Woohoo! It’s the first “official” installment of Friday Fiction! There wasn’t a prompt for this one–it was more of a way to express some cozy things that happened in my life offline. Sorry it’s late….life got in the way, as did homework.
The cat was sitting on her chest when she woke up, whiskers tickling her eyelashes. Sulfur yellow eyes stared straight into her own, two flashlights in the early morning. She checked the clock–yes, it really was early morning. Two o’clock in muted red numbers.
More like two o’clock at night, Laina thought to herself. The fan in her room whirred, the white noise threatening to lull her back to sleep. Stay in bed. Go back to sleep, a little voice wheedled in her ear. That’s all you’ve been doing these past few days anyway. Not much sense in getting up now. The cat pressed a paw against her cheek, insistent.
“Fine,” she groaned, sitting up. The cat leapt to the floor, landing gracefully. He swished his tail once, twice, in mock patience as Laina tumbled out of bed, hardly bothering to hunt down her slippers as she groped her way through the hallway. Laina fumbled for the kitchen lightswitch, wincing at the harsh light. The cat hopped up on the counter, neatly perching by the coffee machine. His yellow eyes tracked Laina’s every move.
She felt the cat’s gaze on her back like a boulder. Stupid cat, unsettling me, she thought. A little voice whispered in her ear. But you’re the one who let him in. You’re the reason you are stuck with him for the rest of your life. And he’ll keep getting stronger., until you lose him. He’ll go away, just like the others. Laina shook the voice out of her head, determinedly setting the coffee maker for a full, highly caffeinated pot. If she wasn’t going to sleep the rest of the morning, she may as well be awake for the day.
Laina hoisted herself up on the counter, resting her head against the cabinets. The cat settled himself in her lap, his tail flicking her in the eyes in steady beats. I’ll bet you didn’t get the job, the sneaky little voice said. That smile on the café owner’s face must have been a fake. And you were so awkward. Weren’t your hands unbearably sweaty? it reminded her. She could almost hear it smirking. That’s what I thought.
The cat shifted in Laina’s lap to face her, briefly bumping noses with her before jumping down. He padded over to the glass door, tail swishing as he waited for her to follow. Abandoning the gurgling coffee maker, she sat down on the floor, wishing for a blanket pile to disappear into. A heavy feeling hit her heart, rumbling like thunderclouds over stormy seas. Salt choked her throat and leaked out her eyes. The cat merely flicked his tail.
Why do you let the voice do this to you? His yellow eyes were unblinking. Patient.
“It’s not like I want it to,” Laina whispered. “The storms just happen.”
Hm. That cat wasn’t convinced. Have you got an umbrella, for the storms?
Laina squeezed her eyes shut, wishing the salt water away. No. No, you don’t, because who would carry an umbrella for you? I’ll bet your arm’s getting tired. So sore. Put the umbrella down, the voice hissed. Succumb to the storm. Let it carry you for a bit.
The cat’s paws were on her crossed legs now, gentle, kneading pressure. Don’t think like that.
“It’s not like I want to,” Laina snapped.
Then why don’t you tell the voice no?
“I try, it’s just very loud.” She hugged her legs close to her.
I’ll bet you can be louder. Didn’t you love pep rallies? Yell over the voice, just like that. Just like during your favorite cheer. The cat’s tail swished back and forth, steadier than a heartbeat.
Hm. I think you need more rain. A couple more hours perhaps. Or even days! The voice nearly sounded giddy.
“Stop it,” Laina croaked. “Stop it right now.” The tears in her eyes and throat dried, leaving behind a crackly rasp. “I’m not listening!”
Not now, but later–
“STOP!” She yelled, not caring if the neighbors woke up, not caring if the landlady scolded her later. “I don’t have to listen to you!” Laina stood up, dusting off her pajamas. They smelled bad, she thought. Really bad. It’s time to get my life back together.
She felt the voice quiet down, slinking away like rain clouds after a heavy storm. The pressure lifted off her chest and another swished at her leg.
Remember, the cat told her.
Remember the rainbows after the storms.
The cat’s name is Love.
Sorry Friday Fiction is late! But it’s here now, and hopefully to stay for a while 🙂