Tag Archives: cats

Welcome to the Spot Writers. This month’s prompt: “A cat always stares at something behind it’s owners back.”

 

Today’s post comes from Phil Yeats. Last December, Phil (using his Alan Kemister pen name) published his most recent novel. Tilting at Windmills, the second in the Barrettsport Mysteries series of soft-boiled police detective stories set in an imaginary Nova Scotia coastal community is available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Tilting-Windmills-Barrettsport-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B07L5WR948/

“The Moocher” by Phil Yeats

The damn beast, a five-kilogram grey and black tabby that considered my yard part of its imperial domain, had returned. It snuck up to me slinking ahead in that crouching hunting pose characteristic of cats. Its gaze was intent on something behind me, a mouse or bird it stalked using me for camouflage.

I slowly turned my head peeking behind me at whatever the dumb animal sought. I saw nothing, I never did, and the blasted cat’s reaction never varied. When I made the slightest movement, it arched its back, its hair stood on end, and it hissed.

In the early days of this stupid feline game, I tried to wait it out, refusing to move a muscle. The effort was pointless. It could maintain its hunting crouch indefinitely. Eventually I’d twitch, and the damn thing would hiss.

I fetched it a cracker, Nabisco Triangle Thins were its favourite, and settled on my patio lounger. It licked the salt before crunching my offering leaving masses of crumbs for the birds and mice. Was it planning ahead, luring its unsuspecting prey into the open?

It hopped into my lap, turning about and kneading its paws the way cats do, before settling down for a nap. It would soon be purring quietly. Would it dream about the imaginary prey that never lurked behind me, or smugly consider how gullible I was, so easily tricked out of a cracker?

***

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

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

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/

 

+++
C.A. MacKenzie is the author of the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers, including Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/.

Leave a comment

Filed under books, free, Uncategorized

The Spot Writers – “Promise” by Val Muller

Welcome to the Spot Writers. This week’s prompt is “a cat always stares at something behind its owner’s back. What does it see?” Today’s tale comes to us from Val Muller, author of The Girl Who Flew Away (https://www.amazon.com/Girl-Who-Flew-Away/dp/1941295355) and lots of other works for children and young adults.

***

Promise by Val Muller

Meowser always ignored me. Always used to, anyway. He had his own existence, and I had mine. I kept him fed, he kept me company. That was the deal, until my sister was able to take him home again.

Ellie was off for a three-year stint in Italy. Her husband was put on temporary duty there. Rehoming the cat, with all the required paperwork, quarantines, and the like, wasn’t up her alley, so she pushed the cat onto me.

I always pictured myself as a dog person, if I had a pet, that is. I mean, if I had one of my own. But here I was, just out of college. I couldn’t even keep a girlfriend for more than a month.

Ellie handed Meowser over right before she left. “He won’t be any trouble,” she said. “I promise.”

Ellie didn’t say goodbye to Meowser. That always struck me. I guess she didn’t want to cry about it. No need to make goodbyes more sentimental than they need to be. We fell into our ways, Meowser and I. Ellie couldn’t get back at Thanksgiving, so I sent her a picture of the cat sitting on the coffee table eyeing the ample feast. Ellie always got a kick out of things like that. She liked coming up with captions that assigned all kinds of human thoughts to the cat. I probably sent her a picture once a week or so. She posted them on Facebook, too, as if the cat still lived with her.

To me, though, a cat is just a cat. Meowser couldn’t care less about me except when it was feeding time, or if I got lazy cleaning out the litter box.

Ellie made it back during Christmas. Steve flew home to Minnesota, and she flew in to BWI to visit us. She stayed at my place, not Mom and Dad’s, and we all knew it was for Meowser. I don’t really buy the whole animals-have-emotions thing. Didn’t, anyway. But as soon as he saw Ellie, Meowser was a different cat. It wasn’t just that the two were inseparable. They anticipated each other. Meowser would hop off her lap ten seconds before she finished eating. When she’d get up for a glass of water, Meowser was already waiting at the kitchen counter. He was there when she went to the bathroom, to the door, to the couch. At the time, I told myself they were both just really good at reading body language.

Meowser turned psycho the morning Ellie left for Italy again, right after New Year’s. He hissed at shadows in the hallway. He clawed my face—I’ll bear his mark for life, three slashes on my right cheek. And he even bit Ellie. She cried, then, looking at Meowser like he’d betrayed her. Something in Meowser—a look, a feeling—made Elli’s face flush with guilt. “I’ll be back, Meowser. I promise, promise. I’ll come back for you.”

She pressed her forehead to his and paused for several moments. The cat seemed to calm. Then he went about his way, not bothering to watch as she left the apartment. Her promise had calmed him. We lived on, the two of us, for three more months of him ignoring me and me feeding him, waiting until Ellie could take him again.

