The Spot Writers – “The Tale of Tiddleflom,” by Cathy MacKenzie

Welcome to the Spot Writers. The prompt for this month is a challenging one. It must use the following in your story: a unicorn hunter, a planet inhabited mainly or entirely by cats, a glitter gun. This week’s “slightly weird” contribution comes from Cathy MacKenzie.

Give Cathy’s new Facebook page, “Granny MacKenzie’s Children’s Books,” a “like” and a comment perhaps?   https://www.facebook.com/pages/Granny-MacKenzies-Childrens-Books/482398755246309

***

The Tale of Tiddleflom

Snaps disappeared under the bush and flattened himself on the ground, waiting for the rocking to subside. The earth teetered and tottered on its axels. Would the horrible racket and motion ever subside?

The unicorn hunters, on the prowl again, were wreaking havoc across the land and could easily mistake Snaps for a unicorn. After all, Snaps was pure white, as were the unicorns.

The feline cocked his ears. After what seemed an eternity, the earth quieted, and he peeked out between two fallen tree limbs. The late afternoon sun blinded Snaps for an instant until a heavy cloud rolled by. His glowing amber eyes scanned the forest. The coast was clear. But where was Tessa?

*

Tessa stretched her legs and arched her back, looking like a colourless rainbow in the dim light. Sleep had eluded her the previous day, and she’d overslept. Even though she was late for her rendezvous with Snaps, she wanted to crawl back into the brush to recline on a blanket of crushed leaves.

The moon had already replaced the sun. Tessa’s tiny headlight eyes bore into the darkness. She envisioned travelling through its vastness, perhaps emerging out the other side into another world, but despite the unicorn hunters, she was comfortable in Tiddleflom. Besides, she had an advantage over the hunters, who couldn’t see in the dark.

She brushed off her sleepiness, meowed, and sped into the shadowy forest where, hopefully, Snaps still waited.

*

Harvey Dolittle scrambled over boulders lining the river, where he had lingered patiently for the sun to set. In the distance, he heard the unmistakable drone. “Drat those cats,” he mumbled. “If cats could fly, I’d shoot me one real quick.”

Mewing and purring and hissing were constants throughout the land of Tiddleflom. At night, when the moon appeared, small and large fur creatures danced in the twilight or scampered through the forest, darting between trees and flying over scrub.

The cat population had exacerbated to the extent that cats far exceeded the number of humans. The human demise had been gradual—so gradual that their dwindling numbers were unnoticeable until it had been too late. The remaining inhabitants of Tiddleflom had blamed cats for the downfall of unicorns and humans—at least that had been the repeated folklore.

Homeowners once proudly displayed one-horned trophies in their homes, but because unicorns were nearly extinct, the pointed horns were in demand. Though it was a near impossibility, Harvey yearned for his own trophy—not one stolen from an abandoned house overrun with felines, though it was as much of a feat to garner one in that manner as it was to hunt one down. The cats protected those homes, and a human had to be extraordinarily quick to dart in, grab the mounted horn, and flee.

The remaining few unicorn hunters set out at all hours of the day or night. Some never returned though no one knew why—yet another mystery blamed on cats, one not deterring Harvey from his quest.

The polished moon radiated about him. And then he saw a splash of white—a unicorn! It had to be a unicorn, he thought. It just had to be.

He quickly hoisted his bow and adjusted the arrow. At that instant, a monstrous beam of light highlighted the flying beast, which was, indeed, a unicorn, and Harvey set the rod free, targeting it toward the object. The whizzing arrow pierced the animal, and Harvey watched for crimson to mar its snowy coat. Instead, sparkling specks appeared from nowhere, twisting and twirling through the air. The animal grew smaller and descended, its four paws plopping perfectly on the mossy ground. Glowing glitter swirled around the animal before spiralling into two thin streams that disappeared into its orbs.

The moonbeam continued to spotlight the shrinking animal. Harvey’s eyes widened, and he tried to retreat, but its beady amber eyes bore into his bulging blues. The cat snarled and clawed at the air before lunging, its four legs latching onto his right leg. He tried to raise his limb, to shake the feline off, but its needle-like claws had impaled deep into his flesh. Blood that should have flowed from the creature poured from him instead.

Time stopped in Harvey’s world. The moon shone on him as if he were centre stage. The unbearable pain eased as his leg numbed. Just when he thought he would topple, the clinging cat frantically vibrated against his leg, and another white cat, one smaller than the one glued to him, emerged into the clearing. It eyed Harvey and grinned, exactly as Cheshire had smiled once upon a time. Revealing pristine white fangs, it slinked closer to him, stopped, and crouched on its hind legs. When it produced a fluorescent pink glitter gun and aimed it at Harvey’s chest, his mouth opened but no sound materialized.

The cat on Harvey’s leg mewed and soared into the air, growing larger and larger while a long, slender horn emerged from its head. When Harvey finally managed to scream, his legs gave way. The unicorn swooped down, its corkscrew horn aiming directly at his forehead.

***

 The Spot Writers—Our Members:

 RC Bonitzhttp://www.rcbonitz.com

 Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

 Catherine A. MacKenziehttps://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

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