Today, I’m very happy to have as my guest #4 Daughter — aka Sara Deurell, author!
Sara is a fiction author and freelance editor currently working on a degree in anthropology with a minor in Russian studies. She enjoys cross-genre fiction, hiking, and music, and is secretly a little ashamed of her addiction to home design magazines. Her novel, The Life and Death (But Mostly the Death) of Erica Flynn, will be released by Hydra Publications sometime within the next year.
The Life and Death (But Mostly the Death) of Erica Flynn blurb:
Erica’s daredevil streak gets the better of her after an argument with her husband, and she winds up dying in a car crash. Being a modern, down-to-earth skeptic, she’s curious to find herself in an afterlife that’s something between Greek mythology and quantum theory gone haywire. Despite the allure of the Underworld and a happy reunion with her deceased Uncle Jeff, Erica feels she’ll never be able to rest in peace until she’s resolved her pre-mortem fight with Dominic, her husband. Haunting a medium doesn’t get her satisfactory results, and Hades, ruler of the capitol city of the Underworld, forbids her to make contact with the Upper World again. Against all advice (which is how Erica usually does things), she pits herself against Hades and faces the treacherous road back to the Land of the Living, determined to make things right.
At my previous apartment (before I moved in December), I was sporadically graced by an uninvited visitor named Henry. He clearly wasn’t a stray–he was too well-fed and too friendly to be an alley cat, plus he had his nametagged collar–but he was definitely a rambler. My guess is that he belonged to someone in the apartment complex, and came and went as he pleased around the parking lot and patios.
I’d see him around when I was on my way to or from somewhere, would stop to pet him and chat with him a bit, and then came the tidbits of leftovers when my boyfriend and I were coming back from dinner out. If Henry was in the parking lot, he always greeted me. If the door was propped open for maintenance or moving, Henry was lounging on the landing at the top of the stairs. Sometimes he’d slip into the building and no one would notice, and I would come home to be greeted by him in the hallway. I tried to let him back outside, but he was uninterested.
One morning, I came outside to find the lady in the building across from mine standing in the doorway, perplexed, trying to figure out how to get Henry to leave the hallway and go back outside. “He does this all the time!” she told me.
“Oh, are you Henry’s person?” I thought I’d finally found out his true home.
“No! He’s not mine, he just always follows me in.”
He just liked to visit people.
And one evening when we got home, Henry strolled in right past us, like he owned the place. He inspected the living room and kitchen and part of the hallway before we’d even decided whether or not to let him hang out for a minute. We looked at each other, and then I sat down on the floor and let Henry hop in my lap. I haven’t had an apartment that allowed cats my entire adult life, so it’s been a while since I’ve had a cat in my own home.
I never encouraged Henry to visit–I only ever fed him tidbits in the parking lot, not when he was in the apartment–but every month or so he’d drop in, make the rounds looking at and sniffing all my furniture, then hang out for a while to be petted and talked to. His name, to us, became not just Henry, but Audacious Henry.
The last night at the old place, with a friend helping us move some of my furniture out, Henry showed up. I guess an apartment complex cat knows when people start putting stuff in the back of a truck, it’s time to come say goodbye. I think he spent about an hour sitting on the dining room table while we moved stuff past him; then he moved into the hallway to watch us until we left to unload at the new apartment.
He wasn’t around the next day, and I haven’t seen him since, but I have to admit that whenever I’m near the old place, I always have my eye out for Henry. I wonder what new friends he’s made, and if there are tenants in my old apartment by now, if they think Henry is a pest or if they find his audacity and charm as irresistible as I did.
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Thanks for sharing this wonderful story, Sara! What a beautiful cat Henry is, too.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Would you consider Henry a pest or a friend? Write two characters in the same apartment complex who differ in their attitude.