It wasn’t until last night that Meowser stopped ignoring me. He was sitting on my chest when I woke up. I can’t tell you the adrenaline spike caused by the penetrating green eyes of a cat. Only they weren’t penetrating me. No, they were focused behind me, like on my pillow. Fixated. A focused stare and a blank stare all at once.

I knocked him off me and padded to the kitchen to feed him. But the usual tinkle of food into his dish had no impact. He sat instead on the counter, staring right behind me. We sat there until dawn, him freaking me out and staring and me being freaked out and staring back.

When the sun rose, I left the kitchen to get dressed, and he followed. Freaky cat. I bent down to pet him, and he raised his head toward my hand—but he missed. Only it seemed intentional. He was raising his head to be pet, only he was raising it at something directly behind me. I turned around, half expecting someone, but of course there was no one.

Freaky cat.

I pushed him away with my foot and closed the bedroom door to finish dressing, but his insistent meowing unsettled me. I opened the door to shush him, but his let out a wailing cry at the empty space behind me.

I turned on the TV to drown out the caterwauling. It was a commercial for an HVAC company, a terrible and memorable jingle. I sang along. It silenced the cat, but still Meowser stared behind me.

I thought I saw something walk across the room behind me, a reflection moving across the mirror. But when I turned, I was still alone.

A pizza commercial came on, but my usual appetite sparked by those kinds of commercials had diminished. I didn’t even want breakfast. I picked up the phone to call Mom. Something came over me, and suddenly I had to get Meowser out of my apartment. Surely Mom and Dad could keep him for Ellie.

The phone rang before I could dial, making me jump half out of my skin and drop it on the carpet. Meowser didn’t even flinch. Just kept staring.

It was Mom.

“Baby, turn on the news,” she said.

The news was already on—the pizza commercial had dissolved into a breaking story of a terrorist attack in Paris. A coordinated attack of vans and trucks driving into crowds. The confirmed death count was twenty-two and counting.

“I called Ellie as soon as I saw,” Mom said. She was sobbing. “She didn’t answer. Steve, either.”

“Mom,” I said. “Ellie’s in Italy. Paris is in France.” My mind briefly relaxed, worried only about Mom possibly having a senior moment.

“No, honey. Ellie’s there. Steve is on leave, and the two of them went to France. They were touring the city today and tomorrow.”

“They could still be out touring,” I said. “I mean, do their phones even work in France? I think calls are super expensive. They probably have their phones off. You know, so they can concentrate on their tour.”

But even as the words left my mouth, I knew the worst was true. I knew it because Meowser knew it. The cat’s eyes softened as the realization hit me. Ellie was no longer in Italy. She was no longer in France. Meowser meowed again and ducked his head toward the shadow behind me. His beloved Ellie. She always kept her promise.

***

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

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

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/

+++
C.A. MacKenzie is the author of the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers, including Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/.

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under books, free, freebies, fun, Uncategorized

The Spot Writers – “Lady Marian and the Kids” by Chiara De Giorgi.

Welcome to The Spot Writers.

The current prompt is a story about a character who finds an object that had been lost. This week’s story comes from Chiara De Giorgi. Chiara dreams, reads, edits texts, translates, and occasionally writes in two languages. She also has a lot of fun.

***

 Lady Marian and the kids

It had seemed a good idea, to bring the cat along.

They planned on travelling through France with their motor home during the Summer break for their family holiday: it would take them three weeks to go as far as Paris and come back.

Their usual cat-sitter wasn’t available, and the replacement they had found had asked double the budgeted amount. So there were only two choices, really: shorten their holiday, or take the cat to Paris.

She had sighed, loaded the motor home with food for two adults, four children, and a cat, and they had left.

Their first stop was Chamonix, at the foot of Mont Blanc. There was a huge parking lot at the edge of a forest. It was quiet, it smelled good, it was cheap. They stopped for the night, and as she sat stroking the cat and reading a book, the kids chased one another right outside the motor home, running in and out the forest.

Her youngest suddenly opened the door.

“Mom! Can we play with Lady Marian outside? Please?”

“I’m afraid it’s not a good idea”, she replied. “Our Lady here is used to staying in, she might get frightened outside.”

“Just a few minutes! I want to show her the woods!”

Kid number Three jumped in, sweat and dirt clinging to his cheeks and hands.

“Yeah, can you imagine how she’ll love the tree trunks? Sooo many huge scratchers!”

The kids laughed and clapped their hands. They made her laugh, too.

“Please, mom, we’ll be careful.”

“We’ll protect her!” cried the youngest, puffing his little chest.

She sighed and turned her head: the cat was actually showing a bit of curiosity for the world outside the door. Lady Marian had been with them for five years: she probably trusted her humans enough to allow them to take her for a stroll outside.

