Jake woke up slowly.
He did not know where he was.
He could barely remember what had happened: he had been stalking a fly but then there was an owl… and a cat? He got knocked down, that’s for sure.
The little chameleon looked around him, first with his one eye, then with the other. He was inside a cottage of some sort, warm and cosy and not too bright. A girl walked in with a mealworm pinched between her fingers. She walked up to Jake and said in a soothing tone “Hey, little guy! Are you hungry yet?”
Leila was very relieved: the chameleon was awake and eating and soon he was chasing flies and mosquitoes, changing colour as he crossed the couch and the curtains. “This is the life,” he thought, “there are no owls knocking you down, plenty of food, and it never rains.” But all too soon he found himself thinking about butterflies and fresh dew on flower petals in the morning; and he started to yearn for the forest again. Leila caught him, again and again, bumping against the window. “Silly lizard,” she would say as she put him back on the fruit bowl.
One summer’s day, Leila opened all the windows for fresh air. She was careful to not let Jake out, for she had grown very fond of the little chameleon. They sat on the couch, playing, but it was such a lethargic day that they soon fell asleep.
A grey cat spied the open windows and with a soft meow jumped through to investigate. He looked around and saw the sleeping human, nothing odd there, but what was that in her hands? With the swipe of a paw, it was on the floor and moving. “Good, a game,” the cat thought.
Poor Jake. One minute he was comfortable with Leila, the next his head hit the floor. No matter which way he went, a great grey paw knocked him the other way. Leila woke up. The cat immediately jumped out the window.
“Oh, Jake,” she said. His little body had almost broken. Just almost.
When Jake was catching flies by himself again, Leila took him outside. The chameleon smiled at the butterflies.
“I cannot protect you,” she told him, “so you might as well be happy while you are alive.” But Jake was not listening. He was looking at the sunset.