39 comments

Jul 23, 2020

Fantasy

By the time I got there, the black cat was already sitting on the bench, the one with the peeling green paint and the inscription โ€œIn memory of Mrs. Hallie Goodwallโ€.ย 

โ€œSo?โ€ His yellow eyes glowed eerily in the dark, seeing right through my question like two beams of a flashlight cutting through the darkness. He sighed, too, so at least I knew he could still speak. Or maybe I was just making sure I could hear him, making sure that I was still a freak.

โ€œAddie, dear, youโ€™ve got to be patient,โ€ he drawled, looking positively bored. โ€œIโ€™m a cat, for goodnessโ€™ sake, not a search robot!โ€. My head had already begun to throb at the temple.

โ€œFirst of all, donโ€™t call me dear, you know I hate it. Second of all...โ€ I trailed off.ย 

The gentle wind blew bright stars across the midnight sky, the clouds giving the moon a sickly, pale light. There was no need for it to fill the silence between us, though. It buzzed and sizzled with our thoughts and shrouded bitterness, fizzed out the sour words silently spouting from our mouths.

โ€œJames said he was all right with talking to you, if you are, too,โ€ the cat murmured in my ear. We look at each other a moment, one with their head slightly tilted, as if asking a question, the other restless and fidgety.

I decided not to answer this. The last time I had seen James, it had ended in streaming, hateful tears and many questions thickening the air, pressing down on our shoulders.

โ€œAddie?โ€ he said, poking my cheek gently with his paw, the front-right one.

โ€œI canโ€™t, Blackie.โ€ Thatโ€™s all he needed to climb onto my lap and lie on his back, belly up, paws in the air. The same thing he always did when he wanted something from me.

โ€œAll right, then talk to me. Why?โ€ the cat - Blackie - said. I hesitate for a moment, then let my doubts melt away.

โ€œIt just hasnโ€™t been the same ever since she died. I guess she was the thing tying us together, but we used to be so closeโ€ฆ I just donโ€™t know what happened,โ€ I manage to choke out. My tears want to come out, theyโ€™re the ball in my throat, the stinging in my eyes, the pinching in my heart.ย 

โ€œItโ€™s going to be okay,โ€ Blackie didnโ€™t say. Nor did he say โ€œIโ€™m so sorryโ€ or โ€œI completely understandโ€. No, all he said was โ€œOhโ€, and thatโ€™s all that was needed.

There was another momentary pause, though not the same bitter one as before, one filled with sweetness and sorrow, like a cup of honey tea on a rainy day. I pulled Blackie closer, savoring the warmth radiating out of him and the gentle touch of his soft fur.ย 

โ€œYou arenโ€™t really a cat, are you, Blackie?โ€ Blackie smiled at this, tilted his head again.

โ€œItโ€™s a pity youโ€™re so honest, Addie, youโ€™d be amazing at playing dumb,โ€ he drawled again.

โ€œYouโ€™re not answering my question!โ€

โ€œWhether Iโ€™m a cat or something else is none of your business, and has no importance anyways. Besides, weโ€™re worried about you, not me,โ€ Blackie said.

"How do you understand me so well, then? We only met a few weeks ago. I can't imagine any cat has such a high comprehension of human beings...."

โ€œRight, so, Maria says she still hates you, youโ€™re refusing to talk to James, your dad says heโ€™s too tired to deal with you, which means that we are going to have to come up with a plan B,โ€ he said, dodging the subject as smoothly as he could. โ€œAny ideas? Maybe a โ€˜Family Recuperation Dayโ€™?โ€ย 

I frown. What do my family members like? After all, itโ€™s been years since weโ€™ve talked. I look to Blackie for even the slightest hint of an idea, but come up short.

โ€œErโ€ฆ a walk on the beach could work. Everyone likes a nice walk on the beach, right?โ€ I suggest rather sheepishly.

โ€œIf thatโ€™s all you can come up with, then, yes, thatโ€™s fine.โ€ He pauses for a moment, rocking from side to side on my lap.

โ€œBlackie, I donโ€™t know what I would do without you.โ€ He groaned at the heartfelt statement.

โ€œYou say that every day, donโ€™t you ever get sick of being so grateful about everything?โ€ he teased with something that resembles a snort. I stuck my tongue out in response.

