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WHERE IS THE CAT? - Writers Nook

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Am I dreaming? I hear this loud continuous ringing that won’t stop. I tear myself from sleep and see the flash of my phone, the noise shattering the silence of the night. I hear a mumbled voice which sends shivers of fear down my spine. I am snapped immediately wide awake.

Something must have broken in her life, something has happened. Her usual cheery lilt was gone, replaced by a drone voice empty of emotion. The small hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention, I know there is something terribly wrong; I need to get to her.

With a sense of urgency mixed with dread, I get dressed and jumping in my car I race to her. A red light, then another, like on purpose as if some powerful being was trying to prevent me from reaching her. The clock on the dashboard flashes the time at me. I punch the steering wheel in sheer frustration. Fuck! Time is never on your side when you are in a hurry. I feel beads of sweat forming on my top lip, almost like I was driving in slow motion. After what seems like an eternity I finally turn my car onto her street.

My eyes scans her apartment block, I see lights on the ninth floor. Five, six, seven, eight, nine, yes, ok. But how many windows? No, these are the balconies doors. A window, a door, a window. No time to count. We will see. I ring at the main door. No answer. Nobody on the intercom. I ring again. Nothing. I ring elsewhere. The buzzer answers, the door is released, the elevator is open. An eternity, eyes on the top of the door. Seventh, eighth. What the…, it stops:

“__ No, going up, Lady.”

“__… ”

“__No, I didn’t ring at the 809.” Shit!

Ninth floor. 911. Odd left, even right. So, left it is. Hold it! It’s open.
I cautiously walk into the apartment, an acrid stench immediately fills my nostrils making me gag.

“Cato? … ”

An old film. Peter Sellers attacked by his Chinese servant. Idiot!

As my eyes adjust more to the light I notice the mess, clothes sprawled all over the floor, dishes everywhere. Good God, what a brothel! The apartment after a hurricane. Nobody home.

“Cato…?”

Why did I attach this nickname to her?

“Cato…?”

A thousand thoughts race through my mind as I look around the place for any sign of life.

Bathroom? No. Bedroom? A smell. No. Normal. Patchouli. Yucky. Studio? All is on the floor, the books, the drawings, and the rest. The walls are stained with ink. Burglary? I am frantic now running from room to room; I enter the only room left, the kitchen.

“Cato…? ”

The only light comes from the open fridge. A figure is sitting on the floor. My heart thumps in my chest and I walk closer. She sits, her legs out in front of her, her Indian blouse and her thighs smeared with grease and sauce, her hair and her breasts stained with vomit. Around her, everything is a stinking mess. Disgusting, the stench stings my eyes. I raise a hand to wipe them and that’s when I notice that her hands are clenched tight on a mass of bleeding pulp, unrecognisable to me. What the fuck happened here?

“Cato…?”

She does not hear me, the pulp mesmerises her, she is transfixed by it. What should I do? Sit in a corner and wait? I cannot leave her like that. Ok. I will put her to bed but I know I will need to clean her up first. I walk towards her, my feet sticking to the floor, the sound turns my stomach.

I lean over her, “Let’s go, come… ”.
I try to raise her by the armpits. How heavy she is!

“Help me a little at least!”

Her body is a dead weight, I think I will throw her over my shoulder, but quickly dismiss it. She’s too heavy for me in this state. Like a Rag doll. I lift her to her feet, her left arm around my neck, my arm in her back, my hand under her right shoulder, I raise her. She leans all her weight onto me and I stumble across the floor. Damn we will smash our faces, the floor is slippery. I regain my balance and begin to make my way to the bathroom.

Shit, the pulp. I notice that the meat still dangles from her fingers.

“Throw that away”

I shake her arm. She ends up releasing it, it slaps onto the floor. I tear my gaze from it. Right, let’s go. Her hair trails on my cheek, her armpit on the nape of my neck perspires, I feel her sweat wet my shirt. Her breath in my face is a rancid smell, beer smell. Acid. We stumble into the bathroom, with great difficulty we enter. Definitely, the doors are not made to give way to two persons at the same time. Two persons! What I hold in my arms does not look like a person.

“No! Oh no! Wait! No!”

She pukes. Stinking! It spilled everywhere on me. What did she eat?

“Ok Buddy, relieve yourself.”

Rather in the bowl. Less risky when one has the soft legs. Wet towels.

“Sit down. ”

I switch on the light and for the first time I get a real good look at her. She has lost a lot of weight from the last time I saw her. Her makeup is applied thick, but not enough to disguise the heavy dark rings beneath her eyes. Her pink lipstick is mixed with something else now and it forms a crust around the mouth. Dried blood.

“Wait. Lean there. You recognize me? ”

No reaction. Eyes fixed, she looks at me without seeing me. Second towel. Her throat perspires. She heaves again. Eww! Quick, flush. Again. Useless efforts. Her hair is tousled. With a towel, I can’t separate the ends stuck the ones to the others. The front of her blouse is strewn with black spots: small packages of foam, I would say. What she needs it is a good bath. Not a good idea, she would surely drown. Shower!

Second stop. After the toilet bowl, the shower. Does she sleep or what? First, lay the buttocks in the bath-tub. Watch for the head. Here. Leaned on the wall. Second, lift the feet, pass the legs inside. Stretch the legs. I look like an old satyr teaching to cook to cannibals. Fortunately, it is a hand shower. Taps. Tepid. Gently. Rub the feet first, then calves, then thighs. I take the blouse off? No. It’s no use, afterwards. The flesh emerges, pink, through the transparent Indian blouse. Her hair now. If she wakes up, what do I say? No reaction. She’s even more pitiful when soaked, passive. More moving rather, her body bent, her chest leaning on my arm. I want to hug her, to… No. It is not time. And I remember the open refrigerator. No.

“Ok, let’s pretend you are clean.”

There, delicate operation, extraction of the bath-tub. Her arms around my neck, I raise her holding her tight against me. Here I go again. Not made out of wood. Shit. A towel, large. Not the choice, I have to remove the blouse, as skin peeling after sunstroke. Less provocative like that, all naked. Fragile. Child.
Not easy to dry and to hold at the same time. Let’s say she is dry. Beddy-byes time.

The bedroom is about intact. I carried her there in one breath. In the half-light, there is nothing but her head on the pillow. A pout of small girl. How old is she now? Nineteen? Yes, I’m twenty-three. I half-open the window. A caress on her still wet hair.

“Nighty night, little girl.”

I will clean up a little. Should I stay? I cannot leave her… I could lie on the couch. I am tired. I feel like going home. Nauseated. At least, I should throw away the food in the kitchen. No! I forget the kitchen! I cannot go back there. Too disgusting. I will go. I will phone her sister. I turn the lights off. I’m on my way.

Hold on, there’s a draft here! The door of the balcony is half-opened. Ah yes, for the cat! Where is it this animal? A cat! On the ninth floor! And black moreover. That brings misfortune. So much for the cat. It must be wandering around. I don’t like cats. I could crush them all to pulp.


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Posted

Very good read. Some minor rewriting needed (to improve the flow of certain sentences), otherwise interesting.


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