Cats and monsters

My second-to-youngest daughter came in the house telling me that there was a huge line of ants out in the garage.

“Because there’s poop,” her younger sister says.

I groan inside. Cats. There’s the whole wide world and a litter box to boot. They have to do it on the garage floor?

I go out to clean it up before I go on my walk, and there is indeed a thick line of tiny ants. But they aren’t carrying away bits of poop for their fugus farm. It’s some hairball the cat has yakked up. Disgusting. So I get out the square-nosed shovel and scoop it up. But as I do its contents tumble and reveal themselves. There’s a spinal column of something significant with the last bit of ribs clinging to it. There’s hair, and I don’t think it’s the cat’s.

I fling the stuff into the brush and sweep the garage clean.

And then I start thinking.

What if a kid came out and found this long trail of ants. She follows it. To this lump up in the brush. There are two magpies about. One perched on a piece of scrub. The other pecking at the lump. And in the lump is not some animal bones. No, it’s a long segment of human spine. And there’s half-digested Levis or some nylon windbreaker. And the whole mess is dark, compacted, and damp.

There’s something out there that regurgitated this. Not a bear. Not a tiger. Those are too small. This thing has to be large. A dragon. No. Some ogre or troll. Something else. Something from the depths of the darkening woods. Something the villagers had forgotten. Maybe something that’s come through from some other place. But it’s here now. It’s close. And somebody died.

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7 Responses to Cats and monsters

  1. andrewv says:

    That’s an interesting way to put a scare into someone. I need to pay more attention to what my animals yak up… maybe there’s a story in there. 🙂

  2. John Brown says:

    Hum, and now we have another idea. A guy who pokes through the things his cats yak up. What is he looking for? Are they a different kind of cat. Some experiment? Or is the cat eating something small, something new? Let’s run with it . . .


    Oreo is a huge cat. When I say huge, I’m not talking about those obese kitties who seem to be nothing but blocks with feet. The ones that you could feature on a Biggest Loser for Cats and make a million dollars off of sponsors wanting to advertise cat toys to those wus owners. The ones that declaw their beasts and give ’em hair-doos. Never let ’em run outside or feel the first bite of a mouse because they might, sniff sniff, live and die. No, Oreo ain’t one of those tubs. He’s a freaking feline god that terrorizes birds, mice, and an assortment of yap dogs. He’s got a ripped ear and one eye that’s this evil ice blue that makes you think he channels demons during Sam Hain.

    He’s a cat, not a kitty. And when he begins yakking, you know you’ve got about five seconds to get him outside because whatever’s coming up is not going to be good, not some neat package of that morning’s Kibbles and Bits. And so even though I was in the middle of fying up an omlette and risked browing the whole thing, an abomination with eggs, I put down the spatula, picked up Oreo from the recliner, and raced him outside.

    He yakked like a TB lunger until it came up. I would have turned away, but I swear I saw the bones of a tiny hand. My first thought was racoon. I looked down at Oreo, duly impressed. A yap dog is one thing, but racoons, now that’s a whole new league. “And what about the mama racoon?” I asked. “She just let you run away with her baby in your mouth?”

    But then I looked down at the yak again. Looked a bit closer. There was more than hand bones. There was something that had no business being there.

    I grabbed a stick and loosened the mess up. There were the hand bones, there a spine. And there, I swear upon my mother’s grave, a tiny human-like skull.

    I looked at Oreo who sat behind his yak fest giving me one of those yeah-what-do-you-want expressions.

    I looked back at the bones. If we’d been down in some jungle I might think he’d gotten himself a baby monkey. But the closest jungle was about 2,000 miles away. There weren’t no monkeys around here.

    My youngest, Jill, came out, pan of omellete in her hand. Come to show me she’d saved them from browing. But she looked down at the yak. “Eew,” she said. But then she saw it too and leaned in closer, the pan turning to a precarious angle. She scrunched up her little face. “Daddy, did Oreo eat a fairy?”

    “The pan,” I said.

    She righted it and saved the eggs.

    “There ain’t no fairies around here,” I said. “Probably somebody’s pet monkey.”

    “I don’t see a tail.”

    “Don’t need to have a tail to be a monkey. Maybe Oreo doesn’t like tails, but if you want to dig around in that to find a baby monkey tail, be my guest. I’m going inside for eggs.”

    “Why would Oreo eat a fairy, daddy?”

    “There ain’t no such things as fairies,” I said. I looked at Oreo and that evil ice blue eye and felt a little chill run up my leg.


    That’s a fun start. Now’s the time to do some brainstorming and think up all the different ways we could take this.

  3. juliecfrost says:

    This is brilliant, and I’m beating off the plot bunnies with a stick. This has nothing to do with the amount of rum I’ve had tonight. NOTHING. Really.

  4. John Brown says:

    Ha, I knew “Oreo” was the wrong name for that cat. Listening to this week’s Writing Excuses, which had some great stuff on dealing with a group of characters, I found the name–Thunder.

    A cat called Thunder. I luv it.

  5. Hezekiah says:

    I wonder what our character has been missing for quite some time that has suddenly appeared in the mess of bones ‘n’ stuff. Perhaps a wedding band that he (by the way, is the main character a he or a she?) got beat up by his wife for losing. Maybe one of the kid’s fake jewelry. Something. But it’s been gone for quite a while, now. Maybe a year or more. Never thought we’d see it again. And suddenly there it is, on that little finger.

  6. John Brown says:

    Oooh, yeow. Man. That’s a killer turn. And gross.