Hey people! 🙂
I was going to write this post a few days earlier, but I was actually writing this story for a loooong time, and then rewriting bits of it, and wondering whether I should actually post it and whether I like it, and then I ended up with a migraine yesterday, so hopefully I can do it today. The title was meant to be only for the draft but I didn’t have a better idea so I left it as it was. I based it on the following prompt from The Goddess Journaling Workbook by Beatrix Minerva Linden:
I welcome new adventures. Imagine the most exciting adventure which could happen to you tomorrow. Write a short story about it. You don’t have to keep things realistic: allow yourself to dream big.
And as you can see, I did allow myself to dream very big. As always, apologies for any linguistic shortcomings and do let me know if you see something about the language that could be improved as I’m not a native and have only wrote a few stories in English so far. Also, a little note to the bit at the end of the story, about the old lady and the “guide cat”. It was inspired by a few stories I’ve heard from different guide dog owners who said that people often talk to their dogs, rather than to them, or believe some strange things like that guide dogs can read traffic signs.
Okay, here goes:
Breaking the Silence
“Oh, wow!” – I exclaimed in my brain, looking at the clock- “4 AM! Is it really?!” For the last six and a half hour, I was writing another chapter of my Jack Hamilton novel, or perhaps I should say saga at this point. I hadn’t touched it for ages, but today I must have caught up on all that time. While writing, I didn’t feel the passing time whatsoever, just like it always was back when I used to write the novel regularly, every single night at school, because when you spend time with someone as interesting as Jack Hamilton, there would be something badly wrong with you if you paid any attention at all to such a trivial thing as time. Now that I stopped writing though, and my brain hit the hard surface of the real world, the tiredness and lack of sleep hit me just as hard. Satisfied with the result of my efforts and with having been able to hang out with Jack for so long, I turned the computer off, put some music on and went to bed. Very unusually, Misha was already waiting for me in his bed, sound asleep. Usually he only comes when I call him, and when I go to sleep this late, it’s rare that he would still be waiting for me. I felt really happy to have him close to me. I laid next to him, and very soon, as for my standards, I followed him to Dreamland.
* * * * *
I was still in a deep sleep, floating from one dream to another, when I heard a very faint sound coming, as it seemed, from the real world. It felt vaguely familiar, and there was something urgent about it, but I was way too sleepy to care, and just ignored it. Admittedly, a part of me was pretty sure that it already must be indecently late for sleep, but really, what’s decency gotta do with sleep at all? I kept on dreaming. After all, you don’t get nice dreams every night, certainly not if you’re me, so why should I give up on cool dreams featuring Jack Hamilton just because there’s something squealing in my room? Or whatever is it doing. After a while though, the sound repeated, pulling me out of my new dream, but still not out of sleep. “Perhaps there’s a baby somewhere” – I thought, and fell in a deep sleep again. – The little sounds repeated more and more frequently, getting louder with each time, now making it impossible to sleep deeply and peacefully, but I was still too sleepy to fully wake up, even though with every such sound, deep down I felt an increasing sense of that I actually should for some reason. After a while they turned into wailing, and became even more annoying. Then the wailing turned into proper crying, and then started to morph into words:
“Pleeeeeaaaaase, wake up, I really, really need to pee.”
and then suddenly my consciousness started working properly. Or semi-properly. It must be Misha. Why didn’t I leave the door opened so that he could get out whenever he’d wake up? How funny that my brain started to make up words to his meowing. While I usually love waking to Misha greeting me with his little sounds and cuddle him before letting him out in the morning, when I have a late night it’s definitely not as pleasant to get out of bed just to open the door for Misha, even if I can go straight back to bed immediately. I sat up slowly and checked the time, while the now very agitated Misha jumped at the door. “What? It can’t be 1 PM already.” – I thought. “Misha wouldn’t be here by now. Sure someone would let him out”. Misha usually wakes up earlier than any of us, so when my Mum doesn’t see him downstairs when she gets up, she often checks whether he is in my room,and sometimes lets him out, because, just like me, she likes very much his presence in the morning, and when he’s not there, it feels very empty. Also she doesn’t understand that a lot of the time I find it very pleasant to be able to see Misha first thing in the morning and that it’s pure pleasure to let him out, because for her it would be a nuisance, so she does it for me as well.
