Sparky, The Christmas Cat: (A Cats' Tale)

A beautiful bluish-gray coat of fur clothed what seemed to be a single pulsating muscle. Eager yellow-gold eyes combined with the plaintive, kittenish meow. Sparky, or so he would be called, hurled himself at the stubborn door that stood between him and the warmth and light inside. Nothing happened. No response. He gathered himself again, backed away from the door, and then after a short sprint, hurled himself once more against the unyielding door. Nothing. The Christmas Eve snow continued to fall. The forbidding darkness seemed to clutch at his shivering body.

“Once more”, he thought, “just once more.” He mustered all the strength and resolve that his little kitten body contained. “Surely, somebody must hear me this time!”

Thunk! His bony little head met the door squarely. And, then, the door began to move, to open ever so slightly.

“Meow”, the sound escaped his throat involuntarily, as the pair of stocking feet appeared in the sliver of light between the par-tially opened door and its frame.

Sparky did not hesitate. He quickly pushed his way through the narrow opening and into the warm, inviting living room. He heard the door close softly behind him.

“What have we got here?” asked the voice from above the stocking feet.

It was a kind voice that gave Sparky the courage to brush up against those stocking-clad feet and meow his best “feed me, I’m hungry” meow.

Before he knew what was happening, Sparky found himself cradled in a large, warm hand that carried him closer to the source of the voice. The voice was talking about the stripe of yellow paint that had dried on Sparky’s gray fur. Sparky was not interested in idle chit chat. His growling stomach needed something to fill it. He wondered if the voice have anything for him to eat?

He felt himself being carried along inside the warm hand, near the friendly voice, high up above the stocking feet. The hand was pressing him against a soothing, warm body. As Sparky snuggled up to the soft, flannel material, he could feel the last remnants of the chilly night begin to leave his young, shivering body.

He began to relax for the first time since escaping earlier from the terror that had scattered his littermates and his mother. The beast had come without warning and began snatching up his brothers and sisters. Instinct had taken over and propelled Sparky’s furry body through the freshly painted narrow opening and out into the cold, uninviting wintry night air.

After bolting a safe distance from the grasping terror, Sparky found himself all alone and out of breath in the dark cold of the night. He could not return to the former comfort of his mother’s side. That world ceased to exist when the terror crashed in on them. Where would he go? Where could he find another safe haven to replace the one he had lost?

Just as he was starting to sink into despair, Sparky saw what appeared to be a dim light in the distance. He decided to set off for it. It took a long time for Sparky’s short legs to carry him closer to the light. Slowly, painfully, the light became more and more distinct, larger and more inviting. Finally, Sparky was stand-ing in front of the large white door that barred him from the light within. He meowed, but nothing happened. He pushed against the door with his head. Again, nothing happened. In final desperation Sparky hurled himself against the door and now he was inside, warm, but was he safe?

The warm hand was gently lowering Sparky to the linoleum-covered kitchen floor. In front of him was a dish with two depressions: one was filled with water; the other was filled with food. Things were definitely looking up. After lapping up a bit of water, Sparky set about the serious business of filling the emptiness in his stomach. His little teeth worked hard at breaking down the big pieces of food. He was so intent on this task that he did not notice the big black cat until it was standing next to him and hover-ing over him.

Sparky was used to having to fight for his share of a meal, so he was not really startled by Prince Vlad’s presence. (That was the name of the large, powerfully graceful male cat that now scrutinized Sparky.) Vlad was sniffing at Sparky in a curious, non-hostile manner. He did not see Sparky as any kind of a threat. He was just new. Besides, Vlad was too big and strong to worry about a little kitten.

Vlad nudged his way into the food bowl and joined Sparky in crunching the delicious nuggets. This turned out to be an unexpected benefit for Sparky. Occasionally, a small piece of a nugget would fall out of Vlad’s mouth and land in front of Sparky, who quickly snatched it up with his eager tongue. It was a lot easier to eat these small morsels than to have to break down the big ones.

Sparky began to develop an immediate and genuine admiration for Prince Vlad. Vlad had a kind of quiet confidence and self-assuredness that somehow made Sparky feel safer in his presence.

After eating his fill, Vlad moved slowly away from the food bowl and toward one of the large stuffed chairs in the living room. He paused in front of it for a moment, and, then, as though without effort he seemed to just float through the air and land softly on the cushion of the chair. Vlad yawned once very widely, gave his front paws a few licks, and settled his black head on his fore paws. He was asleep in an instant.

Sparky went back to the serious work of breaking down the delicious, golden-brown nuggets of food. A feeling of calmness began to settle over him, a somewhat strange feeling that he was safe and at home.

Sparky, The Christmas Cat: (A Cats' Tale)

FRANK LOSIK

Salinas, United States

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Artist's Description

“Sparky, The Christmas Cat” is one of a series of semi-biographical stories, postcards, and poems, found in my book, “The Game of Life”, which is designed to appeal to the palates of mature adults. You can find out more about it by visiting my website at www.franklosik.com/books.

Artwork Comments

  • DevaDaDiva
  • FRANK LOSIK
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