“What you did today, young man, was foolish in the extreme. It was foolish and dangerous. It was foolish, dangerous and so brave. I am so proud of you.”
For a moment Kevin thought he as in for another telling off, but the way his Mam ended her short speech cheered him up no end. Looking back he could see that he acted foolishly, but he acted without thinking, and now his mum could see that what he did was brave.
Just after ten o’clock that morning Kevin had gone out to meet his friends in the park. It was almost the end of the summer holidays. Although it wasn’t a sunny day it was warm and the forecaster on the morning news had said that even though it would be cloudy all day that there was no chance of rain. Kevin had gone out in a new pair of light blue shorts and a new Adidas t-shirt his mum had bought for him that previous weekend. He was also wearing his best trainers. As he’d left the house his mum shouted after him to be careful and come back as clean as he left. There was little hope of that she knew.
To get to the park Kevin had to walk alongside the river, over the bridge and through the new estate. He thought about taking his bike to get there more quickly, but decided to walk. He had plenty of time because he had agreed to meet his friends around half past ten and to get there it would probably only take him twenty minutes at the most
As he walked along his mind wandered until he heard a strange noise he couldn’t quite identify as he crossed the bridge over the river. Listening carefully he finally located the source of the noise and looking over the bridge spotted a kitten stuck on a sandbank in the middle of the fairly fast flowing river. Kevin was horrified. He loved animals and couldn’t bear to see them hurt or distressed. The kitten was soaked and looked like it must have fallen into the river somewhere and managed to scrabble up onto the sandbank where it was well and truly stuck.
Kevin looked around to see if he could find a grown-up to help but there was no-one in sight. He knew the kitten wouldn’t survive long on the sandbank. He knew that the river was tidal, and that the level was gradually rising. The tide was coming in and if the kitten wasn’t rescued soon it would be washed away. Rushing across the bridge Kevin decided he had to do something. He ran along the riverbank to the part of the river which was closest to the kitten, and narrow enough for him to get through the water and save the poor thing.
Remembering his mum’s words from when he had left home he knew he would be in trouble if he ruined all his clothes and his trainers so he took off his trainers and socks, and his t-shirt and lowered himself into the water.
“I’m coming,” he told the kitten. “Hold on. I’m going to save you.”
AS he lowered himself into the water he gasped slightly. despite it being the end of the summer the water was still freezing cold. Gulping for air he pushed off from the bank and waded deeper into the water. Little by little he got closer and closer to the kitten, which was now watching him with wide-eyes. Kevin hoped that it wouldn’t be too scared of him and try to get away itself.
As he moved through the water Kevin uttered gentle words of reassurance to the kitten, hoping that it would let him catch it. The water wasn’t moving too fast but the current was strong and on a couple of occasions he missed his footing and slipped. Luckily the water only came up to his waist as he pushed nearer the sandbank and the kitten.
When Kevin had almost reached the sandbank the kitten looked as if it was ready to jump into the water and get away.
“No, I won’t hurt you,” he said. “I’m going to rescue you. here, kitty, kitty.” He made what he thought were comforting sounds.
The kitten was now with his arms reach so he leapt forward and grabbed for it. Unfortunately he missed his footing again and slipped up to his shoulders in the water, but was lucky enough to have caught the back end of the kitten as he did so. He pushed himself upright and pulled the kitten towards him. He held it close to his chest and made sounds that he thought were like purring noises. The kitten was clearly scared, but seemed to have realised Kevin was trying to help it.
Turning round Kevin waded back through the water towards the riverbank. The water was deeper now and pushing him upstream as he tried to hurry towards the riverbank.
All of a sudden Kevin heard someone calling his name. Looking up towards the bank he saw his friend Cameron shouting his name and leaning out over the water to help Kevin get out of the water. Together they worked hard to get Kevin and the kitten out of the water, and succeeded after a lot of struggling.
Kevin picked up his t-shirt and wrapped the kitten in it to dry it a bit and warm it up. He pulled on his shoes on ran home with Cameron at his side. They rushed into the kitchen where Kevin’s mum almost howled when she saw the state of her son, but left her first scolding until they had dried and warmed the kitten, and Kevin had changed his clothes.
When Kevin came back from having a shower and changing his clothes Cameron had gone. This was when his mum told him how dangerous his actions had been, but she also told him that she was very proud of her son the kitten lifesaver.
“Can we keep him, mum?” Kevin asked.
“we’ll need to make sure he doesn’t belong to anyone else first, but if he doesn’t then of course we can keep him. You risked your life to save him, so of course he can stay.”