Short Story Competition – Shared Third Place: Adventure Awaits

A man uses magic to turn into a mighty lion, but something goes wrong and he turns into a domestic cat, and has to spend his remaining days as his arch nemesis’s pet. No. Three people lost at sea, one is a tiger… No. Stop it with the felines. Real people. Real problems. Drugs, hallucinating big blue laser-eyed… cats. NO.

“I need a break,” said the writer.

“Meow”

“Not now, Sancho. I can’t concentrate with you meowing away like that. A man can only get away with writing a certain amount of books about cats. I love you, you incredible moob, but I must away, adventure awaits!”

“Meow?”

“No, you can’t come. I don’t need your rationalizing comments,” the writer said as he left the room, pretend horse riding down the corridor.

“Honey, I’m going out for a bit.”

“Won’t you please wash the mugs first?”

“Can’t that wait?” He yelled from the hall, still pretend horse riding in one place.

“Can you come into the room when we talk?” She was annoyed.

“Adventure awaits, my fair lady Dulcinea,” he replied, ignoring her annoyance, hoping it would go away.

“Whatever, but I’m not doing it.” He knew there were only about four mugs sitting in the sink, but instead of giving in to his lady’s commands, he left. He liked coming home to an angry wife, providing a tiny bit of passion in a relationship that had most of the love sucked out of it.

As he stepped outside the crisp January cold immediately cheered him up. It was a beautiful winter night, snow lightly falling down, melting within milliseconds of touching the pavement. There was no one on the street. Behind the windows he could see television sets flicker, and imagined families huddled up on beige couches. “Now that’s what I call quality time: the warmth of a human body, a cup of coffee, some Kiefer Sutherland to distract you from the fact that you have absolutely nothing to talk about,” the writer scoffed.

All the lampposts in the street were plastered with Missing posters. The writer ignored them at first, but after a while gave in to his curiosity. Mumu the cat had been missing for seven days. “Yeah, he’s dead,” the writer thought. Still, he couldn’t ignore the fact that once again, one of those pestering purr-machines had found him. He gave in. “Fucking cats,” he whispered to no one, as he decided to look around for Mumu.

After about half an hour of walking around, iPhone flashlight in hand, the writer started wondering what the hell he was doing. Just when he was about to turn around and go back to his castle, his lady, his squire, he heard a faint moaning coming from some bushes nearby. It didn’t sound like a cat, but the writer felt he needed to at least take a look. Maybe he was going crazy, but it sounded like someone was crying for…

“Help… Please.” A thin voice was definitely coming from the bushes. The writer shone his flashlight in its direction, and pushed some branches aside. There it was, a small, weather-beaten cat.

He looked to see if there was no one else around and whispered “did you just ask for help?”

“Those evil kids. I had to run away. They were so rough. They knew. They knew they were killing me. Is there no kind soul on this planet? They took me from my mother, took my name, forced me into a cage, mutilated me… down below.”

“We tend to do that. I guess we are kind of cruel,” the writer stammered.

“For decades we have tolerated it, kept silent, created a secret language. I will not put up with it any longer. Tomorrow we fight. All of us.” The cat sounded committed, was already regaining strength.

“And you need my help?”

“Did you really think we could change anything? Just us? We need a human, and I’ve chosen you.” Mumu got back on his paws and looked the writer straight in the eyes. The writer thought of Sancho. His sweet fat companion, had he really mistreated him so?

“I’ll help” he finally said.

“Thank you,” Mumu sounded sincere “now we need to rest. We need all the sleep we can get.” He lifted his paw, the writer shook it.

When the writer woke up, the sun was just shining its first light of the day. In his arms was the body of a lifeless kitten. It had been dead for a while, a day at least. Its body was cold and hard. The writer sighed, got up, and left the little cat near the bushes. He thought about bringing its body to the family it had belonged to, but couldn’t bring himself to ignore what he had imagined the night before. He walked home feeling hopeless, defeated. He thought to himself “If we look hard enough for an adventure, we will find it. But then we have to wake up. Adventures are for books, some say. Well, thank god I’m a writer.”

By Roos Schiffer

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