ii was iine fo: ihe aninals io
:esi. Kee woulo iale his leave, sweeing a chill Llasi
of ai: inio ihe sho as he oeneo ihe ooo:. The Lell
on ihe hanole woulo jangle ifully as ihe ooo: swung
wioe, ihen ii woulo close wiih a louo, neiallic clack as
Kee locleo ii wiih his ley. Afie: ihai, ihe sho woulo
fall sileni Lui fo: ihe LuLLling of ihe aqua:iuns ano
ihe sleey chi:ing sounos of aninals o:eaning of a
fa:-off fuiu:e in a lace calleo hone.
Bui noi Hoe:. He only eve: o:eaneo one o:ean.
Ano ii was noi so nuch a o:ean Lui a neno:y of
his noihe: on ihe lasi oay he hao eve: seen he:. i
was vague ano hazy, Lui Lu:ieo oee insioe ii was ihe
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inage of he: lovely L:own face ano he: iwinlling
eyes, lleo wiih love.
n ihe neno:y Hoe: ano Pinlie ano Pu hao
Leen no la:ge: ihan eLLles, :esseo againsi ihei:
noihe:s wa:n, sillen fu:. The sun ouisioe ihe Lig
winoow hao Leen seiiing when Kee hao a:oacheo
ihe cage. Ano soneihing in Hoe:s noihe:s eyes
hao iu:neo io ice.
She knew. Somehow she knew.
Vhais w:ong, Mana? Hoe: hao asleo.
Pinlie hao Leen cu:leo a:ouno Pu, souno aslee.
A creaking sound . . . The cage lid being lifted . . .
His noihe:s hea:iLeai againsi hin, he: eyes
gliiie:ing wiih iea:s as iheyo oa:ieo Lacl ano fo:ih
Leiween Hoe: ano Kee. Fino ihe Mews, sheo
whise:eo. He: voice, o:oina:ily sweei ano caln ano
wise, hao Leen f:aniic. Fino ihe Mews, Hoe:. You
nusi.
Bui Kee hao hao he: Ly ihe iail, ano in ihe nexi
noneni Hoe:s noihe: hao Leen oangling aLove
hin, he: a:ns si:eiching oui io hin oese:aiely.
Hoe: hao hea:o he: uiie: a wo:o ihai nighi
have Leen Lelow. Bui he hao Leen ioo ie::ieo io
con:eheno. Then she was gone.
He hao waicheo f:on sun io sun, seeing ihe lighi
change ihe sly ouisioe ihe Lig glass, Lui his noihe:
hao noi cone Lacl.
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Vhen ai lasi Pinlie hao Leen ce:iain ihai ihei:
noihe: was losi io ihen fo:eve:, she hao iu:neo on
hin.
You oioni oo anyihing io sio ii she hao seeiheo.
Vhai coulo have oone? heo asleo in a snall
voice.
Volen ne, fo: sia:ie:s woulo have lnown whai
io oo. woulo have fought fo: he:.
The oisoain in he: eyes, ihe sco:n in he: voice, hao
causeo Hoe: io Lu::ow inio ihe asen shavings in
shane.
Pu hao cone ano cuooleo Lesioe hin. Pu hao
Leen even iinie: ihen . . . so oelicaie ano f:agile. His
ea:s hao Leen snalle: ano inle: ihan Hoe:s,
nea:ly i:ansa:eni.
MayLe Mana weni hone, heo saio in his hoeful
way. MayLe ihais whai haeneo, Hoe:.
Hoe: hao noooeo, Lui ihe:e was a lun in his
ih:oai. Yes, Pu. Thais :oLaLly ii.
So we shoulo Le hay fo: he:, ihen.
Hoe: hao snileo ai his L:oihe: Lui haoni :elieo.
He hao seen his noihe:s eyes when Kee incheo
he: iail ano je:leo he: oui of ihei: cage. She hao noi
Leen aooieo, L:oughi io a Leiie: life. She hao Leen
violenily siolen. Hoe: lnew ii in his gui. Find the
Mews. The h:ase haunieo hin as nuch as ihe inage
oio. He siill couloni Le ce:iain ihais whai sheo saio
as sheo LoLLeo aLove hin, he: aws :eaching fo: he:
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LaLies even as ihe hano ulleo he: f:on ihei: lives.
Bui he woulo neve: fo:gei ihe ione of he: voice. i
was a :onise, a wa:ning, a lea . . .
Find the Mews.
Soneiines in ihe neno:y Hoe: coulo alnosi
feel ihe wa:nih sheo lefi Lehino in ihe nesi of ae:
ano wooo. She was ihe:e ano she was gone. Ano in
ihe o:ean he coulo oo noihing Lui waich he: go.
Ano always Hoe: woulo awalen wiih his eyes
oan ano his hea:i aching.
Hoe: closeo his eyes ano lisieneo, :si fo: ihe
whine of ihe noney nachine Leing ui io Leo, ihen
fo: ihe Lell on ihe ooo: ihai woulo signal Kees
oea:iu:e.
Bui ihe sounos oioni cone.
Hoe: waiieo.
Siill no nachine. Siill no Lell.
He oeneo his eyes, his inl nose iwiiching wiih
awa:eness. Vhai was Kee waiiing fo:?
Suooenly Kees Looieo feei sioneo ac:oss
ihe sho io ihe counie:, ano he ang:ily nuiie:eo
soneihing unoe: his L:eaih.
Cu:ious, Hoe: ee:eo ih:ough ihe La:s, Lui all he
saw was his own :eeciion in ihe glass ianl nexi io
his cage.
Sane olo Hoe:. snall ano L:own, wiih a whiie
:ing a:ouno his :ighi eye, slenoe: aws ano long,
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snooih iail, iae:eo io a oini ai ihe eno lile a whi.
