La Bolsa De Basura
Frenó en seco en cuanto lo vio. La enorme puerta del camión se había abierto y de ella, un brazo musculoso arrojó una gran bolsa de basura negra.
La bolsa se movió sobre la carretera.
Había algo dentro, algo vivo.
Su furgoneta se salió de la carretera al esquivar la bolsa.
Sus dedos se apretaron contra el volante y sus dientes rechinaron.
La furgoneta se detuvo con problemas, lanzando al aire agua de lluvia, barro y briznas de hierba. Salió corriendo hacia la bolsa que había en la carretera. Se quedó sin aliento cuando vio lo que había dentro.
Se suponía que Grace Cunningham pasaría aquella lluviosa tarde de lunes en la cama, curándose de una migraña que le partía la cabeza y de una gripe.
Después de un largo fin de semana visitando a unos amigos de la universidad en el norte del estado de Wyoming, regresó a su casa en Cheyenne, dispuesta a empezar una nueva semana.
No tenía ni idea de que su vida estaba a punto de dar un giro drástico.
Contraer la gripe era lo último en lo que pensaba Grace en su viaje de vuelta a casa.
Pero una tormenta había devorado su ciudad, dispuesta a arruinarle la semana.
Antes de que se diera cuenta, tenía secreción nasal y fiebre y apenas podía retener la comida. Debería haber sabido que todo esto la estaba llevando a alguna parte.
Una Vida Sencilla
Grace siempre había llevado una vida sencilla.
A los treinta años, aún no había formado su propia familia y seguía buscando pareja, ansiosa por encontrar al amor de su vida.
Trabajaba como contable y vivía sola en un modesto apartamento a las afueras de la ciudad. Pero al final de esa semana, todo lo que creía conocer se pondría patas arriba.
Un Día Ideal
Para Grace, un día perfecto en el trabajo solía consistir en ayudar a sus jefes a tomar decisiones financieras acertadas controlando y corrigiendo las finanzas de la empresa.
Su puesto exigía mucho contacto directo con sus jefes.
Así que cuando le dio la gripe, sabía que no se quedaría mucho tiempo en la oficina.
Ir A Trabajar
Grace se presentó temprano por la mañana, como de costumbre, a pesar de estar delirando y bajo una fuerte medicación.
El médico le había asegurado que volvería a la normalidad por la mañana, pero no fue así.
Con el bolso y los documentos a cuestas, entró en la oficina. A mediodía, su jefe ya se había dado cuenta de que no se encontraba bien. Así que no se sorprendió cuando le pidió que se tomara el resto del día y de la semana libre.
Grace trató de defenderse, diciendo que era lo suficientemente fuerte como para trabajar.
Pero su jefe insistió en que se tomara un tiempo para recuperarse.
Recogió sus cosas y se subió a la furgoneta, ansiosa por llegar a casa. Podía ver una película o leer una novela, cualquier cosa para pasar el rato. Por ahora, sólo necesitaba llegar a su casa.
Preparándose Para Un Largo Viaje
La lluvia arreciaba cuando Grace se subió a la furgoneta.
Su casa estaba a una hora de su lugar de trabajo, así que pasaría aún más tiempo en la carretera debido a su estado y al fuerte aguacero.
Encendió el calentador de asiento y la radio, deseosa de hacer el viaje lo más agradable posible. No había necesidad de apresurarse.
Grace llevaba treinta minutos en la carretera cuando se encendió la luz del depósito.
Como un reloj, se detuvo en la gasolinera más cercana.
La lluvia seguía golpeando el tramo de asfalto vacío ante ella. La gasolinera también estaba desierta, salvo por un camión de mercancías. Aunque al principio Grace no le dio mucha importancia al enorme vehículo, algo le decía que no lo perdiera de vista.
Grace salió de su furgoneta y se dirigió rápidamente al surtidor de gasolina, ansiosa por escapar de la lluvia.
Todavía estaba llenando el depósito cuando un hombre corpulento y barbudo salió del camión.
La miró brevemente antes de entrar en la tienda anexa a la gasolinera. Aun así, Grace no se dio cuenta de que algo no iba bien. No tardaría en llamar a las autoridades.
Dentro De La Gasolinera
Llenó el depósito y se apresuró a entrar para pagar la cuenta. Y fue entonces cuando lo vio. El hombre estaba comprando bolsas de basura, que sostenía en una mano.
En la otra mano llevaba bocadillos, la mayoría destinados a los niños. Este detalle le pareció extraño a Grace.
