by Liam Blunt
This year’s Fictory is for a cause. We donate P100 to a chosen beneficiary for every fic submitted. This is part of the final batch of release. Enjoy this one!
Prompt: Nobody can explain the nightly cat gathering that happens on your street.
Catherine sipped the glass of warm milk as she sat on the porch this cool and starry night. She maintained this routine ever since she moved to this house after college, and it helped her fall asleep. In between sips, she watched a fat black cat lumber towards her lawn and knead the grass.
The call came from a calico that approached the black cat. The two felines butted heads, then licked each other in greeting. As the pair cleaned themselves, an orange tabby came out of nowhere and joined them.
As a pair of tortie kittens approached the adults, Catherine was drawn to the group as if she was part of them. She patted each soft head, and the cats responded with a chorus of purrs. Unable to contain the immense cuteness, Catherine took a photo with her phone and posted it online for her friends to see. Unfortunately, the milk worked its magic and made her feel very sleepy. She gently scratched the cats’ ears before heading off to bed.
The group returned one by one the following night. Catherine again approached the cats as they settled in comfortable positions against each other. The same thing happened again the next night; Catherine’s boyfriend, Adam, was there to see the cute bundle of fur and purr on the grass. The two spent several hours cuddling each cat. Interestingly, none of the kitties protested against the rubs on their chonky bellies. No furious tail swishes, no unsheathed claws—except when they kneaded Adam’s thigh— and no angry meows.
It was during the second week of this nightly visit did Catherine and Adam notice something while looking at the group’s photos on the phone. It seemed that the felines positioned themselves to form shapes as they lay on the grass. They formed a triangle, a square, a spiral with tails bent clockwise, and tonight they lay vertical with exposed bellies. They uploaded the photos on social media which attracted considerable attention.
Soon enough, their neighbors and friends came to visit the cats. Then came people from nearby towns. The cats didn’t mind the attention they gathered, not even the cameras pointed at their faces. Anyone was free to carry, cuddle, and kiss the felines without any repercussions. There were only purrs, headbutts, and kneads.
Everyone noticed the formations, too. Galleries of the cats’ different shapes roused discussions and theories online. Some pointed out that Catherine was the chosen one, and the cats were asking her to come home to their planet. Another trending theory posited that the cats were time travelling messengers from ancient Egypt that came to warn us about an impending apocalypse, and the formations were actually hieroglyphics.
A month later, Catherine and Adam relocated to a small apartment in the metro. Though they claimed that it was for work reasons, many speculated that they were annoyed by the huge nightly crowd of people. An anonymous benefactor bought the house and converted it to a cafe; they also purchased a huge cat gym, toys, and a constant supply of food for the felines. Outdoor barbecues became a thing, complete with seats and colorful night lights.
Despite these changes, the cats still returned every night, much to everyone’s amusement.
* * *
Tonight, the five cats rested close to each other. Their heads were clustered together, and their tails extended outward, making them look like a spiked wheel. The smell of barbecue and the noise of bass boosted music filled the night air.
“This is the part where I’ll say I told you so about this insane plan. It’s working! They’re basically worshiping us!” Lily, the orange tabby, whispered.
“Yeah, yeah. I guess I just couldn’t imagine humans going gaga over us like this. Well, at least we are eating canned food instead of rotten leftovers or sewer rats,” the calico Cade said.
“And the gyms! We awways wondewd how it fewt to pway in one of those. So sowft. So wam, unwike our tunnews of cadbowd and twash in the awwey.” The tortie kittens Oree and Friskee completed each other’s sentence.
“What’s our formation tomorrow?” asked Toulouse, the black cat.
“I saw this on TV once, back when I had an owner. A straight line, heads to tails, like a chain! Then, legs sprawled outward, bellies flat on the earth,” Cade suggested.
“Alright. Let’s practice that in the alley tomorrow morning. Can’t wait to hear these guys explain the crap out of this new formation! Everyone, yawn if you agree.” Lily whispurred.
The cats yawned in unison, eliciting an awwww from the spellbound crowd. ☁️