Sunday, April 8, 2012

Missing

I never meant to get a cat, I should tell you that up front.  I lived alone and I liked it.  But Cecil just showed up one day, scrawny and skittish, yet acting like he owned the place.  His tough-guy attitude impressed me, so I shared my dinner with him.  That was eight years ago, and he’s been around ever since.  

He’d slowed down some since then, preferring to sit on my lap in front of the fire over chasing the mice that lived in the walls.  He never did get the hang of the litter box though, so every night before bed, I showed him the door.

“Sorry, pal,” I said. “Out you go.  I learned my lesson.  No more stepping in puddles of cat piss for this fellow.”

Cecil shot me a scathing look and swaggered outside like it was his idea all along.  It was a cold and snowy night, but his fur coat and his wits would keep him warm, they always did.  He soon disappeared into the dark.

Most times, he’d be at the door looking for breakfast, bright and early, although once in a while, he still wandered.  When he didn’t show the next morning, I wasn’t too concerned, but as the days passed without a sign, I began to worry.

On a morning nearly two weeks after he'd gone missing, I headed outside to fetch some wood for the stove, scanning the yard more from habit than hope. Right off, I noticed the tufts of grey fur caught among the rocks of my gravel driveway.  My heart sank.  Had Cecil come home, maybe injured and weak, only to be caught by a marten or a fox?

I followed the traces of fur, the scuffs in the snow.  I figured I’d go back for a closer look later to get the whole story.  For now, I just had to know how it ended.

The trail led me to the shed, doors propped open just enough for a good-sized cat to find shelter in the night, should he care to.

I shoved the doors open wider, dreading what I might find inside.  Along with the fur, I'd noticed some blood in the snow, and was braced for the worst.

There, just a few feet in, was an unmoving lump of grey.  But it wasn’t Cecil. 

I let out the breath I’d been holding and moved in for a better look: a dead rabbit.  But who had done the deed?  Time for closer inspection of those tracks, I thought.

As it turned out, the answer came clear the minute I stepped back out into the sunshine - tracking skills weren’t even required.  There by the door, carefully washing his paws, was Cecil.

“Looks like you still got some tricks up your sleeve, you old devil.” I said.

Cecil just ignored me, and continued with his bath.  But he came right in when I opened the door, and we both had tuna for our breakfast.

***
Welcome to this week's edition of Mostly Fiction Monday. What's that, you ask? It's a little something Stranger and I cooked up, you can find the story here, however you've probably realized that I've gotten a little lax about the word count requirement.  Whoops.

Today's post was inspired by the prompt Missing.  There is one potential reader who might find the narrator and his cat a wee bit familiar.  I took a few liberties, but the story is pretty much told the way I had it told to me.

Don't forget to swing by Stranger Upstairs to read another take on the prompt, and come back next Monday, when we'll be writing something inspired by Long Distance.   

Maybe you'd like to play too?  We'd love it if you joined in.  Make sure you leave a link in the comments so we can come see, if you do.

4 comments:

Brian Miller said...

that is some cat...to catch a rabbit...kinda mysterious....i like...

Stranger said...

I had a cat named Cecil when I was a kid and he too was a crazy rabbit hunter cat. Great story!

Katherine Krige said...

And the cat came back, the very next... week? Might have had a few years under his belt, but it is amazing how resilient our feline friends can be when they need to.

Rainbow said...

Love it and I so can see the sly old cat sitting their licking his paws waiting for the door to be opened for him