Pero nunca le había gustado meterse en los asuntos de los demás. Tal vez el hombre tenía niños en casa y necesitaba comprar algunas provisiones para el hogar. Si Grace supiera lo que estaba pasando…
De Vuelta A La Carretera
Grace pagó la gasolina y se apresuró a salir de la tienda. Subió a su furgoneta y volvió a la carretera.
Seguía conduciendo despacio, escuchando la radio mientras llovía a cántaros.
Al cabo de unos diez minutos, un camión grande tocó la bocina detrás de ella. El sonido fue muy fuerte y Grace dio un respingo en el asiento. El camión volvió a tocar la bocina y Grace supo que estaba en apuros.
Fuera De Mi Camino
Cambió de carril, pensando que estaba bloqueando al conductor.
Pero él volvió a acercarse por detrás, tocando el claxon y pisando el acelerador.
El camión rugió y avanzó, el sonido desgarró a Grace. “¿Qué problema tienes?”, gritó a pesar de que el conductor no podía oírla. Apretó el claxon, preguntándose qué estaba pasando.
Furia En La Carretera
A Grace nunca le había gustado enfadarse en la carretera. Pero a veces, las cosas pueden ser realmente irritantes.
Ella no podía entender por qué el hombre no podía simplemente conducir a su alrededor.
Ambos carriles estaban despejados, con nada más que asfalto interminable y árboles atrapados por la lluvia mirándoles fijamente. ¿Intentaba infundirle miedo? Lo había visto de niña en una película de terror. Pero su objetivo era mucho peor.
Dar La Vuelta
Pero Grace no se doblegaría ante la presión.
Volvió a apretar el claxon y bajó la ventanilla, saludando al hombre. Sacó la cabeza de la furgoneta para verle.
Lo que vio la aterrorizó. Pero no era tan malo como lo que estaba a punto de ocurrirle a ella. ¿Sería Grace capaz de superar esto?
¡Da La Vuelta!
“¿Puede dar la vuelta, por favor?”, gritó, cerrando la ventanilla.
Pero el hombre no aceptó la oferta. Siguió tocándole el claxon.
El hombre era increíblemente persistente, y Grace no entendía por qué. Pero la situación se estaba volviendo peligrosa y ella no estaba dispuesta a correr ningún riesgo. Sólo había una cosa que Grace podía hacer para garantizar su seguridad.
Una Parada Necesaria
Grace apartó su vehículo a un lado de la carretera, derrapando por el barro hasta que se detuvo.
El camión pasó a su lado, arrojando agua de lluvia sobre sus ventanillas.
Grace no podía creer lo grosero que era el conductor. No podía creer que arriesgara la vida de la gente de esa manera. Pero estaba a punto de descubrir que hacía algo más que eso.
Grace se mordió un par de palabrotas mientras la ira se apoderaba de ella. ¿Cómo podía haber gente tan desconsiderada?
Respiró hondo para despejarse, sin saber que aquello no había hecho más que empezar.
El conductor que la había sacado de la carretera no había terminado con sus payasadas. Podría soportar lo que se vería obligada a afrontar a continuación?
De Vuelta A La Carretera
Grace arrancó la furgoneta y se adentró en la autopista.
Ya había pasado dos horas en la carretera y estaba demasiado enfadada para seguir conduciendo despacio.
Pero aún controlaba sus sentidos. Y con la velocidad a la que conducía la gente, tendría que tener mucho cuidado. De lo contrario, podría verse involucrada en otra situación peligrosa.
Grace kept to the road rules, ensuring she didn’t exceed the speed limit.
She didn’t think she’d see the truck again when she spied its bright red trailer out of nowhere in the distance.
Her heart started slamming against her chest as she saw the distinct bumper sticker of the man who forced her off the road. She could sense that trouble lay ahead, and that feeling wasn’t wrong.
The rage that had caused her to drive to the side of the road flared within her once more.
But Grace wouldn’t let it take over again.
She had a lot to look forward to, and she wasn’t going to let her night get ruined by a bad driver. Little did she know that the truck driver had yet another trick up his sleeve.
A Warm, Peaceful Night
Grace was almost home, and that’s all that mattered.
She’d already decided on the romantic comedy to watch and the type of soup to make.
All she wanted was a warm, peaceful night. But her night would take a turn she wouldn’t expect, and it would ruin all her plans. Would it be to her detriment?
Time For Some Payback
Grace followed the truck steadily, realizing the driver was driving slower than her earlier.
She considered blaring her horn at him as payback but thought against it.