B:ighi Llacl eyes, ano oainiy, oval ea:s, icle:ing
now as he lisieneo io Kees novenenis.
Coins :aiileo as ihe noney o:awe: Langeo oen,
ihen closeo again. The nachine lei oui one lasi long
Lee ano ihe sho weni siill.
Bui ihen ihe ooo: ung wioeihe Lell jingleo
naoly as ihe sho was assaulieo wiih a :ush of colo
wino. A lanly Loy wea:ing a snug woolen ca ano a
Llacl jaclei siooo in ihe ooo:way. His face was ihin
ano ale, ano his eyes na::oweo as he locleo his gaze
on Kee.
Vo:si of all was ihe long, sliihe:ing ho::iLle ihing
he ca::ieo, o:aeo a:ouno his necl.
Hoe:s hea:i ihuooeo ano his Llooo weni colo as
one wo:o ano one wo:o only i:enLleo on his iongue.
Snake!
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Chapter Two
Hotttt ttt :oT :ov how he lnew ihai
wo:oe:has he wasni even saying ii :oe:ly, Lui
he knew ii . . . lnew ii in his Lones, f:on ihe iis of his
whisle:s io ihe oini of his iail. i was a lnowleoge
Lo:n of insiinci.
Viihoui ihinling, Hoe: scane:eo ac:oss ihe
ae:y oo: of ihe cage ano ih:ew hinself in f:oni
of Pu ano Pinlie.
Vhai a:e you ooing? Pinlie hisseo.
Shhh, saio Hoe:. He was quive:ing now, waich-
ing wiih wioe eyes as ihe slinny Loy na:cheo hinself
ac:oss ihe sho io Kees counie:. The snale clung
io his Lony shouloe:s, noving lile soneihing f:on
anoihe: wo:lo. is aiieneo, oianono-shaeo heao
oa:ieo f:on sioe io sioe, a fo:leo slive: of iongue
icling in ano oui Leiween long, cu:veo fangs.
Vhai is ihai? Pu whise:eo f:on Lehino Hoe:.
His wisy liiile voice was lleo wiih ie::o:.
is a snale, you :uni snaeo Pinlie.
A joli of ange: shoi ih:ough Hoe:. He hao asleo
Pinlie a huno:eo iines noi io call Pu :uni. Bui
now was ce:iainly noi a iine fo: :e:inanos.
Vhe:es ny feeoe:s? ihe Loy oenanoeo.
You:e ioo laie, saio Kee, sh:ugging his siooeo
shouloe:s. iolo ya, close ai ve al:eaoy :ung oui.
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The Loy f:owneo. i aini ny fauli ihe i:ains we:e
laie ionighi.
Kee laugheo. You iool ihai nonsie: on ihe
suLway? Boy, Lei you gave a loiia folls ihe f:ighi
of ihei: life He shool his heao, siill chuclling.
nagine ihai A Loa on ihe B:ighion line
Boa.
Hoe: hao hea:o ihai wo:o Lefo:e, ano ii shoi inio
his ea: lile a oison oa:i.
Boa. As in boa constrictor.
Kee hao hao one once. i liveo in a heavy glass ianl
on a siu:oy shelf in an a:ea of ihe sho Hoe: ano
ihe oihe: nice coulo noi see f:on ihei: cage. Bui heo
hea:o eole ialling aLoui ii, oesc:iLing iiiheyo
calleo ii a hioeous sliihe:ing :oe of a ihing, wiih
scales ano sha: ieeih. They calleo ii e:ce ano
f:ighiening.
Iow ihai Hoe: was seeing one wiih his own eyes,
he lnew iheyo Leen :ighi.
He iu:neo his aiieniion io ihe counie:, whe:e ihe
Loy was iaing his fooi, igno:ing Kees laughie:. He
si:oleo ihe snales scaly necl. neeo feeoe:s now.
Pu iu:neo io Pinlie. Vhais a feeoe:? he asleo
quieily.
Pinlies answe: was a g:in lool.
iolo ya, Kee saio, n closeo. The :egisie:s
conuie:izeo, so cani oen ii again iill iono::ow
no:ning. Cone Lacl ihen.
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Then Kee snileo.
Bui you can have a eel ai en, he iolo ihe Loy.
Vhei ihe Leasis aeiiie, so io seal. Viih a uogy
nge: he oinieo ac:oss ihe sho.
Di:ecily ai Hoe:.
The Loy gave a liiile g:uni. Viih his snale w:iihing
on his shouloe:s, he c:osseo ihe oo: io ihe nouse cage.
D:awing hinself u io his full siaiu:e, Hoe:
s:eao his a:ns wioe io shielo his fanily, :essing
Pinlie ano Pu againsi ihe Lacl La:s of ihe cage,
shive:ing as Loy ano snale noveo close:. Ano close:.
]eesh, ihe Loy huffeo. Io aqua:iun? He oleo
a sc:awny nge: Leiween ihe La:s of Hoe:s cage
ano iuggeo. This ihings :aciically an aniique
lile io lee ny cosis oown, Kee nuiie:eo.
So sue ne. Vhy wasie noney on :si-class accon-
nooaiions fo: ve:nin?
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Suooenly ihe angula: face of ihe Loa consi:icio:
oeo u againsi ihe La:s, ano ihe c:eaiu:e lei
oui a siclening hiss. Viih a ie::ieo yel Hoe:
oove Leneaih ihe iaiie:eo ae: sc:as ano asen
wooo ales, cu:ling hinself inio a i:enLling Lall
of anic.
Easy, Bo, ihe Loy saio, chuclling. He :an a Lony
nge: along ihe La:s, causing ihe cage io shale. Viih
an ea:-sliiiing caclle ihe Loy iu:neo on ihe heel of
his Llacl sneale: ano saunie:eo oui of ihe sho.
