Rain bounces back up from the clouded cement as it hits the ground. The rainstorm casts a muddied filter across the concrete jungle gym. The only splash of color from a nearby playground, a sweet red emerges the twisting slide heavily influenced by the steamy downpour. The shimmering playscape glows in comparison to its high and mighty bureaucratic brethren. I stare out my window sulking away day after day. Bored of the comfort of my bed I imagine a life I don't live and wouldn’t particularly want to live.
“How do stray cats survive this kind of weather?” I say aloud to myself, momentarily leaving my prison of pillows to shut the window which was letting in more than a few droplets of rain. I recline back into my chamber of comfortable concern and drift off, meditating on the rhythm of rain pelting at my window.
A wet sensation disrupts my deepening slumber. Expecting a leak in my ceiling, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was outside in a drain pipe. Ecstatic at the fact that no landlord would be hearing complaints from me for the next two weeks about a leak that doesn’t exist. With the smell of late fall creeping into my nose I felt a heavy compulsion to follow some intense stench among the strong smell of wet grass and fallen leaves. My gaze drifts off to the right of me as I notice a squirrel perched up under the branches of the blueberry bushes (next to the rusty pipe). Water covers my hairy back, I am so drenched and uncomfortable but I am also determined. I pounce towards Squirrel, I must interrogate my fellow fiend. The rain pelts gently against my fur, and slowly soaks its way through every hair follicle and until it covers my skin. A new layer of cold wraps around me.
Upon hearing my low roar he springs off and I take over this location. Some delayed instincts in that one, I could tell by his awkward foot stance, this made him a prime example of natural selection. I gave Squirrel an expiry date of about one week from today. That is counting in Cat days, Squirrel being a simple creature, one of my weeks would be an entire war for him. Fleeting towards the metal Mustangs that scamper at 80 kilometers an hour, I watch Squirrel with an unexplainable honor and respect. Indulging on nature’s curse, feeding off of the adrenaline pulsating from the excitement of not dying. Sometimes I watch as they run across streets, chasing after blue-tinted Hondas, throwing themselves at the wheels like a back in business Mary Magdalene. I’ve seen people that remind me of them, the squirrels that is.
A drop slid its way down the sensitive bridge at my nose, I tilt my head down watching the drop fall to its impending doom. I scrunch up my little pink snout and let out a bothersome sneeze. The air that flies out catches a small beetle and propels him toward my paws. Seeing as the rain has gotten much better than earlier I launch towards the beetle from underneath the blueberry bush branches. Holding him down gently, I peer at this beetle’s gleaming shell.
“What is your name creature?” I ask of him.
He won’t reply, I know he won’t, those just aren’t the ways of the beetle. I do have to say he is much smarter than Squirrel. Although the feral guinea pig has meat sitting in his skull, Beetle seems to be a creature far more in tune with its senses. He rolls onto his many front legs and he flees as well. His crisp reflective shell twinkles in between the discourse of the mud, puddles, and pebbles. My tongue strides against the fleshly side of my paw, a taste far saltier than imagined hits my sandy taste buds. That contaminated bug... I gaze around and walk towards a lonely playscape. I spot a particularly intriguing parcel underneath the twisting slide that pulls me forth with a compelling odor. I zero in my vision on the parcel and move swiftly across the wood chip-covered ground. I got a better look at the strange package and determined it was a gently orchestrated collection of sticks and twigs that made up the bite-sized bundle. A small helpless baby bird lay nesting. I sniff at it first thinking to myself “How cute,” everything from its delicacy to its innocence to its tastiness...it was undeniably adorable. And then I grew hot with jealousy. Off dozing in a warm embrace of its own premature feathers, this baby bird was not yet tainted by the threats of oncoming street cats ready for a catfight nor was it aware of the feisty and FIV-ridden raccoons always thirsty for blood. Better yet it doesn’t know about paying rent or taxes or what a mortgage is. The baby bird's calm and restful expression continued to fill me with rage, this thing doesn’t even know the surface-level sins committed by those who walk this planet. They all have me begging “Why?” every waking day. Better