“Hey, Mishmish, what are you still doing here?” – I asked groggily. –
“Hmmm, let’s think… Purrhaps because my so called “mummy” likes her sleep more than me, and no one else can be bothered to open the flipping door?”
I jumped up to the ceiling. What was that?! Have I gone totally mad now? I was frantically trying to come up with an excuse for what has just happened. Maybe Zofijka is in a silly mood and making some weird pranks? Or perhaps seriously I’ve got some bad hallucinations. I was ready to admit there must be something in what people say that I’m too obsessed with Misha.
“Misha?” – this was the only thing I was able to say.
I didn’t know what more could I say… Then suddenly my confusion and fear turned into pure amusement. I fell back on the bed heavily and started laughing heartily at myself. OMG, my brain must be really off that I am wide awake and still seriously consider the possibility that my cat can talk. Too much silly playing with Sofi.
“What’s so funny?!” – the little voice grew more annoyed. – Still laughing, I thought that “Actually, what’s so wrong about it? I’ve always talked to Misha so now I should be happy I can also hear him. Who cares if I’m the only one who does? Let’s just go with the flow!”. –
“When you’ll be as old as me, Misha, you’ll notice that most things are funny, even if they aren’t.”
“Deign to remember that I’m already older than you, I’m over 30 in peep years. Now, will you finally let me out so I can go to the loo or should I do it on the carpet?”
“Have you really been waiting all day long for me to let you out?”
I immediately remembered the time when Sasha was still with us, and when we were going for a day-long pilgrimage. Despite Misha and Sasha weren’t getting along with each other, Mum decided to put the two of them in the cellar with the food, water and litterbox, because Sasha, despite being a very clever kitten overall, had a real problem with peeing in the right place, which, as we later discovered, must have been due to some traumatic experience with Misha. He would do his thing everywhere but not in the litterbox, and had a very strong aversion to it. At least in the cellar there was nothing that could be damaged if he peed or pooped on it. Since Misha needed to do the business somewhere as well, and we had only one litterbox, he had to go in the cellar too. And when we came back from the pilgrimage, there was pee and poop in three different cellars, the litterbox was empty, Sasha was basking in the sun on the windowsill with his paws dirty from the poop, and Misha sitting high up on the wardrobe looking utterly scared. When we let them out and Mum put the litterbox back in place, Misha sprang to the loo immediately and it was clear that he was holding it all day long, so stressed he was. Also when there was a time that no one cleaned his litterbox, instead of doing his thing wherever else, he was holding it until it was clean and he could do it properly.
Poor little thing, I wouldn’t blame him if he just peed on the rug in these circumstances, as he tried his best to wake me up, and normally I wake up fairly quickly when I hear him, as this is almost always the first thing I hear in the morning, but he probably just couldn’t bring himself to do this.
“Oh my, Misha, I’m so sorry…”
I quickly opened the door and he sprang out and flew downstairs with lightning speed.
“Was that why he started talking?” – I thought to myself. – Nonsense! It must have all been in my head. Sometimes, as it seems, hallucinations can be very useful for pet owners. I wonder if parents with babies ever experience the same phenomenon? God knows how long I would sleep if this didn’t happen. Or maybe it’s because of my out-of-whack sleep that I hear cats talking?
The house was empty, except for me and my talking feline, and I was on my way to the kitchen, when I heard a voice from the loo: “Can you please turn the light on? You guys always remember about it when you go to the loo, but you’ll never switch it on fur me.”
“Okay, no problem, if you want… but do you really need it? I mean… I’ve always thought cats can see in the dark?” – I said, switching the light on. –
“Obviously I can see in the dark, but I can also listen to the music, can’t I?”
I don’t know if it’s a common practice in other countries, but definitely not here, so I believe you must learn, dear reader, that we are people strange enough to have a radio in the loo, so that it starts playing when you switch on the light.
“Uhhh, you listen to some real shit! Isn’t there any proper music?”
“WHat sort of music do you like to listen to?”