Two wrongs never make a right. Grace knew that all too well. And there was no way she was going to have this man back on her case. She had just gotten rid of him.
Waiting For The Right Moment
She would drive behind him until she got a chance to overtake him.
Or he would take a different exit from her. Somehow, they would pass each other and not give it a second thought.
At least, that was what Grace thought. But her assumption was wrong. She was still lost in her head when she saw it.
He Throws It Out
Grace watched on as the driver threw something large and black into the roadside mud before flooring his gas.
His truck’s engine whined and groaned, the exhausts blowing out thick black smoke.
Once again, Grace was shocked by what the driver did. But this time, she was in for a bigger surprise. It was something she simply couldn’t walk away from.
What Was It?
Grace’s sight was glued to the trash bag the man had thrown away.
It seemed partly full and tightly tied at the top, lying limp in the middle of the road.
She couldn’t help but wonder what was inside it. Was it simply the trash he collected along the way? Or was there something else in it?
The trucker sped up immediately, leaving the bag on the road.
Grace almost ran it over before she realized it was moving.
What on earth was going on? Did the trucker really just throw a living being out of his window? Or was Grace just imagining things? Could she take the risk by just driving away?
Checking It Out
Grace leaned toward her windshield, thinking she’d imagined it.
But the bag moved again as if something or someone was trapped inside, unable to escape.
She rubbed her eyes, unsure of what she was seeing. Has the bag really moved again? She was very unsure of herself since she was feeling so ill. But she couldn’t take the risk.
Thinking It Over
Grace’s mind immediately flew to the convenience store.
She recalled seeing the man pay for trash bags and children’s snacks when she walked in to settle her bill.
That had her heart slamming even harder. If she had to put two and two together, she would come to conclusions she would never want to come up with.
There Was Something About Him
There had been an air of dread around the man and his truck.
Terror climbed up Grace’s spine as reality dawned on her. She couldn’t step on her brakes fast enough.
What if it really was a child? What if whatever it was that was in that bag was injured? What if the man had committed a crime?
Don’t Hit It
Her van veered off the road as she swerved to avoid the bag.
Her fingers constricted around her steering wheel, her teeth gritting as she held on for dear life.
The move she pulled nearly had her losing control of her van. She nearly crashed in an attempt to avoid hitting the bag. But deep down, she knew the move was worth it.
Her vehicle came to a troubled stop, throwing rainwater, mud, and blades of grass into the chilly air.
Grace was in a state of panic, and she had to take a few deep breaths to calm herself down before she could act.
When she recovered her equilibrium, she rushed out of the car, not even bothering to close her door. Her sight was keen on the trash bag on the road.
Was It The Right Choice?
The bag moved again, and Grace stepped back. She hadn’t imagined it before.
Something or someone was truly trapped inside it.
She had the impression of that from the very beginning, but now that she saw it up close, she was afraid. Had she made the right decision by pulling over the way she did?
What was it that was in the bag? What had the man thrown out of his window? Grace looked around.
Nothing but trees surrounded her.
Even the truck that had caused the ruckus had disappeared into the distance, its engine’s roar a fading echo in Grace’s mind. So, this wasn’t a package meant to be picked up by someone.
Grace approached the bag, and when it moved again, she broke into a sprint to help free what was inside.
Her mind raced with questions about what it could be.
But at that moment, the source of the movement wasn’t really her biggest concern. All she wanted to do was get whatever it was out of the bag and see if it was okay or not.
Not Too Many Options
Grace needed to stay focused. What if whatever was inside the bag was a dangerous animal?
What if she was in danger and needed to return to her car and drive off? There was only one way to find out.
Grace’s hands were shaking as she tried to reach out. But before she could even touch the bag, she changed her mind. She wasn’t willing to risk getting bitten.
What Is It?
Grace bit back her fear and gathered enough courage to poke the bag with her foot.
It moved and stopped abruptly as if whatever or whoever was inside was just as scared as she was.
That comforted Grace a little. She didn’t know why, but it did, and that gave her the courage to get a little closer.
As Calm As Possible
“Hello,” Grace called out in a soft voice. What if the man had trapped a toddler in the bag, keen to get rid of them?
It was already evening, and most cars zooming down the road wouldn’t stop to check what was inside the bag.
They would run it over. If her suspicions were correct, it could have a tragic end.
Opening The Bag
With her heart pounding the confines of her ears, Grace grabbed the ropes tying the bag shut.
She took a deep breath and pulled them open.
