When Shari brings the injured white cat home from the park, she knows she has to keep it hidden from her nasty stepmother. But when the cat is discovered, something incredible happens – something that will change four lives forever.
Shari went to the park after school as she usually did. It was easier to do her homework there than it was at home. No Helen yelling at her or Davey sticking close beside her. She felt guilty about her younger brother but he’d finally worked out his own escape plan.
Sometimes he came in later than she did.
She didn’t see the cat at first. She always chose the same bench, the one backing on to the leafy green hedge which bordered half of the park. It half-shaded the bench against the summer sun – and made it easy to pick out the bright white ball of fur pushed half-into the leaves.
Shari crouched beside the bench. ‘Hello, who are you?’ She liked cats. When Dad was alive they’d had three, but after he died Helen had given the cats to the pound. Shari and Davey tried to stop her and that was the first time Helen hit Shari.
It hadn’t been the last.
Shari knew better than to touch the cat, but she did put her hand close enough to its nose that it could sniff her if it chose. It did, then humped itself slowly to its feet and limped out from its hiding place.
Shari pulled her breath in sharply. The cat was hurt. Even through its long hair she could see the slash along its leg. Blood matted the fur and caked the wound.