“Okay”, she said at last. “But!” she added, raising her voice over her kids’ enthusiastic hurras. “Bring your brother and sister. I want them to be with you at all times.”

Kids number Three and Four found number One and Two, who were exploring a big woodpile, and Lady Marian was finally brought into the big big world outside the motor home.

Her eyes were huge, and her tiny nose twitched like crazy: wood, pine, snow, wind, grass… so many new smells!

The kids brought her to the woodpile, and Lady Marian was happy to touch the logs’ bark with her pads. Laughing excitedly, the kids and the cat played together, jumping up and down the logs.

Until at one point the kids lost sight of the cat.

They searched all around the parking lot, they entered the forest with a torchlight, they called, pleaded, offered treats… the cat was nowhere to be found.

They stayed one day longer in Chamonix, but Lady Marian didn’t come back.

Everyone was crying, by the time Mom and Dad decided to leave the cat behind and go to Paris anyway.

“She’s a proud feline, you don’t have to worry”, she said, trying to reassure the kids, but it didn’t work. She felt so terribly guilty.

Twenty days later, they were back in the parking lot at Chamonix, on their way home.

As soon as Dad parked the motor home, the kids ran to the woodpile.

“They’re going to be disappointed all over again”, said Dad.

She sighed.

“What would you do, forbid them to go out?”

Dad shook his head.

“Maybe we shouldn’t have stopped here.”

“I think we should go with them”, she said suddenly. “I feel guilty, I should have kept Lady Marian inside.”

“And they would have been angry at you, you know that. They would have tried to convince you to let her out every single day of our trip!”

She sighed again.

“You’re right. And yet…”

“Mom! Dad! Come!”

Kid number One was calling them with all her voice.

“Oh my God, what happened?” she cried, worried sick in an instant. When her girl called, it was always for a good reason.

“It’s Lady Marian! We found her, but we can’t reach her.”

“What?” Mom and Dad asked together, jumping up from their seats. “Where?”

“She’s hidden somewhere under the woodpile! Do you think she’s stayed there for all this time, waiting for us?”

“I really don’t know”, she answered, getting the torchlight.

“She’ll be so hungry!”

She hold the light for Dad, while he tried to reach the cat. The kids were holding their breath. She could hear Lady Marian’s feeble meows coming from under the tree trunks.

“She’s here! I can see her!” Dad finally said.

They all stared down a crack between two thick logs, and Lady Marian’s yellow eyes blinked back.

Dad called her, stretching a hand through the crack: “Lady, it’s us, come on!”

After a while, Lady Marian gathered enough courage and stretched her forepaws forward.

“I can touch her,” Dad whispered. “Just a couple of inches… There! I got her!”

Dad sat, withdrawing his hand from the logs. He was holding their beloved cat. Lady Marian was purring and rubbing her head against Dad’s hand, while everybody else was cheering, crying and laughing at the same time.

“It was a good holiday”, said kid number Two the following night, as she tucked him in. “Do you know what I liked best, mom?”

“What? The Tour Eiffel? The boat ride along the River Seine? The fireworks at Versailles?”

“That our Lady waited for us and made us find her again. That was the most beautiful thing that happened. And the woodpile was really cool, wasn’t it?”

***

The Spot Writers:

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

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/

Leave a comment

Filed under free, Uncategorized

The Spot Writers – “Incident at a Wedding,” by RC Bonitz

Welcome to the Spot Writers. Today’s contribution comes from RC Bonitz, author of the new book, DANGEROUS DECISIONS, which was just released. The prompt for this month involves the use of the following- a planet inhabited mostly by cats, a glitter gun, and a unicorn hunter. A little fantasy anyone?

 

Dangerous Decisions by RC Bonitz

www.Amazon.com

 

Incident at a wedding

 

“Did you hear?” Patti Persian asked breathlessly.

“Hear what?” Susan Longhair said.

“You didn’t, did you. It was terrible. You should have been there.”

“What was terrible?”

“Oh, you wouldn’t believe it. I wouldn’t if I wasn’t there myself.”

“What? What happened?”

“It was at the wedding. You know, Tom and Kitty’s wedding?”

“Tom? Do I know him?”

“Of course, he’s the movie star, the mouser.”

“Mouser? What’s a mouse?”

“I don’t know, some kind of a pest that was in the movies with Tom all the time. Anyway, they were there and so were Catnip and Felix. He was best cat. He was a movie star too, a long time ago.”

“Oh. All these cat names, I don’t know.”

“Come on, we live on an all cat planet. Except for the unicorns of course,” Patti huffed.

“So, anyway, what happened?” Susan said.

“It was after the wedding. Hubert and Horace were hitched to their coach and they were set to go off on their catymoon. Then—”

“Who are Hubert and Horace?”

“Unicorns. They were there to pull the wedding coach. It was beautiful.”

Susan groaned. “What was?”

