Feline Meets Canine

Submitted for Contest #96 in response to: Write about someone welcoming a stranger into their home.... view prompt

75 comments

Jun 05, 2021

Fiction Romance

It was a dare. A dare given to me by Hermes to make a pair of ex-lovers, specifically mortals, fall in love. It was utterly impossible to turn him down, though I knew the dare was seemingly impossible to perform.

Love is love and, though I’d never admit it, even I can’t fully tame the heart. It had its own language that I was only partly skilled in. I should know. After all, I was the goddess of love.

I regret making that choice now that I’m here, attempting to do the impossible. My temper was to blame for my rash acceptance of the dare. In that fraction of a second I was allowed before making my decision, two thoughts crossed my mind.

One, I wasn’t a scardy cat. And two, I didn’t plan on running back home without giving it my best shot. Kinda funny, figuring I had transformed into an animal to carry out the dare. The lowest of the low in the mortal realm.

I prowl my way through dark alleyways, using the shadows to my advantage. The less they saw of me, the better. Maybe I’d get lucky and it would be an in and out job. The sun begins to rise, using only the colors of beauty to paint the sky.

Humph. I guess there’s one good thing down here, I think. A metal trash can lid falls onto the cold cement, breaking the somewhat peaceful moment. I hiss and curl my back in a threatening stance, my retractable claws automatically extended.

A small rat scurries away from me and into the darker part of the alley as if its life depended on it. It kind of did, figuring I was the rat’s mortal enemy. It was a bit reassuring to know I was at least above other creatures, even if it was only one inferior species.

When the coast is clear, I lower my defensive system down a few notches. My claws retract, and I continue on my way.

Maybe the ex-boyfriend would be easier to work with rather than the girl. Man, that girl had too much spirit and stubbornness for me to shape her heart in the slightest. The guy might be easier to mold. I hoped so or else the dare would be over, and I’d come home with another failed mission under my belt.

I transfer from alleyways and backstreets to the main street. For the most part, all is still and quiet. A few cars drive sluggishly on the road while the rest of the city is fast asleep in the comfort of their beds.

Walking around in a cat’s body was much worse than a dog’s. I’d occupied a yorkie puppy named Peanut last spring in an attempt to bring these same two lovers back together.

My poor pink paws were covered in filth and grime from walking the streets. And I wasn’t just complaining about a little dirt. My entire body ached.

Cats are not suited for long distance walking and when they did journey somewhere, it was to their litter box and then to bed. In my dog form I was faster, had more stamina, and didn’t have the urge to sleep often.

The only advantages to being a cat is that you were treated better (unless you wanted a lovely present of scratches on your arms), you looked better, and smelled cleaner. My nose isn’t as powerful as a dog, but it gets the job done.

I wind my way through streets for a couple more blocks before arriving at a rickety brick apartment building. My sniffer told me that this was the place.

Without questioning it, I climb up the fire escape and into an open window on the second floor. I gotta hand it over to them; cats had great agility and were masters of stealth. A pur-fect combination for this mission. The apartment smells of cleanliness and chemicals.

I enter an empty living room and hop onto a plush beige couch backed up against a wall. Opposite of the sofa lies a lifeless flat screen TV. In another corner is a door let wide open, bright light issuing forth from it. That room was also where the chemical smell‘s strongest and where a hint of peppermint air freshener lurks.

A balding man exits the chemical and peppermint smelling room, holding sooty colored water in clear glass cups. I recognize him as the other ex-lover, Mark. Yet, there‘s something different about him.

He smells better, for one, and looks more well kempt than before, but there‘s still something different about him I can’t quite place my paw on…

He walks into the small kitchen and pours the dirty water down the drain. While washing his hands, he begins to hum and dance to a song. Why was he up so early? I wonder.

He turns off the tap and opens the refrigerator door. Too absorbed in his humming, I meow to get his attention. He jumps and looks a little embarrassed to be caught singing and dancing to himself even if his only audience was me. A cat. His pet cat.

