The head grounds-man, who happened to be a woman; Mrs. Watson, lived at the entrance to the school grounds.
That area and the land behind it was out of bounds to all students, as were the storage buildings and old barns that were on the last farm that the school had bought decades earlier. It was still a working farm and served several purposes, one of them being a storage place for all of the maintenance equipment for the school grounds.
Erin Nicholson, one of the older students in her final year at the school, learned that one of the cats on the estate had given birth to a litter of kittens. She, and her like-minded friends were determined that they would adopt one of them, but by the time they discovered where the mother cat had hidden them to protect them from such intent young women there was only one left, down from the three she had given birth to, and she moved that one around now to protect it.
They closely watched the mother cat and saw, with some disappointment, that she had hidden her kitten in an adjoining stable by the grounds-man’s house.
Now was their chance. They knew that if they did not grasp this opportunity, that the kitten would soon be able to follow its mother around and that they would never be able to get close to it.
They decided upon a day and a time; Wednesday, their half day, and just after lunch, say 2 pm., but they also had to be flexible about it as much of the stable area was where the ground’s equipment was stored, though it would not be brought in until close to five o’clock when the working day for most of those employees ended. They also knew that Mrs. Watson would not be at home that day with her having to go away for at least the complete day, if not longer.
Knowing that the house and stable were both quiet until about 5 pm, they had the freedom they needed to locate the kitten.
However, nothing was as easy as they had hoped, and despite there being five of them, investigating every hiding place they thought might exist, proved challenging.
There was nothing at ground level, but of course it wouldn’t be hidden there. Cats always sought a high and inaccessible place to hide their kittens away. It took the girls all of ten minutes of careful searching to discover that nest, and it needed some athleticism to climb up the sidewall of the stable to where Erin found it.
She whispered loudly to her accomplices. “Found it.”
The four of her friends climbed up to where it was, joining her, making no noise. It was as well no one could see them climbing as they did, stretching to the next foothold, and careless of their underwear being so well displayed under their knee-length tartan skirts as they did so, and it was a precarious venture with not much to hang onto.
To be discovered was to get into trouble with the school. They did not care, there was no one to see them, and if they were discovered there was a fast exit. There was a sloping wooden ramp, very steep--too steep to climb--and down which bales of hay could be slid for the livestock below without kicking up too much dust. There were no livestock now, not in this barn, and no hay either, but if they needed to scoot out of there as quickly as they could, they could slide down it one way or another.
That was when they began to have second thoughts about it all, seeing difficulties where they had not seen them before, but they had come this far....
Margaret picked it up, seeing that its eyes were open. “He’s so cute and adorable.”
“How do you know it’s a he?”
“Because it’s not a she,” was the unassailable response. “At this age it’s difficult to tell; for me anyway, as everything is in the same place. If it’s a stallion-cat, then they have teeny weeny balls, and this one has them. I think. As well as a tiny pecker.”
There were chuckles. They all knew what they were, even though they had never actually seen any in the flesh, except on little brothers. They each took turns to hold him and snuggle him into their necks to feel his wonderful warmth and softness. It was used to humans, and let out a faint, meow, between bouts of purring.
“We can’t just take it. It’s not fair.”
“Because it’s the last one, and we have nowhere to keep it in the dorm with us. The mother will grieve, and the kitten would feel lost. It still needs its mother’s milk. You would not like it if someone stole your only baby.”
Dora protested. “I don’t have a baby.” She sounded offended.
“You know what I mean, and it would be wrong.”
“I wonder if it can suckle from me?” It was an interesting and daring thought.
“You don’t have any milk. Unless you just gave birth. Besides its mouth is too small to take your nipple.”
Nonetheless, they were all curious, and watched as Dora opened her blouse and pulled her bra down and to one side to reveal a small breast with a diminutive nipple.
“I know I don’t have any milk, but we are all mammals, and the scent... it might comfort it in a reflexive kind of way, and I would like to know what it feels like to be suckled. It’s safer than letting a boy do it for you. Those buggers always want to do more and don't give you time to think about it, or refuse.”
Dora opened up her blouse further and moved her bra even more to give the kitten access to her breast and a small nipple, to see if it would try, but the kitten ignored her. It stopped purring too.
“Wrong smell I guess. We must be too far apart on the mammalian genetic tree. I know goats and sheep can suckle each other’s offspring.” She covered herself away.
“So what do we do?”
“We leave it. It must come to us of its own free will when it's older.”
“We will entice it with food; proper cat food... that stinky stuff... and get it closer to the school. Get it used to us enough that it will come when we call.” They all knew that was the most humane and sensible way to do it.
“But what if someone else thinks to steal it?”
“They won’t. They left this one for the mother, He’s a male and can’t have kittens.”
They froze, hearing the stable door being opened and then closed below them. Someone was coming!
They felt the adrenaline suddenly flow, and put the kitten back into its nest.
All hands abandon ship. Every girl for herself!
Without saying anything they began to scramble down.
Erin who had climbed up first would be the last one to get down with them blocking her escape, so she climbed the extra two feet to the upper level where hay had once been stored. Once she saw her friends scatter, no longer blocking her escape she stepped onto the hay-chute edge, intending to slide down while holding onto the edge of the floor, and reaching for the rope just out of reach in front of her. Her friends were already heading out of the other door.
Nothing happened as she intended. Her feet went out from under her, slamming her down hard onto the floor at the edge of the ramp with a shout of pain bursting from her, to glide down indecorously on her bum with only her thin panties between her and the wood. She slid down alright, feeling burns upon her skin, and going down much faster than she had intended to, and not even getting to the bottom unscathed.
Not getting to the bottom at all!
She let out another shout of pain when she was only half way down when she was suddenly wrenched to a full stop, letting out yet another cry as everything on her tightened. Her skirt was hung up on the edge of the ramp above and behind her, caught on a projection. It also slid up on her body. Only her substantial breasts, totally unlike Dora's, had stopped it from ending up under her arms and then completely off her, taking her blouse and bra with it as she continued to the floor with her panties maybe not even surviving the trip either.
The end point--winding up as good as naked at the bottom, with her clothes out of reach, and hurting everywhere--was not a comforting thought.
Sliding hard down that ramp, she had been scraped, scratched, burned, and she had felt splinters from the wooden ramp, lodge in her in a place she would rather not have felt them. The pain was much more than she could handle. She was damned-near naked, as well as being hurt, though her breasts were still held by her bra--just--and were not entirely revealed under the waist of her skirt. Not yet.
She would be bruised by morning, if not sooner. She also felt sick.