โ€œI never asked, but why this bench?โ€ Blackie asked with a small twitch of his tail as he sat up. โ€œA memoriae on a bench, huh. I personally wouldnโ€™t want to be remembered this way.โ€ When I simply cast on an icy demeanor, I could see his eyes narrowing, the pupil having become barely anything more than a slit, visible signs of his contained frustration.

โ€œLook, Addie, Iโ€™m trying to help you here. I can help you put your life back together but you canโ€™t just keep running from your past! You-โ€

โ€œSee, this is why I know you arenโ€™t a cat. Youโ€™re so cat-like that it has to be fake,โ€ I said quietly, though I was seething with anger.

There it is again, the same bitter silence as earlier, though now with a strong breeze to fillย it with. One that always comes, always tries to help, is never needed. Like me.

โ€œIโ€™m sorry.โ€ His words didnโ€™t cut the silence like a knife, rather melting it and having it drip, drip, drip away like warm honey. โ€œI shouldnโ€™t haveโ€ฆโ€

โ€œOne thing we both need to work on is not getting hung up on what already happened and focusing more on what is to come. My mom taught me that. She was right,โ€ I murmured as I gently stroked Blackieโ€™s fur. Under the moonlight, he looked tiny and vulnerable, especially as he sat in the large ocean of my blue skirt.

After a moment, Blackie said, โ€œWhy did you name me Blackie when you couldโ€™ve named me Leonardo de Catrio or Captain Stinkypaws?โ€ My suppressed laughter quickly turns into giggles and finally a burst of bubbly laughter.

โ€œGoodness gracious, Blackie, can you imagine telling someone that your name is Captain Stinkypaws?โ€ I snicker.ย 

โ€œOh, no, no, no,โ€ Blackie mewled. โ€œSpare me from your torturing, from agonyโ€ฆโ€ I laughed as I pulled him close.

โ€œTo answer your question, Blackie..." I began, "I miss my mother. I guess that by sitting on this bench and gazing at her name every day, I feel as if Iโ€™m making up for everything Iโ€™ve done to her, even if it isnโ€™t true. We all remember her in our own ways, donโ€™t we?". Blackie said nothing about this, moving on instead.

โ€œSpeaking of embracing the present, letโ€™s go somewhere else next week. How about a walk on the beach?โ€ย Blackie purred with the slightest hint of a smirk.

"Let's do it!" I giggle, and the night is filled with laughter and bright smiles.

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39 comments

Zilla Babbitt
14:30 Jul 26, 2020

You asked me to read, so here I am. So sweet! I really like the imagery, and the line about fizzing secrets. That was great. First, cut redundant words. Delete every word that doesn't add to the story. The part where the cat gets nicer and cuddles-- is that consistent with its character? Second, motive/timing. Why is the cat helping her now? Why not years before? Answering these helps clear up motive so the reader can focus on plot. Sweet story, great imagery. Keep it up!

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Thanks so much for the feedback! I changed it a bit at the part where Blackie climbs onto her lap so that you know why he climbing on and changing the slightly redundant part about not being a cat... I hope it makes a bit more sense now! Thanks again, Peachy

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Zilla Babbitt
14:02 Jul 27, 2020

Awesome! You're welcome.

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Hiya, Peachy! Just dropped by to say a couple things ;) 1. LOVE YOUR PROFILE PIC! Your uncle drew it, right? Itโ€™s adorable ;) 2. I just upvoted you 20+ points, so...um...yeah. Enjoy! 3. All of the quotes in your bio are awesome ;) I especially love that last one cuz its TRUUUUU! 4. Oop, 4 things. Whatevs. Just a question: are you male or female? I canโ€™t tell from your name, but Iโ€™ve been assuming youโ€™re a girl this whole time... Bye! ~Aerin

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Haha, yes, I'm a girl. How'd you know? I had to beg my uncle for to draw it for me because I SUCK at drawing. Also, thanks fro the karma points!

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Idk...hehe Mโ€™kay ๐Ÿ˜„ No problem!

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Jade Young
15:27 Jul 26, 2020

This is a great lighthearted story with tinges of sadness woven into it! I like how both the main character and the cat can find solace in each other and are ready to start living in the present๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ

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Amazing job with this!! (I just upvoted you!)

