Microfiction: A busy person

In response to the flash fiction challenge on Charli Mills’ blog, to write a 99 word ‘industrious’ story.


Everyone round here knows her, the kindly lady with the cane. Hasn’t worked since her accidents—she’s pursuing a motorist and the transport company for negligence and dangerous driving. People sympathised, especially because of the cats. We never knew how many she looked after until she was evicted. She’d hung on in the old apartment because she’s suing the owner for something or other. The cats slipped through the net of her concerns. She took three with her. Some were caught and destroyed. The rest roamed the rooftops for a while, lost and famished. All gone now. Nice lady.

Cats again

Since our neighbour with the cats was evicted in September, the rooftops have been swarming with felines. Some of the permanent residents were put in a sort of pets’ hotel while the neighbour waits to be rehoused. The local council took away four others, and a couple of cats’ protection associations managed to catch another six that the neighbour for looking after for them on a temporary basis. We caught another one, a friendly female that lingered too long on the bathroom window ledge, and returned it to the cat lady. She’s a nice cat with the rather unusual name of Negrustia.

Last week we caught yet another, a brother of Horace’s (who you will be relieved to know is one of the cats relocated to the hotel) that fell two floors off the roof of the house onto the veranda. The cat was undamaged, unlike the veranda roof which now has a hole in it.

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Remember Horace?

Earlier this week, the cat association brought in the big guns—cat traps. The two most wanted cats, Victor’s Little Sister, and her daughter Isabelle, were still at large. And so was Otto, along with several other unneutered tomcats.

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Victor’s Little Sister

To paraphrase the immortal words of G.W. “We got ’em!” We also got an extremely angry tom cat, one of the cat lady’s outdoor relief projects, which in fact belongs to a couple who live down the road.

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With sixteen cats ‘in care’, and a kitten adopted by a neighbour, that still leaves maybe ten cats and a couple of litters of kittens unaccounted for. The kittens, I fear, are no longer of this world, and the others are either toms or sterilised females. At least the two worst offenders have been neutralised. I hope they find homes. They’re good cats, fighters and survivors.

Branwell: Hope springs

Hope springs in a bowl of water lapped,
A handful of biscuits eaten with relish.
Behind those green eyes, no maudlin reflections,
No regrets for wasted opportunities,
No weariness with the dull predictability of a life not worth living.
Tired, thin and sick, the core beats strong.
No high high philosophical thoughts beneath that skull,
But a tenacious will to live,
To sniff the cold autumn air,
And stalk the rooftops with the joyful morning birds.

Five Photos Five Stories Challenge: Day One.

Ali Isaac, writer, blogger and supermum has nominated me to join in the Five Photos Five Stories Challenge.

The rules of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:

1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive days.
2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.
3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!

I nominate the Aussie with the camera, Laurie Smith. If he’s too busy annoying roos, I’ll let him off.

Here’s my offering for day one: fiction or non-fiction, I’m not certain.


His street, the one he knew, was filled with the frightening bulk of a monstrous lorry. Men laboured with pieces of furniture that looked unsettlingly familiar, even out of context outside in the street. His family milled about, excited. The biggest one shouted directions at the sweating, labouring men. The other one twittered and fussed with smaller boxes. He looked longingly at the boxes. He had sat in many of them and was disoriented watching them disappear into the shadows inside the lorry.

He waited for someone to remember about lunchtime, but they didn’t. He wandered off, creeping along window ledges and gutterings, down to the street where there were often cat biscuits left out for emergencies like this. He found a few, sniffed them and passed by. Dirty. A car snarled past and he dashed for cover. People on the pavement, a pushchair. Another car pulling out. The street wasn’t safe. He squeezed under a garden door, scuttled through a yard and onto a roof. Birds. Lots of birds. He hunted birds until suppertime.

He ran across the roofs, almost missing the way. When he found his house it was different, empty. The lorry was gone and it had taken everything with it, his people and their noise too. He sat on the wall and wailed at the closed window, but the smells and the echoes were all wrong. There was nobody there.

He slept on top of the shed and waited, waited for days, drinking from the gutter and scavenging in the rubbish the people had left. Then more people came. He perched on the shed roof to watch. They had a lorry full of boxes. He wondered if they were the same. There was a young person too who saw him on the roof and shouted something. The big people came to look and one of them waved her arms and hurled sharp, pointed words. The other one strode towards the shed with anger in his voice.

Cat ran across the rooftops away from the noise and the bewildering anger. He ran until he came to a place he’d never visited before, a wild tangled place where wild cats lived and a rooster. There was food there and company so he stayed, watching and waiting. He watched the door that opened sometimes. A person left food in a bowl and called the cats. The other cats and the rooster watched the food. He watched the person, the door. One day he came when he was called, and the person scratched his ears. The door stayed open, the person waited, so he followed her inside.

That is the story of how Branwell found a new name and a new home.

Time for a cat story

We had a minor cat drama last night. At 11.30pm youngest daughter comes down to our room to tell us that the Little Cat, known as Nina to some, Ploddy to others, and Mongolita to one unkind brute, has jumped out through the roof window and is fighting with Otto the big unloved Turkish Van cat.

When we go back upstairs to look, there’s no sign of Little Cat or Otto but there’s a whole string of moggies at the edge of the roof staring down into the street. Daughter runs downstairs in a panic, but there’s nothing in the street except the usual. Meanwhile the sound of a cat fight starts up again but a couple of roofs away. All we can do is leave the window open and hope she finds her way back.

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Little Cat is the sweetest little cat ever. But she has several issues. We found her abandoned in the street outside when she was about six months old, emaciated, full of worms and with a ruptured bowel. She couldn’t walk properly and kept falling over because the extreme intestinal problems and malnutrition had affected her brain.


In time, after two operations and intensive deworming, the intestinal stuff was sorted out, but she still has no sense of balance and falls over for no reason. She will always be nutty as a fruitcake, will never walk normally and will always thud about like a small elephant. Branwell, who is three times her size is wary of her. When she plays, she plays to win, and she beats him up mercilessly. The great wimp squeaks like a small rodent and hides under a bed when she gets it into her tiny little head to hurtle, around like a furry meteorite, knocking over everything in her path. The other day she sent a full laundry basket bowling down the stairs and into the door at the bottom.


Needless to say she isn’t allowed out. She’s fallen out of a second floor window twice with no ill effects, but if she wandered off and fell off a wall or a roof we might never get her back.


I had a bad night, woken several times by nothing, just listening for the sound of her clopping across the ceiling. She wasn’t back when husband got up at five. I had just dropped off into an anxious sleep when I was woken by an almighty crash on the veranda roof. I knew it was her. Before I had time to get out of bed she had barged her way through the shutters and flopped through our window ready for her breakfast. Her tail was all bushed up and she had a few stray tufts of loose hair. Other than that, nobody would have known she’d spent all night out on the tiles fighting, and had just dropped two floors from the roof. Talk about drunks.