Image Prompt: The Cat Warrior

 

Image by Slpis Z Zhang

***

“What are you doing, little Tommy?”

“Little Tommy? Pah! I am Lord Thomas the Third, ruler of the seven seas and master of the lands!”

“Oh, sorry Lord Thomas the Third. What are you up to?”

“I’m hunting, can’t you see? I’ve already caught one fish, too! I’m catching my supper and then I’ll cook it over the fire and sleep outside tonight. For I am conqueror!”

“But Lord Thomas, sir… there aren’t any edible fish in our pond.”

Tommy sighed. “Muuuum, you’re supposed to play along. Even Mavis played along and she’s a fish.”

Tommy’s mum edged closer. Well I’m sorry, honey… you’ve just got such an imagination. Let’s try again.”

“Ma’am, I’m just passing through. I’ll be off to the ocean by sunrise tomorrow and then I’ll be out of your hair.”

“But cats are afraid of the ocean, sweet-cheeks. And your armour will get all rus-”

“Dad, not you too?” Tommy said, tears forming in his eyes from frustration.

“I’ll be out of your hair in a second, son. Just after I… take a photo!” Quick as a flash, Tommy’s father pulled out his camera, pointed it at Tommy and took a picture. “And before you complain,” his dad continued, “Daddy’s leaving now anyway. You be good while I’m gone. And remember: don’t venture outside the walls again.”

Tommy stood, his angry visage disappearing in an instant. “Will you send me a picture when you get to the ocean? Pleeease Daddy, pleeease.” His eyes were large and round – irresistible.

“Of course, son.” Tommy’s dad turned to his mum. “My love…” He trailed off. They did not seem to need words.

She nodded. “Stay safe, my warrior…” She said, her voice wavering slightly. All three hugged and Tommy felt his parent’s love flow through him, warming him to his very core.

“Captain Biscuit? We’re all ready to leave, sir.” Biscuit’s lieutenant called from the house. Tommy turned to see lieutenant Cloud, who waved at him. Tommy stood tall and saluted the lieutenant. He nudged his helmet slightly in his eagerness and the metal gave a low clang. The lieutenant saluted him back as his father began to walk to the house.

He turned, walking backwards as he stared at his family. “Look after your mother, Lord Thomas the Third!” He called before blowing them kisses and disappearing after the lieutenant.

Prompt: Tell me a story which makes me afraid of the light.

It is only in light that shadows appear. I know that now. If the world were pitch black, life would be good. But it’s that in-betweenness that irks me: when my eyes adjust to the half-light and I imagine that there are monsters and ghosts in my peripheral vision, edging closer to me so they can strike. And that isn’t even in the full-light. In the full-light, it’s much worse.

You see, our parents tell us about make-believe monsters and aliens when we’re young so we don’t realise the true horrors of this world. They make up dragons and zombies not for their own enjoyment, oh no – it’s to take our minds off the things that keep them up at night. It’s the humans which are the scariest.

And they’re out all the time in the light.

There are the politicians and the thieves, the rapists and the murderers. In the light of day, we all look the same. Hell, you could be sat next to one on the bus right now (don’t look at them though – just in case they show you their true colours). And that I find the scariest thing of all, for there is no “otherness” about them; no sign on their forehead saying “look at me, I’m going to steal all your money and stab you if you don’t comply”. No. It is something different to the fear of the unknown. It is the fear of the unexpected more than anything else.

Now this might not be a story per se, but think back to a time when you were deadly afraid. Maybe a robber (though he looked like an ordinary person… you get the point) walked into the bank you were working in and threatened you until you handed over the safe’s code. Maybe you were walking home after a wonderful afternoon at the park only to see a couple of people beating a man up right outside your house. Maybe you turned on the TV and saw news break that a politician had been hoarding the taxpayer’s cash, or else a rapist had escaped from a top-security prison.

