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Abandoned in a Storm

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A soft breeze drew through the sweeping canopy of leaves, each hanging onto a thin branch that waved towards the ground. The willow grove was quiet with the exception of the trill of bird song bouncing off of the bark. A stream bubbled at the edge of the grove and pushed itself onto the grassy bed as fish swam up the current, eager to flee from the sharp claws of a cat slinking nearby. The silver bodies caressed the surface of the choppy, yet shallow water as the cat perched itself on a fallen limb. The claws were sharp and painted red with dried up blood from a mouse it had devoured moments earlier. The belly still grumbled beneath the heavily matted fur of the spiny feline. The mouse had been its first meal in two weeks, except for that flimsy twig of a bird it had managed to snag on its first day from the house. The cat’s eyes grew wider as it curled its tongue, licking up the sweet aroma of the morning air. The fishy tang hovering in it and causing it to lick at its chops. Such hunger was hard to contain, but one wrong move would cost a meal that was much too risky to lose. The feline hovered over the rotting log, quietly plopping its butt down as it reeled away from the water’s edge. Too close and their shadow would give them away; too close and it’d be a horrific mistake. The cat held its paw erect and stayed put for a few, gulping down the tension as the fish flew past beneath. A silver shadow drew beneath with a wiggly pattern, that was much slower than the others zipping past. The cat lurched and caught the fish at the end of it’s claws, snagging it up and onto the slimy bank. The fish wiggled on its side and flailed for the water, but with one sharp bite it was limp. The birds grew quiet and the breeze pushed on, but the cat did not worry about the clouds growing wider above. It simply hunched over the fish and munched down on it’s meal. The scales gave a crunch, but the cat continued to gnaw at the corpse. The clouds rolled in, thick and brooding, but the cat gave no interest. The storm had been building the entire morning, it could wait a few more minutes. A crack sucked the air out of the cat’s muzzle as it backed away from the fish, head tilting up to gaze at the swirling mess of gray clutter. The cat gave a short squeak and snatched at the fish by the tail before making a beeline for a split willow tree close by. It scurried quickly into the little slot between the roots, pressing its rear against the furthest wall. The sky burst with a crack and a splatter as the rain quenched the earth and drowned its thirst. Hours rang by and the rain still dashed down from the sky, and the cat huddled against its fish inside the tree. The stream sloshed and grumbled, pressing further into the grove as it crushed the spines of the grass blades with its powerful load. The ground burst in bubbles as the grass breathed out its last breath, screaming a warning to the cat nearby. The cat dipped its head from the hole and eyed the impending wave of water, a frown yanking its lips down as its fur bristled. The fish would be too heavy to carry through the storm if it wanted to get home sadly. A single sigh and a quick nip of a bite, and the cat scurried out into the rain. The sky boomed and laughed down at the cat as it flailed beneath the water, sending a breath of cool air into its side and trampling its paws with loose debri. The cat quickened its paws and trudged through the grove, eyeing that one little safe place huddled beneath the swinging arms of the willow trees. A house emerged behind the sheets of rain, dark and gloomy, but a ray of sunshine to the poor feline. The door was slung open and revealed a barren ribcage of crinkling wallpaper and drooping frames. The insides of the house were few, made up of tilting couches and folded chairs. The cat slid across the grainy, barren floor and into the couch’s side. The flap of the cover twitched and the cat glided into the darkness of its cavity. The clouds rumbled and the house rocked, but this was home. The cat couldn't ask for anything more, except...for her family to return to her.




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