Flash fiction: That Cat

by | Oct 23, 2012 | Fiction, Flash fiction | 13 comments

That Cat
By Laura McHale Holland

It was a cat: calico, chipmunk size, at my neck purring softly at first, then louder and louder until the feline sounded like a helicopter, and then we were in a helicopter, a real helicopter, but it was sputtering and spinning, descending rapidly toward the earth, and we had just one parachute, and the cat said to me, it’s either you or me, babe, and I wrenched him away from my neck and almost threw him out, but then I thought the way things are these days, someone could probably catch that on video, me tossing the cat into the blue, like some horrid cat hater, when, really, the cat had spoken to me, threatened me, but nobody would know that, so I calmed down and told the cat the parachute was too big for him anyway, so we may as jump together.

I put on the chute and tied the cat to my body with my scarf, and out we went, just in time, too, because the helicopter was turning into a fireball, but as soon as the parachute opened, that cat screeched and howled and wiggled out of the scarf and wrapped himself around my neck and scratched me up something fierce, and then he ran off as soon as we landed in some trees.

The emergency crews are in place now, cleaning up the mess, and everybody thinks I got all scratched up in the trees, and that cat, that chipmunk-size calico cat, isn’t around to tell them any different.

(Photo by Ashley Bayles, http://www.flickr.com/photos/ashleybayles/5949583068/sizes/m/)

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  1. Robin Leigh Morgan

    Hi Laura,

    I think you’re going love my response this week.

    I read your flash quickly the first time around as I usually do. Then the whole picture appeared in my mind as clear as a bell where the scene apparently changes in mid-sentence from wherever it started to being in a helicopter which is about to crash; and I wound up asking myself: What is real this week? What is only a dream?

    As a cat owner I know how sounds when it’s extremely contented, it purrs. And if you place your ear next to its’ body the droning sound repeating itself over and over can sound like a helicopter.

    So, as you begin to fall asleep from the soothing effect of your cat’s purring, you begin to dream about being in a helicopter. However, the dream takes a scary turn when a fire starts in it and you’re about to crash; and your rapid movements as you dream of jumping out of the helicopter cradling the cat close to your body startles your cat as it scurries away from you, causing it to scratch your face. When you wake up from your dream after being rescued by the emergency crews, the cat is nowhere around as in your dream and your face is covered with scratch marks from your cat.

    Your flash this week brings to my mind, from famous lines from Shakespeare’s Hamlet,
    To dream or not to dream…
    …To die to sleep,
    To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there’s the rub,
    For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,

  2. Ann Philipp

    I like it! Thanks for sharing.

  3. ana manwaring

    I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. admin

    I do love you response this week, Robin Leigh! Your scenario sounds plausible if you believe the central character is living in the same reality that we are, which is a possibility. I’m open to interpretation on that. I’m leaning more toward the world of the story being slightly different than ours where the character really did parachute from a helicopter and the cat could talk. I just wrote it though, you know, these stories have a life and meaning all their own. I love that this flash brought Hamlet to your mind, too.

  5. admin

    Thank you, Ann. I very much appreciate that you stopped by and left this comment. :o)

  6. admin

    Thanks, Ana. Your support is really giving me a boost, seriously. I’m taking a deep breath now and taking it in.

  7. Jerry Kohut

    Your imagination is so awesome, you saved the cat and it ran away, however the cat was spared one of it’s nine lives.

  8. admin

    Thanks for the validation, Jerry. This was a fun one to write. It came to me in the middle of the night.

  9. Susan

    Why it could be an issue of abandonment after all. We abandon the day to go to sleep; we abandon projects; some abandon people, or pets. The scratches? Something trying to wake me up. I think her name is Casi! : ) Love the story. HUGS!

  10. admin

    Abandonment, yes, I can see this story being all about that, Sue, and I like the way you riffed on different types of abandonment. Sometimes we have to abandon things or people, too, don’t we, to move on and grow in ways that we need to. Who is Casi? A puzzle for me. … I’m so glad you love this one. :o)

  11. Barbara Toboni

    Wow! Keep paying attention to those middle of the night stories. Great stuff to ponder. I would be looking up everything in a dream book.

  12. admin

    Thanks, Barbara. I haven’t thought about dream interpretation in ages. I might have a book about dreams tucked away somewhere though. Might make for some fun reading.

  13. admin

    I just realized Cali is for the calico cat. Took me a while, huh.

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