The prompt for this week was cat, and we had to use exactly 750 words.
Julia and Eliott
Graceful and stealthy, the little slender and furry creature slips slowly through the window bars. The runaway moon still gives us a bright night, while our domino specimen lands smoothly on the rug, rubs his cheeks against it and then against one of the legs of the coffee table. The living room is empty, but he looks all around him anyway, alert to some unexpected change. After making sure that he has marked his domains, he engages his purposeful gait towards the corridor.
His digitigrade steps pause at the half-lit hall; his back legs, ready to propel him up and into Julia’s arms as soon as she appears; he’d nuzzle her face and purr and then he’d get his customary treats. But as minutes go by, it seems Julia won’t show up today either. He doesn’t leave, though; he sits and waits, just like yesterday and the day before. He sleeps a little inside the house, for about two hours. He doesn't know what is taking Julia so long.
The first light of the morning tells him Theresa is just about to arrive. She’s not his favorite; when she’s around, Julia doesn’t pay enough attention to him. She makes Julia sleep and leaves him out of the bedroom and sometimes out of the house; at least, she keeps his kibble bowl full, which is better than nothing. But today she’s not there either. His eyes scan the area. Where is she? Where are they? Something is really wrong today, for he feels hungry and that shouldn’t happen. His belly must be full before the odious dawn chorus, which is the right time for a last hunt, trying to catch some birdies just for fun, before the first long nap of the day.
There’s a voice in the kitchen… It sounds like Julia’s, but it can’t be, although her smell is there. It’s strange and irritating, so he leaves. Definitely, somebody will feed him later.
Six miles away, in a hospital bed, Julia sleeps deeply and dreams. She flies to her bed, wakes up at 3:30 a.m., puts on her slippers, brushes her teeth and is ready to go to the kitchen. She opens her bedroom door and sees Eliott has returned from his nightly rounds. She knows he’s waiting for her. He jumps into her arms as soon as he sees her; she kisses him and caresses him, and as she carries him to the kitchen, she asks him about his deeds and tells him about her plans for the day. She opens the fridge and takes out two containers, one with tuna, the other with meat; Eliott chooses to his liking. They understand each other.
At seven o’clock, Theresa is in the house, calling for the cat. She knows it’s important to Julia that she feeds him, and even though she’s just the nurse and this is not one of her duties, they have shared a lot, so she cares. She fills his bowls, one with food and the other one with fresh water, just like Julia has told her to do it. Then she puts them in the living room, near the window, and leaves again. Eliott hears the noise and wonders if, perhaps, Julia is back, but he decides he can find out later, for he’s drowsy now and still a bit irritated.
When Theresa returns to the hospital, Dr. Alonso has bad news. Julia’s suffered another stroke, but this time they haven’t been able to resuscitate her. Theresa is devastated; Julia has no family left or friends that she can call. Of all the patients she has seen, Julia is—or was—without a doubt, the loneliest person she has ever met.
But Julia was good-hearted, and as she knew Theresa didn’t have a house of her own, she’s left her hers, and the most important thing: She’s left her Eliott.
For a week, Theresa has been coming at 7 o’clock everyday to feed Eliott and tidy up. Eliott keeps his habits unchanged: Every day, he comes through the window bars, waits for his mistress to wake up. She comes out of the bedroom a bit after 3:30 a.m. He jumps into her arms; she pets him; they talk. There are no treats now, but Julia is finally at ease, and he tells her it’s OK. They understand each other.
On the seventh day, Theresa moves in. Eliott doesn’t care much, for Theresa is not his favorite, but at least, she keeps his kibble bowl full.