Moonlighting

Alas, missed the midnight deadline for a blink of an eye!

Alas, missed the midnight deadline for a blink of an eye!

I had the most annoying case of lightning writer’s block. All the way home from work and while doing a couple of urgent chores I had this situation in mind, which was probably set in the same world as Eskarena and the Imaginarium and could have been an interesting chapter one. But as soon as I sat in front of the screen the idea started weakening, I realized I hadn’t thought through any of the details and got hopelessly lost at about 150 words in.

So I decided it was destiny, opened a new file and started an entirely different thing. An odd piece that appeared to deal with compulsive behaviours and boring summer afternoons. But that turned out to be a dead end too. I was ready to throw in the towel. My number one fan kept trying to motivate me, suggesting I should write about sexy female vampires, or sexy witches, or sexy female vampires with sexy witches, but I had to turn down all of those ideas despite being aware of just how marketable they would be.

But then, after staring aimlessly outside the window and smoking a nasty cancer stick, a memory emerged. And it led me to another memory. And then another one. And then I knew what I was going to write today.

I haven’t edited it at all, so I can only imagine how dreadful the syntax and grammar must be, but bear with me. It’s past midnight, I’m exhausted and a long day awaits me tomorrow!

Day 3 of #NotNaNoWriMo
The little girl and the cat

Lynn was sitting on the doorstep, chin resting on her palms, eyes focused on the plum tree Mrs. Picklemore had planted in the building’s garden patch. She was purposely avoiding to look at the bushes where he was hiding, for she knew he was looking at her. The stray cat moved slightly to the left, shaking the plant a little. But Lynn didn’t look. She knew the tail-less cat would not come out if he felt observed.

It was a warm summer afternoon, and Lynn had nothing better to do. There was nothing good on TV and her mother wouldn’t be home from work for another four hours. She imagined her head was a camera and she was taking a picture of the leaves, light and shade making every one of them different and unique. She heard a soft rustle and saw him step into her peripheral vision. Don’t look, don’t look! She would not dare look at him until he had come to her on his own.

Some people would call at him when they saw him creeping around, they would whistle or make purring sounds, and if he was near enough they would stretch out their hands. But just before they could touch him, he would shoot under a parked car or through the fence bars.

Lynn had a method. She would make sure he saw her, but ignored him completely. First she would look up and down the street, as if she were suspicious of everyone and everything. And every time she heard the noise of footsteps or a passing car she would start, and then stay completely still. That way he would know she was a kindred spirit, someone who felt just like him, someone he could trust. Staring at a specific point that wouldn’t include him was stage three. And that would be the moment he would test her by getting closer and closer and then pausing to gauge her reaction.

Lynn sat still as the cat started pacing in front of her, a few steps away from her feet. She was starting to grow bored with the tree leaves, but didn’t dare move her eyes. Just then, a car drove slowly by and both of them turned to look at it, their bodies frozen but ready to sprint away. In Lynn’s case it would have been a very short sprint, two steps left and then she’d have to fish around her pockets for her keys, the momentum entirely lost. But the cat would be long gone by then, and anyway she was fairly sure it wouldn’t come to that. She didn’t recognize the car, which meant it probably didn’t belong to any of the people living in her building. Even if the driver did find a parking space he was unlikely to come towards them. It reached the end of the street, stopped as if the driver was making up his mind as to where to look next, then turned left and out of sight. Lynn and the cat both relaxed, but she pretended to keep an eye on the spot where the car had just disappeared, as if to make sure that the danger was averted. She knew the cat was looking at her, and that he would soon come near, as if to reassure her.

He started by rubbing himself against her ankles, the sign she’d been waiting for. Once he’d established first contact, she knew she would be allowed to pet him. He licked her right hand finger tips and then rubbed his face against them. With her left hand she scratched him gently under his head, and he moved slightly every time he wanted her to reach some different spot. He stepped forward a bit so that his body would receive the same treatment making soft, purring noises. He rolled over, sprawled before her, his back resting on her sneakers. Lynn rubbed his belly and flattened the fur until he got bored with that too.

Rolling back on his feet he paced back and forth before her, as if assessing something, then jumped on her lap. He circled around, trying to locate the right position until he finally sat down, facing the street, while his human pet groomed him with her blackening fingers and hummed made-up tunes. From time to time the sound of footsteps or distant barking forced them to stand at attention (or in Lynn’s case, sit at attention) but as soon as the coast was clear he’d sit back down and let her resume her stroking and music making.

Lynn lost complete track of time, her fingers gently running through his fur, her thoughts wandering across space and time. She barely noticed Heather approaching the door, as even tail-less cat hadn’t stirred. He knew he needn’t bother with the blond human, they had an unspoken agreement of mutual indifference.

“Don’t feed him anything”, Heather said.

“I never do”, replied Lynn without looking up.

“He has an owner, you know” was Heather’s last remark before the front door shut behind her.

Another car was silently cruising the street for parking, but finally gave up and sped away. As soon as it was gone they both relaxed, the cat resting his chin on his front paws, Lynn humming to herself while the afternoon sun kept shining above them.

Lynn lost complete track of time, her fingers gently running through his fur, her thoughts wandering across space and time.

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