A short story for cat lovers

After posting the photo of our cat, I remembered a very short story I wrote back in 1995, so I dug it out. It’s for all cat lovers.

CATS’ EYES

She lay curled around her kittens, purring deep in her throat as their paws kneaded her belly.

When she saw him her lips drew back in a silent hiss, showing bright sharp teeth and a perfect pink mouth, but her feral lifestyle was not suited to her breeding, and her long coat was matted. Diana would have been distressed to see her cat now.

He pushed away the memory of Diana lying at the foot of the sharp stone staircase where he crouched, holding her broken body in his arms, weeping into her hair, clutching her to him so tightly that the paramedics had to forcibly break his hold.

“She tripped on the cat. Please,” he whimpered, “please make her be all right. Please don’t let her die.”

“She’d going to be OK.  As soon as we get her to hospital she’ll be fine,” they said.

For the two days that she lay unconscious while the surgeons removed fragments of skull embedded in her brain, he sat in the waiting room reading the same article repeatedly, without seeing a word.

On the third day Diana died, and at her funeral friends and family offered meaningless words of comfort as they left the graveside where her faithless body lay beneath a quilt of flowers.

Since then, for the last four months, day and night, wherever he looked the cat was staring back at him, with yellow-green unblinking eyes and bared teeth, but she evaded every attempt to capture her.

Now she was trapped behind the garden shed with her kittens, vulnerable, unable to move.

He relished the fear in her eyes. One by one he took her kittens and dropped them into a plastic bag, heedless of her frenzied claws and teeth and howls and screeches.

“Say ‘Bye-bye, Mummy,'” he laughed, swinging the bag.  “First babies are going for a swim, then I’ll be back for Mummy.”

Across the road the pond lay still and dark and black, shrouded in the damp fog of the autumn evening.

From behind him the cat’s cries reached a crescendo. Feeble mews replied from the bag.

As he stepped into the road something glistening caught his eye, and he hesitated for a moment.

His mind flashed back to the hospital waiting room, to the article he had read uncomprehendingly so many times, and strangely he could now remember every word.  It was the story of Percy Shaw OBE, the Yorkshireman who had invented the cat’s eyes, the pads embedded into roads to reflect vehicle lights, as they were doing now.

The dancing reflections held him transfixed with the same terrible malevolence the cat had done when he pushed Diana off balance at the top of the staircase. Vaguely he was aware of another desperate screech, and then silence.

What was left of his body lay 40 ft away, a shapeless pile of rags staining crimson in the lights of the juggernaut. An empty plastic bag rustled, caught on a bush.

Behind the garden shed the cat nuzzled her babies, and curling herself around them slept, purring contentedly.

Cat’s eyes

© Susie Kelly 1995

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New camera

So, after days of debate and research in  order to choose a new camera to upgrade from my Canon Powershot S3 to an SLR, I opted for the Pentax K-R. It has splendid reviews and I was within a split nano-second of pressing the “Buy” button.

But wait! Rewind several days to when I first started the hunt. I’m a complete amateur with virtually no understanding of the technicalities of photography. I have difficulty understanding depth of field and EV balance. Will I be able to get to grips with an SLR? Talking of which, there’s the issue of weight. Naked, the K-R weighs close to 1.5 lbs. I return to an article I’d read earlier about choosing the best camera for your needs. And there was some very sensible advice. It was that for the amateur photography was about enjoying yourself and not about worrying about all the technical wizardry in the camera.

So I asked myself, did I want to lug around a beautiful camera because it had great reviews, but which I probably wouldn’t be able to use to its maximum capability, or should I opt for something smaller, simpler, lighter and cheaper?

And that’s how I ended up buying an Olympus EPM-1, a mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses which while not a DSLR is something similar. It’s very compact and weighs, with the standard lens, just over 9 oz, and is considerably cheaper than the Pentax K-R. For somebody like me, a raw amateur, it seemed the sensible choice.

I think it is a thing of great beauty! Mine is white.

So far I have been utterly befuddled by all the various settings and menus, and have found that “Auto” is giving good results.  When I have read the 129 page manual, I’m hoping to progress a little further. I didn’t get on with the Olympus software, and am using Faststone Image Viewer for image manipulation. These are two photos that I’m especially pleased with:

 

Any constructive advice or criticism will be most welcome, although I’d rather not hear that I should have chosen a Lumix, Nikon or Sony! 😀

Devastated!

When I look in the mirror (which isn’t very often, because with all my faults, vanity is not amongst them), I see a woman of a certain age, slightly overweight, of medium height, wearing glasses, with her own teeth, a thick head of hair and a smooth and wrinkleless complexion. In fact, I don’t think I look too bad on a good day and with a minimum of slap. I write, cook, care for a number of animals, look after the garden in a haphazard way and once in a while do a little vague housework, so I regard myself as keeping fairly busy despite my naturally slothful nature.

But am I deluding myself?

How I see me

“Grandmothers don’t have to do anything but be there. They are old so they shouldn’t play hard or run. 

They should never say, “Hurry up”. Usually they are fat, but not too fat to tie children’s shoes.

They wear glasses and funny underwear, and they can take their teeth and gums off.

They don’t have to be smart, only answer questions, like why dogs hate cats and why God isn’t married.

They don’t talk baby-talk like visitors. When they read to us, they don’t skip bits, or mind if it is the same story over again.

Everybody should have one, especially if you don’t have television, because grandmothers are the only grown-ups who have the time!”

Patsy Gray, Age 7½.                                           From: Grandmother’s Notebook by Juliette Clarke

Is this how they see me?

 

Fifty Shades of ultra-Purple Prose

I haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey, and have no immediate plans to do so. Nor future plans. In fact, no plans at all. Nothing to do with the content, but having “looked inside” on Amazon the style of writing doesn’t appeal.

If it’s multiple thrashing, cataclysmic, frenzied orgasms, cloven male Spears of Adonis, expensively manicured fingernails and more multiple adjectives than you can shake a Ruffian dildo at, I can heartily recommend “The Shaft of the Ruffian“, currently free on Amazon.

Beware, though, as you might explode publicly, embarrassingly and piercingly into volcanic paroxysms of gut-wrenching underwear-moistening hilarity.

Great parody!