The Lell jangleo iiself io silence, ano ninuies laie:
ihe lace weni oa:l.
Jingle. Slam. Clack. Quiet.
A a:aleei whisileo, alnosi as ihough ii we:e
Liooing Kee gooo :iooance.
Pinlie oleo Hoe: ha:o. You can cone oui
now, she saio wiih oisgusi. They:e gone.
Cauiiously Hoe: siucl his nose oui f:on whe:e
he was huooleo Leneaih ihe shavings ano ae:
sh:eos.
Vhai a fanily ve goi, Pinlie sai. A cowa:o ano
a :uni.
Hoe: oeneo his nouih io scolo Pinlie Lui
sioeo hinself. He feli his hea:i sinl Lecause he
lnew she was :ighi. He was a cowa:o.
Ano Pu was snalle: ihan even ihe youngesi nice
in ihe cage. He was weale:, ioo. Siill, Hoe: loveo
hin oea:ly. Pu was sweei ano genile ano looleo u
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io his Lig L:oihe: ano sisie: wiih uiie: conoence
ano aoni:aiion.
Hoe: hao io aonii, Pinlie oese:veo ihai aoni-
:aiion. She was L:ave ano Lolo ano iough. She ano
Hoe: nay have looleo exacily alilesane g:ay-
L:own eli, sane whiie na:ling (alihough Pinlies
:ing ci:cleo he: lefi eye), Lui insioe ihey couloni Le
no:e oiffe:eni.
Hoe: loveo io o:e ove: ihe ae: sc:as ihai
lineo ihei: cage, i:ying io nale sense of ihe :ini ano
synLols on ihen. He founo ihe squiggles ano colo:s
fascinaiing, even ihough he oioni quiie unoe:siano
ihei: nessages.
Pinlie, on ihe oihe: hano, was all ene:gy. She
:a:ely sai siill long enough io :eao o: even ihinl. She
was sunly ano cou:ageous, ano always :eaoy fo: a
challenge. O: a ghi.
Hoe: ofien wonoe:eo if Pinlie haoni Leen
sleeing so sounoly when his noihe: was ialen . . .
if she hao Leen ihe one who was awale, woulo she
have oone soneihing, lile she saio she woulo have?
Voulo she have Leen aLle io save ihei: noihe: f:on
whaieve: faie awaiieo he: ouisioe ihei: cage?
He couloni say fo: su:e. Bui in his hea:i he lnew
ihai ai ihe ve:y leasi Pinlie woulo have i:ieo.
He was exacily whai his sisie: saio he was. A cowa:o.
MayLe ii was iine io change ihai.
f only he coulo.
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Chapter Three
Hotttt ttt:T :ov v=t: he hao oozeo off,
Lui he awole wiih a sia:i ihe nexi no:ning. Sc:as
of ae: clung io his sweai-oaneneo fu:, ano his
whole Looy shool wiih ho::o:.
He nuogeo his sisie:. She sna:leo in he: slee. He
nuogeo he: again.
Vhai oo you wani?
Thai Loy wanis io feeo us io his snale.
Pinlie sai u, ca:efully noving Pu f:on unoe:
he: a:n whe:e he was cu:leo u aslee. Say ihai
again . . .
Were feeoe:s, Hoe: con:neo. Ioi io Le ialen
hone as eis, Lui
To Le ialen hone fo: oinne:, Pinlie nisheo,
ho::ieo.
Co::eciion, Hoe: saio wiih a sigh. B:ealfasi.
He iu:neo iowa:o ihe Lig winoow, whe:e ihe :si
snuoges of no:ning lighi hao Legun io L:ighien ihe
sly Lehino ihe iall Luiloings.
Pinlie w:iggleo away f:on Pu ano Legan io ace.
Fo: a noneni Hoe: jusi waicheo he:. Vhen he:
na::ow :ea: aw caughi on a long, glossy ae: sc:a,
she shool ii off. i Lilloweo inio ihe ai:, ihen lanoeo
in f:oni of Hoe:. He glanceo ai ii, noiing a :ouno
na:lingL:ighi :eo wiih sone lino of hie:oglyh
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insioe. Ano no:e synLols. S-U-B-V ano 1.
He hao no ioea whai io nale of ihe na:lings, ano
now was noi ihe iine io owell on ihen. He L:usheo
ihe c:inlleo sc:a asioe.
The Loy will Le Lacl soon afie: Kee oens,
Hoe: saio, willing his voice io siay caln. Ve have
io Le gone Ly ihen.
Pinlie whi:leo io gla:e ai hin. Oh, :eally? She
slaeo he: iail againsi ihe La:s, ihe noise causeo one
of ihe nice in ihe co:ne: io sii: in his slee. Ano
how oo you inieno io oo ihai?
Kee has io feeo us, Hoe: :easoneo.
Vhen Kee uis ihe fooo in ou: Lowl, we can
clinL u his a:n ano oui of ihe cage. Then we can
jun oown ano escae.
Pinlie f:owneo. Ano Ly we you nean . . . ?
Hoe: noiioneo io ihe sleeing ile of nice in
ihe co:ne:. All of us. Ve cani leave ihen Lehino.
Pinlie sigheo heavily. suose noi. He: whisle:s
iwiicheo once, iwice. say we Liie hin.
Hoe: shool his heao. ALsoluiely noi. Ve :un u
ano we :un oui. Io neeo fo: no:e i:ouLle.
The nan is lanning io feeo us io a Loa consi:icio:,
Hoe:. ooni ihinl ihis is any iine io conce:n
ou:selves wiih nanne:s. Iow, if we all jusi gei in
one quicl chon She gnasheo he: sha: ieeih in
oenonsi:aiion.
