Posts Tagged ‘cat stories’

30th April
2012
written by amber

Robotic Vampire Cats in Space

The robotic cats have escaped from the cargo hold where we’d isolated them and I think our mission may be over before we even make planet-fall. I’m in Crew Cabin One, alone. I’ve pushed all the mattresses against the door, but that’s more for my nerves than for any real protection. If they can claw through metal, they sure as hell can claw through cheap foam.

Jerome was pierced in our first battle with the cats, when we lured them into the cargo hold with holographic images of the aliens, and he was pierced again today. I think enough blood was taken to kill him. He certainly looked pale and lifeless as I ran by him on my way to this cabin. Amilie and Dougal were right behind me, but I waited a good ten minutes for them, hearing awful caterwauling from the corridor, and human screams. Then I saw the cat hoard and I had to slam the door shut.

Naturally, the coms are out. The cats are smart enough to chew through the wires.

It’s ironic that Jerome is the first of us to be killed (probably). He’s the one who changed the cats’ programming.

I blame boredom. He said he wanted to make them more lively, but the rest of us are pretty sure he wanted to stage cat fights for the military escort and earn some air force rations through betting.

And where, you might ask, are our military escort during this crisis? Locked in the Strategic Pod, ready for an Abort Mission protocol. Before the coms went out, they told us they were prepared for all sorts of emergencies, but an attack by small feline robots of our own devising was not one of them. Only hard weapons capable of damaging the ship would have any effect on the cats, and that wouldn’t be good for anyone, I realize. Still, if we had to bring soldiers along, I’d have expected them to be more resourceful.

I’ve been pondering the problem myself. Jerome was the robotics expert – the cats were his, and the spy flies. I’m just the xenobiologist, along to deal with the visuals and skin samples brought back by the spy flies and eventually the body fluid samples the cats were to collect, but I learned a few things about robotics. We are all expected to have 2 or 3 specialities on this mission. Our motto is ‘Redundancy can mean survival.’

Perhaps literally, this time.

I was keeping a supply of spy flies in here, to tinker with while I tried to find a way to neutralize the cats. Jerome mocked me. He said nothing could be done, the cats’ programming was contaminated and the only solution was to get them into the exhaust port and vent them. He thought we could use alien holograms again, but I was pretty sure they wouldn’t fall for that twice. After all, he designed them to learn.

But he also designed them to play. They may have become little articulated metal psychotic devils who attack and sample everything that moves, but they also took the time, I noticed, to go after the cleaning rats while they were chasing us.

So I’ve been glueing coloured wings onto the spy flies and programming them to fly to the exhaust port. I have about 100 flies left to do and I hope I’m done in time. I can hear the cats clawing through the walls.

This is my last story of the original Story 365 Project. I wanted to write a story using some of the themes I’ve enjoyed the most over the past year, so I came up with the title and carried on from there. Turns out, the cats aren’t cute and cuddly, but as an author you have to follow the story you’re given.

I’ll be announcing a contest soon, and I’ll be continuing with stories, poems and other daily postings on this blog.  And please – keep sending me first line suggestions!

21st January
2012
written by amber

Black Cat Bone

I had nothing but bad luck; bad luck was all I had.

Once I had a good life, but then the bad luck hit. It started with an accident at work, the vacuum punch took my hand off. A man can live without a hand, if he has to he can live without an arm, but the pain wouldn’t go away. Pain in a hand that wasn’t there. But I kept on working.

No doctor would treat my pain, other than the doctor on the street, you know who I mean. His medicine took my pain away, sure thing. But it took away my job, my wife and almost my life. I was living downtown, nearly spent, but an old woman there asked for my story and when she heard it, she said I had been cursed by someone jealous of the good life I once had.

She said I needed to get me a black cat bone.

New Orleans is the place for that kind of voodoo, so I hitched a ride and it was, Crescent City, here I am. And this is what I found – in the stores there, the price of a black cat bone was $59.99. Which naturally, I did not have.

To get by, I stole all kinds of stuff – food, liquor, a rain jacket someone left on their chair at Café du Monde when they went to the bathroom. But I knew it would be bad luck to steal that black cat bone.

So I decided to get my own. Plenty of cats in New Orleans. Plenty of cats who don’t make it across a street. Some of them are black. I stole a good sharp knife. But then I couldn’t do it. Every dead cat I found was already rank and I could not take the smell.

It would have to be fresh kill, so I started chasing cats. I think they understood what I was up to, so they avoided me. But there was a man down by Jackson Square with a box full of kittens. I cleaned myself up as best I could, wore the tourist’s jacket, and offered the man $4 for a black kitten.

He looked me up, he looked me down. “What you want this kitten for?” he demanded.

“I have rats and mice in my house,” I said.

“So why not get an older cat?” he asked. “These kittens won’t hunt.”

I had no answer for this, but suddenly I heard the voice of my wife, who had always wanted me to get us a kitten, but I never would. “My wife wants a kitten,” is all I said.

And so he sold me a black kitten and I carried it home. You’ve got to understand, home is a loose term. I was living then in the courtyard of an abandoned building, sneaking in through a wrought iron gate with a chain loose enough for the slim body I’d developed by not eating three square meals a day. There was a lounge chair in the courtyard for me to sleep on, and a piece of wood to make a shelter from sun or rain, a fountain for water. All the comforts.

I took my knife out of my pocket, and took that black kitten out from inside my shirt. She was sleeping and purring. I laid the knife against her leg. The leg seemed very thin. I felt her legs and found not one thick enough to provide the size of black cat bone I’d seen in the voodoo shops.

