When the Days Don’t Hurt as Bad


Under George’s instructions, the magpies flew from the bathroom. When they returned shortly after, between their beaks, they clutched a blanket retrieved from X’s bed. Letting it fall as they hovered in the air, it covered her naked body and helped take the bite out of her shivers. The tears were still flowing, yet unlike before they weren’t tears of desperation but of the joy of being alive. Holding onto George, X spoke to him as she had done in the other place, and although he couldn’t respond with words like her own, each meow that left his lips helped to raise her spirits. Amidst the words and kisses she placed upon his brow, George signalled to the cats that it was time, and without hesitation, they left with the others and climbed back through the window from which they had entered. Outside in the summer sun, the cats spoke to the waiting dogs who had grown restless and taken to chasing after flies, and the dogs quickly ran inside and up the stairwell until they were at the door of X’s apartment. There they barked and howled and scratched like mad until the people that lived on either side came out to see what they were up to. Fearing the worst, they broke down the door and were altogether perplexed to find the pretty girl who lived there curled up on the bathroom floor with her arms wrapped around the cat they called George. She wouldn’t speak to any of them. They called her mother, and when her mother arrived, she promptly called for an ambulance. Despite everyone’s best efforts, X was only interested in the cat. When the ambulance came a short time later, they tried to wrestle it from her arms but she screamed and hissed and threatened them in the most unladylike of ways, and so, in the end, they let her take it with her. With her head buried in the fur of George’s belly, she was led from her apartment where she wouldn’t return for several weeks. They had her sectioned and sectioned she was, but with her feline friend by her side, the days that followed weren’t as scary as they might’ve been, and nor did they hurt quite as bad.

A Journal for Damned Lovers UK

A Journal for Damned Lovers US

Anthology UK / Anthology US

17 replies »

      • It’s the Russian and Ukrainian version of the Greek Zoe, meaning ‘Life’

        She arrived in the neighbourhood when she was about 2 months old. My guess is she was abandoned. We found her outside our door.
        We named her ‘Life’ because we saved hers and she brought life to our home.

        I chose the Russian version, because I read that dogs can hear some consonants better — we pronounce the ‘y’ as in ‘year’.

        The love of the animals in this series remind me of hers very much!

      • That’s so cool. Both that you took her in, and that she’s given you so much joy.

        I’ve had two pets that have run away. One was a dog named Penny who fled during a storm when I was about 5, and a cat named Lucy who disappeared when my mother moved house. I’ve often wondered what happened to them. I think this story will go on to touch upon that mystery. I like the idea that the stories animals could tell could be just as interesting as ours, perhaps even more.

      • I’m so sorry about your pets. It must have been awful losing them. I really hope someone took them in.

        I think an animal’s tales would be richer in smells, sights and insights.

        Once I was looking for Zoya in the garden. It was dark and I called out her name a couple of times. When she came — she was actually somewhere very close to me, only I couldn’t see her — and she looked at me in a very curious way, like ‘can’t you see me in the dark? Are you serious?’ or ‘Couldn’t you smell I was right here?’

        What a nice tribute to Penny and Lucy to use them as characters in your story!

      • Zoya sounds like a clever one for sure 🙂

        I would give anything to see the world through the eyes of a cat- even if it was just for a day. I’m sure it would blow my mind to kingdom come.

        Until then, I’ll just have to guess the best I can 😉 x

      • She is! I’m like a proud mother where she’s concerned!

        I know what you mean — it would be something terrific to experience the world through the eyes of a cat, and to be able to move like one.

        You’ll do a great job guessing, I’m sure of that.

  1. I appreciate that you didn’t go with a “magically, it was all better!” approach. As there’s always an aftermath to such things isnt there? Also a long road back to harmony. I feel as though you’ve dragged us straight through the muck and glory of it and now is the time to take a big breath.
    Again, I adore your stories. 😊

    • I don’t think the “it was all better” approaches do much for anyone. It’s nice to have little breathers though- moments where we can step back and look at the sky. Those small bubbles of peace are what get us through.

      I’m delighted you’ve been enjoying these pieces 🙂 x

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