A soft push to the brakes made the old red L300 slow down and gently roll onto the earth covered patch on the side of the road. The van came to a halt and the key was turned, the driver’s door opened.
Crisp ocean air hit the blonde’s face. It was mid december, a saturday. They’d finally hit a good weather streak, enjoying an entire week of calm, clear skies. Sure it had been cold….very cold. But out of the three of them the car had been the most displeased with that.
The woman turned around, reaching for the cars passenger door, and was greeted with two curious hazel eyes staring out of the window. She smiled.
“Aright hun, let’s have a nice long walk! It feels like ages we had one” With that she opened the door, sliding it to the side till’ it clicked in place.
The two eyes which belonged to a very furry male cat moved up to the blonde, eager to jump out of the car. Purring.
“Go on” she said “Start ahead I’ll catch up” He jumped out and jogged to his usual spot, dragging his orange leash behind him.
“Alright….camera, phone- got that- car keys. Don’t need to lock. And water.” She stopped rummaging in the backseat and closed the door.
“Ha, figures he would go down there” she said after spotting the end of the leash.
Titus stepped down the slope and jumped over the slow flowing creek. It had been a long time. His human had tried to drag him out when there was this… snow… everywhere. He wouldn’t have any of that and promptly returned to the door each time she’d put him out. As if I’d tolerate getting my feet wet he thought as he started to play with the water.
“”Ooh no mom you can’t put me out in the snow. I’ll get WET!” Mhmm, yeah, yet I see you practically walking in the water here” the blonde mumbled bemused as she found the orange cat. She made her way down to his side and started to walk along the water.
To her right she could see the ocean and the main island, Hitra. The field which laid between the two and the ocean was grey and cold, ground still partly frozen. Small fog clouds crept their way between the few trees and bushes. It might still be a bit early for adventures, but mornings were her favourites…well, except for the waking up part.
Darn human can’t stay in eye’s distance. Why did she have to be so fast, can’t she take some time to look at the twigs and rocks? They are really interesting once you get into it! Oh and the WATER. Just incredible stuff. Titus gave it ten out of ten.
He hurried up, just by a smidge, to catch up to the woman currently stomping her way through a birch thicket.
“Aaand hop!” with a thud she landed on the other side of the creek. Shoes halfway into the mud, thank god for rain boots. Shooting a glance behind her she could see Titus following.
He knew where to go, next up was a small pine forest. She could see it from here, just a short 100m crossing over the field stood –eyeballing it-… seven. Seven huge fir trees. Dark green and with a frosty white coat covering their branches. They grew out of an old WW2 bunker. There were lots of those left in this place.
In 1941 the germans had come to the small island and in just a few moments the place was transformed into a well guarded fort. But as weather and time beats away on the old concrete buildings they lose their sharp edges and imposing demeanor. Now they’re just cool places to hide in from the occasional rain shower. And well, of course, for fir trees to grow in.
Titus hurried across the drenched meadow, his paws getting soaked with each step. He took a short jump over a muddy puddle and landed in front of his destination. The dry and dark forest. His love. He stood at the edge for a moment, looking back at the blonde, still battling through the field. Eh, she’ll catch up. And with that he turned back and headed in.
It was dark and cozy, warmer too. The smell was thicker in here, characterized by the sour soil left from the trees’ needles. Above him agitated wrens called in warning. “Intruder, intruder, go away, go away!!”.
Back at the treeline she just had to listen to the birds to locate her fluffy friend. He’d moved to the other side of the “forest” and sat calmly under a tree. Barely visible if you didn’t know where, or what, to look for. The blonde decided to sit down some distance away. It was nice to join a cat observe. There’s so much missed by just walking past nature.
“Caution, caution, go away!!”
Yeah yeah I’ll be out of here, jeez. Titus yawned and crept out from underneath the thick fir-tree. He walked up to the blonde, gladly taking the strokes along his back and trekked on up a small slope. On top were more of the shallow concrete bunkers that lay scattered around the fields.
She followed Titus up the slope and onto the hilltop. This wasn’t by far the highest place on the island, but the view was nice nonetheless.
