Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Howling Cat by J. Luis Licea

     I know I should run faster, but having four legs to haul is not always easy. My heart beats too fast to be normal. I look at the sky as the moon hides behind a clan of scared clouds; she’s scared of me. I like to think I’m scared myself; running away in my last attempt to get more time in this world. Time—funny word when you know the meaning. My time is now. They have come for me. They chase me; the shadows. I know I must die, but not without one last fight.

      I’ve run for more than twenty minutes in this narrow alley; for some reason, I can’t find the end of it. Maybe they are tricking me. No, they can’t manipulate me; I can control them. Maybe I’ve gone weak. Having the power I have makes me vulnerable to everything.

     I see the end of the alley and I speed towards it. This isn’t good news. I’m where they want me to be: an open, empty space surrounded by places where they can hide: the plaza. I knew moving into this town was going to kill me one day.

     My shiny white fur tells me they are near. I run to the middle of the empty plaza; there, in the light, I’m safe from them. But vulnerable. I have no other choice.

     Zoom! I look to my right and catch a glance of their faintly glowing gowns. Zoom! I turn to my left franticly. Zoom! I look up at the pitch black, moonless sky.

     “Kill,” one of them says.

     “Kill, kill…kill,” the others echo.

     I sit on my two back legs and look around me. I hear them whispering. They whisper of death and revenge. They are here to take me. I am their enemy, after all.

     ZOOM! I am thrown to my right. My body soars seven feet into the air and all I see is red. The landing is bad; I welcome the brick floor with my back. I use my tail to push me onto my paws. ZOOM! I bow and the glowing shadow misses my head. I see one hiding in the darkness of a roof. It fixes its eyes on me and shoots forward. I wait patiently…

     Just as the shadow stretched its silver claws to grab me, I jump several feet into the air, draw my nails out and sink them onto its back. Thump! Thump! The shadow falls onto the brick floor of the well-lit plaza.

     “Tzzz,” it squeaks and with a light thud it dies, vanishing forever into its own darkness; the world where they want to take me.

     They all whisper with anger around me.

     The lights of all the houses begin to flicker. I move in circles, my eyes spin in all directions. POP! One light goes out. POP! Another. Darkness forms a circle around me. The circle of light protecting me grows smaller.

     ZOOM! ZOOM! POP! POP! POP! Thousands upon thousands of faintly glowing shadows make the circle of darkness that swirls around me.

     I bend my back legs, bow my head and prepare to jump.

     ZZZZMOOOCK! Every light goes dark. I see their faint glow shine brighter. I see their red eyes, their yellow teeth. The rage they spit poisons the air.

     They all come at me like raging bulls. PUUUFFFF!


     That’s when the moon fears me no more. And it comes out to save me…

     All I see is red. Then Nothing. Time. I’m the cat who howled to the moon; begged her to love me. He died from love; was eaten by his dark sorrow. She loved him back.

     But it was too late…

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