Author Topic: Routine (Short Story)  (Read 1718 times)

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Offline Madam Glitch

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Routine (Short Story)
« on: July 16, 2014, 12:30:14 pm »
I wrote a new story the other day. Here it is

Grass prickled the paws of the, small light gray she-cat as she slowly made her way across the park. High above her, a full moon hung in a starless night sky. Its bright light shone upon the park, providing the she-cat with enough light to clearly see her surroundings. This was perfectly fine with the she-cat, for it made it easier to spot other cats that were prowling the town as well.

Approaching the large building taking its fair share of the park, the she-cat quickly hopped up the wooden steps that led to the buildings’ front porch. This broad, covered porch provided the perfect shade during hot days, and was cool during the nighttime hours. It also provided a view of the entire front half of the park, which the she-cat loved. She could lay in the comfort of the porch and watch birds and squirrels search for their food among the trees that dotted this section of the park.

Flopping onto the cool cement ground, the she-cat pushed away all thoughts of hunting. She had managed to take down a good sized squirrel before the sun had set, and she was still full from that meal. Content with settling down for the night and watching the occasional car speed pass the park, she began grooming herself. She had just licked a dark gray front paw when she heard one of the bushes near the front of the building rustle.

“Mouse, is that you,” a male voice asked as a very skinny tabby leapt upon one of the low, marble benches that stood a few feet away from the porch. As the matted feline settled onto the bench, the feline dubbed Mouse got to her feet and made her way to the edge of the porch.

“What can I do for you dear Toby,” Mouse asked. As she waited for the old cat to respond, she settled onto her haunches. Her gaze softened as she watched the old cat scratched an itch behind his right ear. Most cats kept their distance from the flea-bitten elderly cat because of his matted fur, missing teeth, and less than pleasing scent. However, he always seemed unfazed by this. Whenever he saw a new cat, he’d show them the best spots for getting food and which places to avoid. He even shared hunting techniques to those he came across that were struggling in catching food.

Finally settling into place, Toby looked up at Mouse and gave a hearty purr. “The food lady is on her way here to feed us. Would you like to accompany me to the feeding area,” Toby explained. Mouse, hesitating for a moment, opened her mouth to politely decline. Before she could speak, however, Toby quickly added “I heard she’s bringing tuna tonight as a treat for us!”

Mouse’s tail twitched thoughtfully. While she didn’t need really need the food, Toby did. He could barely hunt anymore these days, if at all. This could be evidently by how skinny he was; every rib could be clearly seen underneath his matted pelt. If Mouse went with him, she could give him her portion.

With a nod, Mouse responded with, “Sure! Lead the way.” Toby beamed happily, stood up, hopped off of the bench, and trotted towards the back of the building with his tail held high. With a purr, Mouse followed him.

Crossing a small paved path that ran the width of the park a few feet behind the building, the pair approached the playground area. A small ledge ran the parameter if the playground and separated its sandy floor from the close cropped grass that covered the rest of the park. Without hesitation Toby jumped over the ledge and made his way across the playground. Mouse followed suite and followed a few paces behind him.

The sand beneath her paws easily shifted with each pawstep. Even after years of crossing this same playground, the sand still felt strange to walk on. Shaking her head, Mouse focused on getting to the area where the human fed any homeless cat that showed up each night.
By the time Mouse had made it to the ledge, Toby was already at the edge of the park. A fairly broad road ran between the park and the abandoned house where the woman would go to feed the cats. Pausing next to Toby, Mouse gazed across the street. Ten or so pairs of eyes shone from the shadows. “Do you think that Chatter will be there,” Mouse asked. A week ago, her only surviving child had decided to depart from her mother and live on her own.

“Maybe… I think I’ve seen her here a couple of days ago,” Toby explained. Mouse perked up at the possibly of seeing her daughter. Checking for any approaching cars, Mouse looked up and down the road. Seeing no approaching cars, Mouse made her way across the road as fast as possible. Halfway across the road, she remembered that Toby was with her and that he wasn’t as fast as she was. Turning around, made her way back to Toby who had, by now, started to cross the road.