“I swear. You’re gonna kill me one day, Rose.” He looks closer at me, straightening his black rimmed glasses. That was it! His glasses. Those were new.

“That’s strange. No dead rodents or lizards today,” he observes.

I leap off the beige couch and curl around his ankles, purring. It‘s a weird sensation in my throat.

“Aw I missed you, too kitty.” Whew, I almost blew my cover there. “Now let’s see about some breakfast for you.” He opens the fridge for a second time and takes out a carton of organic milk. This kitten, well more like cat now, was spoiled rotten.

He crouches down to my level and pours the creamy liquid into a metal saucer with a pink rose on it.

The bowl was pretty banged up and looked like it had seen better days. The same went for the rose. Mark waits expectantly for me to make a move, so I creep toward the saucer and take a few sips of the refreshing cream with my pink tongue.

Once Mark leaves, I look at my reflection. I‘m a mix of brown and black fur; a tabby cat. My whiskers are a normal length and so is my salmon pink button nose. My appearance is nothing to gawk at, except for my eyes. It‘s as if my creator placed two jade jewels where my eyes should have been. I wasn’t complaining about having jewels for eyes. I disfigure the reflection by taking more sips of my milk.

The milk tastes fine but nothing compared to the ambrosia and nectar back home. It was necessary for me to drink every drop of it, though. The dare and my pride depend on it.

Now that I think back to it, I’m so glad that Angelica, the other ex-lover, didn’t feed me when I possessed Peanut’s body. Yuck, the kibble and treats they gave to dogs were gross.

Once we’re both settled at the dining table, an alarm sounds on Mark’s phone. It scares the living daylights out of me and gives me an excuse to hiss and spit angrily.

“Ssh. It’s ok, Rose. You know what today is,” he says in a grim tone. No, I don’t know “what today” is, and I don’t want to find out. Looks like I don’t have a choice.

He grabs me from under my belly and carries me through his small apartment. I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t finish the milk. All that walking had built up an appetite.

I try to scratch his exposed arms, but it seems like Mark knew all the tricks at dodging my claws. I had either really underestimated this guy or he had really changed since the last time I saw him.

He still kept on walking. What’s the big idea? Is it “National Take Your Cat Around Your House Day?!” Don’t think so. At last we enter the bathroom. There’s nothing special about the room. It‘s just like any other bathroom I‘d seen. A mirror, bathtub, toilet, and a couple of drawers. That‘s all.

It isn’t until he turns on the bathtub faucet that I realize what he means by the importance of today: it‘s wash day for Rose.

Let me get things straight between us. Even though I’m technically a cat, that doesn’t mean I hate water. I‘m fine with it; truly! What I‘m not fine with is spending the next hour or so getting scrubbed when my mission i at stake.

I don’t want to delay staying in Rose’s cat body any longer, either. I’d already encountered a hair ball earlier in the day. I shudder at the memory. And who knows, I might pounce and kill some unsuspecting rat soon…

Both of Mark’s hands are full from turning the faucet tap and retrieving things for my bath. It’s a wonder how he could still keep a hold onto me with my wild thrashing about. My guess is that Rose didn’t take a liking to this wash day.

I scout the room for a way out. Bingo! An open window just next to the mirror and above the bathtub was wide open. I quit struggling against Mark and keep still as if saying, “I’m sorry for fighting against you. I surrender. You may now hand me over as a sacrifice to the demon water now.”

This behavior must’ve been unexpected since he looks at me in astonishment for a couple of seconds before setting me on the counter. He then continues taking cat shampoo and whatnot out of the cabinets.

I take my leap of faith when he’s completely absorbed in his rummaging. Thank goodness I land on the tree outside the window. He hadn’t even watched my performance. Talk about rude. I meow for his attention.

“What the…?” he mutters. He then leaps into action with, “Come back here!”

Yeah, don’t think so. I leap down the branches of the tree one at a time. I miss my landing on a thin tree branch and almost plummet ten feet to the ground, but my tail helps regain my balance.