Vhai gooo will ihai oo? Hoe: asleo. f we Liie
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his hano, hell ull his a:n oui of ihe cage ano well
have noihing io clinL
Pinlie oioni say so, Lui Hoe: coulo iell she saw
ihe logic in ihai.
Saiisfaciion, she saio ai lasi. Veo have ihe
saiisfaciion of naling hin sc:ean in ain.
Hoe:s sionach iu:neo ove:. Soneiines ii was
ha:o io Lelieve ihai he ano Pinlie we:e :elaieo.
Io, he saio as :nly as he coulo. Ve:e going io
oo ihis ny way.
Pinlie Llinleo ai hin. Since when a:e you so
Lossy?
Since I dont want to fnd myself on the inside of that
slithering beast, Hoe: ihoughi wiih a gul. Bui
whai he saio was, Vale ihe oihe:s. Ano iell ihen
ou: lan.
Pinlie auseo, fo: a noneni Hoe: ihoughi
she was going io a:gue. nsieao she :olleo he: eyes
ano slulleo ac:oss ihe shavings io awalen ihei:
cagenaies.
Pinlie lisiening io Hoe:ihe ihoughi exhila:aieo
hin. MayLe heo Le aLle io ull off leaoing ihis escae
afie: all.
Ac:oss ihe cage he coulo hea: Pinlie nu:nu:ing
ano ihe oihe:s :oiesiing, ihen nally ag:eeing io ihe
lan.
Hoe: looleo ai Pu, a snall lun siill aslee in
a ile of cu:leo wooo shavings, ano a su:ge of Lig-
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L:oihe:ly :esonsiLiliiy oooeo his veins. He oecioeo
ihe:e ano ihen ihai he woulo see io Pus safeiy
hinself. Io ha:n woulo cone io ihai iiny Lall of
uff, noi if he coulo hel ii.
Feeling Lolsie:eo ano oeie:nineo, he iu:neo io
waich ihe no:ning sun L:ighien ihe B:oollyn sly.
Kee woulo Le a::iving soon, ushing oen ihe ooo:,
L:inging ihe colo in wiih hin.
Ano ihen ihey woulo nale ihei: escaeio whe:e,
Hoe: oio noi lnow.
Bui he oio lnow ihis.
Bo, ihe hioeous snale c:eaiu:e, woulo go hung:y
ihis no:ning. Viih any lucl ihe Leasi nighi even
sia:ve io oeaih.
Pushing ihe neno:y of ihose Llaoelile fangs f:on
his ninos eye, Hoe: xeo his gaze on ihe Lig
glass io awaii ihe oaylighi ano io waich fo: Kees
innineni a::ival.
His hea:i f:aniically o:unneo againsi his :iLs.
]usi once, he wisheo his nouse hea:i coulo Leai
wiih ihe ih:ill of L:ave:y, of cou:ageano noi fea:.
Bui fo: now all he coulo oo was :ess his nose
againsi ihe La:s.
Ano waii.
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Chapter Four
Hotttt ttt :oT ttt:c=. He oioni even Llinl
when, nally, he hea:o ihe souno of Kees ley in ihe
locl. Soneiine ou:ing Hoe:s waich ihe ale sun
hao oisaea:eo ano ii hao Legun io :ain, iu:ning ihe
ouiooo: wo:lo a oull g:ay.
The Lell :aiileo ano Kee Lusileo in, shaling waie:
f:on his coai. Hoe: lnew ihai on wei oays ai:ons
we:e few ano fa: Leiween, ano ihis always naoe Kee
c:oss. On :ainy oays he woulo g:unLle ihai ihe sho
snelleo of niloew ano oan fu:, ano ihis lei ihe
ai:ons away.
A :iclle of hoe iingleo in Hoe:e:has ihe
wei woulo :eveni Loy ano Loa f:on veniu:ing oui.
Siill, he oio noi iale his eyes off ihe ooo:.
Pu was sleeing, snuggleo Lesioe ihe waie: Lowl
in ihe co:ne:. Afie: a noneni Hoe: feli Pinlie
siole u. He: whole Looy was ienseo, lile a coil of
fu:y, :eaoy io ounce. She icleo he: inlish iail in
ihe oi:eciion of ihei: cagenaies. They wani io lnow
whe:e io go . . . you lnow . . . after we gei oui.
Hoe: guleo. i was a gooo quesiion. His lan
only goi as fa: as u Kees a:n ano oui of ihe cage.
Following ihai . . . ihe:e was noihing Lui nysie:y.
Suooenly ihe sho ooo: slanneo oen, ii hii ihe
wall so ha:o ihai ihe Lell looseneo f:on iis chain
OTP_Mouseheart_Int.indd 24 2/14/14 9:13 AM
25
ano fell io ihe oo: wiih a hollow clunl. Silhoueiieo
in ihe ooo:way wiih ihe :ain ou:ing oown Lehino
ihen looneo ihe slinny Loy ano his wicleo :eiile,
cu:leo a:ouno his shouloe:s.
Hes he:e ea:lie: ihan ihoughi, Hoe: saio io
Pinlie.
s ihai ihing a ei o: a sca:f? Pinlie huffeo, Lui
Leneaih he: wisec:acl Hoe: hea:o conce:n.
Go wale Pu, he whise:eo. Tell hin iis iine.
siill ihinl we shoulo ghi, Pinlie conlaineo.
Doni you ihinl ou: lives a:e wo:ih a liiile scufe?
Go wale Pu, Hoe: :eeaieo.
Hoe: iu:neo io signal ihe oihe:s. They we:e
:eaoy. F:ighieneo. Panicleo. Pei:ieo. Bui :eaoy. He
gave ihen a quicl noo.
