Flash Fiction: Bedraggled Cat


bedraggled_cat_by_mal_adict-d31if5g

Bedraggled Cat

Wilson the black cat squeezed through a tight gap in the fence to arrive at an unfamiliar house. He sniffed the grassy backyard. There didn’t appear to be any sign of domestic animal life. Birds and hedgehogs sure, but no other cats, and thankfully no dogs. Wilson jumped into the open sill and squeezed through yet another gap.

There was a reason Wilson could make it through these impossibly tight openings. Yes, he was a cat–it was one of his natural abilities–but his frail frame helped out here too. Most other cats wouldn’t make it through what with the extravagant meals their owners fed them. Wilson was a bedraggled, homeless cat of skin and bone. It had always been this way. Born a kitten and abandoned under a house Wilson had to fend for himself. He was lucky he was so cunning. The rest of his brothers and sisters passed away. Sadly Wilson couldn’t take care of them all. He only had enough cunning to look after himself, and times were getting harder. His one dumpster dive behind the restaurant was a no go since it’s closure. Women’s fashion doesn’t have quite the same taste.

So here was Wilson exploring beyond his normal boundary. It took a while to find an open home. So many people were security conscious these days. Wilson jumped down onto the toilet seat making certain not to fall in. It had happened before and it was not easy getting out. Wilson sniffed the air and found his way towards the kitchen. There it lay on the counter, a great big chicken defrosting on a platter. Light streamed in through the window lighting up the meat like a sign from the gods. Wilson licked his chops.

Before he could climb the counter a hand scooped him off his feet, and Wilson felt the life squeeze out of him. Wilson hissed and tried to struggle. This was it. Death had finally caught up to him. The hands turned Wilson around. He saw a large face. A human face. A face in bangs and bright blue bows. She smiled a giant smile and put Wilson down. He almost made a run for it when the unexpected happened. The girl placed the defrosting chicken on the kitchen floor. Wilson sniffed at it suspiciously. Was this some kind of trap? But the girl stood back and let Wilson nibble at the flesh. He gobbled it down furiously. Perhaps Wilson wouldn’t die today after all.

 

First drafted over on Typetrigger.

Flash Fiction: Chin Up

First drafted over on Typetrigger.

remy___keep_your_chin_up_by_mitch_el-d4dbydr

Chin Up

“Chin up mate,” Hank said as he patted my leg.

I suppose it was meant to be reassuring, but it only made me uncomfortable. If I wasn’t so miserable I think I would tell him to leave. It didn’t help that I was still in yesterday’s clothes and smelling like a cauldron of assorted stenches. I scratched at my chin to feel prickly hair–something I would have shaved off days ago if I gave a damn, if we were still together.

“Just know that we’re here for you buddy,” Hank said.

God, why does every trite expression he use make me want to throw a cushion at his big stupid face?
I shouldn’t say that. Hank’s a good guy. I’ve had phone calls and Facebook messages but Hank was the only one to show up in person, on my doorstep with a case of frozen dinners. I wish it was a case of beer so I could drink myself into a semblance of a good mood.

“You are eating?” Hank asked, looking at my frail figure.

I pointed to the empty Doritos packets on the floor.

“I thought as much. That’s why I brought you these dinners. Just chuck ’em in the freezer and come dinner time throw one in the microwave. Easy peasy,” Hank said. “Y’know what, I’ll put ’em in for you.”

Hank picked up the case of frozen delights and headed for my kitchen. He came back and stood in front of the couch. I didn’t get up. I think my body forgot how.

“Hope to see you back at work soon mate. Not sure how long I can keep covering for you,” Hank said.

I raised a limp hand and dropped it to my lap. That was me saying goodbye. Hank left me to my dark dungeon of despair. I looked over to the coffee table where my empty fish tank sat in the dark–the castle and treasure chest devoid of life.

Mister Gup Gup, it wasn’t your time.

 

Chicken: An Audio Short Story

metalbox

I wrote a short story and you may recognise it. It started off as a Flash Fiction project and Graeme encouraged me to develop it some more.

But instead of posting it like my other stories on here, we decided to get together and record it. This was a first for the both of us!

A very special thank you to Graeme Knowles who produced the audio for this project and made this all possible.

The story is about 20 minutes long. You can listen to it online or download it from Sound Cloud. I am working on getting it into iTunes as a podcast. This could be the start of something big.

Please let me know what you think!

 

 

Oh, and I almost forgot…

achievement

Short Story: An Impossible Reunion

Written for Cat’s latest Writer’s Plot challenge.

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An Impossible Reunion

 

I’ll just close my eyes and whisper, “It’s okay, it’s time for me to go now.”

My bare toes gripped the edge of the chair. They were the only thing keeping me from seeing her again. I tugged at the rope around my neck. It felt tight, coarse. It cut into me. It made it difficult to breathe. I saw visions of people, of her. My toes uncurled and I took the step.