I’d have to wait until she grew bigger.

***
A year later, Noirette and I share a shotgun shack with Brenda, a woman who works at the cat shelter. You see, I had to get a job to afford food for Noirette. I started as a bus boy in a French Quarter restaurant, and soon became a waiter. I love my job, I love New Orleans, I love Brenda and I love Noirette.

Every single bone in that cat’s body has brought me luck.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story. If you’d like me to use your name in a story, I’d be happy to do that.

30th December
2011
written by amber

The Game of Cat

Jo found the book. We usually burned books to keep warm, but he said he remembered it from when he was little. Jo remembers his mom. The rest of us don’t even know what a mom is.

And we didn’t know what a cat was. Jo showed us the picture in the book. He said his mom told him cats are soft and they love you and they rub against you if you feed them. He said his mom told him it felt good, better than having someone tickle your back.

Angel who is nearly as old as Jo, old enough to have two kids of her own, said she remembered seeing a cat once. She said some dogs were killing it.

I said we should get a cat. It would feel good to have something soft to rub against me, because I usually can’t get anyone to tickle my back. Usually I have to sleep on the outer edge of the group where I get cold, because no one likes me very much.

Jo showed us the picture in the book. The cat was small and fuzzy and had a smile on its face. I said I really wanted to get a cat.

Vic said, “Punk, don’t be so stupid. There are no cats left. The dogs killed them all.”

I said I could be a cat for everyone else, I’d love them and rub against them. I said I could play being a cat.

So I did, and they gave me bits of leftover food, and I didn’t say anything because Jo said cats can’t talk.

But then they told me I couldn’t play at being a cat anymore, because the Mall kids were coming into our territory and we had to fight them. And cats don’t fight with people.

So we did fight them, and we won. And when they ran away, we found a little girl from their group hiding behind some garbage. She was so little, she didn’t talk.

So I asked if I could keep her, and let her pretend to be my cat. And that’s how I got Fluffy.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story. If you’d like me to use your name in a story, I’d be happy to do that.

 

15th December
2011
written by amber

Planet of the Cats

We’d lifted from Taskans and were about to engage the FTL drive when Davyd noticed that the cat was missing.

“She must have gotten out at the last planet,” I said, filled with dread, knowing what he would say next.

And he said it. “We can’t go back for her. You know that.”

I began to cry. Little Nano has been such a comfort to me. Our passage between the planets on our route is brief, but FTL is subtly disturbing to me. Holding and stroking that small furry body helps. “It’s not fair. Our carelessness has cost her her life.”

Davyd ignored my unspoken accusation. The other times Nano had gotten out had been due to his carelessness, but we’d always noticed her absence in time. “Kristie, she might still be there when we get back. She is a SmartCat after all – maybe she’ll figure out how to put herself in stasis or something.”

But I felt no hope. It would be nearly 1000 years, planet-time, before we returned to see if the EarthSeeds we’d sown had born fruit.

We continued on our second pass over our route, sowing seeds on all planets where the oxygen bacteria had been successful. Six weeks later, we were back on Taskans. I was still feeling sad about Nano, and not optimistic despite Davyd’s incessant conjecture on how a SmartCat might adapt itself to the environment of a rapidly evolving planet.

During our descent, I started scanning anxiously and noticed right away that Taskans had not developed according to the expected template. There were no trees; instead tall fernlike vegetation blanketed the planet. Instead of the grazing meat animals we’d sown, the fern groves teemed with small creatures which rushed about in a moving carpet of nervous activity. And there were structures.

Muttering about terraform poaching, Davyd brought us down next to the largest structure. We braced ourselves to see one of our professional rivals emerge, even after we noticed that the doors and windows were on a much smaller scale than human.

Nano swept through a beaded crystal curtain, wearing a golden cape and jewelled crown. “You may approach and stroke me,” she said.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story. If you’d like me to use your name in a story, I’d be happy to do that.

6th December
2011
written by amber

Ship Cat VII

Cutie’s kittens are gone, so are Colleen’s kittens. In their place is a new Brad, but Colleen’s shipmate is nothing like he was before.

Cutie likes him better now. She can tell he isn’t going to kick her any more. There’s a sense of niceness and power around him that certainly wasn’t there before.

At the moment, even if Brad was inclined to kick her, he’d be too busy. When he reappeared after being gone for several days, an alarm was sounding in the command room. He and Colleen are trying to deal with that now, as Cutie hovers anxiously in the doorway. Since the birth of her kittens, she’s known that outside this ship is a deadly lack of everything she needs to live. Possibly the kittens could live there – whatever brought the kittens to her had to travel through it – but, as a mother, she isn’t prepared to take that chance. After all, she did contribute something to their being.

“Crap!” Colleen cries. “No way can we make it to Kepler-II now. Half our fuel bled away. I’m sorry. I went into a funk after you disappeared; I should have been paying more attention.”

“Don’t worry about it,” says the man who looks like Brad. Cutie isn’t sure he should be called Brad any longer. “Let’s see where we can go. There’s got to be an inhabitable planet around here somewhere.”

But Colleen is curled up on the floor, shaking. “Don’t bother. If there was something nearer, that’s where they would have sent us. There’s nothing.”

“Yes, there is – come look at this. And we have just enough fuel to get there.”

As he says this, Cutie sees a pink halo, a nimbus of kitten-essence, above his head. She enters the room and rubs against his legs, purring loudly.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section of any story.

To see all the Ship Cat stories, click on the tag “Ship Cat,” below.

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