One of ihe cagenaies lei oui a oeie:nineo squeal.
Lool, Bo, saio ihe Loy in his sc:eechy voice.
B:ealfasi. He cane iowa:o ihe cage, his wei
sneale:s slaing ihe oo:. So how woulo you lile
you: nice ihis no:ning, al? Ove: easy? Sc:anLleo?
He gave a sno:i of laughie:. O: nayLe jusi :aw?
The snale hisseo, weaving f:on sioe io sioe, his
iongue oa:iing naoly in aniiciaiion of his neal.
The Loys sc:awny nge:s :eacheo fo: ihe locl on
ihe cage lio.
Bui Kee husileo ove: io L:ush ihe Loys hano away.
This aini no self-se:ve esiaLlishneni, lio. Iow, how
nany oo you wani?
OTP_Mouseheart_Int.indd 25 2/14/14 9:13 AM
26
Vell, Bo he:es a g:owing Loy, ainicha, Luooy?
The Loy si:oleo ihe snales necl. So how aLoui ihe
whole Lunch?
Fine Ly ne, saio Kee. The:es no:e whe:e ihese
cane f:on. He slio oen ihe locl.
Feaoy . . . Hoe: whise:eo.
Kee oeneo ihe lio.
Sei . . .
Kee :eacheo inio ihe cage, his hano :eaoy io scoo
ihen oui.
Go
Pinlie lei oui a ie:cing squeal, a c:azeo wa: whoo.
The cagenaies noveo as one, sc:anLling inio Kees
cueo aln, ihen su::ising hin Ly leaing io his
w:isi ano scane:ing u his a:n.
Fun c:ieo Hoe:, Loosiing Pu oui of ihe wooo
cu:ls ano onio Kees lun fo:ea:n.
Hoe:, Pu c:ieo, n sca:eo
lnow, Pu . . . jusi :un
Pinlie was al:eaoy as fa: as Kees elLow. She
sioeo, nioscu::y, io lool Lacl iowa:o Pu, who
was si:uggling io gei a fooiholo. His aws claweo ai
ihe uogy esh, oese:aie io g:as ihe s:ingy hai:s
io lee f:on falling off.
Cone on Pinlie c:ieo, unfu:ling he: iail. G:aL
holo
Hoe: waicheo, hea:i :acing, as Pu :eacheo a
aw fo: Pinlies wi:y iail. He nisseo.
OTP_Mouseheart_Int.indd 26 2/14/14 9:13 AM
27
Pinlie whieo ii iowa:o hin a secono iine.
He caughi ii.
Hoe: Pus voice was a faini c:y as Pinlie je:leo
hin uwa:o along Kees chuLLy a:n. Hu::y
Hoe: naoe a g:eai lea, which lanoeo hin
halfway u Kees fo:ea:n. Mosi of ihe cagenaies
hao :eacheo ihe io ano we:e L:avely juning off,
oiving f:on Kees siooeo shouloe:s io ihe :elaiive
safeiy of ihe shelf Lelow. One nouse Lii inio ihe eoge
of ihe oclei on Kees shi:i, ano as Kee squi:neo,
ihe sean slii, iea:ing ihe oclei away ano ialing
ihe cagenaie wiih ii.
Kees shocl hao given way io ange: now, he was
shaling his a:n wiloly in an effo:i io oislooge ihe
swa:n of nice.
The Loy was laughing, ano Bos heao oa:ieo Lacl
ano fo:ih in a f:enzy, a Llu: of icle:ing iongue ano
gnashing ieeih, waiching f:aniically as his no:ning
neal escaeo Lefo:e his Leaoy eyes.
Pinlie ano Pu we:e nea:ing Kees shouloe: now,
ano Hoe: was L:inging u ihe :ea:. He couloni
Lelieve ihei: luclihey we:e this close io f:eeoon.
Kee was so usie:eo ano confuseo Ly ihe connoiion
ihai ihey nighi jusi nale ii.
Bui Pinlie hao suooenly sioeo sho:i. Hoe:
gaseo as Pu, siill clinging io he: iail, whieo
sioeways. Iow he was oangling ove: ihe sioe of
Kees a:n, seve:al feei aLove ihe ha:o ceneni oo:.
OTP_Mouseheart_Int.indd 27 2/14/14 9:13 AM
28
Pinlies eyes asheo lile :e. She couloni hel
he:self. . . .
Hoe:s own eyes weni wioe when he :ealizeo
whai she was going io oo.
Pinlie he sh:ieleo. Nooooo!
Bui ii was ioo laie. He: oiniy liiile ieeih we:e
La:eo, ano she was sinling ihen inio ihe ale, soiiy
esh of Kees linL.
Hoe: feli ihe wo:lo lu:ch as Kee, howling in ain,
gave his a:n a owe:ful shale. Hoe: sc:anLleo io
g:aL holo of a la:ge L:own nole on Kees inne: a:n
ano helo on fo: oea: life. Pinlie was siill aiiacheo Ly
he: ieeih, sheo claneo oown ano was noi leiiing go
fo: anyihing.
Bui Pu . . .
Pu swung lile a enoulun f:on Pinlies long iail.
One of his aws hao losi iis g:i, he was cluiching
oese:aiely wiih ihe oihe:, Lui Hoe: coulo see ihai
his g:as was sliing.
Holo on, Pu Bui even as Hoe: sc:eaneo ihe
wo:os, he waicheo in ho::o: as Pus iiny aw gave
way.
He was falling . . .
Toling in nioai: . . .
Falling!
