Monday, September 3, 2012

My Loves

I'm afraid that I haven't been blogging as often as I should, so I decided to share this with you. I got the prompt from Build Creative Writing Ideas. Please forgive the formatting errors.

Prompt: You get a phone call from a strange number. The voice on the other line says he can reunite you with a lost love, forever. In return, he will take the life of someone close to you. He proves his power by giving you a full day with your lost love. Describe the day and your decision.
It was warm when I woke up, the same temperature outside the covers as within. Sun light poured through my window, and I blinked in its brilliance. Why had I woken up? My sister laughed in the room next to mine. Smiling, I stretched my arms above my head and straightened out my legs. Whoomp!    

“Grendel!” I jerked my blanket covered toes away from our furry fury. He jerked his head towards their new location and pounced before I could move. I kicked. He held on. In a last desperate effort, I rolled off the bed. Somehow he stayed on my mattress. My plan of staying in bed reading for an hour was now officially out the window. I shot a displeased glare at him before pushing myself off the floor. Red caught my eye. My feet were covered with red lines that weren’t there when I’d gone to bed; they stung too. Staying on the flat of my feet, I waddled to the bathroom and sat on the floor while applying band-aids. Dad poked his head through the door.  
 “What happened to you?” 

 “What happened was a sweet cuddle session with Grendel.” 

He chuckled and proceeded to the kitchen in search of coffee.
After a few more minutes I too went to the kitchen. Mom was sitting, slouched over the table; it had been three days since she’d returned form Murray.
The phone leaped to life; Ode to Joy resonated throughout the house. I snatched up the phone in the kitchen, so my mother wouldn’t have to.
 “Hello.” I smiled as I said it, and why not? The day was beautiful, other than the red stripes on my feet.
“Hello, may I speak with Miss Kara?” The voice was decidedly male, but I didn’t recognize it.
 “May I ask who is calling?” I turned and walked to my room.
 A short laugh was the response I received. “You may call me Green, Kara, and I can give you the world.”
 My voice deadened. “If you’re trying to sell me something…”
 “I am, but it’s not the normal kind of sale.”
 “No. One we are on a no call list. Two I am a minor. You should have asked for my parents.”
 “You’re the last one he remembers.”
  My silence was enough of a question for him to continue.
 “You see, I can reunite you with the love that you lost.”
 “I haven’t lost any-”
He cut me off. “All I’m asking for is a life, blood for blood, that sort of thing.”
“I would never trade the life of anyone. Goodbye.”
 “You get one day with him.”
 I hung up.
 That afternoon was beautiful. I lay down beneath a tree and fell asleep. The brush of fur woke me up. I smiled and reached towards it, my eyes still closed. Soft warm fur and a loud purr greeted me. The cat was too big to be Saffron, so it had to be Grendel. I blearily blinked my eyes open. The face I saw was not Grendel’s. It was black and white. We don’t have any black and white cats, and I was surprised that this stranger was so friendly.  I petted him for a few minutes before deciding to go inside. The cat followed me. I changed directions. It still followed me. I bent down and petted it. Purr. Purr. Purr. I walked all the way around the yard, followed by the cat. He hurried along behind me like a loyal puppy. I stopped, caught a sob in my throat, and blinked away the threat of tears. The last time I had thought something like that was with Cheerio. I sat down in the grass and stroked the muscular cat. He purred some more, a deep throaty purr, like a motor boat. He had a nick in his ear like Schuster, so had Cheerio. This cat had a slightly swollen front paw, bare patches near his rear, and green eyes, just like Cheerio.
“Baby?” I knew it was a stupid thing to do, and my eyes were all blurry after I said it, but I called him by Cheerio’s nickname. He purred louder. It was in that moment that I decided to do something, something only my Cheerio would do. I went inside and grabbed a glass of water and a towel before coming back outside. Slowly, I knelt down next to the dark and light cat. Then I gradually poured half of the water on it. He jumped up and ran away. That’s normal. I waited until he stopped and looked back at me before I held up the towel. He charged back and practically pushed himself into the towel, frantically purring. It was at that moment that I was entirely and utterly convinced that this was my Cheerio.
The following hours were spent in the woods. I climbed over fallen trees, and he squirmed under them. We chased each other down secret paths, and we cuddled beneath leaf canopies. I can’t thoroughly describe how happy I was; it was a little like seeing your best friend again in years and discovering that neither of you had changed or forgotten anything, only better. When he had disappeared I felt responsible. After all, I had been the last to see him, the last one he saw.

 “You’re the last one he remembers.”

I bolted upright from the grass, waking Cheerio up. No, please no.
“...I can reunite you with the love that you lost.”
Yes, I had always loved Cheerio, our little Chiaroscuro.
 “You get one day with him.”
I fell to my knees and cried. This time, when Cheerio rubbed against me, I only cried harder.
 It was seven o’clock when Green called again. I had prepared myself and sat on the back porch with the phone and Cheerio. As soon as Ode to Joy started up, I gave Cheerio a fond stroke and picked up the phone. I told myself I wouldn’t cry.

 “Green.” No need for me to say hello. I knew who it was.

“Kara.” I could hear the smile in his voice, and I hated him for it.
 “Yes. You remember my price?” How was it possible for anyone to sound that oily?
 I looked at my scratch covered feet.“‘Blood for blood’.”
 “What is your response?” He sounded hungry and all to eager.
 “I told you, I can’t do that.” I picked up Cheerio and held him close. Purr. Purr.
 “Then say good-bye.” It sounded almost like a threat. The line went dead, and I burst into tears.
 Cheerio and I sat in the woods in silence. I broke it. “I’ll miss you, Princeling.” I couldn’t say anymore; I didn’t need to. When the sun set, he was in my arms. He seemed more real with each passing second, but when the sun was gone he blinked out of existence.
I trudged home in the dark, took a shower, and curled up on my bed; I sobbed there for a few minutes. When I opened my eyes, I saw Schuster under my desk. Still sniffling, I picked him up and held him close. He didn’t complain or dig his claws in my shirt; he just hung limp. I held very still. I didn’t feel him breathing.
 “NO!” I screamed. No no no no no. No, I’d made the right choice. I’d let Cheerio go. I couldn’t lose Schuster now, not now. I heard three pairs of feet pounding down the hall to my room and concerned voices, but they seemed so far away. I held Schuster close and bawled.

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