Deep inside the cardboard box, Max was having a bad dream. He recoiled in horror as the vet loomed over him with a large syringe in his hand. Oh no, not an injection – he hated having jabs. The cat awoke with a sudden start as he felt something sharp poking his backside. Ow! Twisting his body round, Max heard a loud crack and the pain instantly ceased. The syringe must have broken. He began to yowl in protest, but as he opened his mouth it filled with handfuls of thinly–shredded paper, or at least that’s what it felt like to Max, and it had an unpleasant metallic taste too. Unable to utter a sound, he spat out the choking strands, squirming to free himself from the nest he’d made. And that’s when he remembered where he was.
Pushing his way back up to the surface, he kicked with his back legs in his haste to get out.
‘Not so fast, Buster!’ He felt a small hand gripping one of his back paws. ‘What are you going to do about this first?’
Struggling to break loose, Max thrust his head out through the tangle of tinsel and took a few gulps of air. From downstairs, he heard the distant chimes of Uncle Richard’s grandfather clock and counted as it struck twelve times – it was midnight.
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