Happy Halloween! Or Happy Recoverings, if you were hit by Hurricane Sandy. (We were all set for power outages and crazy winds here, but we were lucky. Not even a flicker in the lights.)
Also, for those participating in Nanowrimo like me, good luck! Or, Merry Writings! (Gracious wisdom, that sounded like something Charles Dickens would say.)
To celebrate, and as a warmup for tomorrow, I'm posting a short spiff today. It's written right this second, off-the-tip-of-my-tongue. It's not a short story, perhaps not even a scene, but it's writing. Sorry for anything amiss.
The lone black cat stared through the window in the chilly light of dawn. Outside, nothing stirred -- not the people in the houses that lined the other side of the road, not the stray cats and dogs sleeping under bushes, not the birds in the trees. No light shined from the street lamps; it was too dark to see properly, but not dark enough to call night anymore.
The only sign of life was the flickering light from under one of the bushes in her front yard. The fairy light danced, tempting her, but the cat refused to budge. It was her job to watch and protect, not play with fairies.
As dawn bled into morning, the cat flicked her ears. Halloween -- the most important day of the year. Inch-tall figures walked out from under the bush, fairies with fragile wings and nature nymphs with green skin. Busy humans, waking up to work or go to school, passed by the little figures, oblivious to their presence.
Whenever one of the little figures outstepped her bounds, the cat growled, and the little creatures' sensitive ears picked up the warning. They stayed, always, within thirteen feet of their burrow under the bush.
One of the little figures ignored the black cat's warning. The little fairy, glowing blue stepped over the invisible line, looking curiously at the humans passing by. A little human, no more than five years old, spotted it.
In a flash, the black cat bounded away from the window, along the hallway, out the front door. She pinned the offensive fairy to the ground and meowed, more to appease the human boy's curiousity than to punish the little figure underneath her paws.
After the human ambled away, the black cat brought her face up close to the fairy.
"Remember the pact, Little Figure," the cat hissed, with something akin to worry in her words. "It's there for a reason."
"What reason?" the fairy challenged. It was a young fairy, barely an adult, and didn't figure much for a mysterious, centuries-old pact she had nothing to do with.
"To keep the humans from pinning all of you like butterflies," growled the cat. She refused to say more, feeling her duty to protect was fulfilled. She walked back to her perch in the window.
As the day wore on, none of the little figures stepped over the line again. One day of freedom they have, but it was worth keeping that one day than trading it for no freedom at all. By nightfall, the magical little creatures had tired their dancing and gawking, and slipped once again into their otherworldly burrow for another year.
Have a lovely, spooky Halloween!