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Authors: Peg Kehret

Trapped!

BOOK: Trapped!
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Catfight

Hogman swore and struggled to position the gun. Pete bit the man’s arm again, sinking his teeth in farther this time. The man yelped and jerked away, loosening his grasp on Pete’s front legs.

With his front paws finally free, Pete clawed at the man’s face, leaving deep scratches on both cheeks. The man grabbed Pete around the middle, shoved him into the crook of his arm, and squeezed so hard that Pete thought he might break in two.

The man raised the gun.

Pete thrust his hind foot toward the gun, hoping to spoil the man’s aim. His foot came down on the trigger.

BANG!

The sound exploded, echoing through the forest.

TRAPPED
OTHER BOOKS BY PEG KEHRET

Abduction!

Cages

Danger at the Fair

Don’t Tell Anyone

Earthquake Terror

The Ghost’s Grave

Horror at the Haunted House

I’m Not Who You Think I Am

Night of Fear

Nightmare Mountain

Searching for Candlestick Park

Sisters Long Ago

Spy Cat

The Stranger Next Door

Terror at the Zoo

PEG KEHRET

AND PETE THE CAT

TRAPPED

PUFFIN BOOKS

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Young Readers Group, 345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd)

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(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)

Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017, India

Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand

(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Registered Offices: Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

First published in the United States of America by Dutton Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 2006

Published by Puffin Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 2008

Copyright © Peg Kehret, 2006

All rights reserved

THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS HAS CATALOGED THE DUTTON EDITION AS FOLLOWS
:

Kehret, Peg. Trapped! / Peg Kehret and Pete the Cat.—1st ed. p. cm.

Summary: When his owner, Alex, finds an illegal animal trap in the woods, Pete the cat faces grave danger as he tries to help his human friends find the culprit who set the trap.

[1. Trapping—Fiction.  2. Cats—Fiction.]

I. Title

PZ7.K2518Tra  2006

[Fic]—dc22 2005032962

Puffin Books ISBN: 978-1-101-66178-9

Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

For Rosanne Lauer,

my editor and friend for twenty years

—P.K.

For all the shelters that help stray cats

—PETE

Table of Contents

Prologue

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

A Note from Peg Kehret:

A Note from Pete The Cat:

Prologue

I
  am Pete the cat,
co-author of this book. For some reason, my publisher thinks there should be a note here at the beginning to explain why a cat has written a book. If you ask me, no explanation is necessary, but nobody asked me. People never do. The humans think they are the ones in charge; we cats know better.

This is the third book that my person, Peg, and I have written together, and we used the same format as before. My parts are in italics; hers are not. In case you haven’t read them, the other two books are THE STRANGER NEXT DOOR and SPY CAT. Peg says it’s shameless to promote the first two books by listing them here, but I say if you haven’t read them you’ve missed out on some good reading, and I’m only doing you a favor
.

There is a fine cat hero in all three books. He is clever, courageous, and capable. If you want to describe him, remember the three C’s. He’s also exceptionally handsome. His name is Pete.

I told Pete that characters in novels are not supposed to be real, but he insists there’s no need to make up a pretend cat when the perfect feline is willing to be in the story. When I suggested he could add a fourth C—corpulent—to his description, he hissed and left the room.

Pete IS a highly unusual cat. I chose him at the humane society because his papers said “good with children.” I wanted a cat who would enjoy having my grandchildren come to visit. The papers didn’t mention literary talent, so I had no idea that I was adopting a cat who could read and write.

I can talk, too, but she hasn’t yet learned to understand me. Humans are not as bright as cats are
.

One day when I was working on a new book, I left my computer unattended for a few minutes. When I returned, I saw that half a page had been added to my story. The new part was signed: “by Pete the Cat.”

At first I thought my husband had played a joke on me; then I remembered that Carl had gone to the hardware store. No one was home except my dog, Lucy, who was asleep on her pillow, my other cat, Molly, who was napping in her heated bed, and Pete, who was watching me from the other end of the library table that I use for a desk.

No, I thought. Pete couldn’t have written this. It’s impossible!

Ha! That proves you should not jump to conclusions. I
not only wrote that section, but from then on I wrote two or three pages every night while Peg was asleep
.

It’s true. I began leaving the computer on at night, and when I’d get up in the morning, there would be new pages in the book, written from the cat’s point of view. Someone had changed the villain from an escaped convict to a pit bull, and someone had written new parts of the story. Of course, I never actually SAW Pete typing on the keyboard, but what other explanation is there? Everyone else in my family stays in bed all night; Pete’s the one who always prowls around in the dark.