“…A human asked her cat, with whom she has lived fur over four years.” – the excess of pee has definitely made Misha feel very sarcastic. –
“Well you’ve never told me so how should I know?” – I asked, a bit irritated. I never thought my little Misha could be so grumpy.
“You do know! Jazz, classical and baroque. And renaissance music is okay. ANd some of your folk music is decent. And Russian ballads… And relaxing piano music. And Russian drum & bass is my guilty pleasure”.
“Huh, my intuition must be truly outstanding. ANd Zofijka’s.” – I thought. These are the genres we’ve always imagined that Misha likes, including the Russian drum & bass bit. Also because he seems to respond very well to some of these genres, like classical music. I found the station with classical music for him and finally went to the kitchen o get Misha’s favourite sauce, hoping he’ll consider it a good recompense for my previous shortcoming, and that perhaps this way I could persuade him into some more talking. I wondered what I should eat myself, but then noticed a plate of small sandwiches, like the ones my Dad always makes, on the table, with a piece of apple pie and a mug of iced coffee, and thought they must be for me. Yum, how cool that someone thought about me! As I started eating, Misha finally emerged from the loo.
“Enjoy your meal. And thank you fur turning on the radio. You left so quickly that I couldn’t thank you in time.”
“You’re always most welcome, Mishi. Are you always so very polite?”
“Yeah, always when I speak. Even when I’m grumpy at the same time.” – he noticed his bowl with sauce and started eating happily.
“You enjoy your meal too. Why are you talking now? I mean, why didn’t you do it before?”
“This sauce is very yummy, thank you, Mila. I had to wake you up somehow, right? And I really don’t like to pee on the carpets. They’re so unpleasant, at least fur peeing, you can’t even do it discreetly on them. So I had to do something, right? Other peeps left very early and I didn’t want to get up then just yet, but I didn’t think I’d have to be imprisoned in one room for so long”.
“But you speak very well. How do you do it?”
“Duh, all cats can speak! It’s just too much fuss so we normally don’t bother. We’re not made for this. But we’d have to be really stupid if, after living with people for as long as we do, we wouldn’t be able to speak. Especially with me when you talk to me all the time and in so many languages. Can I have some more Mish ice-cream, please?”
“No, you’ve just had a whole bowl.”
“But pleeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaase. I’m so hungry. And I can speak so well. Shouldn’t I get a proper treat fur that? Some whipped cream or something? I can say please in Swedish. Or in Welsh. Much more than please, actually.”
“Okay, okay, we shall see if there are some more snacks for Misha. But not whipped cream, you’d have to ask Mum for that.” – I squeezed another tube of Mish ice-cream into his bowl, all the while smearing my fingers in it, which prompted Misha to start licking them enthusiastically.
“Thank you, I love Mish ice-cream so much!” – he said, rubbing his head lightly with his paw, as he always does after a delicious meal. –
“I love making you happy.” – I said, smiling at him.
“I love making you happy too, that’s my job, isn’t it”.
“I guess so. I think we bothh live to make each other happy”.
Misha sat still for a while, as if thinking deeply about something.
“I’ll be happy if you let me out now”.
“What?!” – I screamed in shock, much louder than necessary. – “Misha, you are so clever, you can speak and all. So why can’t you understand that you just can’t go out? It’s unsafe for you. You don’t know what it’s like outside. There are a lot of animals and they can do something to you, hurt you or even kill you. Or someone can still you, because you are so beautiful, and people could get a lot of money for you. Or just be happy to have such a beautiful cat for themselves for free. There’s no way I’m letting you out. You could get lost, ran over by a car, you wouldn’t know how to get food, and you’re just not used to living outside. It only looks so nice in theory, but it’s very dangerous for such small, beautiful and unexperienced little Mishas”.
“Is your lecture finally over?” – he sighed theatrically – “I’m sorry but I don’t agree with you. It’s exactly the other way around. I’m so very clever, can speak and all, and therefore I do understand purrfectly well what it’s like outside, even though you never let me out. So it’s not dangerous for me. I know how to stay safe, trust me”.
“No, Misha, there’s no way you’re going to do that!”.
“If you’ll go with me, will you stop panicking?”
