One of the super exciting things about NaNo for me this year is I finally get to change my user name. I first heard about the challenge through a writer’s message board I’m a member of, so when I first signed up for it I just used the name I went by on that site, which was Lady Cat. The novelty of being Lady Cat wore off rather quickly but there was nothing I could do about it unless I wanted to lose all my stats. And considering I had several wins under my belt by then this was unacceptable. However, this year I finally got to change my name. Yay!
With only a couple of days worth of writing under my belt, an excerpt really didn't seem feasible. However, I received a belated story for last month’s prompt and I thought I’d share it with you today. Better late than never, eh?
by C.L. Hannah
You know how people tell you that you’re seeing things when they fail to see what you are pointing at?
Well I’ve been listening to people tell me there is nothing out there for as long as I can remember. Yet, my eyes are always drawn to that same strange light, surrounded by a dark patch of land, every night.
I wonder if I’ll see that glow again, I wondered as I watched the light outside my window morph from the grey of twilight to the black of night.
“Ahh…there you are.” Pushing my nose to the window I stared at the blurry yellow glow in the distance. “I wasn’t sure you were going to show tonight.”
My words fogged the glass and I rubbed at the window with the sleeve of my nightgown. But all that accomplished was a blurring of the barely distinguishable yellow glow. Suddenly I felt bereft.
“Some night I’m going to go out there and find you,” I said to my empty bedroom, without breathing on the window glass.
Nodding my head, in agreement with my words, I whacked my forehead against the glass. Jerking back from the window in frustration, I rubbed my forehead and snickered quietly at myself.
“You goof. You knew the window was there,” I whispered, to my reflection.
“Yes. You did know the window was there. Yet you still leaned into it my Queen. Why?”
Freezing in place I peered out from under my hand that was still rubbing my forehead and stared into the yellow eyes of the black cat sitting on my window ledge, outside.
“Where did you come from?”
The cat rolled its eyes, smoothed its whiskers back then shook its head at me.
“Why are you rolling your eyes at me? I only asked where you came from?”
“I know you only asked that, but it’s such a silly question that I’d hoped you’d drop it,” replied the cat, wrapping its tail around its body and sitting up regally.
“Why are you talking to me? No wait…how can I understand you?
“Ahh…” said the cat, standing and stretching with its head low and butt high. “Now we’re getting somewhere my liege.”
“No really! What’s going on? Is this some Halloween prank?”
“So you don’t want to know where I came from then?”
“What? No. I mean yes. I want to know that.”
“First off, you know where I come from, think about it. Secondly, I’m not some Halloween prank, that’s just rude and thirdly, it’s time you were back on the throne. ‘Tis time to go. So to speak.”
I suddenly remembered that a head bump could cause confusion and that confusion could make people do funny things and wondered briefly if I’d given myself a concussion when my forehead hit the window.
Opening the window, I stared into the black cat’s eyes and noticed a fog swirling within them.
Standing up the cat lowered its head, as if bowing, then sniffed me. Next it ran a paw over its nose, stared at me with wide eyes and sneezed like I smelt badly or something.
“Nice. Not,” I said, raising an eyebrow. “Well lead on then.”
Climbing out the window wasn’t difficult, I’d been doing it for a long as I could remember. The climbing down the Maple tree beside the house however, was another thing all together.
I watched as the cat jumped limberly from branch to branch and thought why not? Following suit, perhaps not as gracefully, I managed to get to the ground without killing myself.
“Score one for me,” I said, looking back up at my open window and shivering. “I can’t believe I just did that.”
“Coming or what?” said the cat, flicking its tail impatiently.
“Coming, coming, coming,” I said, still looking up at my bedroom window but moving forward into the shadows. “Is it far?”
“Too far for most but obviously not for you.” Trotting off into the darkness, the cat didn’t look back to see if I was keeping up.
I kept the cat in sight as we trudged through a dark field and dodged around some cows. I marvelled at all the new scents filling my nose and wondered why I could smell so many different things all of a sudden. Finally I pushed through a dense line of bushes that I’d spied the cat sliding under and stepped into a clearing.
“You’re welcome,” said the cat, squinting one eye closed and glaring at me with the other.
“Welcome? For what?”
“You’re here aren’t you?”
“Here? Where? And you still haven’t told me why I can talk with you.”
The cat sighed heavily.
“I didn’t know cats did that,” I said, the corners of my lips quirking up into a smile.
“Who says I’m a cat?”
“Aren’t you? You look like a cat so therefore you must be.” Crossing my arms over my chest, I stared down at the animal and smirked.
“And yet, you can talk with me. Sometimes things are not as they seem to be. But let’s get on with it. Since it’s All Hallow’s Eve, it has been decided that you should be brought back home, tonight.”
I stared around the clearing and tensed. All I saw was a lamp post giving off a weak, yellow glow, the talking cat, a bench and some geese. “Home? This is home for you?”
“Yes and now, for you.”
I jumped as the geese suddenly took flight. My head felt like it was spinning and my body shrinking - getting longer and the ground closer.
I spied a goose feather floating down and reached out to grab it. But instead of a hand, I saw a furry black paw in front of my face.
“Welcome home Queen Keket,” said my cat guide. “We’ve been waiting a long time for your return.”