You don’t SEE lots of things that are real: electricity, cellphone signals, cats reading newspapers. I learned to read at the humane society, where a copy of the
Wall Street Journal
got put on the floor of my kennel every morning. The staff used that paper because the ink in the newsprint doesn’t smear off onto cat fur the way other papers do. I would have preferred to read
CAT FANCY
magazine, but I learned a lot from the
Wall Street Journal.

Once I realized how quickly I could write a book with Pete’s assistance, I was happy for his help. Writing is hard work, so it was wonderful to get up every morning and discover that the current book was two or three pages longer than when I went to bed. Aside from the pit bull, the only parts I had to change were the lines where Pete described himself as lean or slender. Anybody with eyes can see that
Pete is—as my veterinarian tactfully put it—“a bit on the pudgy side.”

What does he know? Anyone who would stick a thermometer up a cat’s rear end is not to be trusted
.

Now that you know how we came to collaborate, I hope you’ll enjoy the book that Pete and I wrote together.

Books. Plural. All of the books I wrote are good. Of course, the byline on all three books should say, “By Pete the Cat, with a little help from Peg Kehret.” I did most of the work.

1

A
lex found the trap
by accident.

He and his best friend, Rocky, were in the woods, searching for deer antlers. The undergrowth in this part of the woods was thick, making it hard to walk. An hour into their hike, Alex stopped to take a drink from his water bottle. He wiped his brow on his shirtsleeve, his eyes scanning the area around him.

“I’m starting to think it’s an urban legend that deer shed their antlers,” Rocky said. “If it were true, we would have found some by now.”

“Dad swears it’s true,” Alex said. “He says if I keep looking, I’ll find some antlers. When I do, I’m going to mount them and hang them on my bedroom wall.”

“Not me,” Rocky said. “I’m going to sell mine on eBay.”

“Right. After we knock ourselves out looking for them, you don’t plan to keep them.” Rocky’s mom had started a home business selling items for people on eBay; now Rocky
kept threatening to sell something good, such as his Game Boy or his bike, but he never did it.

As Alex screwed the top back on the water bottle, he noticed a piece of metal on the forest floor ahead of him, caught in the shaft of sunlight that filtered through the trees.

“Look over there,” Alex said. “What’s that?”

Rocky came closer and looked where Alex was pointing. Both boys walked toward the rusty metal.

“It’s a trap!” Alex said. “An animal trap.”

“It’s set,” Rocky said. “Look. There’s a piece of meat in it.”

The boys looked down at the strong steel trap, which was tucked between a huckleberry bush and a clump of salal. Flies buzzed around a piece of raw meat being used as bait.

Alex gulped. “I hate to think what that trap would do to the foot of an animal that steps on it,” he said.

“Is trapping still legal?” Rocky asked.

“I don’t know. If it is, it shouldn’t be. That thing looks cruel, to me.”

“Let’s set it off,” Rocky said, “so it can’t hurt an animal.”

Alex found a sturdy branch, about two inches in diameter, that had blown to the ground. He poked the broken end of the branch into the trap until it touched the bait. Instantly, the two pieces of steel snapped shut, breaking the branch in half.

Alex jumped back. He looked at the piece of branch that was still in his hand. “I’m glad that branch wasn’t the leg of a fox or a coyote,” he said.

“Or a dog. What if we had brought Rufus with us?” The boys often took Rocky’s dog along when they went exploring, even though Rufus had only three legs. Since they had planned to hike farther than usual that day, they had left him home.

“Be careful walking out of here,” Alex said. “There may be more than one trap.”

Alex didn’t want to hunt for antlers any longer. The trap made the woods seem unsafe, and frightening. He could tell that Rocky was ready to go home, too. They didn’t even have to discuss it; they both just turned back the way they had come.

After the boys retraced their path out of the woods, they hurried down the road toward home.

When they turned the corner onto Valley View Drive, Alex’s younger brother, Benjie, waved at them from his “spy station” on the empty lot at the end of the block.

“I saw you coming,” Benjie called. “I was using my binoculars to watch for flying green panthers, and I saw you instead. Did you find any antlers?”

“No, but we found a trap.”

Benjie’s eyes widened. “What kind of trap? A bear trap? Was there a bear in it? Did he growl and try to get out?”

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