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thank youuuu! I'm glad you enjoyed this story. I'm trying to get another one out this week :)

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B. W.
01:35 Sep 11, 2020

I liked this story and you did a great job with it ^^ you should continue to make some stories here. this gets a 10/10 :)

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aw thank you! to be honest I've been a little busy lately (yep, I've got school) but I've been trying to write. Hopefully I can get a story out soon :)

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Charles Stucker
06:16 Sep 02, 2020

I'm going to begin where Zilla left off. She gave good advice. Now any advice must be on how to edit away from this Reedsy page. How do you get better at finding the dead words? It's a skill, like any other, so practice is essential. Look at others and, after you read their tale, go back to read each sentence and see how it fits the tale, what could change or be left out. In your story "By the time I got there, the black cat was already sitting on the bench, the one with the peeling green paint and the inscription โ€œIn memory of Mrs. ...

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Thank you so, SO much for the in-depth critique! I do tend to have a lot of redundant words, and I have to work on that. I'll work on "killing my darlings", as Stephen King said. Also, I read your short story "The Awards", and for some reason, it made me laugh. Maybe it was because of the "To Darwin!" at the end, but anyways, I loved it!

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Charles Stucker
16:01 Sep 02, 2020

Steve was talking about your characters, not the individual words. The secret to success is to present characters with difficulties not easy lives. The more you hate the character, the better off your story is.

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Oh... well, I guess that makes sense, too... Okay, so my main goals are: 1) Cut redundant words 2) Create a character I hate (but is still an interesting character) Thanks for the clarification!

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Charles Stucker
16:17 Sep 02, 2020

No, you can like the character, you just have to treat them horribly, throwing all sorts of pain their way. It's how you build tension for readers- how can my beloved X overcome all this adversity. Some modern writers go so far that it passes implausible to become impossible. If the character is hungry, exhausted, wounded, and distracted by their true love needing a transfusion only they can provide, then having a knock-down drag out fight against the enemy who is already far stronger than them becomes silly. Yet people have started believin...

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mm ok. Sorry, my comprehension is way off this morning! Goals: 1) Cut redundant words 2) Be sadistic, make my characters suffer. OPTIONAL: Cackle while making my character suffer

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Yolanda Wu
03:22 Aug 23, 2020

This was such a good story! It was fun and sweet with interesting dialogue and descriptions. You had my attention the whole time, I was so eager to know what was going to happen next!. Amazing work!

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Pragya Rathore
17:22 Aug 09, 2020

This is such a heartwarming story! I really liked everything about it, from the imagery to the choice of words. Great!! Please check my stories out too :)

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Deborah Angevin
23:35 Aug 06, 2020

I like the imagery throughout the story and the relation between the protagonist and the cat... Nicely done, Peachy! Would you mind reading my recent story out, "(Pink)y Promise"? Thank you :D

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Hey, Peachy! You asked me to read this story forever ago, and I'm so sorry it took me so long to read it! Anyways, this story was beautiful and it had a sense of mystery throughout the whole thing. Another thing is that the way she had an idea of Blackie being something else (not a cat) just added another layer to the story. Overall, amazing job! -Brooke

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20:05 Mar 27, 2021

Love the quotes in your bio ๐Ÿ˜‚โ˜บ๏ธ

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15:31 Nov 13, 2020

Nice story

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15:31 Nov 13, 2020

Hii, Peachy Sorry to intervene, in this brutal manner, I have a request for you would be kind to give a single glance over the vehicle which my team had been working over months. https://www.instagram.com/p/CHX5VUPBJOp/?igshid=5f72nb3cgg30 Sorry to take your time and If possible like the post.Because this would help team to win

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I looked at it and wow! It's incredible! I liked it, too :)

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The cold Ice
03:58 Sep 25, 2020

Wow!!!!!!Fantastic story.I love this story.Great job keep it up.I like the ending.โ€Letโ€™s do it !I giggle,and the night is filled with laughter and bright smiles.I liked the story.Keep writing.Waiting for more. Would you mind to read my story โ€œThe dragon warrior part 2?โ€

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Megan Sutherland
22:31 Aug 22, 2020

Hi, Peachy! Great story! I love the personality you put in Blackie- very realistic. Would you mind coming and checking out my page? Please and thanks Good job on the story!

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Of course, Megan! I'm glad you found Blackie's personality realistic and that you enjoyed the story :)

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DANG this was good. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ Also, would you mind checking out my new (and by that, I mean I posted it 10 minutes ago) story, โ€˜Jax Off Ash (Part 1)โ€™? Thanks! Wow, keep it up, Peachy Hedgehog! (Great pen name btw) ~Aerin!

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