I will hopefully be coming out with a book of short stories featuring the story below. I have put a lot of work into these stories and I will be taking my time writing, editing, and submitting them to magazines before they will come together as a collection for your enjoyment.
In the meantime, you can enjoy some short stories I’ve posted on my blog, as well as a teaser for one of the short stories that will be a part of the collection:
First Kiss – short story about a sixth grade boy getting his first girlfriend
The Seven People You Meet At A Party – a self explanatory short story
Dear Diary – an essay on diary-writing (was used in my college thesis along with the full version of the short story below)
“The Cat” teaser
Dear diary, November 19, 1999 7:16pm
Martha and I finally signed a lease on an apartment today. Cheap too! 400 bucks a month. It eats up all of my check from Cumby’s, but it leaves the entirety of Martha’s disability check to whatever we please! We promised to both scrimp as much as we can.
Martha and I figured if we spent 200 on food, 50 on bus passes, 100 on pot and 50 on household items we should be good to go.
I’m a bit nervous about moving in with her though. We’ve spent most of our time together at a youth hostel and I feel like we’re just now coming out to the world. We’re starting a whole new “thing” and I’m worried this “thing” is going to crash and burn.
I mean she was the first girl I ever really “met” you know? What are we doing really…? I can’t help but look at her and want to cover her in kisses. I definitely don’t want to live without her.
We move in tomorrow. See you there.
Dear diary, November 21, 1999
I’m so tired, but I just wanted to say that when I got home I saw a light on in the other apartment. I didn’t think anyone else lived here. We haven’t heard a thing from them, and the driveway is empty. I knocked on the door but only waited a few seconds before I ran into our apartment. I realized that it might be weird. Plus, I’m so tired, I might’ve just imagined the whole thing. Or maybe the lights have been on the whole time and I only just noticed it. Maybe our landlord wants to make the place look homey. I am not sure.
Dear diary, November 28th, 1999
Martha woke me up with pancakes this morning before work. She is so lovely that woman.
Last night I had a dream that I met the person who lives downstairs. I couldn’t remember what they looked like, but I know that their touch was cold. The apartment looked just like mine, no furniture like mine, dark and mysterious like mine.
The person told me there was a cat trapped in the wall. They told me it has been there forever, scratching at the walls. I ask them how they know it’s a cat. They say they hear it meow when the apartment is quiet and they’re about to go to sleep. I tell them I will find the cat. I start tearing down the walls, which were paper thin in this dream. I ripped out insulation, hoping there was blank space behind the walls where a cat could move around. I could not find the cat. The apartment dweller told me to get out because I had ruined her apartment. I tell her I was just trying to help. She stabs me. I wake up.
Dear diary, November 30th, 1999 3:29am
Martha is dead asleep next to me. I had to move her lifeless hand from underneath the pillow to read her watch. I woke up because I heard the cat.
I’m not joking. I heard it pitter-pattering around, scratching, I even heard it meow. I can’t hear it now, but I did hear it. I’m trying to be quiet, I am holding my breath, I am tempted to put my hand over Martha’s mouth to stop her snoring.
I just went to the bathroom. I didn’t hear it in there. But the light was out. The moonlight through the window gave the tile an eerie white glow. It made my skin look like porcelain, I thought for a moment that I was sparkling. I would’ve liked to bathe in the moonlight all night, but I don’t want Martha to roll over and me not be there to hold her.
I’m going to back to bed now.
Dear Diary, December 2, 1999
Oh, how the days drag. Especially without Martha. I am not working enough hours to waste my time and I don’t have enough money to waste my time with. So, I sit here with you, my diary, just us and an empty house.
I am sitting in the living room floor, again, smoking. I am using an ash tray that Martha made in high school in her ceramics class. The smoke swirls into the empty air of the apartment. I am staring at the closet that we have yet to open, mostly because we have no belongings to put in it anyways. I wonder if someone left something in there, something fun like drugs or money. I notice the smoke is being pulled into the closet, as if the door went to the outside. Curious. I’m going to open it.
As soon as I stood up and walked towards it I felt light headed. Maybe I got up too fast. I went to reach for the door, but my hand was shaking, and my vision was blurry. I decided to wait till Martha got home to open it for the first time.
Dear diary, December 3, 1999
The door opened itself. I swear. I’m not going to tell Martha because she is going to ruin it, but this morning I found the door ajar, like someone forgot to close it fully or a breeze pushed it open just an inch. I went up to it. I felt cold air coming from inside. My heart sped up as I reached for the door handle again. I opened it. There was nothing there. It smelled very bad. Upon further inspection I found another CD sized hole in the floor.
I can’t tell Martha, she is going to think I’m insane. “Just because you had a dream about a cat doesn’t mean were getting a cat” she told me. I didn’t say I wanted a cat, I didn’t even infer that I wanted this particular cat, I just wanted to know… if I was crazy or not.
I’m starting to think I am.
I hear the scratching.
I just tried to wake Martha up, but she grumbled and pushed me away. “Listen” I told her. She sighed and listened. The sound had stopped.
She looked at me with worried eyes, and we both went back to sleep.
Dear diary, December 7, 1999
YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO BELIEVE THIS.
I woke up this morning with hair in my mouth. I thought it was Martha’s at first, but it didn’t taste like Martha’s hair. Frightened and frozen by fear, I slowly turned around to see who the guest in my bed was.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. I rubbed them several times and pinched my arm to make sure I wasn’t dreaming again. She was sleeping. Beautiful and soft. Her fur was gray with white stripes. She was dirty. Like she’d been living in a wall for weeks.
This was proof I am perfectly not crazy. I ask the cat how she got in. I remember the holes in the bedroom and closet. They must’ve been hers. That’s how she’s been traveling around the apartment at night. How could I have not seen her before? I’m quite the insomniac, at least I have been in this house.
I must show Martha. I better keep the cat with me until she gets home.
I grew tired of waiting for Martha. I put the cat in the bathroom and shut the door. Hopefully that keeps her contained. And when Martha goes to use the bathroom again she will find the cat and she will scream because she realizes I am not crazy, just very attentive to the going-on’s in this house. Better than she is. She’s never home.
The cat is gone. Martha came home. I didn’t say anything to her. I waited for her to use the bathroom. When she came back like nothing had happened, my stomach dropped. The cat was gone.
I was afraid she would think I was crazy, or maybe she saw it and thought she was crazy and didn’t want to say anything to me. I asked her. Did you see the cat? She looked at me with some look of horror and disgust.
I got out of bed and ran to the bathroom. I checked if she was hiding, maybe in the shower or behind the toilet. I checked under the sink and find a CD sized hole.
She was here, I told her. Martha just looked at me with sad eyes, she pulls me in for a hug. She told me that I needed to “get out of the house more”. Well I think she needs to get in the house more.