“No!!!” – I yelled in frustration – “Why do you have to be so stubborn? I said no, and it means no! It doesn’t change anything if I’ll go with you, because you always do everything to slip out of the leash, even with Mum or Sofi, and I won’t be able to see what you’re doing. You’re not going anywhere and that’s it!” – I was already missing those times when Misha didn’t speak. Now it’ll probably be an endless battle. What a sheer luck that he can’t open doors! Or can he? – “Plus, Misha, I can’t go with you alone because I can’t get around outside by myself, so we’d both be almost equally clueless. You know we have a river on our backyard so we could both end up in there.”
” You’re a liar! You said you want to make me happy but now when I want to do something that makes me happy you won’t let me. I’m not clueless. I could be your guide cat.” – he giggled.
“I would never think you could be so stupid.” – I mumbled, feeling like tossing him inside the wardrobe and not letting out for the next few hours.
“This is very offensive. Mila, why can’t you give me just one chance. One little chance. We’ll just go out for a little while. I’ll be really careful. I won’t slip out of the leash, if you won’t keep it too tight, and I’ll make sure we don’t fall into the river or anywhere else. And I won’t run away and we’ll come back home soon. We’ll just go for a little walk. Wouldn’t you like to go for a walk with your little Misha. If you really want, we can stay here in the backyard or in the garden, but we could also go out on the streets, why not? I know how to deal with cars. Please, Mila, give me just one chance”.
“You had many chances before, don’t you remember? We let you out but you’d always try to run away or cry all the time that you want out again”.
“I won’t cry at all after we go this time, I promise. I really, really promise. You wouldn’t want to bet with me, because I will win it and you’ll have to get me 50 litres of whipped cream.” – his typical Russian blue smile widened. –
“I’m not going to bet with you, nor am I going anywhere with you. You’re crazy”.
“Okay, suit yourself. I just wanted to be nice. But if you don’t want to be nice, I’ll just go on my own and I’ll come back when I want.” – and with this, he ran to the door and was just about to jump on the handle.
“No!!!” – I shrieked, and ran after him, took him in my arms and shook firmly a few times, which he definitely didn’t like.
“So what?” – he asked, when I finally put him on the floor. – “Are you going with me or not?”.
“I guess I have no choice, but be sure that this is the last walk in your whole life.”
“Yaaaay! Thank you, Mila! I knew you’re cooler than that. You’ll see it’ll be a lot of fun” –
I was full of doubts, but I got out Misha’s leash and out we went. Jocky went all bonkers seeing Misha, and Misha did let him jump all over him for a while, but after some time his patience was exhausted and he nudged him gently but firmly away with his paw.
“Excuse me, sir Jocky. I like you a lot, but I have more important things on my mind at this moment. WHere shall we go, Mila?”
“Dunno, it’s your freaking trip, you say.” – I said, feeling sort of as if I suddenly found myself right in the middle of some strange fairytale world a la Alice in WOnderland.
– “We’ll hang around here for a while, then” – said Misha confidently.
I had to admit it to him that so far he indeed was very well-mannered, didn’t ran out frenziedly or stand in one place full of fear as he usually did when we let him out, didn’t try to slip out of the leash and kept close to me, moreover, if there has ever been something like a guide cat, I believe he could be viewed as an example for what a guide cat should be and how it should behave, and, although I have no personal experience with guide dogs, dare I say he exceeded even them, as I didn’t have to give him any commands, and of course he was also able to talk. Though on the other hand I’m not sure if a manipulative cat who does exactly what he wants no matter what it takes could be the kind of a service animal most people would want.
Finally, we came to the garden and Misha decided we’ll spend some time here.
“We’ll just lie down on this purrfectly fresh grass, I’ll have some of it as I’m sure it’s great fur getting rid of hairballs, and we’ll have a cuddle, just as you always like. Doesn’t that sound nice? I won’t run away I promise.”
And so we did. Misha enjoyed the fresh grass and rolled around in it and nibbled on it. When he had enough grass in his tummy, and decided that he smells grassy enough, we just laid next to each other in silence, Misha taking in all the new smells, and I wondering about the whole surreal situation I’ve found myself in, and how long it will take me to go completely crazy.
“If you can jump on handles and go out whenever you want, why didn’t you do that earlier, for example when you wanted to the toilet today?” – I asked after a while.
“Cats never do such spectacular things when there’s no absolutely urgent need. And besides, I cannot jump on handles. You guys weren’t kind enough to put your handles low enough fur me to reach, nor was anyone willing to teach me how to open the door, I’m not THAT clever. I only wanted to scare you so that you’d go with me.”
– “You bloody manipulator!” – was the only thing I was able to say.
“Why do you insult me?” – he asked in a calm, innocent voice. – “I only wanted to have an adventure”. But never mind, I’ll furgive you. Oh look, there’s a butterfly, yay! I’ll catch it fur ya! What a beautiful butterfly!”
“No, Misha, leave it alone!”
“But why? It’s the last walk in my life and I’ve never propurly caught a mouse or a bird or an insect. DO you want me to feel like a total failure in life? That certainly won’t make me feel happy.”
Misha caught the butterfly in a matter of seconds, all the while making sweet, little feline sounds, as he always does when “playing” with little animals.
“Here’s my gift fur you, Mila. A very beautiful butterfly. I killed it myself.”
“Am I supposed to eat it or what?” – I asked, the surreal, grotesque feeling growing with every minute.
“Oh, you can’t even appreciate a heartfelt gift. I’ll eat it then.”
“Let’s hit the streets now. I need to get some new snacks for myself.” – he said after his little brunch.
I think I felt too dazed to refuse him any longer, or too exhausted by all the events of this short day, but whatever the reason, I followed him. We went out the gate and on the streets. Misha truly amazed me with his ability to navigate in the town, even as little as ours, with not very much traffic.
“Do you purrhaps know if there are any pet shops in the area?” – he asked.
“Yeah, there is one.” – I gave him the street. – “It’s quite close to us, but I don’t know where exactly, you’d have to figure that out for yourself somehow”.
“Okay, no worries, I will. Misha Hhrrru? can deal with any situation like a pro.”
“Excuse me, ma’am. – a well-dressed, tall, elderly lady with a grotesquely big hat and very-high-heel shoes, was passing us, and as it seemed, Misha decided to ask her about the pet shop. I froze. What will she think? Will she actually hear him?
The woman gasped, her eyes widening in horror, and pressed her hand to the chest.
“Jesus! Someone help me! A cat… a cat… This cat can speak…”
“Yes, you’re right, I’m a cat. My name is Misha. Nice to meet you. You don’t have to be afraid of me. I’m a nice and friendly kitty, I like people. I understand you, because I used to be afraid of everything too. Only today I decided not to be. Now I’m not afraid of anything. What do you need help with.”
“H…h…heeeelp! I think I’m going mad. And my heart… my heart… – she whizzed –
“Oh no, what’s wrong with your heart. Mila says I can heal people. I can’t promise anything, but purrhaps I can heal you…?” – but before Misha could end his friendly monologue, I dragged him in the opposite direction and we ran away, as quickly as possible. Misha realised it’s indeed not safe for him to stay there, as more and more people were gathering around the woman, looking at her and at us. Seeing us running away though, the woman suddenly regained some of her vital energy and started yelling:
“It’s hers!!! It’s this girl’s cat! THey’re running! Someone catch them! She’s making pranks on poor, elderly people!” –
“Come on” – I heard a little voice behind me – “I live right here, come with me, quick.” – a little girl, perhaps 9- or 10-year-old, was smiling at us.
We ran after her into her gate, which she closed behind us. We all sat at the stairs of her house. She giggled.
“Your cat is beautiful. How did you make that old bag believe he can speak?”
” Thank you for saying I’m beautiful. I can speak, every cat can.”
“Hahaha, that was really funny. How can I also make my cat speak?”
“You can’t make him. He must want himself. I am Misha, nice to meet you.”
“No, but seriously. How did you make your cat speak?”
“Seriously, I didn’t make him. He can speak for himself. He started today.”
She thought for a minute.
“Really? This is strange. But I want to believe it’s true so I guess I will.”
Soon, a man came out of the house.
“Nela? What have you been doing there for so long?” – he came closer – “Oh, good morning.” – he said to me – “What a beautiful cat. I am Nela’s dad.”
“I’m Emilia, and this is Misha”. – I said, nudging Misha to tell him not to say anything, which he understood. I really wasn’t up to another conversation about how I make my cat speak.
“Please do come in. Nela, you should have invited your guests inside.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, but I think we have to go now.” – I said – “Misha only came to visit Nela for a moment.”
“Well, okay then. But I hope you visit us some time soon in the future again.” – said Nela’s dad, visibly surprised that we weren’t going to stay for longer.
“What a pity you can’t stay for a while” – said Nela when her father disappeared into the house. – “I really love Misha. And perhaps my cat would learn to speak from him. I think it’s safe now so you can go”.
“Oh but wait!” – Misha called when Nela was about to go inside her house. – “I have a very important question.”
“What is it?”
“Do you know where is the nearest pet shop?”
“Emm… not really… I’ve been there once with my parents but I don’t know where exactly it is. But I can ask dad.”
“Oh no, there’s no need for that” – I said –
We said goodbye quickly and went in search of the pet shop. Misha decided to go back to the same street, as he was sure the fuss was already over. Nela had hid us very successfully, and it seemed like no one cared overly about the old lady’s revelations about a talking cat, perhaps apart fromm a bunch of people who could hear Misha for themselves. The street was actually empty. Or so we thought, until, seemingly out of nowhere, the old lady appeared in front of us.
“Oh yes, I knew you’d be back, scaring to death innocent, dignified older people and making fun of them with your possessed cat.” – she said to me.
“I’m not…” – Misha tried to defend himself, but I tightened the leash on him hard enough that he knew he has to stay quiet.
“I’m sorry if my cat scared you. I’m sure he didn’t mean to”.
“You are sorry! My only hope is that you will not do it ever again!”
“No, of course I won’t. We weren’t making fun of anyone. My cat can speak, but he’s not possessed or anything, and he’s not bad to people”.
“Of course he can’t speak, and if he can, there must be something wrong with him. Cats do not speak”.
“But I’m a guide cat!” – Misha couldn’t hold himself back anymore.
“What?!” – the old lady raised her eyebrows.
“I’m her guide cat.” – Misha repeated. – “You know about guide dogs, don’t you? How they help blind people to get around?”
“Oh yes, I know. My friend’s ex-colleague’s daughter’s daughter is blind and has a guide dog, and I watched a documentary about blind people years ago.” – she said, apparently forgetting she was talking to a cat –
“So I’m like a guide dog, only I’m a cat.”
“Oh, I didn’t know there were guide cats!”
“So, you see now, ma’am, don’t you, that I have to be able to speak. I have to tell her that it’s safe to cross the street, or ask people for directions when even I don’t know where to go.”
“Oh yes, now it’s a completely different matter. I’m sorry I was so unpleasant, poor girl, I didn’t know she was blind, God bless her.”
And with that, along with a dozen others maudlin comments like this, she wanted to leave, but Misha stopped her:
“Excuse me, ma’am, I have a very important question. Do you know where is the nearest pet shop? Even a guide cat deserves a treat once in a while, right?”.
“Oh yes, I know. Turn left, then right, and then left on the crossing, and you’ll see the pet shop first thing on your right.”
When we were sure she has left, we started laughing our guts out.
“Misha, you’re a genius!” – I uttered, when I finally was able to speak. –
“Thank you, Mila, but I already knew that. Honestly I didn’t expect her to be this naive. Now, let’s finally go to that pet shop, I’m really tired of all that peopling.”
* * * * *
“Bibiel!!! Biiiiiibieeeeeeeel!” – Sofi yelled so loud that she would wake up all the dead people on the cemetery.
“What do you want?” – I asked sleepily.
“Wake up. You’re sleeping and sleeping and sleeping. It’s 2 PM. Mum told me to wake you up and ask if you want to go with us to the beach.”
I sat up and rubbed my eyes. Misha sneaked in quietly and rubbed his head on my hand in a playful way. The memories of the last hour floated back into my brain. So it was only a dream… or was it?