Notes of FEL-135

Submitted into Contest #74 in response to: Write a story in the form of a top-ten list.... view prompt

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Fantasy Fiction

Trigger warning: child death

 

No 10: ADOPTION. I was adopted two months ago by the Spencers. The Spencers are quite a nice family, but as I come to understand, tragedy-stricken. Their youngest daughter, Elyssa, has been diagnosed with leukaemia, an illness which does not allow her to have much time to live. My role here becomes crucial; as a cat, I’m supposed to soothe and support the little girl throughout her illness. Let’s take it from the beginning. Adoption is the first human concept I was not aware of and with which I recently came across. As you may remember, I was living in the streets until I was collected by a young man and I was put into the local shelter, the one with the funny name: “Angels with Paws.” I met many of our fellow travellers there and we shared our stories about our missions. Day in and day out, several humans passed through the corridors of our quarters and being quite perplexed I enquired information. “They are here to adopt one of us,” said a comrade. “Adopt?” “I see you’re new in the business”, the same comrade responded and she continued by explaining that “adoption is an act which presupposes an agreement of care between two parties, in our case, a human family and the shelter, which will remove us from the care of the shelter and will have us live in a house with a human family.” Since that day when everything became clearer about my mission, I was always well-behaved around human visitors with the hope to be the one to be adopted.

           No. 9: FAMILY. I was well-prepared by our superiors of what a family means in the human world. To be honest, however, nothing could prepare me for what I would experience with the Spencer family. They were the ones who were charmed by my exquisite manners and within thirty minutes on the grounds of “Angels with Paws,” they came to the decision that I was the one to be taken home with them. The mother of the family picked me up from my crate and kneeled in front of the little girl. “Look at this beautiful kitty, Elyssa! We are going to take him home with us and he can even sleep in your bedroom.” The little girl smiled and touched me gently on my brow. I thought that this girl was different from other human children I saw in the corridors of the shelter from time to time. Elyssa was not loud like other children who disturbed my much-needed rest. She was gentle, shy, and she had a spark in her eyes which I only witnessed in the eyes of our kind. On that day I was driven to the house of my family. Mum, dad, Elyssa, her older sister, and their older brother. What I’ve learned about the human concept of family is that they don’t treat their offspring merely as a successful carrier of their DNA. Humans are overprotective and they engage in more activities other than the activities which ensure the survival of their species. The most bizarre activity I encountered in my new home was the gathering of the whole family in front of a rectangle. In this rectangle the family observed other humans doing human things for endless hours. After a while, I realised that this rectangle is called the “TV,” but I found it rather loud and bright for my liking. Anyhow, my point is that human families don’t quite function as we were taught they function and they certainly appear to have some stupendous habits.   

           No. 8: DOG. To my surprise my family also had a dog. A DOG, can you believe it? Ridiculous creatures! “Dog” is the name with which our greatest enemies are known in the human world and if you notice what they did, you will be amazed! They took the word “GOD,” a significant concept for humans which I will explain later, and they changed the order of the letters in such a way so their name would resemble the name of this divine creature. You see, God is an imaginary creature humans created so as to feel that they are immortal like him and that they will continue to live forever in other worlds after they perish on this one; they basically live within a delusional loophole. Sometimes I’m sure that we are smarter than the so-called “advanced” human species, and I often wonder if they deserve the attention we are giving them. Forgive me; I overstepped my boundaries…back to dogs then. The dog of my family has its own name. Humans name not only their fellow humans, but every species around them. The dog’s name is Frida. It is a she-dog and I am embarrassed to admit that I often enjoy her company. You see, dogs are not what I expected them to be…we should reconsider our current relationship with them but I will not resolve this here. I am going to send you a separate report on the matter soon.

           No. 7: NAMES. As I mentioned earlier, humans have a name for everything. We know and we accept that they name us “cats,” but the naming-business in the human world is far more complicated. I came to the understanding that humans have a need to signify everything. One day after my adoption members of my family looked at me and called me “Oliver.” I was quite perplexed in the beginning of what this “Oliver” meant but I realised that they expected me to respond to this designation. I was no longer the FEL-135, the designation with which, as you very well know, I am known in the headquarters but I was now Oliver. I played along, following the dog who also responded to the designation “Frida,” and the word “Oliver” coming from the lips of little Elyssa made me feel that I belong to this family. Elyssa called me on her bed from time to time, and I enjoyed sitting on her belly. She stroked my head as she was too weak to play with me and I purred and purred, hoping to make her feel less pain. By accepting my new name, I was accepting the love of Elyssa.

