“Mind if I take a look?” Sam asked.
Cooper shrugged. “Ladder’s in the corner.”
Sam walked toward the ladder but Raynor was the one who gathered it. He set it up and gestured to Sam.
“You want to go?” Sam asked.
Raynor nodded, eager, and started up the rungs. He peered over the edge. A low, sibilant hiss caused Raynor to yelp. A second, angrier one caused Raynor to fall back. Sam caught most of his weight as Raynor tumbled off the ladder.
Cooper lunged forward and broke Sam’s fall as he buckled under the weight of the other man. They stood slowly, untangling limbs as they went.
Sam winced; thankful nothing was broken. Raynor’s hand bore a large scrape but he seemed otherwise intact, just shaken.
“Jeff? You okay?” Sam asked.
“Yeah. Some bruises and a nasty scratch. Definitely a cat,” Raynor gasped, clutching his hand. Beads of blood dripped between his fingers.
“Your wife’s hands and arms were scratched,” Raynor said.
“You think the cat scratched her?” Cooper asked.
“It’s possible the cat reacted negatively when she reached in to get it out,” Sam said.
Cooper shook his head, turning dubious. “No. She wouldn’t have messed with a cat.”
“Even to save it?” Raynor asked, shock bouncing through his voice. “I mean, it’s a feisty one, but—”
“She’s…she was allergic. Anaphylactic shock allergic. She couldn’t touch cats.”