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Story Time: Pawdefer, the Cat

Sep
08

This is a short story I submitted for a Flash Fiction.  It was my first submitted piece every.  The theme for the week was “Something Found”.   It is the viewpoint of a cat whose owners have a baby and bring it home.

Pawdefer, the Cat

By Edie Erickson

Ah! The things are gone.  I think you call yourselves humans, but I am not interested in your names. I have a story to tell you and we need to get some things clear first.  My name is Pawdefer.  That is pronounced with a French accent: Paw-de-fer. If you call me anything else, I will not answer.  Now that the ‘hellos’ are done, let’s get down to business.

This took place many suns ago.  The she-thing had been sitting on the sofa when I strolled up.  I perched upon her belly and found it in a state of constant motion. I got jostled around too much for my liking. Using my paws (okay, my claws) to calm the belly, she-thing screamed and threw me across the room.  I didn’t sink my claws that deep into her stomach. Apparently, she did not like it.  Oh, don’t feel bad for me.  I landed on my feet.  I am good at that.  I am a cat after all.

The she-thing got up and went into the kitchen.  As I began licking my paw, she screamed again.  She sounded like a cat in a bear trap. I padded into the kitchen and watched as she proceeded to pee right there on the newly tiled floor.  I was scolded when I did something that.  Now, here she was doing it.  I was going to give my opinion when he-thing came running into the room.  He was babbling and running around in circles.  I deduced something wasn’t quite right.  He was usually calm and collected, but not today.  She continued to scream and he kept running out of the kitchen then back in again, meanwhile mumbling, “You’re doing good.”

She was standing there screaming, it didn’t look good to me. I joined in with my own meows (translation: stop screaming).  It was hurting my ears.

 

It stopped alright when  He-thing ran in the house, put his arm around her, and pushed her toward the door.  Out she waddled like a duck fattened for the Christmas feast.  Finally, peace descended upon my dwelling once again.  Sun after sun came and went.  Nobody came to stroke my fur or freshen my food or scratch behind my ears.  Rude.  There was no clean place for me to do my business. The mice were really fun to play with.  I was super nice and cleaned up all the pee on the floor.  It was tasty.  Something between water and salty-earthy human flavor.  That’s right, you’re a human. You won’t understand.

 

 

Three suns came and went before they came back. I was enjoying my afternoon nap when they disturbed me.  I stretched and sauntered over to the door.  The he-thing came in.  He was looking tired.  Wow.  He needed a shower.  Then she-thing came in.  Wow, she smelled even worse.  They were talking in quiet, high voices.  I had never heard them speak like that before.

 

As I said, I sauntered to them.  They ignored me.  I brushed up against them, meowed, and even purred. They just kept on talking.  I, finally, stretched up onto his leg with my claws. I wanted to get his attention.  That worked.  He-thing glanced down at me and lifted me up absent-mindedly.  He was behaving so oddly; making faces and vocalizing nonsense.  His breath was awful.  I had to leap down. Shaking my head in disgust, I walked out of the entryway when she-thing came in.  Wow, she smelled even worse.  They were talking in quiet, high voices.  I never heard them talk like that before.

 

As I resumed my position in the patch of sunlight warming the dining room carpeting, a new smell wafted through the air.  I arose followed the smell into the living room and there sat a blanket with something underneath.  I rubbed the blanket.  It contained something solid.  I heard a coo. I brushed up against it again and it emitted something like a small snort.  Then it wailed.   I had to see beneath the blanket. I had to know.

 

“Meow,”  I ordered. Upon my clear command, they removed the blanket. Oh no, I thought.  Another one of THEM in small form. I approached it warily.  The wailing was almost too much for me, but I was curious.  I had to understand that smell.  It smelled like he-thing and she-thing.  It was a THEY-THING. This was not good and that noise! Was this going to keep happening?

 

And then another, stronger aroma arose. I can enjoy any number of smells, but this! The stink was more powerful than those of my distant skunk cousins.  Wow!  Why did they have to bring that thing home to me?