           No 6: LOVE. This is another significant concept I’ve learned during my time with the Spencers. What is love? Our kind enjoys, accepts, it is satisfied, but does it love? Or is it loved? One morning I was in Elyssa’s bedroom, but it was one of the ugly mornings. Mum and dad were there too, holding a bucket for her. Elyssa was vomiting a lot and she was crying. Her big eyes wandered around the room as if searching for something, until they stopped on me. At that moment, the spark I witnessed in Elyssa’s eyes on that first day in the shelter came back and she extended her arm to invite me on her bed. Mum told dad to “take Oliver out” and within moments dad’s strong arms placed me on the orange sofa downstairs. Next to me was Frida, but she was staring at the wall with an empty and depressed look. Her head was placed between her front legs and her muzzle seemed to sink in the sofa. At that moment I felt something extraordinary; sadness and pain as if experiencing what Frida experienced. I jumped between her legs and lied on her muzzle as I was sure that we both felt the same for Elyssa: it is what humans call love

           No. 5: EMPATHY. I came to find out that the extraordinary feeling I felt that ugly morning is called empathy. We were never taught anything about it from our superiors because we simply did not know it exists. In our world each one of us feels for their own sake but in this world, humans can feel for others’ sake too. What an exquisite ability! But is it solely a human ability? I don’t think so. You see, since I’ve been living with the Spencers, I developed a similar ability to feel what others around me feel. It was so painfully awkward in the beginning when I had to leave the room where mum was crying on her pillow, unable to stand up. Similarly, I could not stand being around dad, whom I could tell pretended to be strong but he collapsed on the kitchen floor, holding his head against the wall as soon as the children left for school. As for the children, I often spent time in the girl’s room who invited her brother to discuss about their dying sister. I observed the watery liquid running from their eyes almost every day which made me think that their eyes were melting. The only thing I could do was to jump and sit with them on the bed. It was one of those times when I tasted the salty liquid, which I understood appeared in the children’s eyes more often than it should. It was also when I realised that we can feel human emotions and the headquarters should take notice of that.  

           No. 4: TIME. After one month at the Spencers’ home, I realised that Elyssa spent less and less time in her bedroom. In fact, she spent less time in the house altogether as I kept searching and searching for her, but I found out that she had to visit a place called “hospital” almost daily. There were days when I and Frida were left alone in the house for long hours, even for whole nights. When the family came back home, each one of them behaved differently and it was then when I began to experience the passing of time. For our kind, time is calculated based on needs, usually the needs of libido, hunger, and rest. For the human kind, however, time is calculated based on minutes, hours, days and so forth. I remember the first time I came to the conclusion that I hadn’t seen Elyssa for four days, as my biological needs were no longer timely met and the human time frame began to affect me. I was sitting on Elyssa’s bed and I found myself expecting the little girl to pass through the door and to exclaim: “Oliver!” That was quite a novel feeling for me, which leads me to my next observation.

           No. 3: ABSENCE. My longing to see Elyssa and sit on her belly again was revealed to me as the concept of absence. Humans experience absence of loved ones, material things, and even absence of themselves. At this point, everyone in the Spencer family was absent, even Frida. I found out that absence is not only physical, but it can also be felt when the other party is physically there but there is still a huge distance between you and that other party. Such weird revelations in the human world forced me to reconsider the shallow impressions I initially held for their species. As the ardent observer I am, I gathered that each human responds differently to absence. Mum isolated herself and cried on the bed, dad spent endless hours in front of the bright rectangle without really observing the humans in it, and the children became so angry and loud, I could no longer tolerate them. My mission began to appear incomprehensible and I was ready to quit and return to the headquarters until the day before yesterday.

           No. 2: DEATH. The day before yesterday was the day when Elyssa died. You see, death is something incomprehensible to humans, despite their remarkable research on everything biological. Death comes as a surprise, despite their expectation of it and it transforms them into a fearful species that does not know how to respond. For our kind, death is life, it is the course each one of us takes in their lifetimes and it is nothing to wonder about. Elyssa’s death triggered my thoughts and I began to feel sorry not only for my family, who experienced the permanent loss of dear Elyssa, but for all humans who attempt to understand and overcome death. Their response stunned me! I never expected the most intelligent species, the species we spy on for their enormous brain abilities, to ruminate on the inevitable. Apart from feeling sorry though, I felt empathy. Firstly, I was the one who missed Elyssa, this sweet child who came home three days before she slept forever. I was wondering where her brown curls had gone, as I always enjoyed our “grab-the-curl” game. Despite her tiredness, as I gathered from her pale face and her big teary eyes, she wanted me there with her, on her belly. I felt empathy for her seemingly painful experience and for her mum’s inability to sooth the child’s pain. I also felt empathy for the dad’s desperation and exhaustion, for her sister’s sorrow and for her brother’s nights spent crying locked in his bedroom.

           No. 1: HUMANS. As my mission reaches its end, I decided it was the right time to send you my detailed report. I would also like to thank you for placing me in this department for I was fortunate enough to experience first-hand the function of this complicated species: humans. As I am sure you are going to report to our superiors, humans are misunderstood by our kind. We should continue our centuries-long research for our blessed ancestors did not approach humans by chance and they definitely knew what they were doing. Despite our differences, I gathered some similarities between humans and our kind, which is not necessarily against us but, on the contrary, it could work for us. Humans are narcissists, self-absorbed, and intelligent like us but they have also developed all the concepts I discussed in my report. For this, I believe our gradual transgression to the human language would initially surprise them but it would also flatter them, and this extreme flattery would push them to accept us as talking interlocutors. Until then dear comrade, keep an eye for my incoming report on dogs as I promised and don’t lose hope; the revelation has begun.                    

 

December 30, 2020 18:12

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