A few seconds after that near death experience, I’m delighted to hear the door of Mark’s apartment shut. The chase is on.


***


It doesn’t take long to arrive at my destination. I‘m a little late due to that unexpected wash day, but there‘s still a chance things could go to plan. I sit at the far end of the dog park under a wooden bench and keep a low profile.

I begin to have my doubts. Maybe my summons didn’t work correctly. Maybe I called the wrong girl. This guy might not even be Mark.

Dogs of all breeds roam the park, aimlessly chasing their tail and sprinting after toys thrown by their owners.

My little heart beats rapidly and adrenaline surges through my veins when, at the edge of the park, I see a small figure race into the dog park. When it comes closer, I realize it’s an animal. I squint. A miniature animal with mixed black and brown fur. It’s a dog. A yorkie puppy, to be exact.

Behind the yorkie a woman with wild auburn hair sprints after him. It was a hopeless enterprise for her but quite entertaining for me, nonetheless.

“Peanut! Come back here, you little rascal!” the woman shrieks.

Uh, yeah. If he wanted to come back he would’ve, silly. I realize now why Peanut is running faster than the speed of light in a bundle of fur… He’s running toward me. A cat. I‘d expected this to happen, just not in this way.

I clumsily turn around and bolt toward Mark. I reach him just in time to be taken up in his arms.

“There you are! I thought you’d gotten hit by a car or something.” Before he can finish reprimanding my behavior, Peanut begins jumping up and down and barking at me like a maniac, scratching the legs of my hero. I hiss at the canine with triumph on my face.

Mark picks up the dog’s leash and begins walking towards the girl with flaming red hair. I make sure my tail doesn’t hang since Peanut has a murderous look in his beady black eyes.

“Hi there, Angelica. Long time no see,” he says, once he meets up with the woman. He tries waving at her but then realizes that both his hands are full from holding Peanut’s leash and me. He smiles sheepishly.

What was wrong with this guy? I think. The last time they were together, he couldn’t say her name without being on the verge of tears.

And what happened to his stupid nickname, Angel, he used for her? Where was that Angel I had depended on? Ugh, mortals’ emotions could change on the spur of a moment. True dedication was never their strong point.

“Hi Mark. Thanks for getting Peanut for me. I don’t know what got into him. We were on a walk when, all of a sudden, he broke free from me. Can you believe it? He’s usually so well-behaved.” I sincerely doubt that last statement.

“I believe you. The same thing happened with Rose.”

Angelica looks at Mark with a quizzical look. “So, you take Rose out for a walk on a leash?”

I try to keep my focus on the conversation passing between the two, but Peanut’s leaps bring him dangerously close to me. I meow and hiss and spit.

My mini hissy fit not only saved my furry life but also Mark’s, judging on his scarlet blushed face. Thankful to have something else to do, he hands over the leash to Angelica.

“Thanks,” she says quietly, attempting to hide her small designer-made “My Angel” purse out of view. Whew, this is great! She still had some attachment to him. That purse was a gift given to her by Mark on her latest birthday. I could make this work--somehow.

A companionable silence follows as the two look out at the dog park which was welcoming more guests.

Many times, Mark opens his mouth to say something then closed it shut. He looks like a fish out of water. It’s not that he’s shy around her… just awkward and unsure of himself. Out of the corner of her eye Angelica, being the smart woman she is, notices his struggle and opens the conversation back up herself.

“How’s your painting going?” Well, that explained a lot. The overpowering smell of chemicals, the color stained hands, getting up early, those filthy water cups. He was a painter.

“Oh, um. It’s fine. You know it’s only a hobby.”

“Mhm,” she says in a voice barely above a whisper. It was hard to work with terrible flirts. There needed to be something to build off of!

Peanut could have cared less. The entire time his eyes dart from one dog to the next, yearning to play with them.

A red slobbery ball rolls along the grass. Though it’s still yards away, Peanut thinks it’s the perfect opportunity to seize the toy. Tugging at the leash and barking his head off, Angelica manages to dig her heels in the ground.