to be eaten before realizing what a scam has been dealt by the cards of evolution. I had to look away from the bird, it was beginning to make me nauseous. Looking back at the frail, limp body I realize I had misjudged him because of how little he knows and how little he's experienced, and how he won't have a single worry until his little eyes open up to find no momma bird around. I ponder at the thought of him waking up as I stare, a ferocious beast towering over him licking its lips and salivating at the thought of crushing its tiny torso and suckling every last breath from those deflating lungs. That would be his first impression of life. My senses tug at me, I turn my head and look up to see small white flakes of snow falling from the grey saddened sky. The first snow...hm...looks like there’s more to prepare for than just a storm. I look back at the baby bird and its rib cage lifts up with every deep inhale. My fur begins to harden in the icy atmosphere. My white brow hairs dance in the wind as the freezing air pulls me towards the bird. A wave of hunger so aggressive, races through my body, from the tip of my nose to the ends of my claws. The sky is seeming to only get more grey, I am running out of time to catch my prey. From the outer corner of the playscape, a jumble of raccoons fade into sight from the dreary background. Could they be kind passer byers? Could the fate of this baby bird be the dinner of someone other than myself? Now I am faced with the conflict of remembering there are creatures beyond myself that have instincts of their own.
If they think they’re going to get their nimble thief hands on my dinner they’re wrong. I jump over the baby and greet the leader of the three-man pack. I walk several paces left taking my chance with the pack. I confront two out of three of the vermin and scratch at the weaker ones snout. The leader doesn’t seem too pleased, he screeches at me and lunges. I jump away and land on all four legs, as I usually do. I leap at the fellow who had the courage to try me. I land on his head and claw at his back. An electric shock punctures my backside so I release the demon’s filthy hide and jump back to where I had stood protecting the baby; except this time I lay down immediately to recover. It seems that one of the three, I assume the one who hadn’t been injured yet, had bit me, infusing my body with some strange electric carrying poison. I feel weak but I’m sure I’ll be back on all fours in no time. The raccoons scutter away, my gaze darts at the bird. He seems to be peacefully sleeping, chest rising up and down at the same pace as before. The corners of my wild jaws curl upwards, I can’t help but feel warm all over. I assume this is because I recognize my death might be upon me and my final meal seems to be a delicious baby bird. I have fought so hard for this, it is only my destiny to munch on its sweet little wings. I drag myself closer to him, smelling blood, I look behind myself. To my surprise, my gentle white coat has become a coined copper. This is the closest I’ve come towards my dinner upon seeing it as a little parcel in the distance.
The snow continues to collect around us. I open my eyes and it seems several hours have passed. I peak out from underneath the playscape and the light beaming down near us appears to be fixed, held up by a metal pole. In my first moments of wakefulness I thought the moon was shining awfully bright tonight but it just happened to be a light fixture...I thought about telling the bird this in case he’d be just as confused in his first moments of wakefulness as I was. I kept my mouth shut and peered at the thing. I investigated the ketchup packet explosion that stained my once white coat, the wound was still bleeding with a fine layer of frost covering the dried bits and pieces of clotted blood and fur bunches. I look back at the baby bird. The bird suddenly became all I could see that was not in a blur. I lifted my heavy body with all the strength in me and laid my feline body right next to its much smaller frame. All my instincts work against each other, everything I ever knew, ‘ eat what you can get no matter the scrap,’ was dismantled before my eyes. My body commanded me not to bite, claw, chew, or even nibble at its little breathing beak. Keeping it secure from the cold, I lay wrapping around his nest. With my last breath I feel the pain in my open wound slowly disappear.
As a fresh white glow blankets over the anonymous metropolis, somewhere in a park underneath the shimmer of a ripe red slide lay a kitten enveloping itself around the confined nest of a feathered cherub. The two radiate a yin and yang energy. The violent flurry continues until it silently suffocates the dimming red playscape.