winkle - \WINK-ul\
1 : chiefly British : to displace, remove, or evict from a position -- usually used with out
2 : chiefly British : to obtain or draw out by effort -- usually used with out
They rented the house on Luna Street because it was affordable. A squat one-story shack really, but it did have a spacious yard and a willow tree. Mary had always wanted a willow tree. So, while the floorboards creaked and the roof leaked when it rained, the Luna house was a good fit for a young couple, just starting out. They settle in and set about getting used to the odd quirks of their new home.
Jake manages to mostly fix the leaky roof and only comes frighteningly close to death once. Maybe twice. Mary gets used to the uneven temperatures spouted out by their aged oven. She decides she likes that the pancakes are always runny in the middle no matter what.
One night, curled together on their futon, they hear a scratching sound. It wakes Mary from a pleasant dream about open fields and sunshine. She elbows Jake in the side. Together they listen to the scratching in the dark, tracking it as it shifts around beneath them.
"Something is under the house" Jake says.
"Trapped probably" Mary agrees.
She rests her head on his chest and they continue to listen.
"I'll look in the morning" he promises.
In the daylight, he wears his oldest and worst pair of jeans, a long sleeve shirt and heavy work gloves. In his hand is a flashlight. He crouches by the opening to the crawl space and shines the light into darkness. Mary leans over his shoulder and together, they stare at the vast emptiness that is under the house. Jake thinks he may hear something moving around. He swallows, nods his head firmly, and gets on all fours to enter this new domain.
It does not take long for him to find it. The beam from his flashlight catches the small animal's eyes and they flash back at him a brilliant green. The mysterious scratches were coming from this tiny, pitiful looking kitten. He stares for awhile, before reaching out one gloved hand and making a soft, clicking noise with his tongue. The kitten stares back, and then dashes away.
This will be difficult, he thinks.
Outside they hatch a plan. Mary retrieves a can of tuna from inside, and they place the open container just inside the opening of the crawl space. Together, they lay by the opening and watch.
In the end it takes four cans of tuna before they are able to coax the kitten out into the daylight. Thoroughly sated, and becoming more comfortable, the kitten even deigns to allow Jake to scratch the top of his head, lightly. During the distraction, Mary replaces the covering to the crawl space.
It's still days later, after they have left water and cat food out on their porch every morning, that the kitten scratches at the door the first time. Mary smiles softly as she opens it, and tentatively, the kitten enters their house and never leaves.
At dinner that night, Jake feeds the kitten scraps from his plate and it feels somehow that things are complete.