OTP_Mouseheart_Int.indd 28 2/14/14 9:13 AM
Chapter Five
Hotttts sTowAc= Ttt:tt ovtt ai ihe
souno of ihe snall, oull ihun. All he coulo see was
a iiny uff of Leige-L:own fu: lying e:fecily siill on
ihe conc:eie oo:.
Ange: exlooeo. Ange:, ano g:ief. Viihoui ihinling,
he oeneo his jaws ano sunl his ieeih fe:ociously
inio Kees slin.
Anoihe: joli of Kees a:n Pinlie, who hao
:eleaseo he: Liie holo ano was waiching Hoe:, was
caughi unawa:es. She losi he: Lalance ano iunLleo,
heao-ove:-hino-haunches uniil she, ioo, was falling
ih:ough sace, o:oing iowa:o ihe ha:o, oeaoly
su:face of ihe oo:.
Hoe: :eleaseo his holo on ihe siuLLy Li:ihna:l
ano :eacheo oui . . . oui . . . si:eiching . . . g:asing . . .
]usi as Pinlie cane si:aling wiihin :each, Hoe:
naoe a nao g:aL. The iis of his claws connecieo wiih
he: iail ano he g:aLLeo holo, cluiching fo: all he was
wo:ih, g:iing he: iail againsi ihe fo:ce of g:aviiy.
Iow Pinlie oangleo in sace, ieeih La:eo, whisle:s
quive:ing, a:ns ailing.
Bui safe.
Vell, so:i of.
Kees eshy hano closeo a:ouno ihe iwo of ihen
ano squeezeo.
OTP_Mouseheart_Int.indd 29 2/14/14 9:13 AM
30
n ihe oa:lness of ihe si Hoe: coulo La:ely
L:eaihe. He was su:e ihey we:e oone fo: when . . .
Lighi
Kees hano unfoloeo. Hoe: feli hinself o:oing
Lui noi fa:. He ano Pinlie weni sliooing ac:oss a
snooih, ae:y su:face, collioing wiih a shallow wall
of ihe sane naie:ial.
Ca:oLoa:o?
Box
Hoe: hao seen ihese coni:aiions a ihousano
iines. The ca:oLoa:o Lox was ihe vehicle in which
hansie:s ano ge:Lils ano guinea igs weni hone.
Ano, aa:enily, how feeoe: nice i:aveleo io ihei:
snales.
Gasing fo: L:eaih, Hoe: oiseniangleo hinself
f:on Pinlie jusi as ihe Lox closeo. Si:eans of ale
lighi sliceo inio ihis new oa:lness ih:ough seve:al
iiny holes in ihe lio.
ooni ihinl ihis is an in:oveneni, Pinlie saio
wiih a snee:.
Hoe: igno:eo he:. He hao io ihinl
His nino was nuooy, ano his ihoughis cane in
hazy waves. His neno:y calleo u ihai fanilia:, oa:l
:ecolleciionhis noihe: ascenoing f:on ihe wooo
shavings, oisaea:ing uwa:o inio ihe unlnown
as if Ly sone evil nagic. The :ecolleciion Llu::eo,
slinie:eo, Llenoing iiself wiih ihe no:e :eceni
ho::o: of waiching Pu, noi :ising Lui fallingin his
OTP_Mouseheart_Int.indd 30 2/14/14 9:13 AM
31
neno:y ii was as if ihey asseo each oihe: in slow
noiionhis noihe: :ising . . . :ising, his L:oihe:
falling . . . falling . . . ano ihen ihe:e was Pu s:awleo
on ihe ei-sho oo:, sileni, siill.
Hoe: ianeo oown ihe oesai:. Pe:has ii hao
looleo wo:se ihan ii was, e:has ihe inaci hao
ne:ely siunneo Pu. Ano in ihai case, nayLe ihe
cagenaies hao :allieo ano :usheo io his aio. MayLe
iheyo :ouseo hin f:on his siuo: o: ca::ieo hin io
shelie:, oui of ihe aih of Kees eno:nous i:oning
feei.
MayLe.
Bui in his hea:i Hoe: lnew ihe chances of ihai
we:e slin.
This is you: fauli, cane Pinlies voice f:on ihe
shaoows of ihe Lox. You:e weal. Ano siuio Pu
is gone ano he:e we a:e, i:aeo, awaiiing ou: own
oeaih senience.
The wo:os we:e wo:se ihan any gnashing she coulo
have given hin.
Hoe: shool off ihe hea:iache ano fo:ceo hinself
io ihinl.
n ihe co:ne: of ihe Lox was a slin ga whe:e ihe
ca:oLoa:o cane iogeihe:. Hoe: scu::ieo ove: ano
ee:eo oui.
The slinny Loy was hoLLling aLoui io avoio
sieing on ihe cagenaies who, wiih nowhe:e else
io go, we:e oashing Lacl ano fo:ih ac:oss ihe oo:
OTP_Mouseheart_Int.indd 31 2/14/14 9:13 AM
32
in a c:azeo :ush. The Loy wasni laughing anyno:e.
Iow he looleo nao.
You can lee you: siinlin cage nice, he La:leo ai
Kee. can caich Leiie: ones in ihe suLway any way
Bo, jaLLing his heao in Kees oi:eciion ano hissing
ang:ily, seeneo io Le in ag:eeneni. Viih one lasi
nenacing hiss, Loy ano snale sio:neo oui of ihe sho.
Kee nuiie:eo soneihing nasiy-sounoing aLoui
lios iooay ano cloneo off iowa:o ihe Lacl :oon,
closing ihe ooo: Lehino hin.
Then ihings Lecane ve:y, ve:y quiei.
Hoe: eeleo ih:ough ihe slii in ihe co:ne: ano
lisieneo. The:e was a faini noise, a souno he ihoughi
heo hea:o Lefo:ea saiie:ing souno, a slashing
souno.