 

She-thing picked up the wailing, stinking they-thing and walked into another room, talking softly as they went.  From my vantage point on the floor, I couldn’t quite see what was being done to it, but at last the hideous stench abated.  And not a moment too soon!  I’d seriously considered evicting these people permanently.  That night after the he-thing cleaned out my toilette and got me fresh food and water, I decided I would allow them to stay for a while longer.

 

After the big things went to bed, I thought I had better check on the they-thing.  I padded softly into the room where it was sleeping.  I skillfully jumped into its high, barred bed.  My movements were, of course, utterly without sound.  I am an expert skulker.  Seeing the sleeping they-thing, I sniffed at it.  It smelled faintly of milk and I licked its face clean.  Delicious.

It began to grunt and squirm at the touch of my rough tongue. I feared it might wail again.  Desperate to spare my ears the discomfort, I got up close, settled down, and began to purr. They-thing cooed when I did that.  Sure, I liked it.   There was a soft place on a high dresser. I could see it from up there.  That was the night I found my job.  I found something to do.  I was to watch over that little they-thing. “Purrrrrrrrrrr.”

Revision of “The Wall”

Aug
23

Okay.  I had some wonderful comments from people that recommended some changes.  I loved the ideas so I rewrote “The Wall.”  I hope this brings more clarity to the story.  If you have questions, suggestions, or advice pour the information out to me via comment below, email or text for those that have that information.

What is The Wall about? You may say.  It is about a woman who goes out to paint in the park and before she can leave her front door, she is hit with a huge bout of painter’s block.  This painter’s block comes in the form of a giant wall as big as the Great Wall of China.  This is how she gets through it or does she?

The Wall

Have you ever had a gift where it presented itself as a wall? For example, writer’s block.  You love to write.  You’ve decided to write for a living and now, you are hit with the wall.  Let me tell you a story about a lady that broke through this wall and how she did it.

 

One day, it was a sunny, fall day.  The air was warm and the mood was light.  It smelled of bread, cinnamon, and pines. Oh, what a wonderful fall day it was.  Jena stepped outside her house breathing in the intoxicating day but right in front of her was a wall placed where the street had been the night before.  She could not see past it.  It was tall and thick. It was a dull gray like cement. It was rough to the touch and plain. It blocked her view from anything forward. She loved coming out and greeting her neighbors across from her. Now, she could only see down her right or the left side through her neighbor’s front lawns. It replaced the street that laid in front of her house. As she looked at the wall, her memories began to fade of what was behind the wall.  She had faint glimpses of a road.  Ideas of beyond the wall exploded into fragments the longer she stared at the wall.

 

She pondered what she could do.  Could she climb the wall? No, there were no places for her feet or hands.  Could she see about chisel a hole through it?  She went into the garage and brought out a sledgehammer and a ladder.  It took several trips.  She would break down the wall or climb over the wall.  She climbed the ladder but it did not reach, not even halfway up the wall.  It seemed grow. The taller she tried to make the ladder the taller the wall got.  Soon, she set the ladder aside and began to pound the wall with her sledgehammer.  Long, angry strikes hit the wall.  But nothing happened. The wall remained smooth and steady.

 

Sitting on her front step and staring at the obtrusive wall that loomed before her.  The clouds touch the top of the wall.  The Great Wall of China taunted her thoughts. The Berlin Wall shouted no passing – you must stay here – escape is futile. Not only did this thing extend to the heavens but it extended to the right and left.  Nothing else filled her mind, staring at the wall was all she could do.  It left her frozen. She could go in the house but then she would be trapped.  She could hear the symphony of the city, the smells of the local bakery, and the drums of construction. The construction was on her left several streets down the hill. Over to her right, at the end of her street and across the road was the bakery her family loved to visit.  No more. The wall blocked access.  Watching the wall was like watching a tree grow no movement was visible.

 

The sun peaked behind the clouds. Shining on her face, she closed her eyes and absorbed the warm and hope it exuded. With a deep sigh, she remembered her hopes for the day. She was going to paint at the local park.  This was to be a new adventure in her life. She was just getting started but she wanted to become an artist.  She was not asking to be famous or great.  She wanted to do something her family and friends would love to see and want.  She longed for the knowledge that comes from hours of practice.  She consistently questioned whether she would be good. After years of thinking other pursuits would be better she decided to try something that lay within her heart. She had started painting weeks ago. It had been going well but nothing great. She was thinking of what she would paint when she walked outside.  This was when the wall appeared in front of her.