“I’m so sorry, but I gotta go. Talk to you later?”

“Yeah. Yeah, I’d love that,” Mark says. His eyes grow misty with sadness. I kinda feel bad for the guy. He only wanted the love of his life to say, “I love you” and maybe even an, “I do.”

That “My Angel” purse and Mark’s sigh that followed after she left, is proof enough that there‘s something growing here. Something big. Before I can interfere with them again, we walk away from the park. I figure I could wait a bit longer for my next chance. No rush.

Once we arrive back at his apartment he sets me down onto the wood floor and walks into the chemical smelling room in an exhausted stupor. The door shuts with a creak. I climb onto the window sill and transform into a sparrow without notice.

Technically, the dare was still on. Hermes didn’t specify how long it would take to bring them back together. Only that it would need to happen at some point or another. As I flew through the air, I vowed on the River Styx that I would do just that.

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75 comments

06:30 Jun 12, 2021

Hey Jose!! Long time no see(Yes I consider a few days a very long time :p) How are you? And I'll read this soon; just that my deadlines are bugging me :))(Not that you asked, but well)

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Valerie June
16:49 Jun 12, 2021

¡Hola Queen! (You're not the only one thinking that. To me, it DOES feel like we haven't talked in forever. XD) I'm doing great! I'm finally on summer vacation which is a huge relief. Glad to know you're doing well, too. :) It's ok, take your time. Hm, what do you think of this week's prompts?

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16:54 Jun 12, 2021

XD Glad to know! :)) Unfortunately for me, school's starting day after tomorrow :'( and my work is still not finished, perks of being a procrastinator- Hmm, good question, I didn't see them yet, so well, now that I saw them, hmm they are quite potential for moving my series forward :)) Hbu?

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Valerie June
06:29 Jun 13, 2021

Argh, I’m sorry about that. The first day of school isn’t always too bad, I guess… I hope you’re able to finish your work. You can do it! :D Yay! Nothing has come to me yet, but I’ll wait and see what happens. This pandemic has taught me a thing or two about patience, that’s for sure!

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07:09 Jun 13, 2021

Over here, the first day is the worst Reasons: 1) Vacation time is OVER *WAAAAAAAAAAH FUN TIME IS OVER* 2) The teachers always give loads of work on the first day 3) We have to submit our holiday homework *Breaks down crying* Don't worry, it isn't s bad as I make it sound; I tend to be a bit over-dramatic :pp I look forward to it, cause LEARNING IS FUN!!! Yeah, even though we have been cursing the pandemic since forever it has unknowingly taught us a lot; hygiene for one :pp

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Valerie June
06:43 Jun 14, 2021

Oof. Those are pretty good reasons why you'd be upset for the first day of school. Nah, it's ok! I understand. Haha, yeah! And if it wasn't for this pandemic I might never have discovered Reedsy, either. :O

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Beth Connor
04:14 Jun 12, 2021

Great story- I thought of the peanut story as soon as I started reading this, I love that you did a sequel! Very well written.

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Valerie June
16:42 Jun 12, 2021

Thank you! I never knew how interesting and fun it would be to reuse characters until now.

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Beth Connor
20:10 Jun 15, 2021

Jose- would you consider being a beta reader for the MG/YA novel I just finished? I need a younger(than me haha) reader that isn’t afraid to tell me what they liked and didn’t. If you are interested, you can email me at jbethconnor@gmail.com :-)

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Valerie June
03:09 Jun 17, 2021

Congratulations on finishing your novel! 🎉 I know how tedious the process is. I’d love to assist you with that. When you get an email from some captivating cupcake that’ll be me.

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Merry Marcellino
12:09 Jun 08, 2021

Love this! I want to see what happens in the end! Love cats, by the way! No cat puns here though. LOL!

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Valerie June
16:40 Jun 08, 2021

Thank you! I'm more of a dog person, but it was about time I let the cats shine.

