This is the sixth story to be generated by the 'September Madness' post and is inspired by a prompt from Tom Gillespie (aka @tom_gillespie). I'd actually written this just before we lost internet five and half weeks ago, so the poor cat has been stuck for a long time!
Although September is over, I'm still going to honour all the prompts that came in (which may take a while ). If you want to see the full list of prompts or check out the other stories from that post then click here.
Thomas charged down the garden, bounding up the three steps to the back door. He plunged head first into the kitchen but stopped halfway through.
Something was badly wrong.
Judy leaned down and picked up the saucer of cream. “No Thomas, only water for you.”
Thomas gave an indignant sniff.
“It’s for your own good.”
Judy ignored the mewling and went back to the phone. “Sorry about that, it’s our cat. John’s been over feeding him again so I’ve had to put him on a diet…I know, it’s a real first world tragedy! The silly old thing’s got too fat for his cat flap. He’s jammed in. I tried to get him out but he’s completely stuck…He’ll slim down in a couple of days though.”
Thomas hung suspended from the flap, his chin half an inch from the floor. Dark thoughts boiled behind his narrowed eyes. As soon as he was free, Judy was going to suffer. John would understand; they’d be much happier without her.
The house was quiet, so the scuttling was impossible to miss. His ear rotated to the source of the sound and saliva bubbled around Thomas’ mouth. He’d heard a mouse.
Soon, the delicious morsel ran into a view. Its fur was grey in the low light but Thomas knew it was brown, recognising it from a previous encounter. On that occasion the mouse had escaped, vanishing into its hole a moment before his claws came down on its tail, most of which now sat rotting with the rest of Thomas’ collection under the wardrobe; a frog leg, some feathers and a squirrel’s intestine.
Halfway across the kitchen floor the mouse paused, the silhouette of its nose held high, twitching as it tested the air. Thomas waited for the mouse to turn in his direction and let out an angry hiss. The little creature ran for cover, darting behind the leg of the breakfast table.
Thomas purred with pleasure. The look on the mouse’s face had been priceless! Then he remembered how hungry he was. The purring stopped.
A pair of small eyes peeped around the table leg. Thomas raised a paw threateningly and the mouse flinched but didn’t run away. They watched each other until Thomas got tired. He lowered his paw and his head, what he wouldn’t give for a hot meal and a warm lap.
A few minutes later he heard the mouse again but this time it was coming from somewhere above him. He looked up, puzzled, to find the mouse had managed to get on top of the kitchen table where that lazy slob Judy had left his saucer of cream. Was that the sound of lapping? The mouse was enjoying his cream. This was too much!
With renewed energy he struggled to get free, back legs flailing outside, front paws sliding on the kitchen tiles. It was no use, a furry roll of rat spread out either side of the flap, sealing him in tight.
A corner of saucer edged out over the table, like a porcelain moonrise. It was moving slowly, in incremental fits and starts. Thomas watched, mesmerised by the sight. Eventually gravity got hold of the saucer’s edge, tipping it over. A creamy waterfall flowed for a second before the whole thing slid off, tumbling end over end.
There was a crash. It was loud enough to wake next door’s idiot dog, Oscar, but not enough to wake that potato headed ogre, Judy. Fragments of saucer littered the floor. Thomas couldn’t wait for John to come home. He’d have been down the stairs in seconds to sort things out.
Cream spilled tantalisingly close and Thomas managed to get in a few licks before he noticed the mouse was back. It picked its way delicately across the floor. He growled but it just stared right back. Thomas didn’t like the look on the mouse’s face. It was smiling.
The mouse picked up a thin sliver of porcelain in its mouth and scurried away.
Thomas yawned and opened a grouchy eye. It was still dark in the kitchen but instinct was telling him that something was going on. He scanned the room, high and low, paying particular attention to the little nooks where a rodent could hide. Nothing.
Feather light feet brushed the step outside, and sharpness slipped between Thomas’ toes. He squealed and thrashed but the pain stayed. Exhausted and scared, he flopped down again and prayed for the dawn. Even Judy’s face would be a welcome sight. Thomas decided that if she came through the door right now, he might allow her to stay after all.
The mouse reappeared, still smiling and picked up another shard of porcelain.
When Judy came downstairs the next morning she found a lot of fluid had leaked onto the floor. There were several different types and colours, most originating from what was left of Thomas. She worked quickly despite the shock, keen to clear away the evidence before John got home. The only silver lining was that Thomas came free of the flap on the first pull. Judy told John that Thomas had run away and tried to block the image from her mind.
“It’s been two weeks, don’t you think it’s time to let go?” asked Judy.
John paused by the back door, bowl in one hand, double cream in the other. “He’s still out there, I can feel it.” John ignored his wife’s pity face. “When he’s ready he’ll come back.”
Judy bit her lip and watched him fill the bowl.
(Original prompt: Our cat's on a diet.. she got stuck in her flap last week and we had to leave her there for a couple of days until she slimmed down and we were able to pull her out..)