“I’m sorry for leaving you behind. I was just excited about Chatter possibly being here,” Mouse explained. She felt as though she could run around the entire town and still not be tired. She stood taller as she walked next to Toby and she felt like she could explode from the happiness.

“I completely understand young one” Toby explained with a purr in his voice. The two safely made it across the road and jumped over the curb onto the long grass of the side yard of the house. The pair of eyes that Mouse had seen from across the street now had bodies. Cats of various colors, markings, and pelt lengths mingled with each other. The cats didn’t seem to notice Mouse and Toby, and continued to talk among each other in low voices.

Standing at her full height, Mouse scanned the group of cats for the briefest glimpse of her daughter. “Chatter,” Mouse called. A few of the nearby cats glanced at her, but none of the gathered cats responded to her call. Her ears and tail drooped at the realization that her daughter wasn't here there. “Where is she right now,” Mouse thought to herself sadly.

Her gaze swept the crowd once more, and she noticed that Toby had made his way over to a small group of other elderly cats. She made her way over to them and sat down next to Toby. “Did you find her,” Toby asked. Mouse shook her head in response. Toby nuzzled her sympathetically.

“Were you looking for Chatter,” one of the elderly cats asked. When Mouse nodded, the calico continued, “I saw her earlier today with a black tom with a white chest and paws. The two seemed to be to know each other very well. They were walking down the street with their tails intertwined.” Mouse tilted her head in confusion. She didn’t remember any toms matching that description that Chatter was friends with when she was still with Mouse.

Perhaps she met him during one of her little wandering adventures before she left, Mouse thought. It didn’t matter if she where she met the tom, just as long as they were happy with each other. “Was she doing well,” Mouse asked the elderly calico.

“Yes, she seemed well fed and healthy,” the elder explained. Mouse sighed with relief. Chatter was doing well, and was even friends with a possible mate. Just as she were about to thank the elder for the news, the sound of an approaching golf cart was heard. The gathered cats turned their attention to the street.

A tan golf cart pulled up, pulled into the yard and parked. A gray haired woman wearing a faded blue shirt and sweatpants got out of the golf cart. She reached inside the golf cart and took out two groceries. A few of the more human-friendly cats approached the woman and purred as they weaved around her legs. The woman smiled and reached down with her free hand to pet them.

“Hello, little ones. I got a special treat for you tonight,” she told them as she approached the porch of the abandoned house. She sat the bags down on the porch and reached for the large, silver food dishes that she used to feed the cats. Seeing her reach for the dishes, the rest of the cats began slowly approach the woman. The woman hummed quietly as she filled the dishes with dry cat food. Once the dishes were well filled with cat food, the woman reached inside the other bag and took out a few cans of tuna.

Toby gazed over at Mouse and said, “See, I told you that she would treat us to tuna.” Mouse gently flicked him with her tail. The woman evenly spread distributed the tuna in the dishes and placed the empty cans into the bags. Once she all the tuna was distributed, the woman picked up the dishes and placed them on the ground a few feet apart from each other.

The cats approached the dishes and began to eat. Mouse made sure that she and Toby were at the same dish. The scent of tuna was inviting, but Toby needed the food more. “I want you to have my portion,” she told Toby. She pushed her portion towards him with her nose.

“Are you sure,” Toby asked. “Aren’t you hungry?”
Mouse shook her head. “I ate earlier. You need the food more than I do,” she explained. She took a step back and started making her way back to the park.

“Thank you,” Toby purred. Mouse nodded and made her way to the curb. Checking once again for any approaching cars, Mouse trotted across the street and made her way towards the building in the park. The woman waved at Mouse, unaware if that Mouse had done.

“See you again sometime,” the woman called after Mouse. With a flick of her tail, Mouse climbed the stairs to the building’s porch and settled down for the night.
"I see now that the circumstances of one's birth are irrelevant; it is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are"