July Writing Contest Winner
As most of you have figured out, we have a writing contest winner. Congratulations to Janet Moules, writing as Alex Le Soum (author of Space Turbulence) for your excellent short story that inspired so many votes (just over fifty-seven percent)! As some of you may know, she also added an extended ending for the story later in the writing contest (due to reader demand), but it was not admissible in conjunction with the original. This is the tale, with both parts:
Two out of nine lives
Jenny carried the bag out to the trash can. It was garbage day, and the can was empty. The bag fell to the bottom with a dull thud. She froze, suddenly sensing that someone was watching her. Slowly she turned, finding a pair of piercing blue eyes fixed upon her. A black cat sat there motionless, its unblinking eyes seeming to bore into her soul. She shook herself out of the trance and returned to the house.
It was raining heavily. She threw on her coat, even though it was only a few feet to the trash can. She dropped in the bag, looking at the cat out of the corner of her eye. He stood there, ignoring his bedraggled state, the blue eyes staring accusingly at her as she turned and hurried back inside.
“That cat was there again,” she said to Pete. “It has these really weird blue eyes. I didn’t know you could get black cats with blue eyes, not once they grew out of the kitten stage, anyway.”
“Probably a cross-breed,” said Pete. “Probably a bit of Siamese in there somewhere. Maybe its mama was a bad kitty and escaped for a raunchy night of passion with the local toms.”
“It’s not funny. It keeps staring at me, unnerving me. Pete, I know you’re going to think this is weird, but it really reminds me of Tom. He had piercing blue eyes exactly like that. Do you think there’s such a thing as reincarnation?”
Pete looked across at her with a troubled frown. “Jen, you’re just being silly. It’s coming up on the anniversary of his death and he’s on your mind, that’s all. Don’t start with some nonsense about him coming back to haunt you.”
“I wish they’d found the murderer. I hate not knowing what really happened; there’s no closure for me.”
“Don’t talk about it. It upsets me as much as it does you. He was my best friend as well as your boyfriend.”
“I know.” She crossed the room and placed her arms around him. “Thank you for being there for me, Pete – for picking up the pieces and taking care of me. I don’t know what I’d have done without you there to help me through it.”
The blue eyes stared up at her pleadingly. She pulled the remains of a tuna sandwich from the bag and bent down, holding out her hand cautiously. Its pink tongue licked her fingers, the blue eyes fixed on her the entire time. Gently it took the morsel of food, meowing softly as it made one final circuit of her fingers with its tongue.
“Well, don’t encourage it,” said Pete, standing in the doorway. “We’ll never get rid of it if you start feeding it.”
Pete came out with her. “Go on, clear off,” he shouted at the cat.
“It’s giving you the creeps. I’m sick of hearing about how its blue eyes remind you of Tom. You’re starting to get stupid about it, and the longer we encourage it, the harder it’s going to be to get rid of the thing.”
The blue eyes burnt into him with a fierce hatred. The cat hissed, baring its teeth at him. He caught hold of Jenny’s hand and drew her back into the house.
The cat had gone. She dropped the bag into the can and looked around, but there was no sign of it.
Pete took out the trash. He dragged the can to the pickup point, ready for the garbage truck which always came early on a Friday morning. He lifted the lid off the can one last time, readjusting the top bags to ensure they covered the body. Hopefully the garbage guys would just tip the thing into the truck and never notice. The eyes weren’t blue anymore; they were red clumps of blood, where he’d pierced through them with a five inch nail.
“That’s twice now I’ve got you out of her life,” he said viciously. “And if the nine lives myth is true, make sure you find some other woman to get your claws into for the next seven.”
Extended alternate ending:
Tom comes back six more times in various guises and each time Pete kills him, until he finally comes back in life number nine as an imp who happens to be part of a particularly nasty alien attack force, who home in on Pete, conduct any number of horrific and excruciatingly painful experiments on him, and ultimately put him out of his misery in an agonizing and extremely drawn out death. Jenny gets bitten by a vampire imp, turns into an imp herself, marries Tom and flies off to live happily ever after in outer space.
All of the other contestant’s entries, can be viewed here. I am truly pleased to see so many people were inspired to write under the tough guidelines. Then next contest will begin on the week of August 22nd. I will look forward to seeing what participants come up with next. Please do remember to congratulate Janet on her well written story. I will be contacting her so we can work out getting the prize to her. She has already received her gift-card electronically and is welcome to print off the beautiful trophy picture above to hang on her wall proudly (if she is so inclined).