A Cat and A Dog
A Cat and A Dog
Furry grey paws clenched at the edge of the pipeline. Two brilliant fluorescent slits glowed in the dark, watching intently. With a sigh, the clouds covered the sleeping moon. The Cat slipped out in the night, its paws kneading its way through debris and sewage.
Year 2143. Humans were gone. It all started ten years ago. A spaceship was sent to examine CL-223, which was orbiting dangerously close to the moon. Dr. Bakshi and Dr. Selvaratham were in the control of the ship Aryanyaj. The two were sent to push the small meteorite into deep space. They didn’t notice the two celled organism latching itself to their space ship. They didn’t know about all the hell that would break loose once they returned to earth.
When the space ship returned to earth there was no sign of the two astronauts. Inside was a dark hostile multicellular mass, that was taken out using electromagnetic shields. Scientists thought they would study it quietly in Antarctica. They couldn’t. The multicellular mass evolved into an ugly, mottled grey alien, which escaped from captivity. It devoured all the scientists, becoming bigger and multiplying by binary fission, like a giant primitive bacterium. But one of the scientists, Alicia Bellary sent a message to all the international space centers, before getting killed. Each country sent trillions of space crafts into deep space, operated by androids, while the humans were in hyper-sleep. Of course the most of the animals couldn’t be taken. Some of the people, mostly the elderly, refused to leave. They perished, and the aliens multiplied and evolved.
Another new day.
The Cat stood hidden, shrouded by the safe dark of a punctured grave. Inside there was nothing. No sign of a body. The aliens were ravenous, tearing apart even the remains of the dead and the decayed.
Any day now. The Cat licked its grey shaggy fur. It was trying its best to escape a horrible death but its animal sense knew some day or the other it’d get killed.
For the millionth time in seven months, it felt the dull ache of its owner’s death.
They say, cats are indifferent. But they do have feelings. The Cat looked at the sky. The color was unchanged. The same shade under which it played with its owner for the first time as a mewling kitten, and the same under which it glimpsed its owner getting pieced apart alive.
It curled up in the warm earth inside the grave. A sudden shuffling sound alerted it. Rising its head, it stared into a pair of shadowed blue eyes staring back at it, under a neighboring grave.
A shiver of fear made it bristle. But a horrible but welcome smell relaxed it. Dog.
They stared at each other for some time. Then the Cat, with the supreme elegance that comes to all cats, ignored the Dog and turned to sleep.
But the Dog was determined to make friends, and so it eased itself out of its hiding place and went over to the Cat’s and started sniffing the place. Then looking carefully around itself, it lowered its stubby nose and barked lowly.
The Cat, disturbed by all the sniffing and barking, peeped through a little crack to utter a great ‘Meow’ and show the extent of its displeasure, but the dog, mistaking it for friendship, immediately licked the Cat’s nose. Disgusted, the Cat hissed, and came out of its little hiding place. Outside it rubbed its paws over its nose to remove all the saliva. Then it sauntered away, the Dog padding on behind.
In the broad light of the day, they were strangely safe. As the aliens evolved, they showed lesser and lesser preference to light, now moving and hunting only in the dark. But they could do both in broad daylight if they wished. The dark just gave them more agility.
Narrow, confined spaces were safer to hide in, since there was no fear of being surprised from behind by the aliens…of course if they started following...
The Cat tried to ignore the Dog’s, but it would turn every now and then to mutter a low growl. The Dog was only half-grown, its young fur rough, ribs showing through its growing skin. It was born in shadows and fear, its affections subdued, its mind cowed. But the presence of the irritated feline was like the morning sun after a night of playing hide and seek with death. It was not alone in this godforsaken world.
The Cat stopped suddenly, its ears pricked. The Dog turned its nose to the air, sniffing. They both started running, until they found a broken down house and hid behind it.
A large alien appeared near the ground, right where they were a few moments ago, its scaly mottled grey skin reflecting the light. Staying there for some seconds it disappeared under the ground, burrowing its way in.
Chilled, the Cat and the Dog huddled together, their frozen bodies warming and comforting each other.
They stayed there for the night. The Cat decided that the best course would be to rest in a crack running in the walls. It was a curiously shaped corner, almost as if something very small had broken out violently from inside. Anyway it was large enough for their emaciated forms to enter, and small enough to conceal them.
It was a brilliant moonlight. The wind slurred outside, finger-painting patterns on the surface of lakes and ponds.
The Cat was staring at it from the shadows, remembering its owner, who was a beautiful writer. For the humans he spun magic using pen and paper. No one except him used pen and paper at that time.
For the Cat, the crackle of fresh papers and the scratch of pen on their smooth surfaces meant love. Whenever the Writer finished a story, or a poem, he used to take the Cat on his lap, place a little bottle of apple-juice beside him, and read his story or poem to the Cat. The Cat didn’t understand a word, but it nodded and purred, understanding every lisp and grunt in its owner’s voice.
And now they were caught in an abject reality, a horror story.
Who was telling the story? And whose story was it anyway?
The thoughts fluttered and flew in the wind.
The Cat looked at its companion’s blue eyes, ever so trusting, ever so welcoming, and for the first time, it understood why humans loved dogs. One look from those eyes, and there would be no pain, no fear, no lonesome reality.
The moon reflected on the Dog’s blue eyes, and for the first time in seven months, the Cat didn’t feel its owner’s absence.
“What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end.”
The Cat fell asleep, an old favorite song of its owner’s, though incomprehensible to it, ringing in its ears.
Midday, the next day.
The Cat woke up before the Dog. Its ears pricked suddenly. A mouse.
Tensing its muscles, never wavering its eyes from the small brown creature, it edged forward, not daring to make a noise. Springing up, claws exposed it crushed the little critter’s head with a single swipe of its paws.
It was about to eat the whole mouse when it remembered the Dog. It walked leisurely towards the hole in the wall, hunger satisfied, energy regained.
The day shivered, but there were no birds to feel that. Mottled-Grey scales shuddered in the sunlight.
The Dog woke up, its blue eyes searching for the Cat. Picking up its scent, it went searching for it. It found the dead mouse and started to play with it, finally tossing it aside and started sniffing for the Cat.
The day withered out. There was no sign of the Cat.
The mouse lay cold and stiff, exactly where it was left by the Dog.
Somewhere in the molested vulgar city, a parched throat gulped down a howl of agony, stifled by dread and anger, and two blue eyes bled hot unwelcome tears in the dark.