It was a dreary Friday evening and Alexis was exhausted as she drove home in her beat up old van from her position as intern for an interior designer. Today’s client was a bit of a bully and super hard to please. He was an attorney with a passion for country décor which was not her company’s area of expertise. Every fabulous suggestion her boss made was met with rude comments from this man. Alexis was grateful she had a full day of classes on Monday and would not have to work with him again.

 On the drive home, Alexis turned her thoughts to the chill night ahead of Netflix and snacks with Slappy, her oversized orange tabby cat. Slappy was a friendly tub of lard with a large orange mane that made him look like a miniature but overweight lion. He was so regal that at times, Alexis would pretend he was a prince who was put under a witch’s awful curse for rejecting her unwelcome advances. He was a rescue kitten whose mother had passed, and it was easier to convince herself she rescued him from the evil witch than to think about how sad it was he was taken from his mama at such a young age. Alexis took him in when he was a mere 5 weeks old. She felt this might be the reason he was so in love with humans. He loved everyone who came through their door. He greeted guests at the door like a dog would do and he loved playing fetch with his little mouse toys. As Alexis neared her neighborhood, she thought about how fat he had gotten despite being fed the appropriate amount of expensive cat food. Alexis was very particular about what she fed him. She wondered if she should take him in and ask the vet about putting him on a diet. The last thing she wanted was for his health to suffer. She loved that cat and wanted him to live a very long time. He was her best friend in the world and all she had left. As she waited for a train to go by, the sky grew angry and clouds began to pour.

When Alexis drove up her long winding driveway, she saw Slappy in his usual spot in the window staring out through the rain. As she exited her car, she saw him scamper down and knew he was already waiting at the front door for her.  She swung her front door open ready to pounce on him with snuggles when suddenly lightening struck the ground about a foot away from where she was standing in the doorway. Slappy, who was typically a slow and sedentary feline, raced out the front door and into the torrential downpour. He looked like a lion chasing down prey in the wild. Alexis was stunned as she squinted in the dark, beginning to panic. Slappy had never gone outside other than in his carrier. She yanked off her heels and began running in the rain heading in the direction she saw him dart off in. The ground was slippery and as she neared her neighbor’s yard, she slid onto her buttocks in a small muddy patch of the lawn. When she managed to get back up onto her feet, she had no idea where Slappy had gone. She decided to check her neighbor’s front porch first. Nancy was an elderly lady who lived with her 34 year old grandson. His car was gone and she wondered if Nancy would be able to ambulate on her own to answer the door. As these thoughts raced through her mind, she frantically glanced around every area of the porch but did not see Slappy anywhere.

Alexis scanned her surroundings through the barely lit darkness and noticed Nancy’s garage door was slightly open, raised nearly a foot. She scrambled over and got on all fours peering into the unlit garage, crying out for Slappy. As she got to her feet to knock on Nancy’s door, she saw headlights in the driveway. It was Nancy’s grandson, Eric. Alexis was filled with relief because she knew he would assist in her search for Slappy. As Eric drove into the garage the door opened and the garage light came on. Nancy quickly looked around and saw Slappy quivering in a corner, sopping wet. She dashed toward him and suddenly lost her balance on the slippery concrete that was now wet from Eric’s car.

Alexis sat up quickly and upon a quick glimpse of her environment, she found she was in a hospital bed. She was very confused yet abruptly alert at that moment. She wondered how she got here. She slowly gazed around the room seeking clues when she spotted the nurse call button. She pressed it and didn’t wait long before a tiny young looking female nurse entered the room. The nurse explained that she had been in a car accident and that she had a concussion and no other injuries. Alexis was puzzled at this news and she struggled to remember what happened. As she sat there, her memory gradually returned and she recalled running in the rain after Slappy. She quickly asked the nurse about her cat. The nurse handed her a sticky note with Eric’s name and phone number scribbled on it. She told Alexis that he came to see her during visiting hours and left his information as an emergency contact. The nurse pondered aloud that perhaps he would have some information about her cat.

Alexis dialed Eric’s phone number. When he answered she couldn’t keep the emotion from pouring into her voice as she asked if Slappy was okay. Eric seemed perplexed and asked who Slappy was. When Alexis informed him that Slappy was her large orange tabby, he claimed he didn’t know she had a cat. She asked him if he remembered her chasing after him in his garage when he returned home in the rain. Eric was completely baffled by her story. He told Alexis that never happened and that she had apparently gotten into a car accident driving home from work the night before. This puzzled Alexis but rather than argue with him, she asked if he could go over and grab her spare key from the back porch and check on Slappy. He agreed and told her he would call her back shortly.

When Alexis hung up with Eric, her door opened and in walked a very tall man in a lab coat, presumably a doctor. He had a quiet voice for such a tall man and gently informed Alexis that she could be discharged today if there was someone who could drive her home and care for her and follow the discharge instructions for concussion. He noted that she didn’t have an emergency contact other than the neighbor who had come in earlier and left his digits for them. Alexis briefed the doctor on her lonely situation as she had no family or friends left in this small town. As she concluded her briefing, the phone rang. She hastily answered and inquired about Slappy after confirming the caller was Eric. He declared her cat to be missing. Alexis felt crushed and asked Eric if he would assist with getting her home and he agreed to do that.

When Alexis arrived in her driveway, she peered out of Eric’s passenger side window and desperately scanned her front window for Slappy. Slappy, her only friend left in this world was nowhere to be seen. Alexis sadly clamored out of Eric’s car and then she spotted him. She saw her cat sitting on Nancy’s lap in the window of the house next door. As she shot over to Nancy and Eric’s house, he shouted that she really should slow down. Alexis tripped on a rock and fell.

Alexis sat up quickly and upon a quick glimpse of her environment, she found she was in a hospital bed.

February 25, 2020 21:54

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Len Mooring
22:05 Mar 04, 2020

Hi Laurel I liked where the story was going, to an ad infinitum. I felt the first part of your story flowed well, but the last part a bit laboured. By the way I suggest you drop the 'ambulate,' 'briefing' and 'digit' they are correct, but jar in the story. I'm not at all expert in this writing lark, but I take note of the really good ones that say 'less is more.' I suggest some of your sentences could be made more effective if edited to the essentials. I think you are a good story-teller.


Laurel Derouen
19:41 Mar 25, 2020

Thank you for the constructive notes, I really appreciate it. I didn't put a whole lot of thought or effort into this as it's the first time I've sat down to write in over a year so I did kind of rush through it just to get it done. It's nearly a month later and I'm just sitting down to try again. The story I'm working on now starts off pretty slow but I'm midway through and ready to add some action. Hopefully I'll get back into a creative head space soon, especially now that we're all stuck at home for a while. Thanks again for your comment...


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