 

The sun hid its brilliance behind the wall.  Her shoulders slumped and she laid her head in her lap. All she wanted to do was live her life.  To write, to paint and to draw.  She wanted to show the world how she saw things.  However, she began to think of all the people that mocked her and called her crazy or worthless. She only started her journey and now she couldn’t get off the front steps. It blocked her way.

 

It was discouraging.  The clouds darkened the sky as her thoughts became negative.  The sky was now the same color as the wall.  Her life had turned gray.  Closing her eyes, the gray penetrated her mind.  No. You will not invade my mind. She thought.  No more.  I made my choice.  I chose the path. Even though, I can see it I still chose what is right for me. Light began to flicker in her mind as she began to empower herself.

 

Well, what are we going to do about it? She asked herself. We can’t go over or under or around.  We can’t break through.  How are we going to move?  Questions pounded her mind.  The wall shrunk and the sun pierced her soul.  Hope began to bloom. How am I going to do this? It is me and only me.  No one can break down this wall. I have to but it is too strong.  It is too tall. It is too long.  It is too dull.

Looking at the wall she said, “It is too dull. That gray is drab.” It was empty of life. “If I can’t go over you or under you. I don’t want to go to the right or the left.  I can’t break you down what can I do?”  She asked the wall.  After sitting, staring and talking the wall she began the think that the wall would talk back to her.  However, it did not.

“All I wanted to do was go paint in the park. Now, I can’t. You are blocking me from doing that. You are blocking me from doing anything.  All I want to do is create something.” She complained to the wall. “You are stopping me from doing that.”

A thought came into her mind. “Am I?”

“Yes. I can’t go to the park to paint.” She replied.

“But I am not stopping you from creating. Or am I?” The wall said.

“Great.  Now I am having an argument with a blank wall.” She was frustrated. “You are stopping me.”

“Am I? How?”

She wanted to just lash out. But she stopped and began to think. Was the wall stopping her from creating or just stopping her from going to the park? I can paint anywhere.  I just get inspiration at the park.

Inspiration was beginning to shimmer through her mind.  What can I do?  I can turn around and paint inside. I can paint right here and paint a portrait of the wall or I can do nothing. Uhm. I can paint …. The wall….  Let’s paint the wall.  With that idea, she stood up tall and strong, she turned around and grabbed her paints, pencils, and brushes.  She ran out the door deposited her paints, pencils, and brushes in front of the wall. Then she turned back around into the house she went grabbed pens and paper.  Back to the wall, she returned.

 

With a deep breath, she touched the wall and closed her eyes. In silence, she breathed.  One in and one out.  She saw a darkness.  She breathed in again and out again.  She felt the roughness of the wall. The roughness reminded her of emery boards to file her nails. Little rough bumps. She breathed in again. Smells of the bakery, pines, and cinnamon swirled around her.  She concentrated harder. The sounds around her disappeared. Focusing on the wall, its rough texture, she drew in her energy and pushed it to her finger tips. The wall faded from her touch. Emptiness took its place.  In and out the breath came slowly, ever so slowly.  Darkness stood closely, trying to wrap its arms around her.  However, she stood firm in the void.  Softly, her hand began to glow upon the wall in her mind. Eyes still closed.

 

Unaware of the crowd that was growing around her.  She stood with her hand stretched out, palm flat as though it was against something.  No one could see the wall.  She stood tall. Eyes closed. Breathing slowly in and out loudly.  No one could reach her.  She could not see them or hear them.  She had blocked everything out and everyone.  She was not going to listen to anyone until this wall was addressed.

 

Her hand glowed brighter and brighter.  The roughness had melted into the empty air but the wall was ever present. With an inhale, she slid her hand down the wall and over to the left.  There was a door knob there if only she could reach it.

 

Her husband had seen this before.  He knew it meant she was creating something great but if he did not set something in front of her before she started painting, then there would be no record of her idea.  He ran into the garage.  He looked for canvas or something to paint on. He found a large sheet of wood as her canvas.  He went outside and staged it in front of her.  “What do you see?” He asked.

