Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Attempt #3

As you can see this is, by my counting, my third attempt at writing this up and sharing with anyone around who might read it. You see, I thought our family was happy and comfortable, but these past few days one of our family members, Harry, has been acting a little strange. I keep starting to write this, and then he enters the room. I quickly close out the window and do my best to distract myself. It's not that I actually believe he can read the words I'm writing, but rather I get this feeling that he's really good at reading what people are thinking. Anyway, I think he's gone to sleep for now which means that, even if my wife doesn't believe what I have to say, this is my chance to try to reach someone out there who does. I also have the excuse this time of writing this for a writing prompt from Chuck Wendig's blog, Terrible Minds. I figure if I can focus on this as a fictional story rather than the desperate plea for help to anyone who might listen he might not be able to read me. This might be my only chance.

We have a nightly ritual around here. The wife and I get into bed, Harry comes in and jumps on the bed starving for attention, and we lavish him with love. Afterwards Harry goes off and does whatever it is that he does at night, and Andrea and I blissfully fall asleep.

I've been on a new diet for the last couple of days that makes me pee more than I have ever peed before - I just can't seem to hang on to water for even an hour. While it's annoying to have to go to the restroom every half hour at work, it's even worse when you're trying to go to bed and have to empty yourself completely before finally drifting off to the dreamlands. It's only now occurring to me that maybe it's not Harry who's been acting weird recently, but it's just in fact that I've finally begun to understand and notice his behaviors.

Every night Harry lies down in front of the door to our apartment. We have a long hallway leading directly to our doorway, and Harry lies down near the end by the door. When I told Andrea about it, she just thought it was cute and joked that he was just guarding us from the things that come out at night while we slept. Ok, I'll admit that I thought it was cute as hell at first, but one thing continues to nag at me. If he was protecting us from the things outside our apartment, why did he always end up facing inwards with his back to the door?

The other thought that lingers in my mind is how he's never there when I get home late at night from gaming or earlier in the night when we're eating dinner or watching TV. Ya know, he's usually just hanging out with us in whatever room we're hanging out in, sleeping blissfully as he's curled up in a tight little ball (hence the trouble with finding a safe time to try to write this when he isn't potentially looking over my shoulder). Also, I've never had to step over him to leave the house - he's never there in the morning when I leave for work. Even more troubling, whenever I get up in the middle of the night he's always there. He's always in the hallway. He has his own bed, but he only seems to use it during the day when he's busy being lazy.

My wife laughs it off. His big green eyes, soft padded feet, and all nine pounds of him covered in grey fur makes it that much more hopeless. Even I forget at times to be weirded out by the little guy. She's had him since he was eight weeks old. He was just a tiny kitten with bright blue eyes at that point, and I can't help but asking myself what we missed in those first seven weeks of his life. We can't just get rid of him; he's done nothing wrong. He'll sit there and stare at us but won't take action. Even if I would suggest we look at giving him away to friends or family it would be making her choose between her child and her suddenly-insane, cat-suspecting husband, and how could I do that? How could I be sure of who she'd pick?

The worst part is the ambiguity. Is he really acting under evil intentions? What if my wife's joke is actually closer to the truth than my little pet theory? Maybe Harry is trying to protect us. Maybe it's not that he's protecting us from something that could be coming into the apartment. I'm starting to think that Harry knows something we don't. Somehow he knows about some vague threat that only exists between the hours of 11 P.M. and 7 A.M. I think he may be protecting us from ourselves. He doesn't want us to go out when we should be sleeping safe and sound. How would I know without checking?

I keep wandering back to the same question. At what cost will he protect us from going out? For the last few nights I've seen him laying there and his compulsion hits me. I need to step over him and open the door. It would just be for a minute. Just to see outside. For the last few nights I've just told myself to grow up, go pee, and get back to bed. I feel as though my resolve is weakening. Even now as I sit here and type this I wonder what I'll do tonight. I'll just pet him. See how he reacts. I haven't done that yet. That should be fine. I'll just pet him....


  1. I like that your story is the first I've read amongst all the Irregular Creatures submissions where nothing has happened. Yet.

    It's all potential energy and suspicion and plotting.

    I like the pace. Very thrilling.

    I'd love for you to read my story: http://www.mostlymuppet.com/2011/03/10/flash-fiction-irregular-creatures/

  2. Hello? Are you still alive?

  3. Yes! It turns out that he's just adorable and stupid a.k.a. he acts like his species :D

  4. Whew! That's a relief. :)