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The barn was dark, but a warm and welcoming darkness. The hay piled up for the horses smelled sweet and soft. The barn door was slightly ajar, just enough for a small bedraggled traveler. The horses snorted in their sleep, but the hay was inviting and the traveler was soon asleep, breathing in the fresh-cut smell.

*          *          *

Molly was homesick. She had been at camp for two days, and really missed her parents. She decided to go to the farm, where she could play with the kittens and wouldn't have to talk to anyone. When the first-period bell rang, she walked down the road to the farm, absorbed in self-pity. Outside the barn was a kitten. Molly bent down to pet her and went inside. There were a few people in the barn, holding kittens. Molly spotted a small black-and-white kitten, who wasn't being held. She scooped him up and looked into blue-gray eyes like her own. She petted the kitten's black ears and he shut his eyes in contentment. She had made a friend.

A week later, Molly had made lots of friends in her cabin, but still visited the kitten a lot. He was christened Oreo. She had completely fallen in love with him. Eventually, she called her parents. "Mom, can I pleeeeeease have this kitten?" On the other end of the phone, her mom sighed.

"Maybe." Soon, maybe turned to yes, and Molly was very happy. Camp would end soon, and Molly would spend the rest of her summer in Nova Scotia. At the end of the summer, when she came back from her summer house, they would pick Oreo up. She was prepared to wait as long as it took to get Oreo.

oreo black and white cat
A small black-and-white kitten woke up in his bed of hay

Camp ended, and Molly hugged Oreo, telling him to wait for her. In their summer house in Nova Scotia, Molly patiently waited for the summer to be over. One night, a week from getting Oreo, she had a dream. Oreo had run away from camp. He had forgotten that she was going to adopt him, so he ran away. In her dream, Molly chased after him for a long time. Finally, he remembered who she was, and he stopped. She caught up, and he jumped into her arms.

The following day, a phone call came from camp.

"Hi, Molly. Are you still getting this cat?"

"Oreo? Yep."

"Well, I have some very sad news. Oreo ran away. He's been away for two weeks, but we couldn't find your phone number."

"Oreo?" Molly said, her voice faint. "Th- the black-and-white male? Are you sure?"

"Yes. Can I talk to a parent?" Numbly, Molly handed the phone to her dad and collapsed onto the couch.

*          *          *

A small black-and-white kitten woke up in his bed of hay. He was quite big now, and catching mice. He had just vaguely remembered someone, a girl, who had loved him so much . . . He felt a shadow of remorse at leaving her, but it was soon swallowed up by kitten dreams and thoughts, and he had forgotten it in the morning.

oreo molly ostertag
Molly Ostertag, 12
Milan, New York

oreo evan mistur
Evan Mistur, 13
Troy, New York