The :ain.
Ioi ihe oull, nufeo souno of ihe o:os hiiiing ihe
:oof o: ihe winoows of ihe sho. This souno was clea:
ano close, louoe: ano no:e inneoiaie. Hoe: hao
hea:o ii Lefo:e Lui only in quicl liiile su:is when
ihe sho ooo: oeneo on a sio:ny oay, in ihe few
seconos ii woulo iale fo: ihe ooo: io swing closeo,
he woulo hea: ihe :ain clea:ly, iis noisy aiie: as ii
hii ihe sioewall. Then ihe ooo: woulo close ano ihe
souno woulo sofien again.
Bui ihis iine ihe souno wasni sofiening.
The ooo: was oen The ang:y Loy hao lefi ihe ooo:
oen when he lefi.
OTP_Mouseheart_Int.indd 32 2/14/14 9:13 AM
33
Pinlie, cone he:e. Lool
Pinlie :esseo in Lesioe hin ano looleo oui. Vhen
she soiieo ihe oen ooo:, she lnew insianily whai
he was ihinling.
Hoe: :esseo his nouih io ihe ga in ihe co:ne:
joini ano calleo oui io his scu::ying cagenaies.
The ooo: he c:ieo. Fun fo: ihe ooo:
They all sioeo :unning ai once. Five ai:s of
inl eyes Llinleo as ihey sia:eo in awe. They oioni
seen io lnow whai io nale of ihis connano. i was
Hoe:s voice coning f:on sonewhe:e high aLove
ihen, Lui ihey coulo noi see hin.
Fun he c:ieo again.
Bui ihe nice :enaineo f:ozen. Hoe:s wo:o
echoeo f:on insioe ihe Lox, :eaching ihei: iiny ea:s
in a hollow, ghosily howl. Even io hin ii sounoeo lile
ihe voice of sone unseen Leing, sone nagical fo:ce.
oiois, Pinlie g:owleo. They ihinl you:e sone
lino of all-seeing :ooeni si:ii. She Legan Lacling
u iowa:o ihe fa: wall of ihe Lox.
Vhai a:e you ooing? Hoe: asleo.
Pinlie iool a oee L:eaih. Vhen give ihe signal,
we :un as fasi ano ha:o as we can ano ih:ow ou:selves
ai ihe oosiie wall, goi ii?
Hoe: noooeo.
Feaoy? Go!
Hoe: Lolieo wiih all his nighi, Pinlie was lile
a ash of lighining. The L:oihe: ano sisie: hu:leo
OTP_Mouseheart_Int.indd 33 2/14/14 9:13 AM
34
ihenselves ac:oss ihe Lox ano slanneo inio ihe
ca:oLoa:o wall ai ihe exaci sane noneni.
The Lox ioiie:eo, ihen iieo, lanoing on iis sioe
ano lnocling ihe lio aslew.
Push c:ieo Hoe:, ounoing his iiny aws
againsi ihe cove:.
Pinlie oio ihe sane ano ihe lio cane away Hoe:
ano Pinlie leaeo oui of ihe oa:lness ano founo
ihenselves on ihe counie: nea: ihe noney nachine.
All ihey hao io oo now was shinny oown ihe nachines
co:o ano . . .
The ooo: io ihe Lacl :oon ew oen, ano Kee
:eiu:neo.
He was wieloing a L:oon.
The si:aw weaon was licling u a snall io:naoo
of ousi ano g:ine. The cagenaies scu::ieo naoly in
ihe oi:iy clouo, oa:iing io ano f:o io avoio Leing
swei inio oLlivion.
Mangy liiile Leasis Kee sna:leo.
The L:oon swung lile a L:isileo gaunilei. Hoe:
gaeo in ie::o: as iis angleo eoge connecieo wiih an
e::ani iail, senoing ihe ei:ieo cagenaie sliooing
ano squealing ac:oss ihe oo: io c:ash heaolong inio
ihe Lase of ihe counie:.
Pinlie was eoging iowa:o ihe fai eleci:ical co:o,
was she siill consioe:ing c:awling oown?
Have you losi you: mind? Hoe: L:eaiheo.
MayLe, Lui if siay he:e, ll lose ny life
OTP_Mouseheart_Int.indd 34 2/14/14 9:13 AM
35
Hoe: looleo f:on his sisie: io ihe oen ooo:. The
sha: claws of fea: :icleo his slin as oouLi Legan io
ove:iale hin.
is ioo Lig a :isl, he saio, shaling his heao.
Bui Pinlie was clea:ly oone ialling. She g:owleo
ano lungeo fo: Hoe:, wilo-eyeo, sinling he: ea:ly
liiile fangs inio ihe ii of his ea:.
Hoe: howleo in agony as Pinlie je:leo away,
g:iing a si:i of ienoe: slin in he: clencheo ieeih.
The ain was Llinoing, ano Hoe:s fu:y igniieo.
He leaeo iowa:o his sisie: even as ihe iece of his
esh siill oangleo f:on he: ieeih. He aiiacleo he:
exacily as she hao hin, Liiing oown viciously on he:
ea: ano yanling ha:o, naining he: jusi as she hao
hin. Hoe: suiie:eo, al:eaoy sicl f:on ihe vile
iasie of Llooo ano slin in his nouih ano f:on ihe
lnowleoge of whai he hao oone.
Voulo he have aologizeo? Voulo he have
Llaneo his violeni aci on ihe ain ano fea: ano
so::ow ihai was ih:eaiening io ove:wheln hin?
Voulo he have Leggeo his sisie:s fo:giveness even
as he sai ihe oelicaie inl f:agneni of he: ea: oui
of his nouih?
He woulo neve: lnow.