 

His voice penetrated her mind.  “A large gray wall,” she whispers.

 

“Can you paint it?”

 

“Yes.” With that, she bent over and picked up her paints and brushes.  She slapped gray all over the garage wall.  It was middle gray as a base.  She then saw the tones of gray that gentle walked over the wall.  Soft gray and charcoal shown through.  Depth and tone danced over the canvas.  No one understood but her husband heard the whisper.  The colors of gray were coming alive.  Tone against tone. Depth and distance played their routine.   As she painted what she was seeing in front of her, a link began to be created between the wall that stood in front of her outside where the street should be and the gray sheet of wood.  The two became one in her mind.  There was no difference for her.  As the paint dried and appeared the same color, the two walls became one both in reality and within her mind.

 

She clutched a pencil in her hand, and drew part of an arch.  The arch was tall.  She asked for the ladder.  Hanging from one hand and one foot, she completed the top of the arch. It was tall but it was detailed.  Flowers, flora, vines swirled around pillars that stood on each side holding up the top of the arch and its crown high into the air.  The pillars stood upon two squares with crests therein.

The crest was a cat with a helmet on its head and a shield beside it held out its paw to stop anyone from coming forward.  They were symbols of a place beyond.

 

“Now the doors.”  Grand doors were etched out.  The knobs, handles, hinges, and door itself were intricately designed.  Then within the grand elaborate doors, she drew a small door. Plain and unassuming. There was no handle or knob only hinges. With the doors completed she sighed. Hours had taken a toll on her and she exhaled all energy.  Weak and dazed she looked to her husband.

 

She looked around many people stood there looking at the garage wall.  She rotated around to see the wall and there stood her wall, archway and all. “What is everyone doing here?” She asked while looking at her husband.

“They are here watching you. I asked them to leave but they would not. Let’s go inside.” After ushering her inside the house, he came out and thanked everyone for supporting her as she began to work her masterpiece.  They walked away murmuring and questioning whether she was insane or a genius.  They could not make a conclusion.  They could not see what was in her head.  Though the detail was complicated, it was still in pencil only.

 

The next day she laid in bed and rested. The day after that she did the same.  But the third day, food tickled her nose. She pulled her strength together and arose.  It was a Saturday. She could hear the kids chattering in kitchen. Her husband was banging around. She hurried and got ready for the day. Pulling her hair back, she came in, kissed her husband, and hugged her kids.  It was a good morning. She had dreamt about a wall that kept blocking her from going forward. But after the food was eaten and conversation finished, she walked outside and there hovered the intimidating wall.  She exhaled and walked to the wall which stood where a street once stood.  Looking at it, she saw the penciled drawn archway and the doors.  There were groves were her pencil marked the stone. With her eyes closed, she moved over all the work visualizing where and how she should continue.

 

Her husband went out into the garage and retrieved the sheet of wood.  He staged it again in front of her and whispered, “Your wall is ready for you to work on and your paints are right here.”

 

With that she dipped her clean brush into browns, blues, whites, and blacks. Colors danced and mingled as she tiptoed through the lines.  Humming and flowing, to and fro, the archway became a hand craved stone entryway. The doors were laced with gold. The archway and doors were elegantly stained. The flowers were stained in reds, pinks, purples, blues, and whites. The vines in an assortment of greens. The door was stained a simple oak but towards the bottom, it had weathered into patches of gray.  These doors looked aged and used many of times for many centuries. The recesses were darkened as though time had faded the black and dirt had piled into the nooks and crannies of the doors and archway for a winter’s nap. The protruding places were touched with light. The unassuming plain door was simply stained in a natural hue. The gold was tarnished in places.  What a sight to see.

 

The doors stood once as faint lines. But now, they loomed massive in size and grandeur. They were the doors to a great kingdom. But something was still missing.

