The bastards and the bird
This story was written starting from the following prompt on Reedsy. You can follow me there as well just look for Elena S. Kodermaz.
Write a story that ends with one character waiting for the arrival of another.
Those bloody bastards are going to be furious.
Murphy realized while he proudly screened the room with half-closed eyes and gazed at the mess he had created. He licked his lips and tasted the iron-taste of blood. The salty and mouthwatering flavor that he had longed for all his imprisonment years.
The chaos was only a side effect and it did not diminish his glory. He glided down the stairs one step at a time, smooth and shimmering as a velvet offcut, and patrolled the living room.
On the left, Janet’s beloved ochre flowered sofa was still intact, thanks to her compulsive-obsessive mania, and the plastic and sweaty film she had covered it with. Murphy was certain that at a closer look some minor detail would have revealed that his nails had rushed upon that trash-bag of a couch, but he had other issues to worry about.
There were two things that Janet and her good-for-nothing-husband Phil worshiped more than anything else: the TV and the Bible. It was in that specific order that Murphy had crashed both while chasing the succulent bird.
The black rectangle that Phil had paid a good month salary laid face down on the glass and steel tea table at the center of the room. As if that wasn’t enough, Murphy slithered underneath it and saw a chink right in the middle of the screen.
As for the Bible, well, the moldy green-cover Bible that once belonged to Janet’s great-grandmother and dated back to the late 1800 was ripped and had lost a good deal of pages. It must have fallen at the beginning of the chase and Murphy was sure to have stumbled upon it several times.
The bird, a particularly fat sparrow, had done the rest. Vases, framed pictures, and trinkets were all broken on the floor. Flowers were exhaling their last breaths and there was a significant number of grey-beige feathers on the area.
Thank God he was good enough not to leave traces of blood around. Still, if the two bastards held him responsible for that mess he might as well waved one of his nine lives good-bye.
Murphy did not hold himself accountable for the mess. It was them who had left the window open after all, and them who had therefore allowed the bird in.
What did they expect? That he would have laid down on his chair as the good cat they thought he was and let the bird fly away? Did they really think that he would have resisted the vigorous meat of a flying sparrow when they fed him with those plastic surrogates they had the indecency to call food?
Murphy peeked at the oven timer, which indicated 10:50, and counted.
The bastards were at the 10 am Sunday service, which meant that they would be busy praying for another 10 minutes. Ten minutes more for gossips outside church and 5 to drive home. Which left him with little less than half an hour to get rid of the feathers and plan the right way to have the fault fall on the needy, brainless, and a little deaf dog the bastards loved so much.
Speaking of which, Boris the Labrador was still sound asleep right before the kitchen door, waiting for the bastards to come back and pet him. Murphy was aware that he had to calculate very well his timing and wake Boris up only instants before Janet and Phil entered the house, otherwise the dog would find ways to revenge on him.
Murphy braced himself and started the dirty job: cleaning the feathers. He collected the plumes in couples and carefully dragged them in the corridor that led to the garage where Phil had built a massive cabinet to store old shoes, brooms, and other useless stuff that nobody used anymore. That little carpentry odd job was definitely the best idea he probably ever conceived, because to Murphy’s luck Phil had left a little hole between the cabinet’s back and the wall where the cat could hide everything he felt like hiding.
Murphy traveled back and forth several times to conceal all the feathers. On his last trip, he shoved one of Boris’s tennis balls right in the middle of the living room.
Then the oven timer beeped, Boris grunted, and the bells started to rock as eleven am hit the clock.
Murphy reached for the bird corpse and took it in his mouth. Damn, the bird had been a good lunch. He carried it upstairs and while doing so couldn’t help but let a guttural meow exit his vocal cords. Even if dead cold and deprived of the life’s sparkle that had created all the fun, the bird had been a good diversion.
For a second, as he directed towards the bathroom in Janet and Phil’s bedroom where the woman had left another window open, he contemplated leaving the dead body on Janet’s pillow to let her know how much he despised her but then resisted. The last time he had tried to show his ferocity murdering a lizard, Janet thought it was a gift and, Murphy still shivered at the thought, kissed him.
Murphy entered the bathroom and climbed on the tub to reach the window and finally throw the carcass out of the house, into the flower bed below.
Then he saw them.
They were almost home.
His heart skipped a beat and the fur erected on his back.
Why couldn’t they be boring and predictable like they always were? Why did they have to change their routine THAT DAY?
Murphy jumped back on the bathroom floor with an elephantine-loud leap. His four paws stumbled upon the dingy and threadbare carpet and for an instant, he ran on the fabric without moving a single inch. Finally, he rushed out the door and down the stairs. His mind was so fuzzy that he bounced along hitting whatever was on his way, doors, handrails, a little locker, he even hopped on Janet’s beloved ochre flowered sofa right in the middle of the back and eventually landed in the kitchen.
There he stopped and listened.
The bastards had parked the car and were about to hit the front walkway.
Murphy anticipated their moves.
Two seconds to meet in front of the car.
Five seconds to walk along the white stone paved lane.
Ten to fifteen seconds to find the keys and open the front door.
Five seconds to realize what had happened while they were praying. Murphy had to be long gone and hidden by then.
Murphy approached Boris and sinuously wiped his light gray fluffy tail under his nose, but the foolish dog did not wake up and grunted satisfied.
The cat could hear Janet and Phil’s regular and quick steps. Stupid deaf dog who wouldn’t wake up. Murphy had to stimulate him otherwise.
He distanced the dog a couple of steps, flatted his whole body on the ground, feelers stretched ahead. He lifted his ass only. He shook it and accelerated towards the dog, landed on his stomach, and jumped immediately back on the ground.
Boris barked desperately but Murphy was already out the kitchen and up the stairs, directed towards his favorite armchair in the guest bedroom.
He curled up in a ball and closed his eyes.
He might have looked asleep, but his heart thudded in his chest, waiting.
Those bloody bastards were going to be furious.
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