Here is my attempt to write something somewhat resembling a fable that even children could potentially read for my creative writing class. (Of course, it’s still obvious I’m writing; I don’t dumb down my vocabulary, and there’s a mention of monsters.) Anyway, I figured I would share!
-Michael David Anderson-
“Here kitty, KITTY, KITTY,” the puppy barked teasingly, each repetition growing sterner and more threatening until he was nearly growling. Despite the growl, his eyes were wide, the whites glistening jovially, and his tongue plopped out of his mouth in a playful droop. Thick plops of saliva splattered the floor sickeningly, leaving sticky, foamy runs that Sassy would have thought was indicative of rabies had she not known their humans had had those other humans – the ones they called veterinarians – given him one of those god awful shots. (Oh, how Sassy loathed the prickly things the humans called needles.)
Sassy sat atop the computer desk, high over the living room and well out of the puppy’s reach. Sassy refused to call the mutt by his name – Bandit, her humans called him – because anything that was so annoying, so disruptive, so utterly baneful, did not deserve to be called by anything as sophisticated as a name. When the kittens had been born, Chase and Pixie had not been this annoying. They had been playful, yes, but they hadn’t been sociopathic like the dog.
Bandit had grown to triple his original size since the humans had brought him home, and all he wanted to do was bark and play fetch and poop and pee and scratch and chase the cats around. Poor Pixie, once the social butterfly, stayed in the far bedroom now, occasionally peering beyond the gate that kept Bandit out of that realm. She sat there now, eyes wide and baleful, lamenting her self-imposed prison, as Bandit sat on the other side, taunting her.
Yes, she could get out; yes, she could outrun Bandit and reach safe, higher ground… but she didn’t want to take the risk. The humans were gone to wherever it was they went during the day, leaving the cats to fend for themselves. Chase was on top of the office chair. He had hopped over the gate a while ago, nonchalantly eased by Bandit, and now slept atop the chair, his tail twitching spasmodically whilst in dream.
Bandit sprang at the gate, coming just short of it on his paws, his massive face, those massive jaws coming so close to Pixie’s, and although she was safe behind those bars, she still hissed and sprang away, twisting like an acrobat through the air, twisting, cavorting, somersaulting, until she landed on all fours and sprinted away into the shadowy bedroom.
Bandit laughed. “Oh, what’s the matter?” he called, a hint of sarcasm in his young voice. “I was just kidding. I just want to play!”
Sassy, licking her paw, spoke up, her voice a soft yet eminently wise purr. “Your play scares her, dog.” She regarded him with piercing green eyes, and Bandit flinched from that stare. “I’ve seen your play. The cat from outside – the one they call Ginger… I watched you pin her to the floor with your jaws the other day when she snuck in. Have you no idea how that hurts tiny, frail animals such as ourselves?”
Bandit shrugged, his tail wagging. “My bites were gentle. I wasn’t going to break her back or anything.”
“Ah, but therein lies the problem,” Sassy countered. “You could. You so easily could. Ginger is unwise in the way she provokes you, always slapping at you whenever you come close. You think she plays, but really she’s warning you off. She’s muttering vile curses at you under her breath. She doesn’t jest; she detests you.”
Bandit’s paws had been padding forward on the floor during Sassy’s talk, but he faltered at the word detests. He cocked his head to the side. Frowned. “No, she doesn’t.”
“Don’t fool yourself, dog. I am knowledgeable in the ways of the feline. Hear me and mark my words: she detests you. She’d rather claw your nose off than look at you. She doesn’t slap you with open claw only because she fears what retribution you’ll bring down upon her. And Pixie… oh, the poor darling, she is downright terrified of you. And you wonder why she doesn’t come out here with the rest of us.”
Bandit sat. Scratched behind his ear. His mouth twisted in a rictus of simultaneous discomfort and relief – discomfort at the idea that the animals didn’t care for him, relief at the scratching. “And what do you suppose I do, oh high and fluffy cat?”
“Do unto us what you would want larger, fiercer animals than yourself to do unto you?”
With a smirk, Bandit asked, “Are there such creatures?”
“Yes,” Sassy replied, a knowing smirk surfacing. “Remember that television program the humans were watching last night? The ones with the lions and the tigers?”
“Lions? TIGERS?!” Bandit scoffed. “Those aren’t real! They’re things that move on that plasma screen. No such thing.”
Sassy hunkered down, focusing her glare upon the pup. “You say that with the conviction of a human child, convinced there is no monster beneath his bed during the day but knowing all too well something is under it at night.”
Bandit faltered again. Thinking. After all, he had heard things outside in the dark. They all had. Monsters, perhaps. And if there were monsters out there, in the dark, hunting for an available bed to hide under, why couldn’t there be mane-faced lions or black-striped tigers, ones that easily dwarfed him in size and could outrun him in a flash? What if they pinned him to the ground like he had Ginger? What if he felt those gargantuan teeth on his fur, on his skin, and felt the pressure of their jaws around his spine?
Sassy sat straight up, her fluffy hair shining in the sunlight filtering through the window behind her. It made her look downright regal. “Remember the lions and the tigers the next time you want to play with us, dog. Remember what it would be like for them to get their jaws on you.”
And with that said, Sassy lay down and closed her eyes.
Bandit merely looked upon her for a moment, head cocked in thought. Then he remembered his chew toy: he had accidentally slung it up on the couch earlier. If only he could find it…
He turned and sprang onto the couch in search of it.
“Off the couch, MUTT, lest the humans catch you!” Sassy hissed. “They’re still not happy you PEED all over it last week!”
Bandit bounded off the couch, feeling properly chastised. “Oh, right,” he said, then bounded down the hall in search of the football one of the humans had thrown down there earlier that morning…
Copyright © February 2013 by Michael David Anderson