Jake hunkered down behind the glassless window, setting the cup of steaming take-out coffee down beside him. Stakeouts were nothing new, but this one was different. The suspect wasn't human; wasn't a suspect really. It was hard to believe that a hard-nosed, cynical Irish beat cop would go to all this trouble to capture one scruffy, ill-tempered scrap of a kitty cat.
He took a sip of the coffee, cursing under his breath when it burned his tongue. When he'd decided to go ahead with this scheme, he'd rigged a live animal trap from descriptions in a book he'd found in one of the old library buildings. Libraries were one of the first things to go when society broke down, but the books were still there, covered in dust and spider webs.
Bait was easy -- he'd been tossing scraps to the little feline for over six months now and he knew her preferences. Funny little thing, she preferred her meat cooked. Chicken, fried like they used to do it in those fast food places you saw on history shows, would draw her into the cage, and once the trap door shut, he'd have her. A soft thud alerted him and he stilled, his eyes narrowing as he searched the shadows of the deserted warehouse.
The little stray leapt into view from the top of a pile of dusty cartons. Her fur stuck up in unkempt clumps, affirming his decision to capture her for her own good. Once he got her home, he could look after her properly and put a little meat on her scrawny frame. Her attention flicked to the lump of chicken in the trap but she took her time, scouting the area first. Tail lashing back and forth, ears pricked forward on high alert, she stalked the perimeter of the warehouse space.
Jake suppressed a chuckle even as he respected the tiny creature's security precautions. Life had become much tougher after the collapse of the World Economic Council, and this was one of the roughest parts of the city. She might be small, but his soon-to-be little pet was a survivor.
Satisfied there was no imminent danger, the little cat padded toward the makeshift trap, her head tilted quizzically to the side. Probably wondering what this new contraption in her territory was and why it was there. Her nose twitched as she inched forward, stalking the chicken as if it were a mouse.
Jake held his breath as she entered the trap, her attention centered on the food. It seemed like forever before her entire body was inside the cage and the gate slammed down, ensnaring her just as she took the first dainty bite of the prize. Tiny as she was, the feline exploded into a snarling, spitting bundle of pissed-off fur, and Jake chuckled at the display of temper. He guessed she'd weigh less than ten pounds dripping wet, yet she acted as though she thought she were a full-sized tigress.
He unfolded himself from the chair and took another sip of his coffee. Now that she was secured, he wasn't in any hurry to face the little wildcat. Sauntering over to the trap, he stared down at his prize.