“The coach, silly. The Grand Poobah loaned it to Tom and Kitty for the occasion.”

“Oh, okay, I get it.”

“You do? You know what happened?” Patti said, looking somewhat puzzled.

“Tell me. I’m confused.”

“Well, I should think you would be, interrupting me like that. He tried to kill them.”

Susan twitched her whiskers and simply blinked at her companion.

“That’s right, he did.”

“Who did?”

“Why, the unicorn hunter of course. He came running out of nowhere with a spear. But guess what? You’ll never guess, I know you won’t. Want me to tell you?”

Susan nodded, her whiskers twitching wildly with anticipation.

Patti grinned as only Persian cats can. “I shot him with a glitter gun.”

 

 ***

The Spot Writers- our members

 

RC Bonitz

rcbonitz.com

 

Val Muller

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

 

Catherine A. MacKenzie

https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Spot Writers – “Creative Mind,” by Val Muller

Welcome to the Spot Writers. Today’s post is brought to you by Val Muller, author of The Scarred Letter, the YA reboot of Hawthorne’s original. This month, you can purchase the novel, or any other Barking Rain Press title, for half off: http://www.barkingrainpress.org/ .

Today’s prompt is a challenging one: it must include “a unicorn hunter,” “a planet inhabited mostly or entirely by cats,” and “a glitter gun.”

Creative Mind

By Val Muller

Lizzy shifted in her seat, and all eyes turned to her. Of course she would be given the squeaky desk. She froze in place, and eyes returned to their papers. Lizzy sighed. Taking the SAT was bad enough; having to sit perfectly still for a bazillion hours made it that much worse.

To think of all she could be doing with this time—and money. Going to the movies. Taking a hike. Daydreaming. Doodling. Sleeping in. Not that she couldn’t daydream or doodle here, it’s just that Mom wouldn’t approve.

“No daydreaming this time,” she said. “You need a higher score for college.”

Last time Lizzy had done fairly well—until the fifth section. Then, she got lost in a daydream, doodled her way across the test booklet, and argued with the testing coordinator when she wasn’t allowed to take her beautiful drawings out of the room with her. Something about testing security.

Urgh.

The testing proctor was finished speaking, and an electronic timer started its sadistic countdown at the front of the room. Might as well get started. Lizzy turned to the first reading passage. It was some kind of memoir, no doubt followed by impossible questions:

On Saturday mornings, the neighborhood was plagued by caterwauling children. They must be rehearsing to be future circus clowns or…

Lizzy chuckled to herself. Caterwauling. She had no idea what the word meant, but the images in her head amused her. Before she realized it, her pencil was drawing in the margins of the passage. It was a tiny planet—like the one The Little Prince lived on—and it was inhabited entirely by cats.

She drew them with long, flowing manes—the kind horses would have. And some had horns, like unicorns. There was the Head Cat, a prince. No, a princess, she decided as she drew a bow.

Her mother’s voice echoed in her mind, redirecting her to the passage:

…or Lords or Misrule. Spawn of the working class, the kids would make their way down the hall to the front stoop below, where they would disrupt my sacrosanct space, their untamed forms showing through my gossamer curtains…

Lizzy chuckled again. Gossamer. She had no idea what that meant, either, but she liked the sound of it. Gossamer. Goose. Glitter. Another chuckle. The proctor raised an eyebrow, and Lizzy concentrated on her drawing, adding a glitter gun.

Not the kind of gun one might use when crafting. No. This one actually shot glitter. It was shaped like those vintage 1950s ray guns, the kind that looked like it belonged on The Jetsons. But it shot glitter, which she speckled all over her page.

But she couldn’t just have a glitter gun without a shooter. Who, on a world inhabited by cats, would be carrying a glitter gun? The passage provided her response.

…And yet I couldn’t leave them alone. I couldn’t go into the back rooms and ignore them. Their very presence, irascible. Like a hunter, I stalked them…

Ah! So it was a hunter, then. A unicorn hunter, no doubt, drawn to the mysterious planet by the strange horned cats. How disappointed he would be as he realized his targets were cats and not unicorns. Would he shoot them anyway?

Lizzy smiled as she watched her hand draw the answer for her. Before long, the entire passage was covered in doodles, a planet of cats exploding in a ball of glitter in the First Great War of the Unicorn Hunter. He never had a chance against all those claws.

A shrill noise at the front of the classroom sounded, calling time for the first passage. Lizzy looked at her paper and sighed. She’d read about a paragraph of the passage and hadn’t answered a single question. Her scores on this test would be no better than the last. Mom would be so mad.

Parents and colleges—they never appreciate creativity when they see it!, she thought as she flipped to the math section, taking inspiration for her next doodle of the Planet Isosceles and the race of creatures called the Pi.

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

RC Bonitz: www.rcbonitz.com

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

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized