2014 Flash Fiction Challenge: The Purloined Gato


 

Robin was frantic. Mama Kitty was missing and had been missing for more than a week. All the other cats were lost without Mama Kitty. She was their leader. They weren’t eating. Neither was Robin for that matter.

Robin’s daily routine had been reduced to worry, drinking vodka from a water glass, worry, and chain smoking; followed by another bout of worrying – worrying if Mama Kitty was stuck in a tree or dead on the highway. Frequent phone calls to the animal shelter broke up the monotony but, the shelter had no news on poor Mama Kitty’s fate so Robin continued to worry. She worried and put food in the cat’s dishes.

The other five cats seemed to have lost their will to live, so upset were they. Priscilla did nothing more than bathe herself, and lie in the sun, all day long. Skiddy and Albert scarcely moved from the back of the couch and, the kittens? Well the kittens were so broken up that they were unable to spend the day doing anything other than chasing dust mites floating in the sunbeams that shone through the front windows with the afternoon light.

On the tenth day, Robin’s maudlin reverie was interrupted by a tap on the front door. Stumbling to the entrance she opened it to find the mail man with a handful of envelopes and packages. “Ms. Ribena,” he said, “I can’t fit any more mail in your box so I thought I would bring it all up and see if everything was all right with you.”

“It’s horrible, Mr. Winslow.” Robin sobbed, “Mama Kitty has been missing for ten days. I’m sick with worry.”

“Funny you should mention that,” said the mailman, “I put this letter in your box a week ago yesterday. It looks like there’s a picture of your cat on the envelope.” He handed the letter to her and she ripped it open in dread.

Inside was a note composed of words and letters cut from newspapers and magazines then glued to a sheet of 20# erasable bond. It read:

“If u waNna C mama kiTTy alive PUT beeR by the GungLE Jim at 12th st PArK.
signed KAtnaPp3rs”.

Mama Kitty’s severed ear was stapled to the paper. Robin fainted dead away but she woke to the pungent aroma of smelling salts.

Mr. Winslow proffered her another envelope, “Here’s another one.” He said. “Good thing I got a first aid kit on the truck.”

She ripped the new letter open and read:

“U Don’t Luv hEr, WE don’t eiTHer. We LeT hER go. FukIN KaT.”

Robin gasped and put her hand over her mouth. She looked down to see a one eared Mama Kitty purring and rubbing against her legs. Thank God, Mama Kitty was home again!

Robin fainted again and Mr. Winslow reached for another ampoule of smelling salts.


Rising to the gauntlet thrown down by the 2014 Flash Fiction Challenge
(That I only recently discovered).

A woman’s cat goes missing. Two days later she receives a ransom note.

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