Sunday, March 6, 2016

Step 2: A Companion

This is a serialized writing prompt, explained here: 7 Steps for the Lonely Writer

Today's prompt is: OUR CRAZY CAT.
Step Two. A Companion.
Four hundred, thirty-nine.
    He waded his left foot forward, through the fatigue, and onto the springy grass. And he counted.
    Four hundred, forty.
    The light had been the sun, just as he thought, peeking out behind spools of stormy cloud. At first, he was relieved, imagining he would soak up the sun’s light like a thirsty sponge; then, the sun was stabbing his vision, and he sweat. But it had been swallowed by the clouds again, and he was grateful.
    Four hundred, fifty. Four hundred, fifty-one.
    He stepped. He counted.
    Four hundred, fifty-three. Four hundred, fifty-f—
    He stopped. Stared about him. All was dark. The rolling hills surrounded him like sleeping giants, except their heaving bosoms weren’t heaving. They lay still. So he supposed the hills surrounded him like dead giants.
    What number had he been on?
    There it was again. From ahead. He resumed his steps, unworried about the exact number—for what were a few missed steps among ten thousand?
    Four hundred, sixty. Four hundred, sixty-one.
    By “four hundred, seventy-two,” he still hadn’t spotted the source of—
    He almost toppled over. There it was, sitting at his feet. “Four hundred, seventy-three” would have crushed it. A cat. Tiny among the rolling expanse of hills, yet colossal as the only living, breathing thing for miles around.
    It looked up at him. Mew.
    He bent down on his haunches and pet the cat behind its ear. It purred. Hello there, he said. Was it you who slew these fallen giants?
    Mew. Oh, no—she said you might be delusional. But “giants”?
    He blinked, fell back on his butt with a soft thump. The cat talked. It opened its mouth, a fuzzy white dewdrop amid its cobalt-gray, and mocked him.
    You can talk, he said.
    It sighed and began a luxurious stretch, arching its back in a slope that ended in a big wispy tail like the clouds that hid the sun. You don’t have to tell me, it said. I’m perfectly aware of what I can do, as I am doing it. The stretch ended in a thunderous vibration that he felt through the grass beneath him. Now. Shall we go?
    But something else suddenly occurred to him. He squinted down at the cat in the gloom and said, You said she. You said, She said you might be delusional. What did you mean by that?
    The cat stared at him for a moment, then turned to saunter off. I’m born knowing to shit in a box, but you can’t guess who I mean by she?
    You better hurry. Mew.
    Fully awakened from his fatigue, he sprang up and resumed counting his steps. 

To be continued...

Step 1. Ten Thousand Steps.
Step 2. A Companion.
Step 3. A Drunken Detour.
Step 4. The Hills Have Eyes.
Step 5. Her Graven Image.
Step 6. The Earth, Flattened.
Step 7. Back to the Beginning.
Step 10,000. Colla Voce. 

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