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Cat creeping.

Dog barking.

Snoring coming from Pedre's room.

The rustle from behind the bushes...

Wait! The rustle from behind the bushes! What is that!? Whoa! Oh-oh-noooooooooooooo!

I wake up in a sudden rush, with sweat dripping from my face.

Oh, thank god for that. It was only a dream.

I look over at my alarm clock. 2:47. Just great! Uh, this is sooooo annoying!

My name? Mischa Ruba.

My looks? Tanned skin, brown eyes, light brown/dark blonde hair, middle height, thinnish, etc...

My age? Just turned 12.

My location? Newcastle, Australia.

My style? Funky, trendy, modern, ORIGINAL! And I love to make my own clothes through knitting and designing.

I slowly drift off to sleep...zzzzzzzzz.

So, back to my nightmare. I don't really want to, but I sort of have to.

So, where was I? Oh yeah, the rustle from the bushes...

I turn around suddenly, and there it is. What is it? All I can see is these two big, bulgy eyes, staring at me. It sighs loudly. But, this isn't really a sigh; it's sort of like the noise a bull makes when it's in an arena, ready to charge at the matador.

There is another rustle, and I step back.

Someone calls my name. "Mischa, Mischa, MISCHA!" It sounds like it's coming from the bushes, but I don't take my chances with stepping closer.

Instead, I stare into the eyes and my feet are safely and securely glued to the concrete manhole I'm standing on.

Another rustle, this time followed by something leaping out from the bush.

It's a slipper dog. You know, the ones that are white and you could wear them as slippers...

Anyway, I bend down to touch it. Pat me, it seems to say.

"Good dog! Ooh, you are so cute!" I get down on my hands and knees and look at the collar around its neck. "Chibi Cary! Ooh, that rocks!"

Suddenly there is a zap, like lightning just struck the poor dog, even though the only thing in the night sky is the stars.

It is now a Jack Russell. I look at the tag on this one. "Come here, Kaity! That's too cute!"

The same zapping happens, except it is now a cat, fluffy, black, and with a tiny, tiny four-pointed star on its head. Even with a name like Jol, this cat is cute.

I head on down to D-Lane, the café down near the beach. Bree is there. That's her nickname, but no one actually calls her by her first name.

"Hey, Bree!" Why is she here?

"Oh, Mischa, how are you? Haven't seen Rayin for a while either..." She trails off a bit.

"Fine, what about you? You look like you're rich!"

"I am! I just had a big break in my music! Our band just took off!"

"Oh, that's great!!"

"Whose is the cat?" She looks and motions to Jol.

"No idea. Appeared out of nowhere, freaky cat this one."

"What happened to your leg? It's dripping with blood!" She has a grossed-out look on her face.

I reply slowly. "The cat. I didn't realise it was bleeding so hard."

"Come out the back, and we'll clean you up."

"How? How can you take me out the back, Bree?"

"Don't you remember, Mischa? My Uncle Dan owns this place. God, is that how long it's been?"

"Yeah. Too long."

We walk out the back, into the café kitchen part. Dan is standing at the window, watching, waiting for something.

"Dan?" Bree asks quietly.

"Ahh, Bree! You've come to see me and brought, oh, who is this one?"

"Dan, you don't remember? Mischa! Mischa Ruba! The little one who was always hanging around with the boys! It's me Dan! Mischa!" I answer and hurry over to hug Dan.

"Ahh. Mischa! How could I forget?" He wraps his arms around me and we laugh.

"Mischa! Your leg! That's what we came for, Dan. Mischa's mystery cat clawed her."

"Mystery cat?"

"Yeah, its name is Jol and I found it."

"Come on, let me clean that." He gets out the stuff and I wince at the thought of it. I hate this part.

Bree looks at me, almost as if she is feeling my pain. Then her expression changes. This one sort of says, "I used to know you."

I use my ESP and send her a quick message: "People change, Bree."

She nods. I take this as a sign she got the message.

"There you go Mischa, all done now girl. I hope it doesn't hurt too much."

"No, Dan. Thanks. It feels better. I suppose I better get going." I look at him, and he shakes his head furiously.

"No, no no! Look at you! You must spend a night here, at least 'til that thing heals." Dan is almost yelling now, but joyously, not out of anger. "Nik, come here and tell the girl she cannot leave now! Not now—look at the leg."

Nik emerges, Dan's brother, and he looks me up and down. "Do I know you?" His always-pink cheeks seem even redder this time. Nothing unusual for Nik though.

Mischa. Yes, Mischa Ruba. You do know me." I look at him with the old expression I made all the time. "Rayin and I used to be best friends. The three best friends, all the same age, all doing Tae Kwon Do together."

"Ahh! You are Kung Fu Mischa!"

"Yes! Yes! That's me. Oh, Nik, what happened to Carley, do you know?" Kung Fu Mischa was my old nickname. Back in the primary school days...

When they convince me to stay, I go upstairs with them, leaving half my dinner. Jol eats the fish and drinks the milk he is offered. I'm not really hungry, but you can't go to bed without eating.

Nik leads me into a room with two single beds. He tells me there should be more pillows in the cupboard and if I want anything just to give him a call. He'll probably be up with Dan cleaning and doing paperwork all night, so it won't be any bother. I offer to help, but he refuses, telling me I have to rest.

Jol lays on the end of the bed, purring softly in his sleep.

I sort of drift off to sleep. I think I wake up, but when I look around, there is the flowery wallpaper, the two single beds, and Jol on the end of the bed.

I drift off again, realising I am still at D-Lane, but with a jolt I sit up again, panting heavily.

I look around, this time recognizing the butterfly bedspread, the white desk, and the bedside table of my room. This time I'm not dreaming; I am actually awake.

I have a sudden feeling something isn't right, and pull back the covers. I look down at my leg, and sure enough, there are scratches. Oh, these sting like hell.

I hear a noise and lay back down into my bed with the cover up under my chin. There is Jol. That cat.

I scream.

by Amy, 12, New South Wales, Australia

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