I don’t need to tell a make-believe story because we’ve all seen the horrors of this world before. And it stands there in broad daylight with a smile on its face.

Prompt: God orders Earth from Ikea. After 3 to 4 working days, it comes. Flat packed.

“Hey Macey, when people start writing books about my achievements and singing songs in my name, could you tell them I built the earth in seven days? Because this shit’s embarrassing.”

God stared around at the jumble of pieces strewn at his feet. He wondered if the one page of picture instructions he had received with all the parts would be more understandable if he flipped it upside down. So he tried. Sure enough, he seemed to understand more, so he hammered a couple of nails here and there. His tongue poked out of his mouth as he worked.

Before he could make much headway, he tripped over one of the rock pieces and fell headlong into a bag of dirt. “Ack!” He said, doubling up in pain. “Fuck it. Macey, call one of the guys in. I can’t do this anymore.”

“Yes sir.” She said.

God sat down on one of his armchairs, leaning back into the grooves he had made over the many centuries that had passed. He closed his eyes and fell into a deep sleep.


“Mr. God? Sir?” A voice called him from his sweet slumber.

“Hmm?” He asked, his eyes still closed.

“John finished constructing earth, sir.”

“What!? Already!?” He leapt out of his chair and rushed to the other side of the room.

There it was. He stared up at it and reached out a hand to test the waters. Cold. Must be near the UK, he thought.

“Hmm… looks like he put some carnivorous creatures in with the herbivores… he always was a bit of a psychopath.” God said.

“Should I call him back in, Mr. God, sir?”

“No no, don’t bother. This’ll do. Move Adam and Eve in, would you? Now if you don’t mind…” God trailed off, already heading back to his armchair.

Prompt: “Is that real coffee?”

I coughed, spluttering the liquid all over the counter-top.

“Is that… is that real coffee?” I asked as I pushed the mug away in disgust.

“Course it is. Only the best in Westchester.” Rolf said. His head was low, focused on polishing cutlery.

I eyed him suspiciously. “Why does it taste like dirt, then? I was always told that coffee tasted sweet, sour and bitter all at once.”

“Well where do you think coffee beans come from, eh? Must’ve taken on some of the soil’s taste.” Still he kept his head bowed. I could see his cheeks turning pink beneath his beard.

“You don’t sell coffee, do you?”

No response. Just the rhythmic clang of cutlery as each freshly-polished knife or fork fell into the drawer.

“It’s mud, isn’t it?”

“Yes.” He looked up at last. His eyes had lost their usual spark. He looked as though he had aged a couple of decades; the lines on his face appeared more prominent than usual.

“Rolf!” I rubbed my tongue with the palm of my hand.

“Well you asked for it!” He said, his face childish with earnestness. “I panicked, Bev. Didn’t know what to do.”

“Just don’t… just let me know if I order something you don’t have, okay?”

“Okay. Actually, I made a biscuit to go with your coffee. Wanna see?” Rolf asked. He grinned. Before I could respond, he began rifling around behind the counter, his eyes squinting as he searched.

At last, he straightened his back and placed something on the counter between us.

“Chocolate chip.” He said with false pride.

I picked it up to inspect it. It crumbled a little as I handled it. The object was perfectly round and off-white with little black pieces dotted around.

“Time to make a guess!” Rolf said as he placed his arms on the counter, staring at me with high expectations.

“Sand for the biscuit itself, but… what are the chocolate chips?”

He grinned and leaned in close, looking around as if to check we were not being overheard (even though the place was empty besides himself and me).

“Rabbit feces.” He whispered.

“Rolf!”

Prompt: write a love story in five sentences

We found each other when winter came biting and forbidden things could be done without whispers. We snuggled the season away, only waking to forage or relieve ourselves. One day I woke to find they had taken him again, his hands in cuffs as he trudged through the snow away from me. I followed them, keeping my distance until his captors were less guarded, and then I struck. My death was worthy but his was unjust.