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Short Story

The Cat Sat On The Mat

Do you remember when you were in kindergarten learning to read these simple sentences? Jill met John. The dog ran up the hill. I mulled this one sentence over and over in my head the other day to come up with this story. A lot can happen when there is silence, sitting on a mat, feeling comfy and cosy. It didn’t take me long to get to a story from this one simple sentence. I hope you enjoy reading this short story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

The cat sat on the mat by the fire.

The cat sat on the mat by the fire in the living room.

The cat sat on the mat by the fire in the living room of the ancient house.

The old grey cat sat on the mat by the fire in the living room of the ancient house.

The old grey cat sat on the tatted old mat by the roaring fire in the living room of the ancient house.

She wasn’t doing anything, nor was the mouse sharing the warmth from the embers o he fire, sitting in front of her. The two of them sat staring into the fire, each of them dreaming a separate dream. A dream of visions that seemed so far away, they closed their eyes to try valiantly to capture. As though thoughts and wishes could manifest their dreams into reality.

Upstairs, Donna, the raucous teenager in the household, lay on her bed listening to old seventy eights on her radiogram that once belonged to her funny old granny. Oh, what fun they had together, playing classical records of a hundred years ago. Only plain music, for there were no lyrics to remember. Only the music that soothed the savage beast within. Listening to the likes of Ligeti’s The Devil’s Staircase; or Holst’s The Bringer of War. They often played these records with the sound turned up as high as it could go, so it reverberated around the entire house. Here she was again, though minus the funny old granny, playing this music as loud as she could. This time with a sound blaster sound bar, plugged into the house’s internet programmed service.

Little four-year-old Tyke came giggling through the open door and scampered over the floor mess to get to Donna and show her the big, heavy trophy he held in his little hands. He was pleased as punch to be carrying around his daddy’s favourite new toy – a Colt Single Action Army Revolver. He felt big and strong as he pushed his chest out like a proud gorilla. “Look at ME!” he shouted to Donna, trying in vain to make himself heard over the music. He swaggered over to her bed and pointed the gun at her head. Cocking the gun, he gleefully mimicked his favourite TV Western Actor and pulled the trigger. “Bang. Bang. You’re dead.” then he turned away, shaking his head, leaving the room to the sounds of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.

Aiden, in the room next door, was welcoming his lover in through the open window. Looking around to make doubly sure no one had noticed him coming, he ushered him in and onto the bed. The two of them lay sparsely clothed, embraced in a lover’s hug. Legs entwined between bed clothes and arms embracing each other tight; locked together, lips touching, and eyes closed in the breathless anticipation of their kiss.

Tyke burst into the unguarded open room, shouting, “Bang. Bang.” Pointing the gun first at Ken’s surprised face, then Aiden. One click each was enough to down them into a new embrace. Blood poured out from their wounds, but no further movement came. “You’re dead!” Tyke announced, turned around to leave as he attempted to put his toy into a non-existent holster. The sounds of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture continued to vibrate through the entire house.

Down the hallway, Dawn was taking care of her own business this lazy Sunday afternoon. A friend of Gill’s had popped around to visit but had side-tracked him at the front door. Like a young schoolgirl again, she ushered Taylor up the stairs and down the hallway to her guest bedroom. Once there, she wasted no time in stripping Taylor down to his bare-chested skin, kissing him all over in open-mouthed kisses. The two of them stood together, face to face, undressing the other as quick as they could. Stopping now, naked as the day they were born, to take one last kiss when Tyke burst in, pushing the door wide open, yelling, “Bang. Bang. You’re dead.” Each bullet finding its place at the side of each head. Their bodies collapsing in a bloody heap to the floor. Tyke lifted the end of the revolver toward his mouth and blew on it to cool its tip. This time, he holstered it in his side pocket. He will look for a gun belt later. One like the Gunslingers of the Westerns had on TV.

Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture was still blaring through the house when Gill came sauntering into the living room, preceded by Rover, the family pet. He came racing up to Tyke, wagging his tail in excitement. Gill looked at his youngest son, surprised at the large silver handpiece in his little hand. “Tyke. Put that gun down, young man,” but Tyke didn’t seem interested in stopping his reign of carnage. Pointing it up to his father’s head, he repeated his favourite mantra “Bang. Bang. You’re dead.” Just like the others, this bullet also found its place. The sixth bullet in the revolver had been the last. Gill had loaded it, intending to use it on his own family later that night. As they slept was the option he had come around to thinking. But now it was too late. As the sound of the final battle cannons boomed throughout the house, Rover came and settled on the tatted old mat by the roaring fire in the living room of the ancient house. The embers of the fire lit up the room as they fell softly to the coal black wooden floor in front of the fire. It would keep the room warm until morning. The three of them could get some well-earned sleep now.

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