To her left the small sea passage lead into open ocean, only the mainlands snow caps following along the side. To her right high mountains could be seen in the far distance. It was the entry to the Trondheimsfjord.
The passage between her island and Hitra was a well used travel route for big freighters and cruise ships. One of which was right on time, the famous “Hurtigruten”, just passing them on its way south.
She looked over to one of the weathered bunkers, only to see the orange leash disappear around the corner.
“Nice” she said, not at all (!), with a sarcastic laugh.
Of course this bunker doesn’t have an entrance, Titus thought as he turned around the second corner only to find a small square indent in the concrete wall. He stepped into it, inspecting and smelling every crook and cranny. One smell was familiar, it was from another cat, he’s encountered it several times out here.
His human called for him calmly as she followed his path around the corner. Going down in a squat she gave him a few pats and scratches before she continued down the hill towards the ocean.
“Comon’ Titus! There’s supposed to be a geocache down there. Let’s go get it” she called behind her, momentarily stopping, making sure he followed. They made their way down the moss-covered slope. At the foot was an overgrown road that led out onto a land tongue surrounded by the sea. Two old bunkers sat there, one barricaded shut while the other was just a round open area. People used it as a campfire spot because of the great wind cover. At the side of the barricaded bunker stood four fir trees which was their designated (by Titus) break spot.
He saw his human turn towards the more open stone formation while looking at her phone. There was nothing there that he was interested in investigating, so he started taking a loop around the other one, with the trees. He liked that one better. There was that other cats’ smell again, this time fresher.
Widening the map on her phone screen did little to clarify where the cache was supposed to be. She’d searched around inside the open bunker area and found nothing. Five minutes later, after checking approx. 56 stones she found a small white box. It was one of those Ikea boxes for giant street crayons. Inside were souvenirs which people had left behind, and a small book to log your find in. She plucked a pen from her pocket and did just that.
What did she find now? He thought as his human bent down and lifted the rocks. Abandoning his patrol around the closed bunker he jogged the small distance between them and came up behind her, giving his human a heartfelt rub along the side.
“ Hi Titus, look we found the cache!” she responded to the soft push on her side. Titus gave a low chirp, yeah he just wants me to move my ass. “Alright let’s go then, where do you wanna head, water or trees?”
Titus looked up at his human who was now standing, looking at him patiently. Slow things those bipeds, not the smartest. But he loved his anyhow. He looked to his right and decided that the big water looked inviting. There was always something new there.
“Water it is” she smiled and followed the cat down to the rocky shore. The whale bones from last time were still there, just a few ribs and a pieces of backbone lying scattered. That was all that gulls and crows had left behind.
To their joy, it was low tide. Even in winter the tidal pools were exciting to explore. Periwinkles were the permanent residents here, and sometimes they’d spot a lost hermit crab which normally dwell deeper in these temperatures. Most algae were gone now, only the pale pink chalk algae covered the bottom of the pools, giving them an almost alien look.
She heard a soft meow and looked up. Titus had perched himself on a boulder and he was staring at her, one paw raised. He meowed again.
“Aaw, are your feet wet? Poor thing” she said with a laugh. “Alright let’s take a break so you can dry up” smiling she urged him to follow into the trees beside the sealed bunker.
He liked this spot, there were no nagging wrens and the view was perfect. He could see most of the beach and a good part of the fields. The warm legs he was currently sitting on moved, his human getting comfy as they both settled down. He lifted his front paw again and started a very much needed grooming session.
Slowly growing a numb butt the blonde looked down at her companion, kneading his chin.
“Hey, you feel done?” she asked the purring cat. “Yeah I think it’s time we head home. Common’ ” she rose from the ground, Titus in her arms. Together they exited the trees.
Titus didn’t seem phased by any of the ducking and crouching, only after trekking up the road a few meters did he jump down from her embrace. She smiled and followed his lead. They would get back to the car eventually and she’ll get to warm up her hands, and her butt. Now she simply enjoyed the adventure of following a cat into an unexplored, all new bush.
End of chapter one