A few weeks ago a bit of a situation arose with the original rough cat Blue, involving a weird paw-based ailment and the necessity to wear a plastic collar for two weeks. At the peak of her collar-wearing misery I feared the worst so wrote this little story about her, all of it true…Happily though, she’s back to her usual rage-channeling self, so good times and relief all round.
(I wrote it to read out at Writers, so it’s a bit “Creative Writing”.)
THE DARK GREY CAT
The dark grey cat sat statuesque at the window of her palace, surveying through the glass the world below. The Lands of the East stretched before her. Each day she took up this position at the second-storey window as Gatekeeper to the palace, Protector of The Girl. Ears pricked, eyes alert, body carved from black alabaster, no modern-day gargoyle was better at warding off those that threatened her domain.
The land outside was still. Eerily so. A squawking winged rat flew by, of the ilk the dark grey cat would sometimes hunt when she was prowling the Lands of the West. She was not to be distracted. She sat and, as daylight succumbed to twilight, she welcomed the darkness. Still, she watched. Still nothing.
The dark grey cat took the protection of The Girl very seriously. The Girl could conjure Food and Petting and Central Heating. The Girl could also be controlled quite easily by the will of the dark grey cat, and by using base techniques developed to account for limited human intelligence. For example, the dark grey cat could command The Girl to open any mahogany door by simple extension of her claws.
There was only one occasion where the dark grey cat’s powers of protection had failed, when The Girl had fallen foul of The Man and his brainwashing. The Man had arrived long after The Girl had rescued the dark grey cat, long after the dark grey cat had sworn from that day forward to protect The Girl at any cost. When he appeared she had tried with all her might to ward him off, to no avail. A swift claw to the back of his hand, a regurgitation of her breakfast onto his shoes, over his vinyl even, she had tried them all. He was a true test of her powers.
One evening, exhausted after spending all day protecting The Girl, the dark grey cat let her guard down and allowed herself some sleep. She was jolted awake and to her horror was greeted by a new enemy – The Kitten.The dark grey cat knew this was the doing of The Man, knew he had a hold over The Girl and had brainwashed her into taking this pocket trickster into the palace. She had never forgiven herself.
The Kitten. Damn that thing. It was always mewling and falling over, playing and distracting, hypnotising and deceiving and interfering with The Girl. She remembered once when she had tried to rescue The Girl by defeating this parasite. There were some Others in the palace, and the dark grey cat was on patrol, allowing one of them to scratch her on the head. The Kitten had danced onto the arm of the sofa, a scruffy bundle of white with a tortoiseshell mask on her nose and emeralds for eyes. The dark grey cat wasn’t fooled. Knowing The Girl must be protected from this temptress, she flew at The Kitten, slamming her full body-weight against it. The Kitten catapulted off the sofa, hitting the adjacent wall where it paused, cartoon-like, for a split second before slithering down to rest in a tangle of fur on the floorboards below.
The dark grey cat had been pleased with her performance. Given the instantaneous reaction by The Girl in awarding her the title of Bad Cat (no such title was given to The Kitten) she knew that she had done well.
Movement in the air brought her back. Her ears twitched. Her eyes widened, black pools of ink eclipsing snake-yellow suns as her thousand-yard stare fixed upon the corner of the Lands of the East. Instinctively her fur bristled, and she cursed in a low throaty growl.
“How many times must I defeat this tyrant? The long-eared whoreson! Each day I destroy him yet the next he returns!”
Roving into view, tongue lolling, tail wagging, life abounding, was her nemesis – The Brown-and-White Spaniel Puppy.
The Brown-and-White Spaniel Puppy had been tormenting the dark grey cat for some time. Each evening he would appear from the East Side of the palace and roam aimlessly at the corner of the Lands of The East. This was the direction from which The Girl returned. The dark grey cat knew that it had been planted, probably by The Man, in a bid to brainwash The Girl again, or to stop her from returning altogether. She steeled herself with resolve, knowing it would take all her power to destroy this miniature demon.
Battle-ready, she shot eyes sharp as arrow-heads onto the beast. Clearly, part of his survival technique was to jump and wag his way around, ever-moving, preventing the dark grey cat from affixing her death stare. She was well-versed in his wily ways. Her eyes darted fast as fireflies as she prepared to lock them onto the whirling devil. At that same moment The Girl appeared, and headed straight for it!
Blast! Every time. The Girl was incapable of doing anything other than fraternising with the creature. Did The Girl not realise what was happening? Never once had she failed to be distracted. A further test of the dark grey cat’s powers, she would now have to be careful not to inadvertently destroy The Girl as well. Resolute she fixed her assassin’s stare on the The Brown-and-White Spaniel Puppy and fixed her mind on defeating her centuries-old enemy.
She focussed on controlling her consciousness, and could feel it begin to bend as each thread of her feline ancestry was summoned from the recesses of her mind. From the sabre-toothed tiger to the present-day wildcat, from the god-like ghosts of her Egyptian ancestors to the elusive white shadow of the snow leopard, she channelled them all. Binding them, eradicating the domesticity that has plagued upon her kind for thousands of years, she reignited the primal instinct of her genus with generations of repressed fury. She closed her eyes she could take it no more, claws extended such was the force rushing through her core, her body a rigid mass of muscle and steel-wire, louder and louder, higher and higher –
A short, sharp whistle pierced her ears, her eyes exploded open and she knew it was over. The Brown-and-White Spaniel Puppy was gone, obliterated, defeated. Exhausted, through eyes rheumy with the memory of her ancestors, she saw that The Girl was safe, crossing The Lands of The East towards the palace and looking up at the window.
The dark grey cat sighed and stretched her post-fervour body its full length. She padded to the door where she knew The Girl would appear, ignoring The Kitten who was already there. The Girl came in and reached down to scratch the heads of both animals, saying, “And what have you lazy pussy-cats been doing all day? Nothing? Sleeping?”
The dark grey cat knew from her tone that The Girl was bestowing gratitude upon her for keeping watch and ensuring her safe passage once more. She listened to the praise The Girl lavished over her success in battle, a grateful subject to a mighty warrior queen.
“That little Brown-and-White Spaniel Puppy was outside the shop again. He’s so good he doesn’t even need a lead, he just goes when his owner whistles. Maybe we should arrange a play-date for you guys. Puppies and pussy-cats having fun together! Cute!”