 

She set down her paints and went to the door.  She touched the door and the carvings began to raise or fade depending on her command. She closed her eyes. She felt the wood form under her fingertips.  The intricate details ebb and fade as they recessed or became pronounced. She inhaled the aroma of newly carved wood, of stain, and of age as well.  All combined together in harmony. It was beautiful. She opened her eyes to see the beauty still in front of her. They were just as she imagined them. She wondered what was behind the doors.  She longed to open them.  She reached for the knob and the handles with both arms. She expected to fling them open but they were locked.  She tried the small, plain door.  It, too, was locked.

 

The doors needed her command. She looked around. There was a pen and a notebook. She sat down with that pen and notebook and she began to write.  The story unfolded before her.  She wrote and wrote and wrote.  The doors began to moan and groan. Whispers and winds flowed through the room.

 

Her family was there.  Friends and strangers began to gather again to see the massive doors that were so delicately placed within the otherwise blank wall. Everyone stood and waited for her to open the doors or tell them the story.  Few believed the door were real, even though they looked real.  They were just painted, right? However, they would comment that they were exquisitely done.  So life like. So real.  They came and went all day coming back to see if it was done.  Some mentioned they thought they could hear the doors unlock.  Others wondered if they really heard the sounds of animals, people, and wind behind the doors.  Each said they heard something different.

 

Before she handled the story to her husband, she tore a piece of paper out of the book.  She glued it to the wall next to the doors. She stood at the doors with her hands on the knobs.  She paused. Could she do this? She looked at her family. Her husband stood there with his hand on the back of one of his children, another in his arms, a third had her arm wrapped around his bi-cep. She wondered, should I do this?   

 

Her husband went up to the paper and in a muttered voice whispered, “BEWARE. If you enter into these doors, you will not return the same – if you return at all.  BEWARE!  THIS IS YOUR ONLY WARNING!  GOD SPEED.”

The Wall – A short story

Aug
09

The Wall

Have you ever had a gift where it presented itself as a wall? For example, writer’s block.  You love to write.  You’ve decided to write for a living and now, you are hit with the wall.  The wall is large and thick, no holds to stick your hands or feet in.  It is smooth and gray and solid.  Let me tell you a story about a lady that broke through this wall and how she did it.

 

One day, it was a sunny, fall day.  The air was warm and the mood was light.  It smelled of bread, cinnamon, and pines. Oh, what a wonderful fall day it was.  Jena stepped outside her house breathing in the intoxicating day but right in front of her was a wall placed where the street had been the night before.  She could not see past it.  It was too tall and too thick.  It blocked her view from anything forward. Staying there her memories began to fade of what was behind the wall.  She had faint glimpses of a road.  Ideas of beyond the wall exploded into fragments as she stared at the wall.

 

She looked at the wall and pondered what she could do.  Could she climb the wall? No, there were no places for her feet or hands.  Could she see about chisel a hole through it?  She went into the garage and brought out a sledgehammer and a ladder.  It took several trips but a purpose was at hand.  She would break down the wall or climb over the wall.  She climbed the ladder but it did not reach even halfway up the wall.  It seemed the taller she tried to make the ladder the taller the wall got.  Soon, she set the ladder aside and began to hammer at the wall.  Long, angry strikes hit the wall.  But nothing happened. The wall remained smooth and steady.

 

Sitting on her front step and staring at the obtrusive wall, it loomed before her.  The clouds touch the top of the wall.  The Great Wall of China taunted her thoughts. The Berlin Wall shouted no passing – you must stay here – escape is futile. Not only did it extend to the heavens but it extended to the right and left.  Nothing else filled her mind, staring at the wall was all she could do.  It left her frozen. She could go in the house but then she would be trapped.  She could hear the symphony of the city, the smells of the local bakery, and the drums of construction. There was the construction to her left several streets down the hill. Over to her right was the bakery her family loved to visit.  No more. The wall blocked access.  Watching the wall was like watching a tree grow no movement was visible.

 

The sun peaked behind the clouds. Shining on her face, she closed her eyes and absorbed the warmth and hope it exuded. With a deep sigh, she remembered her hopes for the day. She was going to paint at the local park.  Well, at least she was going to try.  This was to be a new adventure in her life.  She wanted to become an artist.  She was not asking to be famous or great.  She wanted to do something her family and friends would love to see and want.  She longed for the knowledge that comes from hours of practice.  Hours and hours.  She questioned whether she would be good.

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