On the other paw
Delilah stretched out her paws and popped out her claws. She gave her human a playful rake down his lap.
“Ow, damn cat!” her human muttered and shoved Delilah off of him. She dropped from the chair.
Her body hit the floor and as she looked around, she realized everything she’d been looking for was hers. It didn’t mean she had to like her human, but sometimes she did. Usually the times when he filled her bowl with food. Sometimes, Delilah was able to trick her human into filling it up more than once a day, and those were the best days.
Still, he had just shoved her to the floor. Usually this meant her human was angry, and the red welts Delilah’s claws left on his legs backed that up. The smart move would be running away for a while, and Delilah certainly thought of herself as smart.
Delilah poked her way through the cat flap and into the great outdoors. She immediately regretted her decision as fat drops of rain spattered from the night sky and thumped against her fur in wet bursts. Feeling somewhat bedraggled, she let out a great yowl of frustration. Her voice echoed across the narrow alley, reverberating with strange harmonics before it reached back to Delilah’s ears. An undercurrent of some other sound set Delilah’s teeth on edge. She wasn’t alone in the alleyway.
The other presence showed itself. A hugely fat ginger tomcat with a torn up right ear oozing pus padded towards Delilah. The tom’s hazel eyes narrowed as he bared his yellowing teeth.
“You shouldn’t be here,” he purred menacingly.
Delilah tucked her tail underneath her stomach and shivered. She told herself that it was due to the weather, but even she didn’t believe that. Delilah squatted on her haunches and leapt over the ginger monster. As she landed, she skidded up to speed and tried to bolt out of the alleyway.
The orange cat hissed his frustration and pivoted to give chase. Despite its size, the tom cat was fast and quickly closed the gap on Delilah. A quick swipe of his left forepaw sent a shot of agony into Delilah’s rear thigh. A thin trickle of blood sluiced down the fur of her leg and splattered against the dirty puddles of rainwater.
Delilah yowled in pain as she tried to run. She couldn’t put her full weight on her rear leg anymore and hobbled as she attempted to turn and head back indoors to the warm safety of her human’s lap. Jumping the ginger tom wasn’t an option. Delilah saw the tom coming at her and flattened herself to the ground. As her opponent approached her prone form, Delilah stretched her neck out and bit down hard at the creature’s throat.
The tom screeched a bubbling cry of pain.
Delilah didn’t look back as she limped away from the angry ginger cat and towards her human’s house. She pushed her head through the flap and dragged herself indoors.
The origin of this piece was that I realized I’d been stuck in a non-writing rut for a while and needed some inspiration to break out of it. To that end I posted in the Richmond WriMos Facebook group asking for a prompt so that I can “bang out a 500 worder.” I received two prompts, and this is my response to the second prompt which was ” Her body hit the floor and as she looked around, she realized everything she’d been looking for …..“
The piece above is 500 words according to Microsoft Word, which isn’t a bad length for flash fiction. It’s also very much a first draft, so please keep that in mind.
As ever, any and all feedback is welcome!