She smiled at me as I chased after her along the beach, kicking up sand with every stride. I caught up to her and wrestled her to the ground. I waited half a moment, gazing into her eyes; pools of deep sea green, before diving in and passionately kissing her. A sharp pain shot through my tongue and I pulled away. Her supple skin gone. Underneath, the bleached bone of a screaming skull. The skull held half my tongue between its teeth. I tried to yell but I couldn’t make a sound.

Back to the room I went. The walls caved inwards. Books flew at me from all directions. I heard laughing followed by shouting, then hands on me. The rope broke free and I toppled to the floor. For a second I swore it was her standing over me, but as my blurry vision subsided I recognised the face; my daughter Penelope. Next to her brandishing a pocket knife and a cut piece of rope stood her husband Harvey, along with that ridiculous head of curly hair.

“Dad, are you okay?” Penelope gripped my shoulders.

I shook her off and struggled to my feet. I propped myself up by the reading chair. “I saw her.”

“Dad, this is absurd. You won’t see her again if you do this.”

“What choice do I have?”

“Life, Dad. You have the choice of life.”

I looked at the younger version of her in a blue polka dot dress and hair in a bun. She had tears in her eyes ready to fall. The resemblance was uncanny.

“Girl, I’ve read every book in this place,” I said, waving at the shelves of books lining every wall. “I’ve lived experiences, vast and incredible. She was the one thing I couldn’t find in a book. There’s nothing left for me now.”

Harvey looked busy punching numbers into his cell phone.

“Excuse me chap. Who are you calling?” I asked.

“The hospital,” he replied, putting the phone to his ear.

“I’m fine.”

“You were about to kill yourself,” said Penelope.

“And I would have to, if you hadn’t busted in here, and taken away whatever dignity I had left.”

“This isn’t dignified Dad. There is no honour in this.”

I navigated around the reading chair and found my scrawled letter under a flickering candle. I blew out the candle and tugged out the letter. Penelope reached out to take it, but I crumpled it into a ball and threw it across the room. It didn’t go far. Harvey was still on the phone, giving over the address.

“Don’t let them take me,” I whispered into her ear. “I don’t want to go.”

Penelope snapped back. “What else would you have us do Dad, huh? Leave you alone so you can try again?”

“I don’t want to go to the hospital. Take me with you.”

Penelope’s face fell. This wasn’t easy for her. I felt terrible for hurting her in this way, but this was something I had to do.

“You will stay with me and Harvey then, for a little while, until you feel better?”

I looked at Harvey and his stupid curly hair. “Yes, even him.”

Penelope took Harvey to the side and explained the situation. He didn’t look too happy at the proposed arrangement.

“We have to go now,” said Penelope, tugging at my arm. “The ambulance is on its way.”

I followed Penelope out of the library and into the wide hallway adorned by beach landscapes dotted with her initials. How she loved that bloody beach.

“I’ll run to the bathroom and get your medicine. We have clean sheets on the spare bed. I can come back for your clothes later tonight,” said Penelope.

She disappeared upstairs before I could object.

Harvey stood in the doorway with a forced smile. “Right, follow me to the car,” he said.

Reluctantly I trudged after him and climbed into the backseat of their Daihatsu Feroza. Harvey took the driver’s seat and Penelope soon arrived clutching a medicine bag. We sped off from the driveway. I watched as our house disappeared from view and I could begin to hear a distant wailing of sirens.

“Penelope?” I asked.

“Yes Dad?”

“Could we stop by the beach first? Just for a while? There’s something I would like to see.”

In the rear view mirror I saw Penelope nod and smile. We changed course for the beach where once again I would be with her. I would sense her touch in the breeze, feel her warmth in the sun, and see her eyes in the ocean.

Our love reunited.

Short Story: Meta Much?

This one took second place in one of our regular Writer’s Plot challenges. Names have been changed to protect the innocent (and not so innocent).

Typing

Meta Much? 

My Glock hit the surface of the table in front of me. My writer’s group, seated in a square of tables, stared in disbelief.

“Jess, you brought a gun to the library?” Betty asked.

“Fuck yes, why the hell not?” I retorted.

“Safety violations. You’ve said it yourself before,” said Francis, opening her iPad just to check.

“Look, it’s loaded,” I said. I picked up the gun, pointed the barrel at Darrel and fired. His head slumped to the table.

The group looked at me in horror. I shrugged my shoulders. “What? He never talked anyway.”

Screams filled the library. Some fled the table, others froze unable to move. Henry stood up and approached me, trying to talk me down. I shot him dead too and continued firing until every last member of our writer’s group was lying in a pool of their own blood. Lucky I brought spare bullets. From out of nowhere I heard clucking. A chicken appeared from behind a bookshelf and waded through the writers blood.

“No, no, no!”

I threw my wireless keyboard at the floor.Thespacebarfelloffagain.Ireattached it.

The cursor on my monitor blinked angrily at the end of my last sentence.

“God damn Gerry expects us to work that into our story? Fucking chickens?”