The air was knocked from her lungs as her eyes landed on the content. It was something she never wanted to see. But she was in that position now, and there was no turning back.
Grace’s breath caught as she stared at what was inside.
“Oh lord,” she said, her eyes tearing as she took in the scene in front of her.
How could someone do such a thing? How could a person possibly be so cruel? Those babies didn’t deserve to be treated in such a way. No one did.
Inside the bag were five kittens. But sadly, only three of them were alive.
They meowed up at Grace with big eyes, trying to fight their way out of the bag.
The sight was a crushing one, especially for someone who loved animals as much as Grace did. She wanted to help the poor critters. She really did. But could she?
The Middle Of Nowhere
Grace looked around again. She was still alone in the middle of the road, with no one to claim the little fur balls of joy.
She really hoped that someone would take responsibility for this.
But it was clear that she was the only one who could. At that point in time, there was only one thing she could do.
The Start Of A Rollercoaster Ride
Grace took the kittens with her, carrying them carefully as she made her way to her van.
She got them all snug in the back seat and was about to leave when she looked back at the bag.
Before she could drive off, she had to do something. Being as gentle as she could, she buried the two that didn’t make it in the woods by the roadside.
Finally Getting Home
After that, Grace drove home with the kittens. She was fully aware that she’d need to find them a home as soon as possible.
But she had no idea what she’d gotten herself into.
Those kittens had not only turned her life upside down once. They would keep her on an emotional rollercoaster that could go either way.
Not So Easy
As soon as Grace got home, she realized that having so many kittens around wasn’t going to be easy.
She had no pets, so she had nothing to feed them.
Plus, they were so tiny, she wasn’t sure whether or not they could eat solid food. That was when she truly realized that the task ahead of her would be far from easy.
Trying To Find Them Homes
Grace got up early the next morning. She had a whole list of things to get through, and all of them revolved around the kittens.
She needed to get them food, and after that, she needed to find them homes.
But being as inexperienced as she was, she didn’t realize that her next problem would revolve around getting rid of them.
They Were Too Small
Any person who had to nurse kittens during their life would know that kittens need to be at least ten weeks old before they can safely be removed from the comfort of their mothers.
These kittens were nowhere near that mark.
And even though Grace didn’t have a choice but to take them in, not many people were willing to deal with the risks involved.
Grace did everything she thought was right. She took the kittens to the vet, who gave them their shots and did a few thorough checks on them.
She was concerned about the fall and the damage it might’ve caused.
And just like with humans, the symptoms of certain injuries were easily masked. Was that the case with the kittens?
They Were Fine
The vet assured Grace that the kittens were perfectly fine, which was a miracle considering what they had gone through.
But that wasn’t all she found.
After doing a DNA test, the vet discovered that the kittens were Main Coons, a very expensive breed to just throw out a truck window. But that also meant getting rid of them would be much harder.
What To Do?
In a moment of panic, Grace broke down. She had no idea what to do and turned to the vet for advice.
She carefully listened as the vet explained why finding a home for her kittens would be difficult.
Each piece of information made her doubt herself even more, and by the end, she started wondering if she would have been better off not rescuing the little critters.
Love And Attention
“Main Coons are among the biggest domestic cats in the world, the vet said with his eyes glued on the litter of kittens.
“They need a lot of love and attention to raise.
He informed Grace that someone would need to look after the kittens until they were mature enough to be rehomed. She also suggested that Grace try the local animal shelter. Maybe they could take the kittens off her hands.
The Local Shelter
After leaving the vet, Grace stopped at the local animal shelter, but they had even more bad news for her.
She explained her situation, stating that she wasn’t equipt to raise the breed of kittens she had on her hands.
But even though the shelter listened carefully and agreed that she couldn’t possibly take care of the kittens, they refused to take them. But the bad news didn’t stop there.
What She Needed
The shelter informed Grace that she’d need unique kinds of food, bedding, and grooming items specific to Main Coons.
Since the species was rare and highly sought after, these items would cost a pretty penny.
She’d also need to make several appointments with a specialized doctor to ensure her cats were healthy. Grace was devastated.
They Didn’t Have Space
Grace was on the verge of tears when the shelter staff explained that they didn’t have the space to take in any more felines.
Her heart broke as she listened to everything she needed to do to care for the kittens.
Yet again, she wondered if saving them had been the right thing. She’d never questioned herself as much as she did now.
It’s All Full
As she walked out of the shelter, she realized that they had not lied to her.
