Lizzie Koch’s Picture Choice: 1
Title: Feline Fiend
Darkness began to fall as Lorcan and Albany made their way through the forest, trying to find the right path to the main road that lead to town. But every path seemed to lead them deeper and deeper into the forest where the undergrowth became too thick to pass and canopies hung like umbrellas, blocking the little light there was. Albany didn’t admit it but she was scared. She didn’t like the dark, or more accurately what her overactive imagination told her lurked in it. She could barely see the forest floor buried under russet leaves, rustling as they walked. She gripped Lorcan’s hand, praying for the forest to open up but with every step, she felt it close in on her even more as low hung branches tugged at her hair and brambles clawed at her ankles, not wanting to let go.
“Hey, there’s a light through there,” Lorcan said, pointing through a thicket. Squinting through moist eyes, Albany saw a golden glow that seemed to dance through the movement of the leaves, and managed to exhale a sigh of relief. Focusing on the light, they weren’t travelling as fast as they hoped, trudging through dense gorse, tripping over ancient roots sprawled across the floor.
“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say the owners of this place don’t want to be found,” said Lorcan, pushing aside brambles, not caring that the barbs pierced his skin. A few more steps and suddenly, Lorcan and Albany found themselves in the open, staring at the small cottage.
“Oh my Gosh, it’s beautiful,” said Albany, rushing forward, “just like a fairy tale.”
“And do you know who lived in most houses like that?”
“You don’t believe in witches do you?” Albany teased.”
“I didn’t mean witches,” Lorcan. sulked. “I meant evil people. They’re always evil.”
Before Albany had a chance to knock on the heavy wooden door, it opened. A tall, young and beautiful woman stood before them, smiling away with crimson lips. Her long black shiny hair, almost down to her waist, matched the colour of her eyes; dark pools of black diamond.
“My goodness, please come in,” she purred. Albany set foot inside first, cautiously followed by Lorcan. She closed the door behind them. “Please, sit down. I will bring you refreshment. You must be cold and lost. I don’t get people knocking at my door.” She disappeared, only to reappear almost immediately with two mugs of steaming hot chocolate. “Don’t you like cats?” she asked Lorcan who remained standing as Albany sat with a cat jumping on her lap.
“Allergic,” he said and to prove a point started sneezing. As he did, the ginger cat swiped his paw at Albany causing her to drop the mug. He then darted under the table.
“Oh dear, you poor thing. Come, I’ll clean you up,” she insisted despite most of the drink landing on the carpet.”
Albany followed the woman to the kitchen, hearing Lorcan sneezing. “I never knew he was allergic to cats. How many do you have?” She’d noticed a white cat sitting on the dresser, two cats lying by the stove. Another sat on top of the cupboards.
“Quite a few. Like you they seem to get lost and I end up keeping them. Aren’t they adorable?”
“Yes. I love cats.” They walked back into the living room. “Where’s Lorcan?” Albany asked, looking around the room.
“He must’ve gone outside, what with all the sneezing. I’ll get you another drink to warm up. Take a seat, I won’t be long.” Albany glanced through the window only to be met by blackness. A cat weaved in and out of her legs. She looked down and saw a silky black cat. She petted it and he purred, still weaving in and out as Albany tried to sit down.
“Come on kitty, you’ll trip me up,” she said, picking up the cat. “You’re a handsome little moggy aren’t you?” The cat sneezed, jumping from Albany’s arms, running towards the door. Still sneezing the cat scratched at the door.
“Here you are,” the woman said, appearing with a mug of hot chocolate. “Drink up. I’ll get you something to eat.” Albany took the mug, still standing by the door. The black cat jumped up on the dresser, staring at Albany as she raised the mug. The black cat shook his head, keeping his almond eyes on Albany. A shiver travelled through her spine. He raised a paw, pointing towards the door.
“I wonder where Lorcan is,” Albany said, still staring at the cat. The cat nodded, a purr coming from him. “Lorcan?” The cat nodded again. Then sneezed. “Lorcan!”
The woman came back in, eyeing Albany. “You haven’t had your drink?”
“It’s too hot, I’m letting it cool.”
“Mmm, have a biscuit.” She walked over with a tray of iced biscuits. Albany reached out to take one and as she did, she hurled the mug of hot chocolate at her face. A shrill scream echoed throughout the entire house as Albany threw open the door and ran. She never looked back as she ran through the forest, Lorcan the black cat leading the way along open paths until they were on the main road. She picked him up, burying her face in his warm fur.
“I’ll find a way to turn you back,” she said as Lorcan sneezed. A chorus of meows responded. Albany looked down to a dozen cats. “I’ll find a way to turn you all back. I promise.”
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I dream of sharing my work with the big wide world one day as a published author. Right now, I share flash fiction with a wonderful community of writers and friends. If you liked this story, then why not visit my blog at http://40somethingundomesticateddevil.blogspot.co.uk/ for more. Thank you. Love Lizzie x