Anita's Haven

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THE MIRROR – I accepted a duel challenge from Katheryn Caffee

on 22/02/2015

This is my response to Katheryn Caffee’s cat photo challenge, to write a story. Managed to stick to the word limit and link it to my book The Threshold. Have fun! And thank you, Katheryn!

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MIRROR

 
The black cat almost choked in sleep. It coughed up a furball and opened its eyes. There was light coming from above, so the cat poked its head out. It had no idea where it was, or when. It was in some kind of a bag, in a house, with strange boxes with reflective surfaces all around, colourful items scattered on the floor, dolls and animals. Nothing looked quite the way the cat remembered things.

In fact, the last thing it did remember before waking up here was hanging from a huge oak tree, tied to it with a rope wrapped around the neck. Its owner’s fragile body was disappearing in flames in front of a shack just near the oak tree. Mad people screamed in fury and madness flocked around, cheering at fire, pain and death. The hollering and smoke blended into a mist as the oak branch cracked. The cat’s body fell down and it lost consciousness.

And here it was. Who knows where! There was a familiar-looking thing in an armchair in the corner. It was a woman, sitting and reading. The lady got up and walked over to the cat with a gentle smile. She was skinny, short-haired and fragile, but had the most loving eyes. The cat winced a bit but didn’t hide. It trusted the smile.

‘So you are up! Wonderful! You poor thing, I found you on the edge of the park, almost choked to death. Kids can really be nasty sometimes! Well, probably kids! The vet said you’d be OK, so… welcome to my home. Oh, you are looking at the black cat on my book? Finding you made me pick it up. It’s been a while since I read me some Poe. I’m Sally. Come, have something to eat.’

The black cat followed guided by its impeccable sense of smell. The food was fantastic, and the cat’s curiosity aroused. It sniffed and poked its head in corners, puzzling over how it appeared here. Still, a kind lady with a cat bag and delicious snacks was better than a madding crowd. The lady observed patiently. When the cat finally settled itself in the  armchair to bathe, Sally relaxed.

‘Let’s take a walk! I have a day off; children’s TV is friendlier than the reality shows I used to do. Anyway, my son is finishing school soon, so we can go get him. Oh he’s going to love you! I’ll just have to put this leash around your neck, so you don’t accidentally run off in front of a bus. Don’t worry! It’s soft and nice and smells like catnip. And the park is lovely.’

The black cat sniffed the leash. The lady’s eyes made it  feel calm, so the leash hugged its neck. Memories flashed and disappeared, like a quick add, leaving no permanent effect.

The door opened and a plethora of sounds and smells engulfed the cat. Curiosity drowned fear, as the leash guided the cat out of harm’s way. It did keep the cat out of some interesting secluded places, but there would be time for nocturnal prowl. There were plenty of people running around, all dressed quite unusually, some hardly dressed at all, and noisy colourful boxes passed to and fro between rivers of humans. Dogs and cats were all on leashes, walking calmly with their owners, occasionally throwing the cat a glance and a tail wag, or a bark and a hiss. The behaviour pattern might have changed, but the body language hadn’t.

What shocked the cat most was how people treated Sally and the cat! Most of the people didn’t mind them at all! Nobody shouted or insulted them, no rocks were thrown, nobody spat at them, cast curses, or lit torches … People passed them by, and in the rare cases that they did say hello to Sally, they complimented her on the beautiful cat she had, reacting with sympathy hearing of the cat’s unfortunate rope incident.

The black cat trodded the city streets with more confidence, occasionally patted on the back by Sally’s gentle hand.

‘You know, sometimes I think I see myself in those curious eyes of yours! It was obviously destiny I should find you! Now I am a proper divorcee with a cat and a kid, a family-friendly job and plenty of books to read.’

Sally kept chirping as they strolled through the giant park, filled with ancient trees and greenery. The black cat’s nose worked its magic, and memories of a past life kept blending in with new experiences. It recognized some trees and felt  like seeing old friends. Sally enjoyed having a pet and walked with childlike freshness to her step, unaware of men eyeing her newfound confidence with inquisitive smiles.

Reaching the end of the park, the chatty lady sat on a bench and placed the cat in her lap, stroking its back and scratching under its chin and between its eyes. The cat purred, letting the sun fill every single hair on its body, generously sharing its serenity. Sally checked her mobile for time.

‘Time to get my little boy from school. Just across the road and past that glassy tower building there. Brings back memories, that one, and not good ones at all. But – the past is in the past, right?’

Shivers went up and down the black cat’s back, shiny hair electrifying with anxiety as they approached the glossy tower. The ground vibrated on a frequency only cats can sense, and the cat felt as if something burned its paws a bit. Smoke, burning flesh, screams and pain returned, briefly substituting the modern images. The black cat looked around for the huge oak tree, but it was gone. Sally stopped, too.

‘You feel it  as well? Figures! Horrible place! Let’s walk on. You’re fine with me now.’

They reached the school as the bell rang, and Sally lifted the cat into her arms, smiling happily.

‘I’m going to call you Mirror. Suits you.’

 

 

This story is a prequel and a sequel to my story, The Threshold. Sally is The Threshold’s producer of the unfortunate reality show, the oak tree is the one Thibedeaux had destroyed to build his mansion, and the mirror reference… well, read The Threshold and see for yourself!

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Anita Kovacevic

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One response to “THE MIRROR – I accepted a duel challenge from Katheryn Caffee

  1. K. Caffee says:

    Reblogged this on Pukah Works and commented:
    You’ve been Challenged! was my my half of this challenge, now I get to introduce you to the other side of the challenge. Anita received a picture of Talia in one of her many cubbies from me, and has produced a fun flash fiction piece. Hope you enjoy it as well.

    Like

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