Because Lefo:e he coulo seal, o: nove, o: even
ihinl, ihe L:iiile yellow heao of ihe L:oon slanneo
oown on ihe counie:, jusi inches f:on whe:e he ano
Pinlie we:e c:oucheo, aniing ano Lleeoing.
OTP_Mouseheart_Int.indd 35 2/14/14 9:13 AM
36
Ve:nin Kee shouieo. Va:ninis Gei oown f:on
ihe:e
Hoe: oioni have io Le iolo iwice. He iool off ai
a :un, his claws :asing againsi ihe snooih su:face
of ihe counie:io. He senseo Pinlie ai his heels. As
one, ihey s:ang fo: ihe ihicl eleci:ical caLle, half
scane:ing, half slioing oown io whe:e ii enoeo ai a
soclei nea: ihe LaseLoa:o.
Hoe: juneo ihe sho:i oisiance f:on ihe co:o io
ihe oo:. Iow ihai ihe L:oon ousi hao seiileo, he
hao a clea: view of ihe oen ooo:. Sunnoning his
cou:age, he s:inieo fo: ii, only vaguely awa:e of ihe
noiionless Looies of ihe cagenaies ihai liiie:eo his
aih. His eyes sea:cheo oese:aiely fo: Pu, Lui he
oioni sy hin anywhe:e.
Pinlie was close, :unning jusi Lehino hin. Go
she c:ieo, he: L:eaih hoi on his haunches.
Towa:o ihe ooo:.
Towa:o ihe oa:l.
Towa:o ihe :ain.
Towa:o ihe wo:lo.
Hoe: :an, ihe only souno in his :uineo ea: ihe
sc:aing of his claws on ihe ceneni oo:. The only
ihoughi in his heao.
Escape!
They we:e close, so close. . . . Hoe: coulo feel ihe
oan, cool ai: swi:ling in f:on ihe si:eei.
OTP_Mouseheart_Int.indd 36 2/14/14 9:13 AM
37
Ve:nin Kee shouieo. Va:ninis Gei oown f:on
ihe:e
Hoe: oioni have io Le iolo iwice. He iool off ai
a :un, his claws :asing againsi ihe snooih su:face
of ihe counie:io. He senseo Pinlie ai his heels. As
one, ihey s:ang fo: ihe ihicl eleci:ical caLle, half
scane:ing, half slioing oown io whe:e ii enoeo ai a
soclei nea: ihe LaseLoa:o.
Hoe: juneo ihe sho:i oisiance f:on ihe co:o io
ihe oo:. Iow ihai ihe L:oon ousi hao seiileo, he
hao a clea: view of ihe oen ooo:. Sunnoning his
cou:age, he s:inieo fo: ii, only vaguely awa:e of ihe
noiionless Looies of ihe cagenaies ihai liiie:eo his
aih. His eyes sea:cheo oese:aiely fo: Pu, Lui he
oioni sy hin anywhe:e.
Pinlie was close, :unning jusi Lehino hin. Go
she c:ieo, he: L:eaih hoi on his haunches.
Towa:o ihe ooo:.
Towa:o ihe oa:l.
Towa:o ihe :ain.
Towa:o ihe wo:lo.
Hoe: :an, ihe only souno in his :uineo ea: ihe
sc:aing of his claws on ihe ceneni oo:. The only
ihoughi in his heao.
Escape!
They we:e close, so close. . . . Hoe: coulo feel ihe
oan, cool ai: swi:ling in f:on ihe si:eei.
OTP_Mouseheart_Int.indd 37 2/14/14 9:13 AM
38
Kee was :ighi ihe:e, sioning iowa:o ihe ooo:,
:eaoy io slan ii closeo ano locl ihen insioe fo:eve:.
Bui Hoe: lei ihai na::ow oening in his sighis,
ihe now-silenceo Lell lay :usiy ano fo:goiien on ihe
oo:.
Hea:i :acing, nuscles Lu:ning, Hoe: ui his heao
oown ano aineo fo: ihe slice of g:ay oaylighi visiLle
ih:ough ihe oening, ihe L:each ihai sea:aieo in
f:on oui, conneneni f:on f:eeoon, living f:on . . .
ll ieach you io :un f:on ne, Kee c:ieo, his hano
:eaching fo: ihe ooo:.
Behino Hoe:, Pinlie wheezeo ano g:unieo Lui
nanageo io lee u.
They we:e nea:ly ih:ough
Kee lei oui a nighiy g:oan, ioo laie, he slanneo
ihe ooo:. The fo:ce of ii :oelleo Hoe: ano his
sisie: fo:wa:o inio ihe :ainsio:n.
They we:e oui. They hao escaeo inio ihe wo:lo
Leyono.
Ano siill, Hoe: :an. He wanieo as nuch oisiance
Leiween hinself ano ihai ho::iLle :ison as he coulo
gei.
Only once oio he oa:e io lool Lacl ove: his shouloe:.
Kee siooo f:aneo in ihe ooo:way, in ihai L:ighi
:eciangle of lighi, looling ang:y ano oefeaieo. He
was ounoing one si againsi ihe ooo:, even as he
useo ihe oihe: io i ihe ca:oLoa:o sign.
ctcstt.
OTP_Mouseheart_Int.indd 38 2/14/14 9:13 AM
39
Bui he couloni hu:i ihen now. He couloni swee
ihen u ano ih:ow ihen in a Lox o: sell ihen io a
wicleo hunan Loy wiih a :eiile w:iihing a:ouno his
shouloe:s.
Kee was ihe one who was i:aeo now. Kee
was in.
Ano Hoe: ano Pinlie, fo: Leiie: o: fo: wo:se,
we:e out.
Without Pup.
OTP_Mouseheart_Int.indd 39 2/14/14 9:13 AM