"Stuart! Hey, Tanya! What are you kids doing here? Get outta here!"
The children said nothing, but began advancing toward him, still on all fours, still meowing.
Mr. Thomas scanned the neighborhood, looking for a sign that someone else was seeing this, perhaps a parent or older sibling who could round up these creatures. But it was still early, only 5am, and nobody was up and about yet.
Stuart was on his porch now, green eyes glinting up at him. Three more children who he didn’t recognize were close behind him, crawling up the stairs.
Mr. Thomas went back inside his home, and slammed the door behind him.
He was breathing heavily, and the sound of it almost made him laugh. What was he thinking, allowing himself to get frightened by a bunch of third graders? He would go right back out there and tell them to go on home. He would threaten to call their parents, even the ones he didn’t know. That should scare the shenanigans out of them.
But then again...those dead animals. That was pretty unsettling. And there were a LOT of kids out there. Maybe he should call the police. After all, the police were the best ones to handle such things. The police would round up the kids and call their parents, and Mr. Thomas could go back to sleep.
But what would he say if he called the cops? "Help! There are a bunch of little kids playing kitty-cat on my lawn!" It was out of the question.
Besides, he was a teacher, a respected educator, and a grown-ass man. Those kids were gonna listen to him.
He opened the front door once again, only to discover that all of the kid-cats were now crowded on his porch. A few of them had rats in their mouths, long pink gristly tails sticking out of soft little childlike faces. The sight made Mr. Thomas retch.
He waved a hand at the children as he bent over, trying to regain his composure. "Get...go!" He managed through retches.
Tanya crawled between his legs, while Stuart nudged up against his knees. Mr. Thomas toppled to the ground, knocked off balance by their small bodies.
The children pounced on him. One crawled onto his belly, another onto his legs. He immediately sat up, pushing the children off of him, when another child launched itself onto his head, covering his eyes and meowing at the top of his lungs.
"GET OFF!" Mr. Thomas shouted, and as he shouted, a wad of musty, rotten smelling fur was jammed into his mouth. He jabbed it out with his tongue and it fell to the ground with a soft plop. A mole.
He tried to stand, but now all of the children were involved, jumping on him, pushing him, scratching him and meowing.
It didn’t last as long as one might imagine. Before the sun had fully risen, the children were gone. Mr. Thomas’ remains settled on his front porch, scratched and bitten, his mouth full of dead rat.
A neighboring cat stopped by to avail herself of the tasty treat, removing it from Mr. Thomas’ lips. She meowed her thanks to Mr. Thomas for thoughtfully supplying her with such a lovely breakfast.
She curled up on Mr. Thomas’ stomach and purred. She dug in.