Francis was born, as were all of his kind, with a fully conscious mind. He knew nearly everything he was likely to know in his entire life. It was his skinny, little kitten body that was the problem. It was uncoordinated and weak. It didn’t work with his mind yet. And it had fleas.
Francis jounced down the dark sidewalk, lit only by a street light here and there. His all black fur made him nearly invisible to humans. He smelled the coming of spring, tiny white flowers in bloom, the rains of winter lessening and the soil warming up. Squirrels ran through the trees and chattering birds fluttered on the ground, picking up twigs for their nests. Insects swarmed around the dim lights high above. Not close enough to catch.
A big dog crossed the street. Francis’ heart leapt as he jumped up on a short concrete ledge, sidled through an iron fence and hid in some thick bushes. He sat hunched up, ready to strike out or flee. The dog wandered past, sniffed the ground and looked through the fence, but moved on.
Francis relaxed a bit. Still, he stayed beneath the bush, watching his surroundings for quite a while. He was a small kitten still. Homeless and hungry. He hadn’t been adopted when his siblings had. Black cats weren’t popular his mom had told him.