I always post on Caturday, but Mom is doing Story A Day May again this year. She tried to talk me into writing her story today, but I said, “You took the pledge, so you have to write the story.” Here it is.
by Marian Allen
Before the coming of Katya, The Estate was graced by the presence of Tiffany Calico, the cat without a flaw. Tiffany was beautiful and elegant, with a dilute calico coat of which she was inordinately proud. She disliked everybody in the world except The Lady, The Youngest, and The Lady’s grandfather. (The Lady’s grandfather was so good with animals, he could teach a snake to shake hands.)
The Lady liked to hunt mushrooms in the spring, and Tiffany always accompanied her into the woods.
One day, The Lady followed a trail of mushrooms over a hill and saw a sight that chilled her and, at the same time, sent the adrenaline of rage coursing through her body: A huge black bear rummaged under the carpet of dead leaves and, even as The Lady watched in shock, pulled up a mushroom by its roots and bit off the cap.
Although Tiffany claw-plucked the knee of The Lady’s jeans in warning, The Lady shouted, “You, bear! No! Bad bear!”
The bear swung its massive head around to the source of the sound.
“No eating mushrooms!”
The bear growled and dropped to all fours.
The Lady stepped back and moderated her tone. “At least just pinch it off and leave the roots. Don’t you know anything?”
The bear undoubtedly knew that The Lady was loud and belligerent, smaller than it was, and foolish enough to yell at a bear. It came for her, accelerating at an astonishing pace for something that appeared so cumbersome.
The Lady turned and ran, but only took a half-dozen steps when a tree branch caught in her coat pocket and flung her to the ground. Before she could decide whether playing dead would be a good idea or a self-fulfilling prophecy, the bear loomed over her.
The world exploded with calico! For Tiffany, seeing The Lady threatened, had sprung to her defense.
“Dumb animals,” we call them. We tell ourselves we mean “dumb” in the sense of “unable to speak” but those who don’t live with animals, or don’t truly observe them, secretly – or not-so-secretly – believe it also means “stupid.” And maybe it is stupid to put the life of a member of another species above one’s own; if so, animals are “stupid,” although there are those of us who would use another word: Grand.
Call it what you will, Tiffany Calico leaped into the bear’s face, claws and teeth bared. In less time than it takes to tell it, she had opened gashes in its lips and tender nose and filled its field of vision with fangs that, at that short distance, looked more fearsome than its own.
The bear tumbled backwards, shaking its head to rid itself of the monstrosity that filled its world. Tiffany dropped to the ground before the bear could rake her with its claws. On the ground, she arched her back and puffed out her fur, issuing a challenging growl-yowl that stunned the woods for miles around into a horrified silence.
The bear turned tail and ran like the veriest yellow cur. If bears could tuck their stubby tails between their legs, this bear would have done so.
The lady disentangled herself, brushed herself off, made much of Miss Tiffany (as was only proper), and went back to gathering mushrooms, nevertheless vowing to let bears alone – unless she had Tiffany with her.
~ * ~
Katya here, again. In case you don’t know it, that story was almost entirely fiction. From what I’ve heard about Tiffany, it could be true, it just isn’t true. It’s also a total rip-off of Albert Payson Terhune‘s LAD books. Way to steal from the best, Mom.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR ANIMALS: Write about saving your human’s life. Pretend they’re grateful.