Every cage she walked by was filled to the brim with animals, from cats and dogs to rabbits and iguanas.
The manager told her that they hadn’t had any adoptions in months. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to help. They couldn’t afford to do so at the time.
So Grace had no choice but to take the kittens back home and care for them to the best of her abilities.
She checked her bank account first, ensuring she had money to get a few supplies for the cat.
She was scared of what she’d gotten herself into. But she knew giving up wasn’t in the cards for her. Luckily, the vet advised her what kittens their age needed, and she got everything on her way home.
Straight To The Store
Bundling up the information from the vet and the shelter, Grace was able to make a few purchases that would assist her in taking care of the kittens.
From cat food and grooming supplies to mats and toys, she got everything any cat lady should have for their babies.
But she was still concerned. She wasn’t confident in her abilities and had no idea what she would do once the kittens were mature enough to leave.
Over The Next Few Weeks
Grace took the next few weeks one day at a time, and she soon discovered that taking care of the little critters wasn’t as complicated as she thought it would be.
Yes, it was tiring to run after each kitten, trying to feed, wash, or groom it, but it wasn’t long before things started to fall into place.
The once chaotic kittens were slowly calming down, showing Grace she’d made the right choice in saving them.
A Good Routine
They pretty much slept for the majority of the day, and when they woke up, all they wanted to do was eat and cuddle.
She bathed and groomed them, then poured some wet food for their lunch.
Later, she’d give them dry food and cuddle with them while watching a movie or working from her laptop. Slowly and slowly, her life was returning to normal.
One Stole Her Heart
But there was one kitten who stood out above the rest.
With his shiny silver fur and his playful personality, he managed to steal Grace’s heart.
He was energetic, always leading his siblings to trouble. Whenever something went wrong, like utensils falling in the kitchen at 3 am, Grace could bet he was at the forefront.
Just Keep Him
It had gotten to the point where she didn’t want to give him up. And after some careful consideration, she decided that keeping one of them would do no harm.
The chaos the cat brought was well contrasted by how loving he was. He was the first to wrap himself around Grace’s leg whenever she showed up at work and the first to finish his food and come cuddle with her on the couch.
It was as if she’d found her soulmate.
Grace called the kitten Jimmy after her late father.
His antics often reminded her of the man who had raised her, and she thought it would be a fitting tribute.
Jimmy even liked old Western movies, which Grace’s dad adored. He’d settled down whenever the dry orange landscapes of the Wild West would paint themselves on the screen, just as her dad used to do.
A Hard Decision To Make
But was Grace really cut out to be a cat mom? She adored animals, particularly cats.
However, her work took up most of her time, and she was hardly ever home.
To add to this, the cats were growing bigger by the day. They were almost the size of normal cats now, and she knew they’d scare off any sitter she brought to watch over them. But what could she do?
He Stole Her Heart
Grace didn’t care if she was fit for it or not. She adored Little Jimmy and knew she would never be able to part with him.
She was already looking to fix her spare room for him, anticipating how huge he would be when he finally grew into an adult cat.
Her only hope was that she’d be able to find good homes for his siblings.
You Can Do It!
Plus, she had managed to balance her job and the kittens for so long already.
She was confident she could do the same for the little fluff ball she had come to adore.
She started working on the room at her earliest convenience, and just like everything else involving the kittens, it wasn’t cheap. But Grace wasn’t going to give up now.
Finding Them Homes
The eight weeks the kittens needed to mature had finally passed, and it was time for Grace to say her goodbyes.
The kittens were twice the size of normal cats, with the vet telling Grace they would get bigger.
She posted an ad in the local newspaper stating that she had a few Main Coon kittens that needed good homes.
It didn’t take long before the ad gained some traction.
The responses came pouring in, with many pet lovers saying they were in the market for Main Coon kittens.
Some even wanted to take Jimmy, but Grace wouldn’t allow it. Before long, all the kittens save for Jimmy were gone, and Grace’s home was silent once more.
All’s Well That Ends Well
As she sat down on the couch that night, she helped Little Jimmy onto her lap.
The kitten purred in delight, earning a smile.
He was so large she could barely carry him for an hour straight. He was also burning through his cat food, which always made Grace smile. Sitting here with him, she couldn’t help but think.
She Made The Right Choice
Her mind recalled everything she’d been through, from the day she found the kittens all those weeks ago to now. She remembered how fearful she was when she discovered she’d have to raise them.
As she looked down at the little guy, she realized that none of that would’ve happened if she didn’t decide to stop so she could find out what was in the bag.
To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.