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15:08 Jun 05, 2021

While I was reading this, I was like 'OHHHHHHHHHHH it's a sequel' lol. I can tell you've been reading Rick Riordan *cough cough* XD it was well written and incorporated. the flow was smooth and the descriptions were pur-fect (come on, you knew I had to do that lol)! super fun read!

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Valerie June
16:14 Jun 05, 2021

What can I say? I write what I read. 😉 Uncle Riordan provides me with some great inspiration. Yes, hit me with the cat puns! 😂 So, how are you doing? Are you still as bored as ever? Lol!

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16:25 Jun 05, 2021

XDD relatable lol. You've gotta be kitten me! You really want more of this clawful-ness?! XD kinda sorta maybe lol, more actually busy than bored lol

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Valerie June
01:24 Jun 06, 2021

You're doing paw-sitively pur-fect with these! Meow. I think I already know the answer to this question but are you more of a cat or dog person? Haha, that's understandable. How's part 6 of "The Lost Ones" going so far that you're totally not working on? XD

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04:00 Jun 06, 2021

XDD yeah more of a dog person lol XDDDDDDDD i dunno, i'm not working on it remember XDDDDD *says next part in a high pitched voice of a desk receptionist* Sorry, spoilers are unavailable at this time. Please try again later. XD

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Valerie June
04:14 Jun 06, 2021

I figured since wolves and dogs go hand in hand. XD I'm kinda getting obsessed with wolves now... Haha! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Can I ask a few very vague questions about the series? *says in a whiny kid voice with puppy eyes* Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease? Oh, y yo tengo una sorpresa para ti. :) I'll try and send it to you soon.

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Valerie June
15:38 Jun 10, 2021

New thread coz why not. That doesn't sound fun at ALL. Feeling any better today?

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15:45 Jun 10, 2021

a little bit ig

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Valerie June
16:34 Jun 10, 2021

Mhm makes sense. If you ever need to talk anything out, I'll be here! :)

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16:56 Jun 10, 2021

thx :) I'm kinda obsessed with GarageBand right now so yeah XDDDD 🎼🎻🎹🎷🎺🎸🎤🎧

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Valerie June
18:40 Jun 10, 2021

Happy to be of service, Speedy! :) I love using that app, but I haven't used it in a while. XD What's your favorite thing to do on there?

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Aurora Spencer
13:52 Jun 05, 2021

This was really unique, Jose! I've read about gods (Greek gods) turning into mortals, but animals? You hit the nail on the head! I loved the way you described an immortal living the life of a cat! And you incorporated the story into the narrative amazingly. There were some teensy bits where you slipped back into past tense. I'm not sure if you did that intentionally, but here's an example: --> 'Yet, there was something different about him. He smelled better, for one, and looked more well kempt than before, but there was still something diffe...

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Valerie June
16:09 Jun 05, 2021

Thank you so much Aurora! I’ve found writing from an animals perspective to be an interesting process. Especially given the fact that I’m an animal lover. Thank you for pointing that out! 😊 I do tend to struggle with my tense changes. I read my story again and changed everything I found from past tense to present. Hopefully I fixed most of them. Another writer on here told me that I could reuse these characters over and over again. I think I will add more parts onto this. It’s so fun working with Aphrodite, Angelica, and Mark! It also gives...

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Valerie June
04:00 Jun 05, 2021

This was a sequel to “Chaos at the Cafe.” You didn’t need to read that story for background information as it is not necessary for you to understand this one. This story was also longer than my usual ones and it fit the prompt very loosely. Well, that’s it for me. I hope you enjoyed reading it!

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Emma Bates
10:36 Jun 21, 2021

Hiiiii, sorry for reading this super late and not talking to you in like forever. I was hooked into the story from the start but then I noticed the couple wouldn't be together yet in this entry and now I feel mad because I am going to have to wait for the next part if there's a next part :(. Lol. JK, JK. (no pressure :>) I like the elements in the story as well as the small puns here and there. On a side note, I can call you Val now? Come to think of it I have never addressed you by your name of choice. lol. Sorry about that. :> In my opi...

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