I downed another bottle of Chilean Pinot Noir from my giant wine glass. Just another writing assignment. You can do this Jess. You’re a bloody writer. I continued my story from where I left off, even keeping in that chicken bit. I could always delete it later.

I shouldered my bag and marched towards the library exit. Unfortunately some men in blue were there to greet me. As messed up as I was, I was no cop killer, and retreated to the non fiction section. I hid behind the biographies with my back against the books and my Glock at the ready. How would I get myself out of this mess? I had made sure there would be no more writing assignments–that was for sure–but the killings had escalated the situation, rather than fixing it.

Okay, so I’ve written myself into a corner. I reached for my glass. Empty. Shit.

The door creaked open. I turned to see Paws with his tail wagging. He came up to me and I scratched behind his ears. Oh you always know how to fix a girl’s mood don’t you Paws? I looked closer at his nose, it was covered in some kind of brown-green sludge. “Paws, have you been in the dumpster again?” I smacked his bottom and he curled up in the corner.

This story was proving harder than any story I had written before. I had this strange fogginess, like my head was full of space and missing memories. It was as if I was dreaming.

Too much wine again? But no, this was something else entirely. I felt as though I didn’t belong. I was an imposter. I shook the feeling off and returned to my story.

I heard cars pull up outside the library. I couldn’t see them but by the way the doors slammed I knew it was the Armed Offenders Squad. Oh goodie, time to see what my hubby thinks of this situation.

I stepped out from behind the shelf to face an empty library. The chicken had waddled out of the library and was poking around outside, scratching at one of the three trees in the neighbouring garden. I spotted the black cars. It was the Armed Offenders alright, and one of them was looking right at me; James.

I don’t even know what I’m writing anymore. Is this a fantasy? Some sick dream I want to get out on paper? I should probably just delete this and go with something safer. I closed the document and  pressed the delete key. I clicked yes to send it straight to the recycle bin, but the computer wouldn’t let me. The yes option was greyed out. Oh, maybe it’s still open somewhere? I closed all my windows and tried again. Yes was still greyed out. What the hell? I kicked the desk and Paws scampered out of the room. Fine, do what you want computer. I opened a new document. I made sure the formatting was just right and attempted to write.

In a lush green field I strolled with my sidekick chicken resting on my shoulder. The sky was blue and dotted with fluffy clouds. “Looks like we have good weather ahead,” I said.

“Still we had better get to the cabin before dark,” clucked Dresande.

“I know that you silly old chicken,” I said. I smiled and ruffled his feathers.

He clucked, irritated.

We passed by three bare trees, with branches like contorted outstretched hands,  and entered the foreboding forest. The forest was black. Pitch black. “Are you still there Dresande?”

I didn’t hear a response. I felt my shoulder, he was gone. Something in front of me flashed white and I was blinded. I covered my eyes. I heard shouts. I took away my arm and found myself looking at a bookshelf. I felt something heavy in my hands. It was a Glock.

What… the… actual… fuck. I stood up and backed away from my computer. It wasn’t me. I didn’t write that. Something was hijacking my story. Was it my computer, some bizarre joke hack? But I knew it wasn’t. I felt my hands write it, but I couldn’t control them. My own hands.

I held them out in front of me, palms up, half expecting them to jump up at me and tear apart my face. Okay, that’s it. I need a break. I walked towards the door, when it swung shut right in front of me. I tried the handle. It was stuck. “Okay, prank’s over guys!” I shouted. “Charlie, open this door right now!”

I jiggled the handle again. Nothing. I stamped around the room trying to make myself heard downstairs, until something caught my eye. After the last sentence was an extra line. One I didn’t remember writing; Finish the story.

I sat down in my computer chair and sighed. “Fine, if you’ll just let me get on with my life, I’ll finish this shitty story.” I poised my fingers above the keyboard and with no thought or effort, they began to type.

I walked towards the window where James stood on the other side dressed in a padded suit of black and holding onto a Bushmaster M4. His mouth was hidden by material. James’ eyes went wide as he took in the scene before him; the bodies that lay around the tables. He looked back at me.  He could not believe what I had done and I couldn’t either. So he did what he knew best, what he was trained to do. He aimed his rifle at my chest. I aimed my Glock between his eyes, the small gap between his helmet and his armour.

“No, I won’t. I don’t want to write this,” I wiped a tear from my eye. “You can’t make me write this!”

The keyboard began typing on its own; Finish it.

“Finish it yourself you supernatural asshole.”

I looked in disbelief as the keyboard continued to press in keys without the need of fingers; I’m not supernatural. I’m a writer, just like yourself. My story requires that you finish your story.

I swiped the air over the keyboard. Nothing. No invisible hands. Nothing physical anyway.

Jess, you’re not real. Well, not this version anyway. You’re a character. I created you from what limited knowledge I have on you.

“I’m real. I have to be real,” I said, desperately trying to cling on to reality. If that’s what you could still call this. I grabbed the keyboard and typed the two most powerful words known to writers everywhere.

The End.

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Really. It’s a coincidence. What, you don’t believe me?